About a Date [en]

[fr] La journée de conférences Going Solo aura lieu le 16 mai et non le 9. Mes excuses à ceux auprès de qui j'avais confirmé la première date.

Oh. Sorry to disappoint you — not *that* kind of date. Yeah, just a calendar one. Before Christmas and end-of-year festivities interrupted my [blogging about Going Solo](/tags/going-solo/), I wrote about [the headache involved in picking a date for an event](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/16/headache-picking-a-date-for-an-event/).

Over the last few days quite a few people have been asking me if the date I announced (May 9th) was “final”. My answer was: as final as it gets at this stage.

I met yesterday with my sales partner, and amongst other things, we double-checked the date. Two problems popped up: the first — and not the least — was that she would be in Africa on a business trip at that date. Oops. The second is that there are quite a few bank holidays around the 9th. The French are off on the 8th (victory WWII I think), and Monday is a bank holiday in Switzerland as well as France. Not mentioning that the previous week-end is a four-day week-end.

So, we looked at other dates. 16th May was good (there is even a possibly exciting collision with a music festival here in Lausanne in the evening — I’ll tell you more when I can) except for the fact that the [Next08](http://www.next-conference.com/next08/) conference is the day before in Hamburg. Well, the public isn’t exactly the same… so it’s not such a huge deal. My apologies, however, to the conference geeks out there who would like to make both of the events and who will end up having to squeeze travel in between.

So, please pull out your calendars, and scratch out 9th May (you’d written it down, hadn’t you?) and replace it with May 16th, the next Friday.

More news? Coming. I’ve been wanting to blog about the content I’m planning for Going Solo for quite some time now (always “tomorrow” — bad, I know) but “other stuff” seems to have developed a habit of getting in the way. No more of that, I promise. You can expect regular “Going Solo” news from now on — shortly on a dedicated blog which will be ready for public consumption as soon as I’ve imported all these posts and added a little content.

Aside from that, I met with a designer this afternoon to talk about visuals (a huge scary and opaque domain for me, I want to blog more about that) and we’re narrowing down on a venue.

Should I also give you some Going Solo updates via Seesmic, I’m wondering?

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Websites and Blogs, Where Does One Start? [en]

[fr] Petite prise de tête (j'aime bien ça!) au sujet du site pour Going Solo et l'entreprise (pas encore existante légalement) qui est derrière. Quel nom de domaine utiliser? (J'en ai enregistré toute une série autour de cette idée de conférences, ça m'a d'ailleurs coûté un saladier.) Il va me falloir une identité visuelle. Que bloguer où? Créer déjà un site pour l'entreprise? Bienvenue dans les méandres de mes questionnements.

Along the lines of [rediscovering some aspects of blogging](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/feeling-like-a-born-again-blogger/), I’m rediscovering some tricky online presence questions which I’m more used to hearing in the mouths of my clients than in my head.

Questions like: do I create a separate blog for my company? for my event? how? when? who will blog on them? what will we blog on them?

To be honest, those questions aren’t actually all that tricky. For example, of course I’m going to create a site-blog (website with a blog) for [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/). Is it too early to create a site for the company, though? I’ve got a good mind for the moment to [hold off incorporating](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/advisors-boards-companies-partners-oh-my/) it until the first event is done. I mean, not to be pessimistic, but if Going Solo doesn’t work out as well as I hope, and I decide to leave the event business at that, it will have saved me the trouble and grief of setting up the company “for nothing”, right? Other opinions on the topic?

A few weeks ago, I booked a pile of domain names (my poor credit card can testify). For the company, for Going Solo, for other events I already have in mind. I got .nets, .coms, .orgs, and even .co.uks. You don’t want a porn site as a neighbour, right? And if you’re going to build a name or a brand, who knows what you might want to do with the other TLDs 3 years from now? Better have them handy. Well, this isn’t really the topic of this post, but gosh, does it add up to a pile of money.

