Come to LIFT'08 [en]

[fr] Si vous ne pensiez pas aller à LIFT dans deux semaines, j'aimerais vous encourager à vous inscrire pour nous y rejoindre.

J'avoue qu'une des raisons que j'entends souvent de la part de gens qui me disent ne pas y aller, c'est le prix. Un peu plus qu'un iPhone, et moins qu'un vol à destination de San Francisco (à plus forte raison, meilleur marché également que deux grandes conférences technologiques ayant récemment eu lieu en Europe: Web2.0Expo et LeWeb3).

LIFT est un événement extraordinaire. 3 journées dont une de workshops, la fondue, deux événements supplémentaires gratuits (venture night et sustainable dev), ainsi que la fête -- et vous repartirez proprement "liftés". LIFT est une conférence qui change la vie des gens. Elle est au carrefour des questions de société et de la technologie, d'une pertinence incontestable par rapport aux problématiques de notre temps.

J'explique dans cet article plus en détail pourquoi je vous encourage absolument à venir à LIFT (il est encore temps). C'est un investissement qui sera largement récompensé. Quel que soit le domaine dans lequel vous travaillez, prendre 3 jours sur l'année pour s'informer à la source sur les problématiques de notre société liées à la technologie n'est pas un luxe.

The [LIFT Conference](http://liftconference.com) is taking place in just two weeks from now in Geneva.

If you’re free on those dates and haven’t considered attending, I’d like to encourage you to [register](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-registration) and come and join us. It’s really worthwhile. And if [the price tag](http://www.liftconference.com/pricing-students-etc-etc#comment-15) is making you hesitate, think again. Here’s what’s included in your registration fee for this three-day event:

– a full day of [workshops](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-workshops)
– [two days of conference](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday) (more about that below)
– nice buffet lunches (upgraded since last year!), [fondue](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday#fondue) evening, open bar [party](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday#fondue)
– [venture night](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-venture-night) and [sustainable dev](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday#wattwatt) sessions
– [lots of WiFi](http://www.liftconference.com/wifi-ugrade)

So, here we are. 850 CHF (that’s $781.50, 530.80€ or £396.30 [as of today](http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi)) for three days. Even though it is a sizeable chunk of money for many people (I’m not talking about you lucky ones who get sent to great events like LIFT by their employers), it’s not that expensive, when you think of it (just a little perspective):

– an iPhone: 399€
– the MacBook Air: $1799
– LeWeb3 (Paris): over 1000€
– Web2.0Expo (Berlin): over 1000€
– a cheap flight to San Francisco: $800 (you spend only 2 days on the plane, and it’s way less fun)

Now, as that is out of the way, let’s get to the meat. Why is LIFT worth so much more than what you pay for it? I’d like to add my two cents to [what the organizers already say](http://www.liftconference.com/12-reasons-come-lift):

– **new speakers:** the LIFT team goes to great lengths to introduce speakers that you haven’t already heard at all the other conferences you go to. I’m told it’s becoming a habit for other conference organizers to do their “speaker shopping” at LIFT. (Insider scoop, from Laurent himself: Eric Favre, the inventor of Nespresso, is one of the latest confirmed additions to the speaker list.)
– **great talk quality:** heard of [TED Talks](http://www.ted.com/talks)? They gather the best speakers around the world, and last year, started including talks from partner conferences. [LIFT is one of the four events](http://blog.ted.com/2007/11/talks_from_part.php) they chose to select talks from.
– **at the crossroads of Life and Technology:** this, I think, I the top reason I really love LIFT. It’s about technology, but it’s also about people, society, and the world we live in. It lacks the dryness of the all-tech conference. It’s visionary. It blows your mind and lifts you up. It changed my life, and I’m not the only one.
– **non-commercial:** though I’m not against profit ([Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is, after all, a [commercial event](http://going-far.com/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/ “A little background.”)), the fact LIFT is a non-profit labour of love does reflect in the overall atmosphere and quality of the event. No pitches or sponsors on stage. It’s about ideas and about us. It’s friendly and welcoming and human.
– **more than the stage:** LIFT is about what happens during breaks, in corridors and doorways. Yes, the most value one gets out of an event is generally in networking. LIFT has however taken this awareness a step further, investing a lot in [LIFT+](http://www.liftconference.com/2007/lift+/), activities and exhibits that populate the “in-between” spaces.

I hope it’s obvious from what I’m describing: LIFT is truly an event beyond all others. It’s well-organized and touches topics which are over-important for understanding the world we live in: technology has taken an increasing place in our society (all societies, actually), and this is a chance for geeks and “humanists” both to take a few steps back and think about the “big picture”.

