Le Web 3 renamed Loic (pronounced Le Week)

There are a lot of people at the Le Web 3 conference who are going away from the event extremely angry. Someone at lunch today said tht the conference should have been named Loic instead of Le Web.

Why? Nobody was too annoyed when the schedule was changed to allow Shimon Peres address this morning.

What really annoyed everyone was the fact that the conference was completely hijacked and changed from a conference about new web technologies into a presidential campaign for the next French election. Two of the candidates, Nikolas Sarkozy and François Bayrou were parachuted in to the conference schedule at the last minute, displacing other speakers.

Worse than that, at a conference where the majority of the delegates were not French, the two political candidates addressed the audience in French (and Sarkozy didn’t even take questions).

I have heard many people speculate that this is conference organiser Loic LeMeur’s way of furthering his own political ambitions.

The conference that was delivered was not the one which was advertised. It is not the one I paid for. I think Loic owes an apology for bringing so many people to Paris under false pretenses. I wonder will anyone ask for a refund…

UPDATE] – I see Nicole’s post on this is now at the top of Techmeme.

41 thoughts on “Le Web 3 renamed Loic (pronounced Le Week)”

  1. Tom,
    holy words.

    Butwhat also disappointed me was the poor consideration of David Weinberger, that only after some thoughts was asked to partecipate in the discussion following his presentation.
    I’m still astonished.

    Best,
    Antonio

  2. I heard Bayrou spoke in shaggy English, making an attempt to be understood by his audience contrarary to Sarkozy. Anyway, what a shame that this happened.

  3. For chrissakes don’t try asking him what he’s playing at. Only time I ever met him he was a drunken oaf bordering on violence – and that was in his official Six Apart capacity.

    My crime was asking him whether his employers were ever going to do anything about MT’s utter lack of a plan for dealing with spam, other than continuing to bill their customers for software they never update.

    My punishment was to have him step into my face and start walking further towards me, basically pushing me backwards across the room.

    Lemeur doesn’t give a stuff about how much you paid. Once he’s got your money you can fuck off.

  4. The mind really boggles what he was doing. You could understand if they had politicians giving opening speech (the usual type of opening ceremony gig)

    Seeing as the majority of people weren’t even French, wtf was he doing getting National politicians coming along to tell everyone to love them.

    It sounds like it was a regional GAA club AGM organised by someone and allowing the local FF/FG rep to gate-crash two months before the election. (Unless its true what you say Tom with him having political ideas-but surely there is a better platform to launch them at?)

    And what was Shimon Peres doing there? Does he blog? Is he an investor in Six Apart?

    Man I would love to have been there with a camera.

    John – priceless comment.

  5. Tom knows I couldn’t be there due to other commitments but it is actually more than that. The agenda just wasn’t businessy enough for me and there was no real sign of interesting stuff.

    To the Loic thing. He did a very brave thing. He made a decision to change direction (which was his right as organiser) and show 1000+ bloggers they have a voice. As has been amply demonstrated by the kerfuffle building up over this. If he has political ambitions (and I don’t think he has) then fantastic I say. If Loic ends up getting elected then:
    1. he will be the first blogger pro to be in political power
    2. he may even be able to rally the young to sort out France’s creaking social security and tax system. If he does (or gets remotely close to) that, then he’ll trump Scoble by an order of magnitude.

    Think the other way and put your conspiracy theorist’s hat on for a moment. What if he was actually mobilising *against* Sarkozy? He’s done a bloody good job at stirring up direct aqnd indirect resentment

    The other good thing he’s done is show it is time to move on. LeWeb can evolve into something better. That’s in the spirit of this thing.

    Whatever anyone may say about Loic, he’s got brass balls and most of us wouldn’t have much of a clue or have had the chance to meet so many interesting people who have since become friends.

    So let’s not hang the man out to dry…yet.

  6. I’m as steamed as Tom. The whole thing was amateurish and cack-handed and I feel hard done by. If Loic wants to “take it to the edge”, do it with someone else’s money on someone else’s time, not mine.

    On a different note – did Micheal Arrington ever turn up?

  7. I’ll continue to be Devil’s Advocate on this one ‘cos I think there’s an important issue here.

    I’ve been in touch with Loic and he knows he needs to do something .

