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Partager, partager, partager [fr]

Partager, partager, partager [fr]

[en] On the importance of sharing. A heartfelt thanks to Loïc and Laurent for the inspiring discussion at Silicon Valais!

Hier soir, j’étais à Silicon Valais 2016. J’étais déjà dans le Chablais Vaudois, donc le saut de puce jusqu’à Sierre en était un peu raccourci. Loïc était l’intervenant d’honneur de la journée, interviewé sur scène par Laurent. Je n’avais pas vu Loïc depuis des années (ayant raté Paris en mai), et Laurent fait partie de ces gens que je ne vois pas assez souvent même s’il habite à côté — décision facile, donc. En plus, je sais pas comment ils font, mais ils réussissent toujours à avoir du soleil, en Valais.

Soleil en Valais, au Technopôle de Sierre.

Le format de la discussion pour aborder la Silicon Valley, et les leçons apprises par Loïc au cours de sa carrière d’entrepreneur, était vraiment très bon, et bien mené. Je n’ai pas vu passer le temps. Me replonger à travers le récit de Loïc dans ces morceaux d’histoire familière, et me retrouver en contact avec l’énergie de découverte et d’émerveillement face au futur qui pénètre notre présent, ça m’a fait beaucoup de bien.

Depuis quelques années en effet, je suis passablement nostalgique de cette période entre 2004 et 2009 environ, qui représente pour moi “l’âge d’or” des blogs et des premiers réseaux sociaux. Ça bouillonnait, le monde changeait, on était en train de construire l’avenir, nous, “les gens connectés”. La discussion entre Laurent et Loïc me replonge dans cet état d’esprit.

Mais ce n’est pas pour sauter dans la machine à remonter le temps que j’écris aujourd’hui. C’est pour rapporter le conseil #1 que fait Loïc aux aspirants entrepreneurs: partager, partager, partager.

Construire en public, être ouvert.

Être généreux de son temps, de son savoir, de ses connexions.

Penser long terme, ne pas sacrifier les opportunités futures sur l’autel du gain immédiat de l’exploitation d’autrui.

Créer quelque chose qui nous parle, sans vouloir à tout prix monter le business du siècle.

Ça vous dit quelque chose, tout ça? Si vous me connaissez, j’imagine bien que oui.

Au tout début de la conférence, Loïc raconte comment il s’est assis par hasard à côté de Joi au WEF. Intrigué par ce que celui-ci faisait sur son ordinateur, il ne l’a pas lâché jusqu’à ce qu’il lui ait appris à bloguer. Bloguer, une pratique qui a changé sa vie… et la mienne.

Cette éthique du partage, cette foi dans les opportunités inimaginables (au sens propre) que peut nous apporter le fait de vivre nos vies et nos idées un peu publiquement dans les espaces numériques, c’est quelque chose que je retrouve très fortement chez les blogueurs de “la grande époque”. On a compris, dans nos tripes, le pouvoir de la réciprocité quand elle s’ancre dans la générosité désintéressée, et d’une certaine dose de vulnérabilité pour nous rapprocher les uns des autres.

Je la vois moins chez ceux qui ont trouvé leur maturité numérique à l’ère de Facebook, sous le règne des algorithmes, de l’immédiateté encore plus immédiate, de la popularité encore plus éphémère, de la concurrence effrénée d’un espace saturé de marketing, au point même que pour “réussir”, il faut traiter les personnes comme des marques. La mise en scène narcissique de soi prend le pas sur les conversations et échanges authentiques, et on se sent pris dans une course à l’audience, pour capter une lichette de notre attention déjà sursollicitée.

Bon dieu, on croirait entendre un critique réfractaire au numérique d’il y a dix ans! Je suis dure, et il n’y a certes pas que ça dans les espaces sociaux numériques de 2016, mais c’est tristement ce qui domine.

Voilà pourquoi je m’accroche à ce blog. Les relations ont besoin de temps. Les idées ont besoin d’espace. Les newsletters regagnent en popularité, c’est pas pour rien.

