Get Your Lift10 Ticket Half-Price Before Christmas [en]

[fr] Vous savez certainement que Lift, à Genève (5-7 mai 2010) est un des événements incontournables du milieu de la technologie en Europe. Une conférence non-commerciale, qui vous donnera matière à penser pour l'année à venir et ouvrira des portes dans votre tête dont vous ignoriez l'existence jusqu'ici. Trois jours pour 650.- (220.- par jour!) si vous vous inscrivez avant le 26 décembre. (Comparez ça aux tarifs des formations usuelles, et vous avez un prix imbattable pour du contenu inégalable.)

The reasons I gave for attending Lift nearly two years ago are still very much true. In all honesty, if there is one European tech event you should absolutely attend each year, it’s the Lift Conference in Geneva. This year, unlike the previous ones, it will take place in May (5-7th) — much nicer weather than February!

Lift10 conference in Geneva, May 5-7, 2010. In a nutshell, Lift is 3 days of extraordinary speakers you have not heard before a dozen times already, a very diverse gathering of smart and interesting attendees, various presentation formats in addition to keynotes like discussions, workshops, open stage presentations (part of the programme is community-contributed), rich hallway conversations, and a very uncommercial feel to it all.

But don’t stop there, please do read my post from two years ago, then come back. I’ve attended the conference since it started, so you might want to read some of my posts covering it (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) — and all the videos of past talks are available freely online.

Another thing that has changed since last year besides the date is the conference pricing, which has gone up significantly for those who do not register early. Laurent wrote a really great post about the challenges encountered in pricing an event like Lift, which tries to attract attendees with different profiles and very different budgets: be too expensive, and people without an employer behind them to pay for the ticket can’t come — but be too cheap, and you’re not taken seriously (which tends to be the problem Lift has faced over the years).

Actually, anybody who provides services to a client base which is not homogeneous are faced with this dilemma, which is one of the reasons my rates (for example) vary according to which client I’m providing services to — shocking thought it may seem to some (upcoming blog post about that, by the way).

So, the good news is that if you have your ears and eyes open, and know that you’re going to Lift in 2010, you can get in for 650.- CHF (50% of the final ticket price) if you register before December 26th.

Students can apply to get one of the 20 free tickets that are reserved for them (deadline January 15th).

Journalists and bloggers should apply for a media pass.

I really hope to see you at Lift. You won’t regret it.

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Se voir à Paris, avec wifi [fr]

[en] I write a weekly column for Les Quotidiennes, which I republish here on CTTS for safekeeping.

Chroniques du monde connecté: cet article a été initialement publié dans Les Quotidiennes (voir l’original).

Mardi matin, je saute dans le TGV pour aller passer quelques jours à Paris afin de participer à la conférence LeWeb. Cet événement, qui s’appelait il y a six ans “Les Blogs“, rassemble en un même lieu plus de 2000 professionnels de tous bords, ayant un intérêt dans le web et les médias sociaux. Le thème de cette année? “The Real-Time Web“, le web en temps réel de Twitter, Facebook, la messagerie instantanée, le streaming vidéo live, l’iPhone, etc.

Si je vous mentionne cette conférence, ce n’est pas dans une optique bassement publicitaire (elle affiche complet — quoique… prenez-vous-y à l’avance l’an prochain!) mais parce que ce foisonnement d’événements s’adressant aux gens du monde connecté, ou à ceux qui gravitent autour avec intérêt, nous montre bien à quel point toutes les avancées technologiques en matière de communication n’ôtent rien à la richesse et à l’importance de la rencontre en chair et en os.

En effet, c’est là un souci récurrent que j’entends: la pléthore de moyens de communication à distance n’est-elle pas en train de nous déshumaniser, de nous transformer en petits robots emprisonnés dans des mondes virtuels? L’être humain est-il en chemin pour finir sa carrière sous forme de cerveau flottant dans un bocal, branché dans la matrice?

Que nenni, heureusement.

Il se trouve même que plus les gens chattent, bloguent, et de façon générale se connectent à leurs semblables via le monde en ligne, plus ils ont envie de se rencontrer. L’être humain est fondamentalement social et utilise toutes les ressources à sa disposition pour le devenir encore plus. L’expression “médias sociaux”, traduction française un peu maladroite de l’anglais “social media” (ça fait un peu “services sociaux”), vient bien de là.

