This week the long-running French digital conference Le Web made its London Debut. We were there to soak up the atmosphere and report back on the biggest and most exciting news. Here are our top 10 highlights.
1. Faster than real time: this was the theme for the conference, and it manifested itself through the focus on how data from the web can be used to predict the future. Presentations from Greylock and Datasift in particular were fascinating insights into how brands can engage with digital discussions and plan strategically for the future.
2. Sentient world: Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang presented a vision of a world where every object communicates and gives off data, allowing consumers to live a Minority Report-style life (and allowing brands to innovate in new ways).
3. Global: The delegation at Le Web was really good global mix. If there was one place for you to meet the world’s top digital thinkers in the UK this year, this was it.
4. Local: attendees from some parts of the world, in particular Eastern Europe, said that they hope such conferences can start doing local tours. Hopefully this feedback gets through to Le Web and we can see many more local visits next year outside of Paris.
5. Stories, not sell: The presenters that went down well told stories. Those that tanked did the hard sell. A simple lesson in how to won over the audience in the room and online. One of our highlights was from Shakil Khan talking about his career and hopes for social network Path.
6. The social media backchannel: Radian6 produced a handy guide of how the conference was discussed on social media. Worth a look for those that didn’t catch any of the event as it happened.
7. Jamie Oliver <3 the internet: One of the star guests was Jamie Oliver, who talked about his digital passions, such as Instagram. He said digital has always been a big cost to his business, but also a big investment, and he experiments with social networks to build his connections and his brand globally.
8. Alexia Tsotsis does not <3 Klout: One of the talks that generated the most awkward reactions was the interview between TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis and Klout.
9. The media still like a good conference: It appeared that mainstream media turned out in force at Le Web, which is great to see. There is much talk about conferences losing their ability to attract a quality audience, but Le Web succeeded in bringing a great crowd together.
10. Loic for President?: There was a lot of love for the Frenchman Loic Le Meur, the organiser of Le Web. His charisma mixed with tech, startup, celebrity and political connections led a number of people to remark on his potential future in French politics. Now wouldn’t that be exciting.