Of course, to make things easy, one of the .coms I didn’t manage to get is going-solo.com (it’s an insulin pump, so not much to do with what I’m plotting). Which leaves me with a choice of .co.uk, .ch, .net, .org. I’d say .org is out, as this is a commercial venture. As the event is going to [take place in Switzerland](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/16/picking-a-city-for-an-event-lausanne/), .ch would make sense, but then what happens when we reproduce the event in other countries? (I’ve actually already been talking about that with a few people — and can you imagine: the first event hasn’t even happened yet that they are already showing interest…)

Leaves us with .net and .co.uk, the latter making sense if the mother company is indeed incorporated in the UK as I plan, but as it hasn’t actually happened yet, it could change. So, I guess for the moment I’d go with going-solo.net and set up a blog there, to start with.

I don’t have any visual identity yet so that means it would be pretty bland at first. (This is where I really regret not being a bit of a designer myself.) I’m half-tempted to try and recruit [Bread and Butter](http://www.bread-and-butter.ch/) (look at the [beautiful art they did for Adsclick](http://www.bread-and-butter.ch/portfolio.php?tags=adsclick)), but they’re already doing LIFT (maybe a bit of a conflict) and as they’re already nicely established, I’m a bit afraid about the price tag. My more realistic idea is to try to find a small design shop in Lausanne which could use the visibility (local and international) Going Solo will bring them, or see if anything could be set up involving [students from the ECAL](http://www.ecal.ch/).

As for the company, should I set up a website already, even if it doesn’t “legally” exist? (God, I wish I were a lawyer and understood all this stuff.) I’ll need a visual identity (at least a logo) and some content. I guess there will be a lot of cross-posting between the Going Solo blog and this one, at least at the start.

Also, languages! Oh my! Actually, no. Going Solo will be held in English, therefore the site will be in English. I’ll provide some French content for local sponsors to dig through, but I’m not going to do the whole [multilingual space](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/multilingual/) thing yet for it. Could be an idea in the long run, though… hmm.

Well, thanks for following my thought process. I’ll be setting up going-solo.net soon and cross-posting relevant content there so that we can all start linking to it! 🙂

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Advisors, Boards, Companies, Partners, Oh My! [en]

Welcome to the area where I feel I’m swimming rather than standing on firm ground. Thankfully, I have advisors for this, but I’m still the person who needs to make the decisions. Let’s dive into the swimming-pool: it’s called [Starting a Company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/), in the city of Oh-My-God-Is-It-Really-A-Good-Idea-To-Blog-All-This.

I have one event underway, [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/). If all goes well (and I intend it to) this will be the first of many — whether they cater to the same audience or not is still something I’m thinking about. So, I want to create a company which will be behind these events. Good for branding, allows me to bring in partners, pay myself a salary, etc. (Actually, I realise now that I’m not 100% sure why it’s a good idea to create a company — I’m sure it is, but I have trouble explaining it. Enlightened comments welcome.)

This company has a board of advisors. I haven’t drawn up any contracts or anything yet, but we have verbal agreements. I do want to get things down on paper, though. In French, we say *les bons comptes font les bons amis*, meaning that keeping money/business issues clear and clean preserves friendship (or makes it, depending how you understand it).

I need to incorporate the company, too. I live in Switzerland, I’m a British-Swiss dual citizen. In Switzerland, to have an “SA” company (the equivalent of an Ltd.) you need to show up with 100K CHF on the table. Even an SàRL requires 20K. From what I hear, it costs virtually nothing to set up a company in the UK. My focus is events on the European market, so basically, I see no real reason for the company to be Swiss. I’m no specialist of these kinds of decisions, though, so I’m basically listening to what people tell me and reading up here and there.

It seems to me that the simplest thing to do is to set up the company in the UK. I could have a subsidiary (? = succursale) in Switzerland, but again, I don’t understand how this makes things easier. (This isn’t making me look good, is it?)

I’m also not sure what happens with my “independant” status in Switzerland. I’m not going to stop being “independant” because I set up the company (ie, not looking at becoming a full-time employee of my company yet), so is there a way I can preserve this — it’s particularly important from a tax point of view, for example.

