For the last 5/8 years, the tech scene in London has been flourishing, with the Silicon Roundabout becoming the main hub for startups and other young companies. Oddly enough, the biggest tech events have been taking place somewhere else in Europe, with Le Web in Paris and The Dublin Web Summit (in Dublin of course) being two of the most important ones. Now these same companies and others are coming to London to capitalize on the startup boom.
In a previous article I wrote that the 2010 edition of Le Web had about 3,000 attendees which could be both a networking blessing or a nightmare. For me it was the former as I managed to have those 8 or 10 meaningful meetings that justified my stay in Paris. I was able to do so thanks to Presdo Match, an online tool for messaging and scheduling meetings during conferences which makes it easy for the attendees and exhibitors to find each other based on matching interests, enabling them to securely communicate and schedule one-on-one meetings at an event
Eric Ly (linkedin, twitter), previously a co-founder of Linkedin, is the founder of Presdo which launched the scheduling tool Presdo Match in September 2010. In the video below he describes the features and future goals for Presdo Match.
I’m not surprised that Eric had received meeting requests from several of the other conference organizers attending Le Web, as facilitating networking between attendees is one of the main goals we have when organizing an event. There are not many good off-the-shelf tools out there that can be easily implemented and building your own is often not a road we want to follow (costs, maintenance, constant tech updates, etc). As he said at the end of the interview, “It seems we touched a pain point here”.
It’s clear that Loic and Geraldine Le Meur have righteously created what’s the “Number 1 Internet Conference in Europe”. If there is one particular characteristic to define Le Web (web, twitter, facebook, youtube) is that it is a huge networking machine, with the 2010 edition attracting around 3,000 attendees from 60 countries (mostly European but with a good dose of Americans and a few Asians and Middle-Easterns).
Le Web is less about what happens on stage–with its ongoing parade of entrepreneurs, managers and web-stars–and more about the networking and deal-making that takes place elsewhere around the venue (this year dislocated in 3 buildings of the Les Docks center).
Marco Montemagno (blog, twitter) followed the live streaming of Le Web Paris 2009 and was terribly bored. He’s no ordinary spectator though. Montemagno is an Italian technology speaker & evangelist, web entrepreneur, TV host… in a few words a 360 degree communicator that has been running an “internet evangelizing show” throughout Itally called Codice Internet. As most true-heart entrepreneurs, he likes to create (as opposed to destroy) so he compiled a list of 19 suggestions to improve Le Web.
I attended Le Web 2009 and shared many of Marco’s concerns so I decided to re-publish some of his points and build up on top of them. Before going on I warmly recommend you to first read Marco Montemagno’s original article: Why watching LeWeb2009 (and 95% of the conferences) is so boring: 19 things to change
“I started asking myself how it’s possible for a video to be so boring if the speakers and moderators are top level in their business, the content is rich and full of information, the online streaming was excellent and the room was full?” Marco Montemagno
The 19 suggestions issued by Montemagno can be grouped in 3 blocks that are part of the global “event experience”: Format, Show and Interaction. To maintain the correspondence between my comments and those of Marco I will indicate between brackets -like this (1), (2), (3), etc – the link between his suggestions and mine.
The Format is the structure that holds your event upright and makes it stand out (or not) in the city of skyscrapers made by other events. Like with a building, many elements are at play: design (looks, user experience, etc), functionality, location (venue), the content (who works inside the building)… Marco writes “LeWeb2009 has amazing content ‘served’ in a conference format that’s 30 years old” (1)