C’est logique, quand on y pense. Prenons un peu de recul technologique: est-ce que l’avènement du courrier postal a découragé les gens de faire l’effort de se rencontrer? Et le téléphone? Et le téléphone mobile? Bien sûr, on remplace parfois avantageusement une rencontre en face-à-face par un coup de fil. Mais le coup de fil, souvent, mène à une rencontre. De même avec l’e-mail et le chat. Et que dire de la facilité de communication croissante, qui m’encourage à envoyer un SMS “à tout hasard” à une copine pour lui proposer de me rejoindre ici, maintenant, pour un brin de causette?

Au fond, la technologie crée autant d’occasions de se rencontrer qu’elle ne semble en supprimer. A Paris, dans quelques jours, c’est donc toute une partie du monde connecté qui se retrouvera dans la même ville, à la même conférence, pour se serrer la main, s’embrasser (si H1N1 le permet), discuter à bâtons rompus autour d’un bon buffet, rire ensemble, parler business, ou tout simplement être assis côte-à-côte pour écouter le même orateur.

On aura bien sûr nos ordinateurs portables et nos iPhones, il y aura du wifi jusque dans les moindres recoins, mais qu’est-ce qu’on sera contents de se voir… ou de se revoir.

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LeWeb'09: Bloggers, Social Media Club House, Boat Party [en]

LeWeb'09-Paris dec 9th and 10th In less than a week, I’ll be jumping on the TGV to Paris to attend the conference LeWeb’09. Clearly, this is a long overdue post — the conference starts in a week. You probably saw my post about blogger accreditations way back when, and if I haven’t communicated about it since, it’s because I’ve been very very busy behind the scenes. Time to fill you in a bit.

The choice was tough, but we ended up with a selection of official bloggers who are invited specially to come and cover the conference live on their blogs. You can also follow them all on Twitter with the official bloggers list. During the conference, you will be able to find all their posts about LeWeb’09 on a single page, with a single feed (thanks to Superfeedr). Another way to access their publications is through the LeWeb’09 Pearltree — just click on the Official Bloggers branch.

Social Media Club House, LeWeb'09.Aside from my job as Official Bloggers “list mom”, I’m thrilled that I’ve been invited to be a resident of the Social Media Club House during my stay in Paris. The five other residents are Cathy Brooks, Chris Heuer, Dana Oshiro, Kristie Wells, and Robert Scoble, and PayPal is our main sponsor. We’ve got a wicked schedule planned, so stay tuned (tag: smch, #smch) and follow us on Twitter upto and during the conference.

Official Bloggers and Social Media Club House will collide during the evening before LeWeb’09, when we will head over to le Six/Huit for an “Official Bloggers and friends” pre-conference party, hosted by well-known Paris bloggers Frédéric de Villamil and Damien Douani.

Clearly, there is no shortage of choice when it comes to pre-LeWeb’09 events, but this party is to my knowledge the only one taking place on a boat (yes, on the Seine!) and right next to Notre-Dame cathedral. Plus, as we all have to fit on the boat, it’s limited to 150 people, so it’s a pretty exclusive event, with a high concentration of official bloggers, Social Media Club House residents, and a handful of top PayPal executives (you know, the kind of people you don’t really get to approach during the conference because they are permanently surrounded by a wall of folks who want to talk to them).


The party starts at 5.30 for the official bloggers and our special guests, and will open its doors to the general public at 7pm, until 9-10pm.

Please sign up quickly if you want to come to the boat party!

And if you’re looking to sponsor a cool event (or know somebody who would like to), we’re more than happy to let you offer a round of drinks. Just give Fred a call on +33 6 62 19 1337 to set things up.

See you next week in Paris!

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Judging Talk Proposals for Conferences [en]

[fr] Très difficile d'évaluer la qualité d'une proposition de conférence basé sur un résumé textuel (ce que je suis en train de faire à présent pour la conférence BlogTalk 2009 qui aura lieu à Jeju, en Corée du Sud). Il faudrait que les candidats donnent non seulement un descriptif écrit de leur proposition, mais aussi un court extrait vidéo (2-3 minutes), soit d'une conférence qu'ils ont déjà donnée, soit d'un "pitch" pour le sujet qu'ils proposent.

Just a passing thought, as I’m spending some time reviewing submissions for the upcoming BlogTalk 2009 conference in Jeju, South Korea.

Just as my proposal was reviewed (and rejected) last year, I am now on the other side of the fence, looking at proposal abstracts and trying to determine if they would make good presentations for the conference.

BlogTalk is an interesting conference, because it tries to bridge the academic and practitioner worlds. The submission process resulting from that led to some interesting discussions last year (academics are used to submitting papers all over the place and are paid for that, practitioners on the conference circuit are more used to being asked to come and talk) and as a result the process was modified somewhat for this year. Practitioners and academics alike submit a short abstract of their talk/paper/research, and people like me (the programme committee) review them.