Still not 100% sure you want to [register](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-registration)?

If you’re used to the conference circuit: LIFT will be a welcome change from what you’re used to.
If you don’t usually go to conferences: if you go to one event this year, it should be LIFT. (Well, you should give Going Solo a go too, but it’s [a rather different kind of conference](http://going-solo.net/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/).)

If you are attending, it’s still time to spread a bit of [link love](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/22/going-solo-venues-open-stage-and-link-love/) for LIFT — have you done it yet?

I’m looking forward to seeing you there. I’m part of the [electronic media crowd](http://www.liftconference.com/electronic-media-crowd), though, so if you see me [live-blogging](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/01/on-liveblogging/) like mad, don’t be [offended](http://blog.nicolamattina.it/?p=536) if I’m [not very chatty](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/06/too-many-people/).

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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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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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Arghl! Du spam par SMS! On fait quoi? [fr]

Il y a quelques minutes, la sonnerie de mon portable m’informe qu’un nouveau SMS m’attend. J’avoue que c’est assez fréquent, avec [twitter surtout](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/13/manuel-de-survie-twitter-pour-francophones/). Mais bon.

Je regarde mon SMS, toute curieuse, et… Un message m’invitant à obtenir des SMS gratuits ou que sais-je, depuis un numéro court.

Reviennent des souvenirs du temps où je bossais chez Orange: des histoires de numéros courts qui se comportaient mal, de clients spammés…

J’appelle Orange, service clientèle. Je demande à qui appartient le numéro court, ils me donnent le nom de l’entreprise et le numéro de leur service clientèle.

J’appelle, j’explique (poliment!) que je viens de recevoir un SMS du numéro court xyz, et que j’aimerais savoir comment ils ont eu mon numéro de téléphone. La gentille dame au bout du fil me demande mon numéro, fait quelques recherches, et m’informe qu’en 2006 j’ai envoyé un SMS contenant la lettre “b” au numéro zxy, et que j’ai reçu en retour un SMS en anglais disant ceci et cela. Et bien sûr, elle a spontanément dit qu’elle allait faire stopper les SMS publicitaires.

Nickel!

Je récapitule:

– prendre note du numéro court en question
– appeler son opérateur pour demander leur numéro de contact
– appeler le numéro de contact associé au numéro court et demander comment ils ont eu notre numéro (si ça nous intéresse)
– demander l’arrêt des SMS.

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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”.

Where-when-what-how-why?

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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A Day at the Frankfurter Buchmesse [en]

[fr] Etat des lieux sur mes recherches de fonds et exploration du monde de l'édition pour mon livre sur les ados et internet. Envies de publier (via internet) des livres avec mes photos, aussi.

A month or two ago, I was chatting about [my book project](/categories/livre/) and [decision to find funding](http://www.viddler.com/about/contact/) to [Joi](http://joi.ito.com/). He suggested that a trip to the [Frankfurt book fair](http://www.book-fair.com/en/portal.php) might be useful.

First on, the Messe is just *huge*. I spent a morning there and just walked, and walked, and walked. Overall, I found my visit rather disappointing, though I did learn some useful things (though they weren’t exactly what I wanted to hear). Here’s the information I gathered, from a visit to the Swiss booth and discussions with a few people.

– I have a list of Swiss (French-speaking) publishers, and a shortlist of 4-5 who could be suitable for my project.
– Publishers, distributors, and bookstores are all part of the same organisation (in CH).
– The market is saturated, publishers are swamped with manuscripts, and it’s even worse in France than Switzerland (so, I should stick with local publishers — the fact I’m already recognised as a local authority also pushes in that direction).
– I can forget about a deal with an advance, so I need to look at other sources to finance the *writing* part (Loterie Romande, educational associations, foundations… I’ll hunt around a bit to compile a list.)
– Swiss publishers don’t like agents, and having one might make it even more difficult for me to find a publisher.
– The publisher deals with the printing guys to get the book published, and deals with the distribution guys to get it distributed. [Hunter](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_Lovins), a seasoned bookwriter, tells me that unless I’m getting a huge advance, having a publisher is not worth it — I can deal with printers and distributors myself. Will just have to check if this is a viable approach in the Swiss market.
– The publisher is precious for the editing process, because he knows what is good and what is not, the head of this Swiss association tells me. Hunter, on the contrary, tells me this mostly gets in the way. A good editor can be precious but chances are I won’t be getting one.
– If I go the self-publishing way (offline), then I’ll need funding for the printing, which could be a problem.
– One option, which Joi suggests and I’d been getting at, is to start off by online-self-publishing (Lulu, Blurb, or another), and once there is enough buzz, sales, reviews, etc, approaching publishers.
– I really need to work on a proper proposal, and I have a better understanding of what such a proposal needs to look like. I got some advice from talking with a publisher over dinner (thanks again!) and Chris Webb left me a pointer to [his interesting series on book proposals](http://ckwebb.com/tag/book-proposal) in the comments to [my previous post](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/09/first-draft-of-book-presentation/). From what I gather, the more there is in the proposal, the better.