Then, advisors. I want the advisors to the company to have a (small) financial stake in it (I think that’s rather common), so I need to write up agreements for that. Do I need a lawyer (eeek)? Can I just do it myself? How do I know what to write in it? I’m a bit uncomfortable about saying who the advisors are publicly before the formalities are done — am I worrying for nothing?

Which also brings up another issue: many people around me are being very helpful by providing their advice and support. But if I bring them all onto the advisory board, as I’d be tempted to do, that means I’m going to have a (possibly) important amount of very little shareholders, which can create trouble if I want to bring partners into the company, or investors, or sell (they have to approve, don’t they?) So, can I have two kinds of advisors — advisors with a financial stake in the company, and others without?

Those of you out there who own companies with advisory boards or who are on advisory boards — would you mind telling us a bit more about how this works? And this is Europe, not the US (in case it changes anything — I suspect it does). Also, should I set up the company now, or wait until the first event is done?

Same kind of questions about partners. At the moment, there will be three of us doing the bulk of the organisation of Going Solo. We’ll be subcontracting other companies or individuals for some pieces of work, of course (any tips about where to go shopping for Wifi That Stays Up, by the way?) So, as far as Going Solo is concerned, we can draft out an agreement between the three of use to determine how much and how we get paid for our work, and what happens with any extra money we might have (ok, might be dreaming here). If this first event goes well, and we’re happy working together, it could make sense to have them enter the company, wouldn’t it? (This is where the when-how-howmuch stuff comes in, but I’m aware we’re not there yet.)

So, maybe my question is this: what are usual models for paying people who organise events? From what I’ve heard, bringing in sponsorships should earn you a cut of what you brought in, though it gets complicated when the sponsorship in question is not just cash, but covering the expenses for certain parts of the conference, or bringing in goods/services. It also gets complicated if the event doesn’t make as much money as planned, or makes a loss — should the person in charge of the sponsorships be paid while others are not? So many questions.

Also — trademarks? Do I need to trademark anything?

Any pointers, advice, or opinions that can help me see clearer here will be most welcome.

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Headache: Picking a Date for an Event [en]

[fr] Une journée de conférences nécessite un lieu et une date. Le lieu étant fixé, la date a été source de quelques maux de tête -- en particulier pour choisir le jour de la semaine.

Je me suis arrêtée sur vendredi, qui est un jour léger côté business, en général, et qui permet aux personnes faisant le déplacement de rester à Lausanne pour le week-end, rentabilisant ainsi le voyage. Je trouverais également bien que l'on organise un barcamp à cette occasion.

Concrètement, je pense au 9 mai. Voyez-vous des conflits? Y a-t-il des choses prévues à Lausanne à cette date, déjà? 1000 paires d'yeux valent mieux qu'une. Je compte sur vous pour me dire si j'ai raté quelque chose.

When you [organise an event](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/), not only do you need a [location](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/16/picking-a-city-for-an-event-lausanne/), you also need a date. You know, things happen at the intersection of time and space.

A rough glance at the calendar made me choose early May, as it’s far away enough to give us time to put things together (some people have gasped at how short it was, but I’m sure we can pull it off), and it’s also kind of empty on the conference front. I’ve asked around and gone through upcoming, and that time of the year seems pretty conflict-free.

Then, the trouble starts. We decided to go for a one-day event to start with. This means that we expect people to fly in for **a day**, which… well, might seem “not worth it” to some.

My initial idea (which, after much detours, I’ve come back to) was to hold the event on a Friday, so that people could stay an extra day or two during the week-end to make the trip worth it. I even thought about motivating the local [barcamp community](http://barcamp.org/) of the city we’d be holding the event in to place a barcamp on that week-end.

Then, the headache started. Maybe Friday wasn’t such a good day after all, because with a week of work behind them and stuff creeping up to be dealt with before the week-end, we would suffer lots of defections. So, how about Monday? Well, Monday is usually a heavy business day, and people are all sluggish from the week-end, so they might drop out too. So I sent out a quick poll on Twitter, asking people what seemed the best day to organise an event for freelancers.

