The second LeWeb London conference took place earlier this month when 1,200 or so people gathered in London – joined by thousands more via the net – to hear other people talk about the sharing economy.
That dry description belies the dynamism and exuberance of this seminal biz/tech conference and exhibition that has grown from the social homebrew kick-start days of blogging nearly a decade ago to being arguably the most influential European conference of its type today.
I was there on June 5 and 6, at the splendid Methodist Central Hall just across the way from the Houses of Parliament, as one of the official bloggers. It was my first LeWeb since 2006 although I did parachute in via Google+ Hangout On Air sessions in London and Paris last year. Huge fun!
In actually being physically there this time, my goal was mostly to listen – to meet interesting people and hear interesting ideas. And that is exactly what happened.
I met up with my good friend Silvia Cambie – who along with her colleague Gloria Lombardi have written terrific perspectives of their experiences of LeWeb – and we shared some of our own thoughts about what we saw and heard as we saw and heard them (and we chatted about some of that on a Simply TV interview on June 7).
Last week, on June 10, I spoke of my impressions of LeWeb London 2013 in a 10-minute report on episode 707 of For Immediate Release, the weekly business podcast I co-host with Shel Holtz. I’ve embedded that specific clip below if you’d like to listen here and now (and feel free to download it if you prefer):
You might want to listen to the whole podcast episode as after my report, Shel and I continued talking about LeWeb for another five minutes or so.
In my report, I highlighted these standouts:
The audio-visual spectacle that was the “LeWeb experience” in terms of how the plenary room and each of the session rooms were decorated, lit, audio’d; in essence, the full experience. Awesome, in a word.
You can get a sense of that from the many photos taken in or of the plenary room, such as these from my LeWeb London set on Flickr.
After a few teething troubles at the start of day 1, the wifi turned out to be excellent. As I mentioned in the FIR report, there were Cisco routers everywhere you looked, even peeking from behind John Wesley.
We did have some group photos taken on the last day but I can’t find any of them online. So until I can, here’s one I made, a selfie during the photo shoot.
The stand-out blogger for me was Adam Tinworth who live-blogged much of the two days. Excellent posts, great content and full of detail. (Adam’s very good at this, as I know from his work at the last B2B Huddle in May.)
Of the many speakers, a half-dozen of all I saw and heard really made a strong impression on me. Not only because of what they said – good though it all was – it was also in the telling of their stories: how they said it and the attention their story-telling attracted.
You can watch video recordings of each of those speakers – either presenting to the audience or in conversation with LeWeb founder Loic LeMeur - and see what you think:
- Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder, Airbnb. Standout: describing the early days of Airbnb and how it got started.
- Jeremiah Owyang, Partner, Altimeter Group. Standout: immaculate preparation and, hence, an attention-grabbing presentation.
- Jeremy Stoppelman, Founder and CEO, Yelp. Standout: a natural, relaxed and credible speaker.
- Martin Varsavsky, Founder and CEO, Fon. Standout: I’ve seen Varsavsky speak before and it’s a always a pleasure to see and hear someone so passionate in his business beliefs.
- Alexa Varsavsky, Co-Founder, Modabound. Standout: Like father, like daughter!
- John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation. Standout: the first time I’ve seen the legendary original hippie and Grateful Dead songwriter in the flesh speaking. Truly memorable.
These are but six of the 38 individuals who spoke at LeWeb London 2013 and who were video-recorded in wonderful high definition – check them all out on YouTube.
As I mentioned earlier, my major goal in being at LeWeb London was to meet interesting people and hear interesting ideas. That also enabled me to record two special interviews that I published earlier this week as FIR Interview podcasts:
- FIR Interview: Festicket Founders at #LeWeb London. Zacharie Sabban (CEO) and Jonathan Younes (CTO).
- FIR Interview: Rossi Mitova, CEO and Co-Founder Farmhopping, at #LeWeb London.
A final congratulatory word must go to Loic LeMeur and Géraldine LeMeur, the two founders of the LeWeb conferences, for their peerless dedication and outstanding presences over almost a decade with a brand that has now moved to a new level.
Take a look at what others have said about LeWeb London 2013. And here’s looking to LeWeb London 2014!