LeWeb'13 George Colony, The Age of the Customer [en]

20-year business cycle.

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The power of the customer comes from:

– pricing
– shared critiques
– ability to buy anything, anytime, anywhere, from anyone.

1. Pricing.

More and more airline tickets are bought online, but less and less goes to the airlines.

2. Critiques.

Rising numbers of people influenced by ratings/reviews, friends and family, and online reviews.

3. Anywhere.

Buying outside of home country is on the increase.

Gen X, Gen Y. Less TV, more internet, less radio, video games way more, newspapers way less. Cue video of baby/toddler trying to use a magazine like an iPad.

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Mobile mindset: information available anywhere and all the time at your need. Mobile mind shift index 27.9 US average. iPhone 58%! Highest in Asia (China, Hong Kong, India…). UK/France/Germany lowest in Europe. Highest Turkey.

A couple of videos of people putting themselves in danger because they’re glued to their smartphone screens.

According to Forrester the web is becoming the AM radio of digital. Always there, low-cost, but not used.

George walks us through a Boston-Paris trip with the “Mobile Mind Shift”. His systems interface with the taxi driver’s, so he knows where he’s going. His mobile device asks him if he want to leave a tip, guides him through the airport, asks him if he wants a drink, orders his favourite drink… In Paris, doesn’t check into the hotel, gets into the elevator which knows which floor he’s going to, the device tells him which room to go to, and when he arrives in front of it the door automatically opens.

Requires an incredible ecosystem!

The trillion euro slide…

Insight from devices and sensors. Social stuff. Smart products everywhere. Systems of record transformed to be systems of engagement. Anticipatory. Public-as-a-service capabilities (GPS, PayPal…). => Context-rich mobile engagement, better customer experience.

If you can see yourself in this kind of stuff, you’re going to make a lot of money in the future.

In the future, all companies will be software companies. Your most important assets will be your software assets, because they will make the difference in retaining customers. The only way you’re going to win in the Age of the Customer.

Post on George’s blog.

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LeWeb'13: Aldebaran, Left-Brain Robots [en]

Robots to enhance our emotional life. Body language — humanoid robots. Aldebaran sold 4000 robots around the world, to research labs, universities, etc…

App store for robots. In 10 years time, will robots be teaching our kids? Personalized learning and education.

Bruno Maisonnier shares his vision of a world filled of robots 10 years from now. We are today with humanoid robots where we were at the end of the nineties with mobile phones.

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LeWeb'13, Aldebaran Robot 1

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LeWeb'13: Travis Kalanick and Snow in Paris in 2008 [en]

Note: discussion with Loïc, notes might be all over the place.

Unit of investment today… billions rather than millions… are we going back to the late nineties? Getting funding without revenue. What do you think?

It’s hard to get a cab here. Specially when it’s snowing. (Backstory: Travis couldn’t get a cab back in 2008 when Paris was snowed in => birth of Uber.)

LeWeb'13, Travis Kalanick

Numbers are good. People can see everything inside, transparent culture. Leaks question that, other companies can learn the lessons they’ve learned without going through learning them. Leaks give competitors a weapon and hurt Uber’s advantage.

Competition: China and North America.

steph-note: lots of number talk, not following well.

Taxis cost to exist. Scarcity.

Lifestyle: give it to me now. Ie, what we’re used to having on the internet. Uber for X => extending the concept. Right now Uber is delivering cars. Expanding to other cities.

Travis could wallpaper the walls with cease and desist letters. They even got one from New Orleans even though they’re not operating there, have no cars on the ground there. C&D letters just mean people don’t like you. They’re a nastygram. They have 3 attorney on staff at Uber. And law firms around the world that work with them.

Service in Paris is really good. It took time to get there.

Taxi organisations trying to get laws passed that outlaw competition. Basically, you have to wait 15 minutes.

Talking to the lawmakers? Waste of time. They make a service that people love. If they try to pass a law to stop it, the customers are going to speak up. Happened already.

Crazy laws. In South Korea, Uber is 100% legal. Except if the passenger is Korean. Travis was interrogated by the police 3.5 hours (police guy wanted a photo with him afterwards).

Disrupting a very old industry.

The customers slow down the political processes which are trying to outlaw Uber.

500 people in the company.

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LeWeb'13: Guy Kawasaki [en]

Note: this is a discussion with Loïc — I’m not that good at blogging discussions.