Needless to say roughly each day of the week and week-end was suggested, along with very good reasons for or against each one.

In the end, I listened to the voice of reason, impersonated by [Suw](http://chocolateandvodka.com/), telling me there was no perfect day and that the most important thing was to put on a great event, with valuable content that would make it worth the trip for people to come, and that this would be the deciding factor for people rather than the place and day of the week.

In addition to that, I got feedback from a couple of tech event organisers who said that Friday could be quite good for one-day events. So, Friday it will be.

Let’s get practical: I’m looking at Friday May 9th, but before I set it in stone and we book a venue for that date, I’d like to know if you see any conflicts (1000 pairs of eyes are better than one). Is there anything with that date I haven’t thought of?

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Picking a City for an Event: Lausanne [en]

[fr] La journée de conférences Going Solo que je mets sur pied pour mai avec deux autres Lausannoises aura lieu à... Lausanne. Si Lausanne était mon premier choix (j'aime ma ville) je craignais que cela soit un choix plus émotionnel que raisonné. S'adressant à un public européen, nous avons donc pensé à Paris, Berlin, Londres... Mais finalement, ce sera Lausanne. L'argumentaire, en bref:

  • Facile d'accès: on sort de l'avion à Genève, on saute dans le train (200m de la douane) et 30-40 minutes plus tard, on est à Lausanne.
  • Organisation plus aisée: nous sommes les trois de Lausanne, donc on évite tous les problèmes liés à l'organisation d'un événement à distance. En plus, on connaît les entreprises locales, ce qui peut ouvrir des opportunités de sponsoring. Je compte aussi approcher la ville pour leur proposer de soutenir ce projet.
  • Lausanne est un cadre magnifique, la région autour aussi. Si on se déplace pour une journée de conférences et qu'on veut en profiter pour se relaxer durant le week-end, c'est le lieu idéal.
  • Plus abordable que Paris, Londres, ou même Genève.
  • Ville à taille humaine, bons transports publics. On ne passe pas 1h à se rendre à un autre endroit de la ville.
  • Changement bienvenu des "villes de conférences 2.0" habituelles!

A bientôt à Lausanne, donc!

When you decide to organise an event, other than having a good idea for the content/audience (ie, “what’s it about? what kind of event?”), two things you need to figure out quite quickly are *when* and *where* it’ll happen. This post is about the “where?” question.

My initial reaction when I took the decision to go ahead with [this wacky “organising events” idea](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/16/why-events/) was somewhere along the line of “great! I’ll do it in [Lausanne](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/collections/72157600210597000/)!”. A bit of a selfish reaction, as it makes things easier for me, and I really love Lausanne.

Next, I started thinking. Who is this event going to be for? Where is the highest number of people likely to come for my event? Maybe Lausanne is my favourite personal choice, but it doesn’t necessarily make business sense. From the start, I’ve thought of my event as **European**, with the idea to attract people from all over the continent. So of course, I expect attendees to travel — but there is always a high local population at events, as the absence of travel lowers the barrier to entry (cost, travel time, stress).

Well, quite possibly, the answer to that question (where is the highest concentration of freelancers in the tech industry in Europe?) would be “London”. On the other hand, London is horrendously expensive (isn’t it?), so, why not something nearby, like… Brighton? Cheaper, but still rather easy to get to.

At that point, I decided we needed a choice of cities, and we should check them out for venue options and hotel pricing, to see if anything stood out. Obviously, we’d need to pick cities which are easy to get to from other places in Europe. So, for starters… let’s look at London/Brighton, Paris, and Berlin. Paris is very close to London with the Eurostar, and Berlin (Germany) is cheaper than both London and Paris, but it’s still an Easyjet city. Because, if you’re in Europe, chances are you’re going to be flying Easyjet or some other low-cost airline. (I should think about asking them to sponsor the event, actually…)

So, armed with those three options (London, Paris, Berlin), I set off to [Le Web 3](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/12/news-from-leweb3/) to start talking with possible sponsors, and also to bounce ideas off my friends and peers. To my surprise, quite a few people said “but why don’t you do it in Lausanne?” when I mentioned the location wasn’t set yet. So, I started thinking. Because even if Lausanne is a personal, almost emotional choice for me, it doesn’t mean it cannot also be a good business decision.