So, where do I go from now?

– **Write a proper proposal in French** (as the book will be in French). This obviously needs to be broken down into manageable pieces (GTD-style), and I realise that the big nasty bit for me is the outline. I have tons of ideas of stuff that I want to put in the book, but I’m not sure how to organise it all yet. I’ve been mind-mapping, but it’s a bit overwhelming and messy. So I’ll start by writing all the rest (the easy bits).
– **Write a project funding proposal** which will probably not be as detailed as the one for the publisher.
– Ask around for leads to getting funding, compile a list, send out funding requests with proposal.
– Send the proposal to the 4-5 publishers on the list, once it’s done.

Language? Isn’t it kind of weird I’m speaking about this in English? On the other hand, I don’t want to “cut out” my English network by blogging exclusively in French about this book project.

All this thinking about self-publishing has given me the desire to put together one or more photo books. I’ve barely been printing since I went digital, and it’s nice to have photos in physical form too, as [Moo](http://moo.com)’s success demonstrates. My friend [Andrea Lindenberg](http://www.andrealindenberg.com/) has put together a [collection of her best riding show photographs](http://www.lulu.com/content/1192654) — if you like horses, you should definitely check it out. She’s very talented.

My [Flickr photo collection](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/) is approaching 10’000 photos. So, again, the inevitable **choice** problem. I’ll certainly make a book of my best Indian photos at some point (most of them aren’t on Flickr but are either slides (first trip), negatives (second trip), or digital-[dumped-in-directories](http://old.climbtothestars.org/dumps/) (third trip). I have a set called [My Favourites](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/1292259/), but it’s very out-of-date and doesn’t contain any recent photos. I can probably dig out the photos I use for Moo cards or stickers and add them, though.

Any opinions? If you see any photos of mine that you think deserve ending up in the (a) photo book, don’t hesitate to tag them “forthebook”. Thanks!

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BarCamp Lausanne: Wuala (Dominik Grolimund) [en]

[fr] Wuala: pour partager des données en ligne.

[Wuala](http://wua.la/) launched last week. Demo. (Closed Alpha.)

BarCamp Lausanne 30

Storing, sharing, publishing files. Desktop application. Allows you to search for files. “Free, simple, and secure.*

What’s new about it? Different technology. Decentralized.

Advantages:

1. Free because uses resources provided by participating computers.
2. You get 1GB free, and get more by trading unused disk space. ***steph-note: so basically, this is a service that allows you to convert local disk space into online storage — it doesn’t give you significant extra storage.** You need to be online for at least 4 hours a day to do that. *steph-note: I find 1Gb very little. Gmail offers 3 times that.*
3. No traffic limits.
4. No file size limits.
5. Fast downloads. P2P. Like BitTorrent.
6. You can stream music and video files.
7. “We think it’s a great application.” Drag’n drop. Upload in the background.
8. Simple.
9. All in one place.
10. Security and privacy. All the files are encrypted on your computer. Your password never leaves your computer. **Not even Wuala people can see your files.**

Demo.

BarCamp Lausanne 31

BarCamp Lausanne 32

*steph-note: I feel annoying. I always ask if there are “[buddy list groups](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/16/we-need-structured-portable-social-networks-spsn/)” or complain about their non-existence (Facebook).*

Use: mainly to share a few files with other people. *steph-note: not sure I’d call this “online storage” as I find it a little misleading (gives the impression you get extra storage space outside your local drives) — this is really **file sharing**, Pownce-like but without the timeline.* For example, Dominik’s mum is going to use this to share photographs with him, because she’s not comfortable putting them on Flickr as it’s “on the internet”. *steph-note: I see this as an interesting alternative to dropsend and the like.*

Question: what is the business model? Ads in the client. *steph-note: alternate business model would be to make people pay to have more actual “storage”.*

Privacy: in Switzerland, there are “anti-spying” laws which would protect Wuala from having to surrender data to the CIA etc., for example. Wuala doesn’t see what is private or shared (regarding content). Very strong emphasis on privacy. *steph-note: “illegal” music and TV series sharing system of choice, if there is more storage. Problem with this strong emphasis on privacy is when people start using the service to trade kiddie porn.* Dominik says one of the solutions to this could be to limit the size of groups.