LeWeb'13, Guy Kawasaki

If you look at the past, you have to say it’s impossible to predict the future. Is MySpace the OS of the internet? Nah, not happened. Nobody really could have predicted the success of Facebook and Twitter. (Yay, Guy agrees with me. Or do I agree with him? I read The Black Swan too closely.)

BitCoin: getting away from Wall Street? Good thing. With a lot of these technologies, some is good, some is bad, but it’s still better than not having them at all.

“I don’t want any more friends.” — Not using social media to make connections, but as a marketing tool, a means to an end. steph-note: how I understand that! Guy is the person who will literally not say a word to you on a 10-hour flight if he doesn’t know you. (He says all this in a very nice way).

Guy is his brand. He loves Buffer, links everything.

steph-note: I’m seeing a difference in Guy and Loïc’s approach here. Seems that Loïc is more about the connecting than Guy who is more about content and results.

Guy’s model: earn the right to promote by providing great content. Like NPR. Other people than him do post to his account, but when he replies it’s always him. Most of his tweets go up 4 times 8 hours apart (not everyone is awake all the time, people don’t scroll back through all his tweets either).

“If you’re not pissing people off on social media, you’re probably not using it hard enough.”

“The most important thing an entrepreneur can do is make a prototype.” If you build a prototype and people like it, you may never have to create a pitch, make a forecast, a buiness plan, etc. Let’s face it, most pitches are BS. Most powerful thing you can show an investor is a prototype that is already being used.

Second piece of advice, for people outside the US: create something that is so great that the people in Silicon Valley want to copy.

“You’re so French, you just took that completely wrong!”

Third piece of advice: never ask anybody to do something you wouldn’t do (employees, customers, vendors…). steph-note: yay.

other steph-note: Guy is kinda cheeky.

Advice for finding ideas? Ideas ripped off from Sequoia Capital guy: richest vein = two guys/gals in a garage building a product they want to use. That’s very different from listening to 50+ white men in a conference telling you stuff. Create the product you want to use and hope like hell you’re not the only two people in the world who want to use it.

Guy advises more than he invests. Believes investing is more of a local phenomenon.

Intellectual property? Valuable for you if a very large company wants to buy you for your intellectual property. But otherwise… Building a model on patents is laughable. If you want to impress investors: “we have a patent pending but we don’t believe it’s a key part of our defensibility; … [insert other things that make you solid here]”. You won’t get funded with a business model which is we’re going to create technology, patent it, get copied by a large company and sue them.

Guy likes to lose money (=invest) in things he understands and uses. (Evernote, Buffer…)

Can you always identify a need for a tech startup? The answer is no. Often the need appears afterwards. Apple got that really well. Key part of entrepreneurship.

Sure, there is a demonstrated need for better batteries, and 500 companies are certainly working on it now. Not really interesting for Guy to invest or get involved in. Wants to fall in love with the thing — Google Plus. He didn’t need it but fell in love with it. Loïc: “That doesn’t make any sense, Guy ;-)”

Question to Guy: if a prospective investor asks a startup to move where the fund is, what would you do? Answer: he’d look for another investor. If you are from SF and you fall in love here in Paris, you’re not going to say “I’ll continue our relationship if you move to where I am”. Maybe a middle ground? Keep the programmers in Paris and headquarters on the West coast?

Another question on investing abroad (South Africa). Guy’s saying yes, lost opportunities. Issues: distance, doesn’t know how the country laws work, can you give options, IPO, etc. Adding speed bumps to the deal. Entrepreneur needs to make it easier for the entrepreneur to write the check. But yes, lost opportunities. The next Google could be brewing in South Africa and the American investor won’t see it.

All hail Halley Suitt Tucker, the mother of APE! (Grab a card that Guy has brought, you’ll get the book for free.)

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LeWeb'13: Fred Wilson [en]

Three macro-trends (from a behavioural point of view: not big data or mobile, but what are people doing?)

First, the transition from bureaucratic hierarchies to collaborative networks, what Here Comes Everybody talks about — technology lowers the transaction costs for collaborative action.

LeWeb'13, Fred Wilson

For example, a network like Twitter is starting to replace the newspaper (a bureaucratic hierarchy ;-)). YouTube is making everyone a video creator, good stuff surfaces, etc. Soundcloud is another one of these. Anybody creates audio or music, you don’t need a record label, don’t need to get signed, you get found by the crowd and become popular.