Let’s look at Lausanne as a possible city to host my event, with a cool business mind:

– First and foremost, it’s actually **really easy to access**: get off your plane in Geneva airport, walk 200m from customs, hop on the train (yes, the train station is *inside* the airport), and 30-40 minutes later you’re in central Lausanne. (You’re in for at least the same kind of ride to get to central London from LGW or LHR, or central Paris from CDG.) Geneva airport is an international airport which is easily reached from all over Europe, [with Easyjet for example](http://www.easyjet.com/EN/routemap/). However, it’s way less busy than CDG, LHR, LGW, which makes the arrival/departure experience much more pleasant.
– **I live in Lausanne**, and so do my two main partners-in-crime: holding the event in Lausanne will make organisation much smoother for us, and allow us to ensure we don’t bump into any issues with the venue due to managing things remotely. Not to mention opportunities for sponsorships by local businesses — being locals, we know who they are and have existing connections we can use. There are also many important companies settled in the Lausanne area, like Nestle, Philip Morris, or Orange Switzerland. *And* it’s the Olympic Capital. (OK, drifting off-topic here…)
– [Lausanne](http://www.lausanne.ch/) is **a beautiful city**, in the midst of a beautiful region: it’s on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), but as opposed to Geneva which is at the end of the lake, Lausanne is in the middle. The view over the lake and mountains is just breath-taking. If you’re coming for a one-day conference and plan to spend a nice week-end somewhere while you’re at it, Lausanne is ideal. The city is lovely and walkable, France is 20 minutes away by boat (just across the lake), and the surrounding countryside and lakeshore is also worth a visit (for example, [Le Lavaux](http://wikitravel.org/en/Lavaux), Unesco world heritage site, is just to the east of Lausanne). I’ll be digging out photos to convince you to come if you’re not sold yet ;-).
– Even though Switzerland is a rather expensive country (by European standards), holding an event in Lausanne is going to be **more affordable** than London, Paris, or Geneva.
– Lausanne is a **human-sized city**: it’s the [fifth most important city in Switzerland](http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villes_de_Suisse) with 120’000 inhabitants in the city itself. It has everything one needs, but it’s not so large that you can get very lost in it or spend insane amounts of time commuting from one part of the city to the other. Public transport is very efficient.
– Finally, Lausanne will be **a welcome change** for all of us on the “2.0 conference circuit”, as it’s not one of the usual “conference cities”, and probably a city you haven’t visited before much (which is a pity! you should!).

Check out:

– [Official Lausanne website](http://www.lausanne.ch/)
– [Official Lausanne tourism website](http://www.lausanne-tourisme.ch/)
– [Lausanne on WikiTravel](http://wikitravel.org/en/Lausanne)
– [Lausanne on Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lausanne)
– [Lausanne Flickr Pool (photographs)](http://www.flickr.com/groups/lausanne/)

So, here we go. [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/) will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland — I’m looking forward to welcoming you all here in a few months.

Now tell me — did I do a good job of selling you Lausanne as a conference-city? 🙂

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Why Events? [en]

[fr] J'explique dans ce billet pourquoi je me lance dans l'organisation de conférences-événements. (Le français c'est ambigu: une conférence ça peut être un blabla par une personne, ou bien une journée entière avec plusieurs intervenants. Je parle de ce dernier cas de figure. Faites signe si vous avez un meilleur mot.)

J'ai perdu le compte des conférences auxquelles je suis allée assister au cours des derniers 18 mois. Au point que j'en ai un peu marre, j'avoue. Les organisateurs de conférence commencent à avoir l'habitude de lire mes critiques au sujet de leurs événements, donc je sais qu'on va m'attendre au contour.