    A few additional observations. It seems the people who are making the most noise are those who have been before. So for those people – is it a case your expectations were shattered? Would you have said the same thing if Arrington had jumped on stage and told you Google had acquired TC along with his expertise to deliver the next ZDNet and then told you how he’d done it? I doubt it. Did the Sarkozy thing totally wreck it when, as I understand things, people say the best conversations are in the halls?

    But because these guys are politicos – and politics was on the agenda (as well as being hot in France and not to everyone’s taste) – it’s not on. Are you guys paying attention to what’s going on out there?

    I have little doubt Loic acted in what he thought were the best interests of the conference. He made a mistake. It happens. It’s the nature of the beast.

    C’mon – grow up. Evolve. Move on. Forgive. (IMO)

  8. Dennis, this was my first time going top LesBlogs/LeWeb but the reports about last year were so positive, I was really looking forward to it.

    Whilst the poor quality of the content was not a huge deal since most people go to these things to network with each other, the whole political thing was just one more symptom of the high-handed attitude of the organisers towards “the little people”. I mentioned on my blog how they treated one startup.

    The difference between LeWeb and something like dConstruct which I also attended (and which also suffered its share of glitches) was that dConstruct was clearly focussed on delivering for the attendees, whereas LeWeb was focussed on the speakers and the organisers.

    And did Loic really call it an unconference? Seriously? At least I got a belly laugh when I read that. He must have meant unconference in the sense that the D in GDR stood for democratic.

  9. Aaah – didn’t realise there are other major factors at play here. I have to say I felt it was all done at the last minute from what I saw a priori the event. Sometimes when things reach a certain size then it needs a different management. Unfortunately, it’s always the vendors who pay.

  10. First, excuse me for being French, I’m not very proud of my fellow countryman LLM.

    LLM using blogs and his own blog and audience as a way to open doors in the political game that would have stayed closed to him is a well known fact and has nothing new. It’s his blog, so only people who read it care.

    I would have never thought he would commit business suicide like this. In politics, you always need an emergency exit, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Like a lot of French well known bloggers (local fame), I think he has lost his mind for fame and the bit of power he may have.

    I had planned to attend Loic 3, but I had too much work and no cash left. I’m happy with this. I just hope you won’t summarize France as Loïc’s betrayal

  11. Fair comment on the last-minute nature. They clearly bit off more than they could chew.

    I am surprised that a VP in a blog platform company has stayed silent on the blogosphere about this. He needs to engage with the community, explain, apologise where appropriate and stand his ground where he thinks he was right. Authenticity is what it is all about. If he is hurt, he should say so, if he is pissed at Orange, he should say that too. I don’t just mean on his own blog. He should be out there commenting on every blog that offers an opinion on the event. If he does not, then we’ll all get the counter-message loud and clear.

  12. WOW! We could really have a blogger pro in political power??! That would be FANTASTIC… that would be EXCELLENT!! He could look after our rights and actually legislate against things like turning off comments! I can’t wait!

  13. Be as nuch of a Devil’s advocate as you wish Dennis but this was peoples cash and time that Loic experimented with. There was an agenda and timetable that people were told in advance and was changed on the day. They didn’t ask for some performance art piece.

    Were I there I’d demand a refund or a partial refund.

  14. Dennis Howlettq??? what planet are you on? I notice that the link doesn’t go anywhere.

    Could that be you Loic? Have you realised that after insulting Sam from TechCrunch UKIRL that your career and reputation is on the line.

    Well done on a well written piece Tom! another honesty opinion piece.

  15. Paul Walsh Dec 13th, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    Dennis Howlettq??? what planet are you on? I notice that the link doesn’t go anywhere.

    Paul,
    I think you;ll find its this guy

    Hold your horses there abit!

    Lets wait and see what Monseur Le Meur has to say. I am sure it will be enjoyable.

    b

  16. Damien – I am very real – some cock up on Tom’s input – sorry – and I’m an the smae planet as you sir.

    Frederic said it and I’m guessing he knows Loic as well. But let’s get it in perspective. It was the appearance of Sarkozy delivering party political stuff that tipped folk over the edge who were already pissed about the lack of wifi and speaker quality (the last one I’m not surprised given the list.)