Careful! if you lose the password, you lose your files. *steph-note: ouch! this sounds unacceptable to me… no possibility to reset it? Secret question: I hate them, because they are usually very weak. What’s the point of having great encryption, secure passwords, if people give secret answers to secret questions which aren’t so secret?*

Should keep a local version of all the files you share. *steph-note: so this is really not extra storage.* What makes it so different from a prettily dressed up FTP client, besides the fact that the underlying technology is different? From a user point of view? Encryption, and sharing with friends/groups.

*steph-note: a bit skeptical about this, though parts do indeed sound interesting. Not sure what I’d use it for. Maybe to swap music.*

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Vilain cafard ou jolie blatte forestière ambrée ? [fr]

[en] I thought we had cockroaches in the house, but it turns out to be a harmless, outdoor variety which sometimes gets lost inside (ectobius vittiventris). Here is the explanation leaflet we got from the company we contacted -- in hope that it might be useful to others.

Depuis que j’habite ici, je vois régulièrement voleter autour de la porte d’entrée de l’immeuble, surtout la nuit, des insectes qui ressemblent furieusement à des cafards. Après mon retour des États-Unis, j’en ai tué plusieurs dans mon appartement, et j’ai décidé qu’il était temps de prendre le taureau par les cornes et d’alerter concierge et gérance.

Après capture et analyse d’une des bestioles, il s’avère que nous n’avons pas affaire à des vilains cafards, mais à des jolies blattes forestières ambrées inoffensives. Elles vivent à l’extérieur et ne se retrouvent à l’intérieur que par mégarde, n’y survivant pas. Je reproduis ci-dessous l’information qui nous a été communiquée (par l’entreprise contactée j’imagine) au sujet de ce petit insecte, puisqu’il ne semble pas se trouver déjà en français sur Internet. J’espère qu’elle pourra être utile à autrui!

> **Blatte forestière ambrée / *Ectobius vittiventris***

> Une blatte sauvage, qui n’est pas un parasite de l’habitat, est de plus en plus signalée en Suisse romande. On la trouve égarée à l’intérieur des bâtiments, mais elle ne peut survivre sans l’humidité et les conditions qu’elle trouve dans son environnement naturel, jardins ou parcs, sous la végétation. Originellement située dans le bassin méditerranéen de l’Italie à la Turquie, elle était très présente au Tessin ces vingt dernières années.

> Au nord des Alpes, elle est en forte augmentation ces dix dernières années, particulièrement en milieu urbain et jusqu’à une altitude de 700 mètres environ. Elle recherche la chaleur des façades ; capable de voler, par temps chaud elle pénètre dans les immeubles par les fenêtres ouvertes. Ces dernières années en Suisse, sa présence sur ou dans des bâtiments a été signalée durant tous les mois de l’année, mais c’est surtout entre juin et novembre que son activité a été observée, avec un maximum en août.

> Aucun piège connu ne peut valablement la capturer et l’usage d’insecticide est inutile étant donné que cette blatte est sans danger et meurt rapidement à l’intérieur (un à trois jours maximum). Le seul moyen connu de limiter les incursions de cet insecte dans l’habitat est la pose de moustiquaires.

> Le problème réside dans sa ressemblance avec la blatte germanique, redoutable parasite très prolifique bien connu dans la restauration, l’hôtellerie, l’industrie alimentaire et l’immobilier en général. Elle lui ressemble par sa taille. Sa coloration est légèrement plus claire et nous pensons qu’il est important, lors de découverte, de confier sa détermination à un spécialiste éclairé.

Source: I. Landau – H. Baur – G. Müller – M. Schmidt, UGZ ZürichMax Hagner SA

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Bloggy Friday de septembre vendredi! [fr]

[en] Friday, meeting of local bloggers in Lausanne, Café de l'Evêché.

Pour une fois, je suis en Suisse, et libre, le premier vendredi du mois — date du traditionnel Bloggy Friday quelque peu négligé ces derniers mois.

Et en plus, [Sylvie a pris les devants](http://sfreymond.name/2007/09/03/bloggy-friday/) pour organiser. Allez vite vous inscrire dans les commentaires de son billet!

Rappel: le Bloggy Friday est une rencontre toute à fait informelle de blogueurs du coin (c’est volontairement vague). On se retrouve au Café de l’Evêché, au centre de Lausanne, pour manger une bonne fondue (ou autre chose si le coeur vous en dit). On parle des fois de blogs, souvent d’autre chose. Pas besoin de faire partie d’un “club” ou de montrer patte blanche pour venir (juste une adresse de blog, tout de même).

Je me réjouis de vous voir vendredi!

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