Donc, je commence à voir un peu de quoi c'est fait, ces fichues conférences. C'est l'occasion de me lancer dans un projet un peu plus à long terme que ce que je fais d'habitude, de m'entourer de personnes compétentes (parce que finalement, je me rends compte que j'en connais une pile), et d'utiliser ma connaissance du milieu web/tech pour monter un programme qui non seulement tienne debout, mais danse la valse.

Donc, voilà. Comme je l'ai déjà dit, cela ne veut pas dire que je mets un frein à mes activités de consultante ou de conférencière (j'ai d'ailleurs des idées à ce sujet que je vais développer dans un prochain billet).

The idea of [starting a company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/) and organising conferences like [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/) is the result of a conversation I had a bit over a month ago, just before Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin.

Even though it sounded like a wacky idea to me at first, organising events now really seems like the “right thing to do” today. I’ve been to more conferences during the last 18 months than I can remember, so I’m starting to get a good sense of the ingredients. I have a good network. I have a “generalist’s” view of the web/tech world. I’m also a detail-oriented person. It’s also time I became more active in my professional life (ie, “taking things into my own hands”), and I like the idea of building something over the long term (well, long term by my standards).

If you’re a reader of this blog, you know I’ve become a bit [conference-weary](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/06/too-many-people/) lately. I’m also known (to conference organisers, at least) for my sometimes nasty (but heart-felt!) feedback on their events. So, rather than continue complaining, I’m going to organise **conferences I’d like to attend**. I’m perfectly aware that given my track-record for finding fault with conference organisation, you’re all going to be waiting for me when I do mine. So be it ;-).

I believe it isn’t possible to please everybody: my intention isn’t therefore to organise the “perfect event”, as I know that it doesn’t exist. However, I’m strongly committed to getting **all** the basic stuff right, and to providing something slightly different from what already exists. More will unfold about that over the next weeks.

I’d like to state again that **I am continuing with my speaking and consulting business** (I actually even have plans for it in the near future, particularly in Lausanne). I know organising a conference is a lot of work (and luckily I’m not alone for that, I have two great partners and a bunch of very precious advisors), but that doesn’t mean I’m dropping everything else while I organise it.

*Going Solo* will be my first event, but I already have ideas for events to follow on other topics. The responses so far to my desire to organise an event for freelancers and very small businesses as been very encouraging, and has caused me to start thinking about what else I could set up for this audience/public (which I’m part of).

So, please, keep the feedback coming — I’m off to start writing my next post. (Feeling like a serial blogger just now.)

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Announcing Going Solo [en]

[fr] J'ai annoncé il y a quelques semaines que j'avais des projets de création d'entreprise: c'est en route, et nous préparons pour début mai une conférence-événement (une journée de conférences) à l'attention des indépendants du web. En dehors de savoir faire des trucs cools, être indépendant (ou une TPE) pose un tas de problèmes "accessoires": comment fixer les tarifs? approcher les clients, ou mieux, les aider à nous trouver? s'en sortir avec l'administratif? trouver un équilibre de vie entre travail et loisirs, surtout si l'on a fait de sa passion son métier?

Après avoir pensé à Berlin, Paris, et Londres -- nous visons un public européen -- nous avons finalement opté pour Lausanne. A deux pas de l'aéroport de Genève, très joli cadre, et aussi, pratique pour les organisatrices principales, toutes lausannoises.

Je vous parlerai de tout ceci plus longuement dans les jours à venir!

So, here we go. [As I mentioned in my last post](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/12/news-from-leweb3/), things are shaping up enough for me to start talking about them, even though a lot is still “floating”.

I’m taking the plunge into the event business. The first one I’m organising is *Going Solo*, a one-day conference in the beautiful and easily accessible city of Lausanne in Switzerland, which also happens to be my home town. It will take place early May.

**Going Solo will fill a gap in the current conference offerings: it’s an event for freelancers of the web industry** (soloists, hence the name) and very small businesses — from all over Europe.