Il y a de la place sur Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter et consorts pour le genre de partage dont Loïc et moi parlons: mais pour cela, il faut laisser un peu de côté ses objectifs, oublier la chasse aux likes et aux followers, et plutôt se demander ce qu’on peut faire pour les autres, s’ouvrir à partager ce qui nous fait sourire ou rêver, ce qui nous interpelle, ce sur quoi on s’interroge — même si ça “ne sert à rien”. On ne peut jamais savoir quelles portes s’ouvriront parce qu’on regarde tomber la pluie ou qu’on a rencontré un gros chien.

C’est comme dans la vie “hors ligne”. On sous-estime complètement à quel point nos opportunités professionnelles tiennent souvent à des connexions personnelles ou des échanges en apparence futiles. Quand ça arrive, on se dit que c’est un coup de chance, ou l’exception — alors que c’est plutôt la règle.

Laissons au monde une chance de venir à nous, en nous donnant d’abord un peu à lui.

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Blogging in the Morning: Lift12, 3615, StartupWeekend [en]

Blogging in the Morning: Lift12, 3615, StartupWeekend [en]

Here we go again. Inspired by one of my good friends who has been working in her studio in the morning and doing paid work in the afternoon, I’m going to have another go at “blog in the morning”.

I have, as always, a ton of things I want to write about. This post will be random.

I spent three days at Lift conference last week. For those of you who have never been to Lift, you must put it on your calendar for next year. Buy the tickets in the summer, so you get the early-early bird price. Lift is a wonderful conference. The talks are fascinating, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, the fondue is awesome.

I live-blogged the conference, like I do each year. I’m never happy with the job I do as a live-blogger (I always think others like Adam or Suw do a way better job than I do), but I’ve come to accept that live-blogging is gift not that many people have, and that I’m good enough at it to do a decent job of it and deserve my pass year after year (until now, at least).

Speaking of Lift, Lift’s founder Laurent Haug has started a podcast/show I haven’t yet had time to catch up with (I’m dying to) called 3615 (reference to old French Minitel codes). It’s in French. I think it’s great that it’s in French. What’s it about? It basically calls itself “3615, the show that wonders if the 21st century is a good idea or not”. Neat.

Lift this year properly lifted me ;-). I feel excited about technology again: 3D printing for example, I’m actually very tempted to order a RepRap kit and build one for eclau. Or robots.

I’ve decided to take part in the next Lausanne StartupWeekend. It’s this coming week-end! There are still a few open spots if you want to sign up, by the way. Julien Dorra is the guilty one: his talk made me realize I’d love to take part in the kind of events he was talking about. Actually, I’ve been inspired more than once to organize hack-dayish events: Website Pro Day, World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day, and more recently (still at the idea stage) “important but not urgent” days for eclau. Basically, “let’s get together and do stuff”. I also find Addict Lab fascinating, even though I still (after a lunch with Jan) can’t quite wrap my brain completely around it.

I like playing with ideas and doing a variety of things. Maybe putting myself in the kind of context StartupWeekend offers will also help me understand better what it is that I do. Plus, it’s going to be great fun.

So, anyway, I’m going to StartupWeekend. I even have an idea to pitch (I think). Who else is coming?

While I’m rambling on about Lift, one major take-away for me was the idea that information overload is part of the human condition. Go read my notes of Anaïs Saint-Jude’s talk, and once the video is online, listen to it. Well, listen to the whole Lift conference, actually. That’s what week-ends are for!

There is a whole lot more to say about Lift (3 days, folks!) but I’ll stop here. I feel like reading through my notes again, I have to say. Live-blogging, even if it’s not particularly difficult for me, requires a lot of concentration (it’s tiring) and it does mean I suffer a little from the post-effort brainwash syndrome. You know, like how after an exam you can’t remember a thing you wrote? That.

As for the other stuff I want to write about… let’s keep some for these coming mornings, OK?

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Scale in Community and Social Media: Bigger is not Always Better [en]

Scale in Community and Social Media: Bigger is not Always Better [en]

In his blog post Defriendization is the future of social networks, that I commented upon in Defriending, Keeping Connections Sustainable and Maybe Superficial, Laurent Haug mentions his previous article Openness is difficult to scale, about how the kind of community involvement that worked for Lift in the early days just did not scale once the conference became more successful. This is a rule we cannot get escape from. Scale changes things. Success is a double-edged sword, because it might bring you into a country where the very thing that made your success is not possible anymore.