This trend was first visible in the entertainment industry, it’s now moving to the hotel industry (AirBnB), funding (Kickstarter), learning.

Second trend: unbundling. Has to do with how services are packaged and taken to market. Packaging and taking to market is much more efficient now, so you can buy bits and pieces now when before you needed to get the whole big thing. Newspaper vs getting your news/info from the internet. People focus on being the best at sports, or at classified, rather than doing everything.

Example: banking. Expensive to open a branch, fill it with people to serve customers. So banks did everything: mortgage, savings… So now we have things like Lending Club, Funding Circle — very specialised. Another industry that’s being unbundled is education. It was expensive to put a bunch of students in a room and have a professor stand before them in a building. Not necessary anymore, for example, Fred’s talk right now is being live streamed and probably watched by more people online than in this room. And research! Science Exchange uses a network-based model to allow researches all over the world to collaborate by using each other’s equipment for example. Entertainment is the obvious one. You used to pay your cable bill and get everything in there. Now: Netflix, Hulu, Spotify — we mix and match how we like, on our phone, the big screen, where we want it.

The third big trend is that we’re all nodes on the network because of our phones/computers. If you could keep either your smartphone or your computer, what would you keep? Most people would keep their phone. (I’d still keep my computer, I rely on it too much to type.)

Examples: Uber… impacting the taxi, rental car, and delivery businesses. Changing the world we live in! Square etc for payment: wallet on your phone. Dating: Tinder.

Summary: networks and hierarchies, everything is going to be unbundled, you are a node on the network.

Four sectors to look at.

1. Money.

Because of BitCoin, not because of BitCoin the hype thing, but because it’s a protocol. Money is going to flow on the internet the same way as content flows on the internet. It will not be controlled by any company, be it PayPal, Visa or Mastercard.

2. Health and wellness.

Not healthcare. What keeps you out of the healthcare system. Wearing devices that can report to us and others our vital signs. Fitbit, Jawbone UP and other Pebbles.

3. Data leakage

When the industrial revolution came along, we polluted a lot but waited a long time to start cleaning up. With the information age, our pollution is data leakage, organisations spying on us, etc.

4. Trust and identity.

We’ve allowed Google etc. to be our identity. But we’re giving them access to everything we do. At some point a protocol will emerge to allow us to do the same thing without the drawbacks.

Interesting: fertility app which will pay for IVF if you can’t get pregnant after a year using the app.

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LeWeb'13: The Future is Usually the Present [en]

[fr] Quand on parle du futur, on parle en fait uniquement du présent. Toutes ces technologies existent déjà! Ce qui n'ôte rien au fait que c'est super intéressant 🙂

The theme of LeWeb this year is “The Next 10 Years”. I have to admit I’m always a bit skeptical about all this “future” talk. We always end up talking about the present, when we talk about the future. All this exciting technology is already here, but not evenly distributed, as William Gibson might say. Your future is my present. My future is already somebody else’s present. See what I mean?

That being said, all the stuff that Loïc is talking about on stage right now (intelligent homes, robots, 3D-printed houses, the quantified self, drones, fun new apps…) is very much in my current zone of interest. I’m a geek who loves new toys, even though you wouldn’t guess that if you want through my stuff at home. It’s one of the things that drew me to the web at the end of the 90s: extraordinary exciting things were happening there, and only a comparatively small number of people knew that and were a part of it. I jumped in.

I’ve probably mentioned a few times recently that I feel like I lost a part of myself along the way these last years. I haven’t been feeding my inner geek. I’m hoping to be inspired these next three days.

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I'm at LeWeb'13 [en]

[fr] Articles en direct de la conférence-festival Le Web (je peux pas appeler ça un "salon" comme les français).

There we are. I feel strangely relaxed compared to the last five years or so. Nothing to worry about but myself and my blog!

Ricardo took a bunch of us official bloggers around the venue yesterday evening. I was happy to see everyone I knew, and even managed to recognise Frédéric Pereira (quite a feat given how bad I am with faces). Arne and Fred were there of course, my old friends Erno, Myriam, Adam, and the incredible Halley, who danced for everybody in the party bus that drove us around Paris afterwards.

I loved the idea of a party bus — for people who like partying. Not my case unfortunately, and I have a really hard time with loud environments, like most people with hearing loss. I guess my cup of tea would be a “tea bar bus” with soft music I can’t hear, comfy sofas, tea and cake. But I’m aware I’m a special snowflake in that respect and I wouldn’t want to impose my quirks on everybody else.