Being a freelancer myself, I’ve come to realise quite a while ago that there is more to freelancing than “knowing cool stuff” and having people around willing to pay for it. How do you fix your prices? Close deals? Find clients, or better, help them find you? Collaborate with others, whether soloists themselves, or employees in a huge company? Deal with taxes, contracts, accounting, and all the rest of the boring administrative stuff? Achieve that delicate “work/life balance”, when you’re one of the lucky ones who turned a passion into a job?

Going Solo will address all these issues (and others), providing those attending with valuable insights and tools which will help them become better at what they are doing in the business world. (Sounds almost like a press release, doesn’t it? I’m practising for the sponsor offerings… shhh.)

In simple words: this is the kind of event I would have wanted to attend two years ago when I was struggling with the idea of becoming freelance. It’s the kind of event I would have liked to attend a year ago when things took off and I started realising how complicated all this “business” stuff was. And it’s also the kind of event I want to attend today, having faced the ups and downs of freelancing in the fast-moving world of new media, in the early stages of starting a company, and wondering what “holidays” means now that my everyday life is split between “hang out online”, “travel to foreign cities”, and “talk about exciting stuff with people”.


I’ll follow up later with a little insight into what’s going on. Be warned, though: you’re going to be following some thought processes here, and might be faced with decisions-in-the-making and not-sure-what-I’ll-do-yets. I welcome all feedback.

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News from LeWeb3 [en]

[fr] Je suis à la conférence LeWeb3, et pour une fois, je ne suis pas en train de bloguer les sessions. Je suis ici pour une autre raison: entamer des discussions avec des sponsors potentiels pour la conférence-événement que j'organise début mai. Je vous dirai plus à ce sujet dans un futur billet, mais si vous me voyez au Web3, n'hésitez pas à venir me demander, je vous en parle volontiers!

This is going to be a quick and dirty posting. Lock up your sheep and warn Grandma.

The reason you haven’t seen much liveblogging from LeWeb3 is that I haven’t really been attending the sessions. To be honest, not many seemed that interesting to me (I’m aware, this year, that I’m not the target audience, so that’s OK with me). But aside from that, this is the first time I’m coming to an event with an explicit goal other than “watch interesting talks” and “catch up with friends and make new ones”.

Remember, some time back, when I told you I was [starting a company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/)? Well, things are starting to warm up and take shape. I’ll blog about it in more detail (probably on the train going back home this evening), of course, but here’s a tidbit for those of you I haven’t yet had a chance to speak about it directly.

LeWeb3 2007 marks the beginning of my discussions with companies interested in sponsoring the event that I will be holding early May. And so far, honestly, I’m really excited about how people have reacted (potential partners *and* attendees). But as I said, more details in a bit.

Back to LeWeb3: first of all, I’d like to say I wasn’t really planning on attending as I had been quite disappointed with last year, but following the [nasty things I said about the event last year](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/12/le-web-3-et-sarko/), Loïc kindly invited me to come and see for myself that he wasn’t going to do “les mêmes conneries” twice in a row (his words) ;-). So, thanks for the invite, and here are a few complaints and praises.

– The wifi was flakey yesterday, though not as bad as last year. I had a bit of trouble logging on right now, but finally made it. – The food is delicious, as it was last year. I think a buffet for lunch is a really good idea.
– I didn’t like the first rows being reserved for the press — it did eliminate any impulse I might have had to liveblog.
– I like the venue. The lobby is arranged carefully, with enough small tables to fill in the empty space and encourage people to congregate.
– Shuttle bus: great. Really.
– Badges with information printed on one side only. Really. Stop doing that, conference organisers. Specially if the hangy-thing for the badge is meant to swirl around.
– Good to have video of talks in the networking area. I can write this post and keep an eye on it so I don’t miss [Doc Searls](http://www.searls.com/). (You don’t want to miss Doc. Or [David](http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/).)

Don’t hesitate and come up to speak to me, specially if you’d like to sponsor my event (I’ll tell you all about it). I’m **not** [suffering from conference overload and oversocialisation right now](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/06/too-many-people/) and quite happy to network and chat.

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