Clive Thompson explains this very well when it comes to the number of followers on Twitter, for example, in his Wired piece In Praise of Obscurity. Even if as the person being followed, you don’t really care about the size of the community gathered around you, the people who are part of that community feel its size and their behaviour changes. Bigger is not always better. More people in a community does not make it a better or even more powerful community.

This is one of the reasons it annoys me immensely when people try to measure the value of something by measuring its size. More readers does not mean I’m a better blogger. More friends on Facebook does not mean I’m more popular. More followers on Twitter does not mean I’m more influential.

I think that this is one of the things that has happened to the blogging world (another topic I have simmering for one of these days). Eight-ten years ago, the community was smaller. Having a thousand or so readers a day already meant that you were a big fish. Now, being a big fish means that you’re TechCrunch or ReadWriteWeb, publications that for some reason people still insist on calling “blogs”, and we “normal bloggers” do not recognize ourselves anymore in these mega-publications. The “big fish” issue here is not so much that formerly-big-fish bloggers have had the spotlight stolen from them and they resent it (which can also be true, by the way), but more that the ecosystem has completely changed.

The “blog-reading community” has grown hugely in numbers. Ten years ago, one thousand people reading a blog felt special because they were out-of-the-mainstream, they could connect with the author of what they read, and maybe they also had their own little blog somewhere. Nowadays, one thousand people reading a blog are just one thousand people doing the mainstream thing online people do: reading blogs and the like. The sense of specialness has left the blogosphere.

If you want to keep on reading, I comment upon another of the links Laurent mentions in Log-Out Day: Victims of Technology, or a Chance to Grow?

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Badges at Conferences [en]

Badges at Conferences [en]

Laurent Haug blogs about [conference badges](http://liftlab.com/think/laurent/2007/12/13/badges/) and his desire to make [LIFT](http://www.liftconference.com/) a badge-free conference.

Funny, I was also thinking of badges at LeWeb3. But actually, the main thing I was thinking was: when are conference organisers going to stop making one-sided badges dangling at the end of a thingy that is designed to let them rotate freely?

I personally like badges and would be quite unhappy without them, because I’m a *very* bad physionomist. I index “person data” by name. Dozens of times at conferences, people come up to me saying “hey, Steph, how’ve you been?” — sometimes their face looks familiar, others it doesn’t even ring a bell. Half the time, I’m saved by the badge. I catch a glimpse of their name, and all I know about them, our shared history if we have one, comes back to me. I index people by name.

So, take away the badges, and I have to use the awkward “excuse me, before we say anything more, would you mind telling me your name, because I’m so bad with faces?” — I do it (I’m not one of these people who can pretend very well), but I really prefer the badges. I’m one of these rude people who’ll turn your badge around to read your name — but the presence of the badge makes it easier, because it suggests that we’re going around reading people’s names.

Also, I know a lot of people online without knowing their faces, and badges do help with that.

There are things I do not like about badges, though. I’d like to highlight two of the “cons” Laurent points to, because I agree with him:

> – Chest navigators. People who walk through the conference starring at badges looking for keywords like “CEO”, “Facebook” or “Press”, usually for bad reasons. You end up losing your time with these 95% of the time.
> – Misconceptions from titles. This is especially painful for people working for big companies where you HAVE to have a lousy and arrogant title. From a really cool dude I met at Leweb working for Microsoft: “People see Microsoft on my badge, so their crap filter goes up one level. Then they see Marketing and they start to draw strategies to get away from me”. The guy is brilliant, open, helpful, all the opposite of the stereotype that his badge could push you into.

Laurent Haug, “Badges”

I would definitely go for the following:

– get rid of “castes” on badges
– get rid of formal company names or job titles: let people choose what they want written on their badge
– print them on both sides!
– look for creating solutions like headwear — or maybe stranglers?! — to get badges off people’s chests
– absolutely avoid pin-on or sticky badges (as a woman, I have to say I really don’t like putting them smack on my breasts, I’d rather have something hanging around my neck)

Some thoughts in the “Devil’s advocate” department, though:

– there are situations where it *is* useful to know what company the person you’re talking to works for, or what position they have
– badges printed on only one side are handy: write something on the back, stick business cards in, or the programme of the day
– no badges adds serendipity to networking, which is good.

Feel free to share your badge thoughts and experiences.

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