What I am realizing, doing this, is that it is very hard to imagine if the proposals will produce good talks. I mean, I can judge if their content is interesting or not. I don’t know the people sending in the proposals, so I keep going from “ah, this could be really good if the speaker is competent” to “ew, if the speaker isn’t good this could be a nightmare”.

Already in my long-gone university days, I had understood that content is only half of the deal. Take great content but a crap speaker, you’ll lose half your audience (and I’m being nice).

In 2007 and 2008, I gave a fair amount of talks all over the place and organized my own conference. All this time on the “conference circuit” and amongst regular speakers led me to view it as something quite close to the entertainment business.

So, setting up a conference that will be successful means finding engaging speakers who will be able to talk about interesting topics. When I organized Going Solo (clearly a very different type of conference than BlogTalk, of course), I picked speakers I was familiar with and that I had already seen “in action”.

Back to screening proposals for conferences — of course, if you want an open process, you’re not going to know all the speakers. But how about asking candidates, alongside the written abstract, for a 2-3 minute video excerpt of them giving a talk, or pitching their proposal?

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Lift09 — Sarah Marquis [fr]

*Laurent: extraordinary stand-in speaker Sarah Marquis, an adventurer who goes off for months on end, walking across Australia for example.*

Est-il possible aujourd’hui d’imaginer se retrouver dans la nature sans aide technologique? On est des mammifères après tout. Pas d’électricité, d’eau, de nourriture? Avec des habits quand même…

Sarah a décidé de faire ce pas… retrouver des instincts d’animal, en sorte. Elle a fait le tour de l’Australie, 17 mois de marche.

Comment fait-on un voyage comme ça? Avec les pieds, d’abord, mais surtout dans la tête.

Difficulté: eau et nourriture… On n’a pas appris à chasser le lézard! Il faut devenir le lézard pour le chasser, le comprendre. Eau à travers la sudation des arbres.

Gérer sa propre consommation d’eau. Respirer que par le nez pour éviter de perdre de l’eau. Marcher de nuit. Survie. Conditions animales. C’est rassurant à quelque part de voir à quel point on est animal.

Sarah n’est pas sur Facebook… envie d’un retour à la terre. Retrouver la source de la vie.

Pendant le voyage il arrive des tas de choses. Raconte comment elle a “adopté” Joe — elle a volé le chien au fermier qui allait l’abattre. Chien qui l’a accompagnée et vit maintenant se retraite bien méritée à Verbier avec elle.

Technologie? Une appareil photo et un enregistreur vidéo. GPS pour retrouver son frère pour les points de ravitaillement (7 paires de chaussures).

Sarah avait pris 15kg avant de partir, histoire d’avoir des réserves. Le corps s’use, aussi. Il s’adapte à l’effort. Sac à dos de 30kg!

Rencontre avec des aborigènes. A passé un peu de temps avec eux. La chasse: une des femmes aborigènes attrape une proie à la main (le choc! comment elle a fait?)

Se déconnecter.

Deux ans plus tard, repartie en Amérique du Sud. 8 mois de marche. Le froid. Seul repère: monter. C’est important d’avoir des repères. Peut-on trouver ce qui va nous combler dans le monde actuel, là où on le cherche?

Sans ressources d’énergie, on peut en tant qu’être humain bipède, se retrouver dans un élément inconnu et survivre.

Chose intéressante: retour à la civilisation après 17 mois dans un pays désert et hostile… Quand on survit on vit au jour le jour — comment préparer l’arrivée? Dans les 300 dernier mètres seulement, Sarah réalise que le lendemain, c’est le retour à la civilisation, qu’elle va ouvrir son frigo, pouvoir prendre un bain…

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Lift09 — Change — Yeong Roh [en]

Arts: helps her think about herself. Shift of mode from previous speakers. More reflective.

Lift09 058

Change what, and how? and what *should* we change?

Start with changing our outlook or perspective of ourselves.

I Ching. Book of change. 2800 BC.

Author accused of being a North Korean spy.

Lift09 060

Word for “open up and make connections” = “connect all the way from the earth to the heavens”

Who do we **think** we are?

4 Dimensions of existence according to Ken Wilber:

Lift09 061

Levels of Consciousness: Senses — Cognition, science — Understanding, culture, values — Spirituality.

Lift09 063

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Lift09 — Change — Nicolas Nova — The Recurring Failure of Holy Grails [en]

Lift09 030

Videophone 1969 — so expensive that nobody could use it.