    As I interpret it, Sarkozy did himself no favours because while he is a good English speaker, he was there for party political purposes and addressed the French crowd. Bad move but Loic’s responsible. Frederik said ‘naive’ re: Loic. That’s more like it.

    I don’t see anyone jumping up and down about Peres. So how does it become a hijacked event? We’re talking what – an hour? 2 hours out of a 2-day event?

    The politics may have been way off and totally inappropriate for that setting but the amount of over-reaction doesn’t make sense to me.

    The bottom line is that until Loic speaks – no-one really knows. I’m the dumb schmuk who, having been before, knowing a number of the players in there and having watched it unfold took a different view.

    If I had been there, I’d have groaned and got on with it.

    As an aside: What is it with Les blogs – last year the Ben & Mena show, this year the Loic & Nikki gig. If there is a next year I’m defo going. Full scale riots? I wanna blog that live!

    LOL -:)

  17. Dennis, you’re among the few who think of this conference in a positive light – but that’s hardly surprising because you weren’t there to witness things for yourself.

    Not only did the audience have to put up with French politicians, the panel participants had to reshuffle and merge with less than 10 minutes notice because of the severe disruption to cater the politics. They too were extremely unhappy.

    Personally, I’m delighted I attended the event, but only because I go to them to meet people in the corridor and to strengthen relationships with people I already know.

    Some of us had an issue with Loic as he didn’t seem to care about the Wi-Fi problems, laughing it off as something caused by gamers. So, it was actually a culmination of issues throughout the event that pissed almost everyone off.

  18. A Frenchman: Look at me I’m on stage, let me tell you, you were fantastique, did you know? I’m always invited to Davos and TED? I am France’s superblogger, you were superb, kiss my ass

    A Swede: I’m an entrepreneur in a smart suit and open collar shirt. Talk to me about distributed capitalism, tell me what you think of it

    An Englishman: It’s bullshit, that’s what it is. Capitalists don’t distribute capital.

    An American: I see a future in which resumes are held on the web and ratifed and rated by people who know you, so you can’t lie. It’s called Linkedin.com.

    An Israeli elder statesman: You know, to fight aids you have to purify the water.

    A right wing French interior minister: The internet must obey rules!

    I was there. Le Web 3.0 was a tragedy and a farce.

    I hated Le Meur (a preening fool) Peres (an apologist for violence masquerading as a wize old man of peace) Sarko (an uninvited guest with a big stick) the panels (devoid of intelligence or tension). I hated it because speakers with something to say were denied the time to say it, because speakers were chosen because of the company they represented and not for what they had to say. I hated the audience, myself included, who looked into their laptops instead of having the guts to stand up to make their feelings heard. Big up to the finger boys. I was there. It was dreadful. That was Le web last and no more six apart for me.

  19. Paul – you’re right. I’ll back right off.

    William – I subsequently heard from someone who witnesse Loic apologising but qualifying by saying if he had to do it all again he would he do the same. Foolish doesn’t even come close.

    If anyone is interested in lightening this thing up and reads French then there is a brilliant satirical view of Loic’s site called Loique Jemeur. This email spoof post is amusing. In the interests of good taste at Toms’ place I won’t give the translation but I suspect it captures the mood of many.

  20. Loic’s continued silence is an insult to all who attended and blogged about the event. As many have said, if he had posted a simple “We got it wrong on the politics, the wifi was rubbish and we treated the startups badly. We are sorry. p.s. We cannot believe this resulted in Sam being fired.” on his blog on Wednesday, this story would already be dead. Instead the Executive VP of a blog company goes to ground and hopes the story just goes away. The mind boggles but it is great news for Blogger, WordPress and blog.de.

    Great open letter from Mike Butcher over at his blog. Cuts through all the noise and gets to the heart of Sam’s firing.

  21. Hey Tom, I was there, and from my vantage of covering French politics as well as well as tech stories, I reckon the following happened: Loic was in touch with Sarko, who offered first Peres then himself for the conference. Loic, stuffing up big-time, thought it would be a good idea to invite Bayrou along to counter-balance Sarko. So we ended up with a boring navel-gazing Franco-French 2nd day. Hell, Loic admitted as much, saying Bayrou was invited at the last minute, but Sarko “insisted” on coming and had rearranged his schedule to do so.

    I took a little footage. It’s on my site.

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