Le Web ‘09

Have to admit, I’m kinda sad. Today and tomorrow the best web/tech conference in Europe is on in Paris… and for the first time in 4 years it’ll be without me. Since I had a good part in the sponsorship of the conference by Microsoft, the fact that I’m not even going this year makes the difference even bigger.

The first time I went to Le Web was in 2006. The conference just changed name from Les Blogs to Le Web 3 and MSN UK had been a sponsor for the first 2 edition of Les Blogs with Windows Live Spaces. With Le Web 3 we decided to sponsor from the EMEA budget and link it to Windows Live in general and not just Spaces… it wasn’t just about blogging anymore so that made sense. If you were there in 2006 you might remember that little piece of network cable in your welcome bag with which you could win a smartphone at our booth, it worked rather well I’ll tell ya :)

leweb3
© Peter Forret

That was where I met Hugh MacLeod for instance (where he did this interview), our paths would cross quite often again… especially in Paris.

In 2007 we were back, this time with shared sponsorship from the European and the French team of Microsoft. This was the year that Le Web became big, like really big. It was a always a good conference, but in 2007 it changed into big. Hans Rosling, Philippe Starck, Yossi Vardi, … just look at some of the videos I selected back then and see for yourself. Made a lot of good new contacts that year, unfortunately our presence (Microsoft’s I mean) wasn’t really good that year.

Last year Microsoft BizSpark took over the lead in the sponsorship, just like it’s the case this year. And I made sure we had the Blue Monster in Paris, with Hugh as our guest. Good fun, I’ll tell you that much.

hughinparis
© Dennis Howlett

Good thing about Le Web though is that the event is broadcasted Live, check out this page from tomorrow morning to follow the livestream from the main stage (via Ustream). Or check out the Le Web iPhone app.

And let’s hope I can make it back to Paris next year. Greetings to all my friends in Paris and good luck to Loic and Geraldine for what will be most certainly another great conference ;)

Hugh at LeWeb 08

As I mentioned about a week ago in the ‘Blue Monster in Paris’ post, Hugh MacLeod was a regular guest at the Microsoft BizSpark and Live Mesh booth at LeWeb in Paris this year. We had agreed with Hugh to try out something different than usual and everybody who stopped by while Hugh was there could get a personal Hughcard and maybe even something more… like say a signed Blue Monster wine bottle for instance.

"Amsterdam Blogs" by Hugh MacLeod @ Le Web 08  hermione

It was great to see a lot of people stopped by and had cartoons drawn on business cards, wine bottles, body parts, computers, etc. All good fun and a lot of times real conversation starters, just like we hoped it to be.

Those of you that were interested in the event will all probably have read what The Guardian had to say about it, well if you did then make sure you read Thomas Crampton’s answer to that as well. Every year when I look back at LeWeb it is with the eyes of both an attendee as a sponsor. Every year there are some things that could have been better (yes it was cold, yes I liked last year’s venue more, yes we were definitely spoilt re food last year, …) and there are always plenty of reasons why I will be back next year.

It’s still one of the best conferences for networking, there’s all kinds of great content to be discovered and you just know it’ll start a conversation just like the years before. When I checked with the program manager for BizSpark or the startups that were able to show off what they got as part of that program, feedback was very good. When I checked with the Live Mesh guys, feedback was good. And quite a few people went home with a personal cartoon… yeah it was good for me. Thanks again for joining us Hugh!

Blue Monster in Paris

Next week we’re heading to Paris again for what is probably one of the most exiting tech/web events in Europe: LeWeb. This year Microsoft is the main sponsor and so make sure you come and check us out. And while you’re at it, bring your business cards as Hugh Macleod will be a regular guest and he might just end up drawing a cartoon on the back of it ;)

blue-monster-spritzed-thumb

We’re also going to bring some Blue Monster Sauvignon Blanc with us but more on that later. For those that would like to get a chance to get one of those right now already, I’m actually going to give away 6 bottles right here, right now. (that is 1 bottle per winner to be clear). All you have to do is let me know in the comments why you should win it. By the start of LeWeb next week I will pick the winners (with the help of Hugh) out of the hopefully numerous comments ;) Make it original. Oh and just so you know, these bottles aren’t for sale.

Come and say hi if you’re going to be at LeWeb. Go here if you’re interested in finding out more about the Blue Monster.

A friend’s birthday

It seems to be quite appropriate that the 2nd anniversary of the Blue Monster coincides with Steve Clayton’s birthday as Steve has been crucial  in getting the Blue Monster where it is today. Hugh Macleod has a nice little write-up about the Blue Monster history, well worth reading. For me this story started at a similar time that I got to know both Hugh (we met for the first time at LeWeb 2 years ago) and Steve and that’s how I got affected by our little blue friend. It was good getting to know all three of them.

In his post Hugh refers to what David Armano had to say about the Blue Monster, something he wrote after he and I met at MIX08 in Vegas:

“What’s to be learned? Blue Monster shows us that no matter how big or small the company that the world is a bigger place. And external influences can become internal influences. And it teaches us that if we are interested in the evolution of corporate culture, that symbols are important. If we don’t find our own—someone will find them for us.”

bluemonster Even more, the Blue Monster became an example of how companies can embrace social media. It has become an example of how a company (or anybody for that matter) can benefit from letting go of control. Just read through Rohit Bhargava’s “Personality Not Included” for instance, or the more recent “Crowd Surfing” from David Brain.

Hell no, the Blue Monster is not dead – it’s alive and kicking, not only within the spirit of many Microsoft employees but also outsiders are starting to see change. And did you read Hugh’s 7th point? Well the Blue Monster is going to Paris… but more on that soon ;) For now, it’s just happy birthday.