The Intelligent Fridge 1996

Lift09 032

Location-based services 1993 — a success in terms of communication, but not in terms of where people are *(steph-note: not sure I got that right)* — Google Latitude, but problems for privacy reasons. Not that simple.

Common characteristics:

– overoptimism
– reinvention of the wheel
– ignoring similar attempts


– Trapped in the zeitgeist (designers, researches, engineers).
– Time is not stable. Innovations happen slowly.
– Short term, long term
– bad understanding of “users”
– the “average human” myth

Automating rituals (Where are you? Smart fridge that does the shopping.)

Virtual assistants in MS Office. Idea: technology should be more “natural”. Making things “natural” is difficult: what is natural, and how can technology really replicate it?

What is “natural” shifts over time. Eg. swiping travel cards that are in bags in the subway: natural for the people who are used to do it, but not for those who have never been in the subway. It’s difficult to define.

So, why is it important to explore failures?

Many failures are actually good ideas before their time. Failures can indicate possible futures to explore. More detailed critique. Source for design (Apple certainly learned a lot for the iPhone from their Newton failure).

It’s important to spot failures, there is a need to document them and turn them into a design strategy.

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Welcome to LeWeb'08! [en]

[fr] A la conférence LeWeb'08 à Paris.

Here we are& it’s started! Here I am at LeWeb’08 — and now that I’m here, very happy :-) (I’ve come to dread events in a way, but that’s the subject of another post and has nothing to do with LeWeb’08).

For those of you who are not here with us, keep up with what’s going on by following the live video feed by Ustream.

Tweets, photos and posts tagged “leweb083 are aggregated in the LeWeb’08 sixgroups livecommunity and @eventtrack.

If you are blogging about LeWeb’08, you might want to add the Livecommunity bar to your site (I have to approve them but if I see stuff about LeWeb’08 on your site it won’t be a problem). Here’s the code:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<div id="sgBarContainer"><span style="font: 9px Arial, sans-serif; color: #ccc; ">Livecommunity powered by <a style="font: 9px Arial, sans-serif; color: #ccc; " href="" title="Community Software"></a></span>
<script type="text/javascript">if(sg){ = "27px";sg.addWidget({type: "sgBar", vposition: "fixed"});}</script>

You can see it at work on this site.

There is also a Bloggersbase blog (with contest) that you can contribute to. Official bloggers (bloggers who received a blogger accreditation from me), don’t forget to add your publications to the “Coverage” page. (The general public doesn’t have access to this page, so if you’re not an official blogger you won’t be able to see it.)

The first five rows have small tables, each fitted with an ethernet cable and power. Most of the seats there are taken, but I still see a few empty ones. I’m on the wifi, which is behaving nicely (fingers crossed).

Right, I’m going to leave you and continue listening to David Weinberger :-)

Oh, and you can find me (and others) on in channel #leweb08&

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Somesso – David Terrar: Building Sustainable Corporate Web Communities [en]

From James Govenor on Twitter: Network value is how many opportunities people create for you when you’re not there.

Why build communities: tons of reasons.

An online community is a group of people joined by a common interest.

What motivates people?

  • they can express themselves
  • they might be after support
  • listening
  • sharing
  • recognition
  • power
  • the culture of the organisation

To build a community, you need:

Community manager: important to get the personality right. He/she must act as the host.

Technology for community is important, but social infrastructure is more important.

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Somesso: Opening Remarks (Arjen Strijker and Susan Kish) [en]

[fr] Mes notes de la conférence Somesso à Zurich.

I’m at the Somesso conference near Zurich today. Most of the usual suspects are here, and some others — about 50 people in the room at my last count. Wifi has just been made available to us, yay! (And it seems pretty quick, too.)

Somesso 06

I’ll be taking notes as I can during the day. As always, my notes run the risk of being imprecise or even outright wrong at times, but I do my best!

Arjen Strijker

Somesso 02 - Arjen Strijker

how can companies make best use of social media?

2 keynotes, then five companies will tell their story. Plan: 2/3rds speaking, 1/3rd questions.

Conference set up in less than five months.

Susan Kish

Somesso 05 - Susan Kish


Social media is fundamentally transformative (social is human, media has been here for hundreds of years) — some of the technologies we use have been able to transform the way we communicate. “When we change how we communicate, we fundamentally transform society.”


What is social media, and how is it being used? What works, and what doesn’t? What has long-term impact? How do we know it’s not just a fad?


Where will we be in 5-10 years? which technologies will still be there, and which will not?

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