LeWeb3: the Babel effect14 Dec 2006
I went to see the movie “Babel” recently, and I liked it a lot. At some point I was asked “what is it about?” The best I could come up with is “bad judgement”. If you still plan on seeing the movie, skip the next paragraph (spoiler).
It was bad judgement to expect someone to not attend the wedding of her son, and bad judgement of her to drive back with a drunken nephew. Bad judgement of the Japanese guy to donate a gun to his Moroccon guide, of that man to sell it, of the buyer to give it to his teenager sons, of the boys to test the gun by shooting at a bus of tourists. Shit happens, yes, but sometimes people make an even bigger mess out of it by taking bad decisions for the wrong reasons.
So what happened at LeWeb3?
- Loic got the message that Shimon Peres would attend the conference and took the bad decision to try to get his acquaintance-employer-buddy Sarkozy in too and make the conference into a politic forum for the French presidential campaign.
- He felt obliged to invite the other candidates, and -my oh my- one opponent actually agreed to attend. He decided to create time for these political speeches by removing and/or compressing time from other, announced, speakers.
- To be honest, his decision to play moderator/talk-show host for some speakers/panels was not a very good one either. He does not have the necessary skills/talent for that. Neither does Jeff Clavier, for that matter. (Thomas Crampton and the Swedish guy -I forget his name- were on the other hand good moderators)
- Sam Sethi (TechCrunch UK) writes an honest post about his disappointment and Loic makes the bad move to react while still tired and angry.
- Sam mentions the comment in a next post (maybe not excessively clever), Loic complains with Michael Arrington and Sam is fired. Not the best move Arrington ever made, although he has left comments open and responds to the critics, so behaves in the bloggers’ way.
- After one of the last presentations on Tuesday, Loic comes on stage with a small boy walking besides him. He announced the next speaker and just before he leaves the stage tells us he’s teaching his son how to walk the stage: miscalculation of the amount of goodwill that remained in the room.
I’m not hoping more dramatic things will happen in this saga. I can’t help but feel bad for Loic too, he has been working on this event for months and now it’s turned ugly in his face. I just don’t think I will be attending any LeWeb4 (or LeWeek4, as Tom calls it). Conferences like Reboot (Denmark), SHIFT (Portugal) and LIFT (Switzerland) look like a much better platform for the topics that interest me. Also, I will probably organize new “Barcamp Brussels” editions in 2007.
And to end with a positive note: we’ve had tasty food, we’ve met with some awesome people from all over the world, we’ve learned how to knot a bow tie, we had an hilarious dinner on Monday followed by a party we won’t be forgetting for a long time.