You want photos?

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Fred Pereira in action

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Checking out the venue before it’s ready!

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What’s this car?

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A peek inside

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Desks for bloggers, and other typing people, on the side of the stage this year (we’ll see how that goes!)

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The stage, with the expected 3D printer

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Charbax checking out the gear in the Blogger Lounge

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A better view of the Blogger Lounge

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Halley, feeling camera shy

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I approve of the colour scheme

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The aforementioned gear

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The Googley place in the other building

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And the party bus!

And now it’s starting! Note the TV-like stage, at the same height as the public. Barriers breaking down! (Ooh, exciting: meditation session in the plenary room. Interested to see what that will be like.)

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I'll Be Attending LeWeb'13 in Paris in a Few Weeks [en]

[fr] Dans quelques semaines, je serai à la conférence LeWeb à Paris, cette fois en tant que "simple" blogueuse officielle!

For the first time in many years, I’ll be in Paris in December for LeWeb as a “simple” Official Blogger. After five years of setting up and managing the Official Blogger Programme, first alone, then with Fred and Arne (and always with Géraldine!), I’m really looking forward spending a few “relaxed” days at LeWeb.

Yes, I actually used the word “relaxed” in the same sentence as “LeWeb”. Given how huge and fast-paced the mega-conference-festival is, it’s surprising, but I can tell you that “not being in charge of anything” makes it feel like a picnic.

Lift and LeWeb are the two conferences I have attended consistently since 2006, the year I quit my job as a teacher and became a full-time “social web” freelancer.

So, what’s in store? The theme this year is forward-looking, and in addition to attending the sessions (some of the speakers blew me away last year), I will be catching up with old friends (if I can catch them) and hanging out in the startup/demo areas on the lookout for cool tech.

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Lift13, From Fiction to Design: Anthony Dunne [en]

Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “From Fiction to Design, from Design to Fiction”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Anthony Dunne

The United Micro Kingdoms: a Fiction.

Example: future of money project for Intel. EPSRC/NESTA.

Totally improbable projects: orientable roof-top landing strip for airport, on the skyscrapers. Huge huge plane with 6 stories, planetary resources scheme for asteroid mining…

Realism > idealism. Don’t design for how things are now.

Re-drawing European borders according to energy sources rather than countries.

Luigi Seraphini: Codex Seraphinianus.

Back to reality: Solutions series of books by Sternberg Press. Imaginary countries.

Alternative for the UK: United Micro Kingdoms.

Digitarians: embrace digital technology, dystopian. Self-driving cars. Rooms that carry people around.

*steph-note: lost*

Automating the road system for maximum economic benefit.

Communo-nuclearists. Use nuclear power, unpopular with other groups. Bits of landscape on wheels that transport people => train, 7km long. Plots with houses etc.

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Lift13, Reinventing the Crafts: Oliver Reichenstein [en]

Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “Reinventing the Crafts: the Future of Job Traditions”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Oliver Reichenstein: craftsmanship and mastery in the digital age

Define craftsman. Wise in their craft. Someone who knows what he’s doing.

Digital? Pixels, computer or iPhone involved… Digital initially actually does not mean binary/electronic. Most-used digital technology is the alphabet. Discrete values. Not every letter represents a precise sound.

Old masters: spent many many years with their master/student. Years of being together, seeing each other face to face… Good chemistry. Empathy. Thinking together.

Masters of the Enlightenment: most knew each other only through letters, never met. God knows what would have happened if they had had a chance to talk to each other.

Designer: bring your mind into the world. Designers are creators of things. Designers are measured by what they do. (In numbers, when it comes to the web.)

Switzerland: funny system where not everyone goes to university. Good system! (apprenticeships) In Japan it’s different, very strict university system. Japanese love being different from the rest of the world (the rest of the world now believes it). Interesting to listen to the Japanese trying to define how they are so special. Often, the more different people think they are, the more similar they are. Craftsman learns by doing, not by thinking.

Mastery: like climbing a mountain. Just think about the next step, don’t stress about how far the top is.

Craftsman knows what he does, master can explain it. To become a master, you need to meet your master. Reason to go to conferences, office. Need to meet people in person to make progress. You can’t replace a master with text or a video chat.

*steph-note: can’t say I really agree with this last bit.*

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