You rock dude ! I wanted to write a long post about him. About what is being said about the man, the LeWeb3 conference. I started 2 posts, and I stopped.
I think the defence is best left to the man himself, and he has just done so here.
In a nutshell I however wanted to say this:
- I've known Loic in a professional context since 1998: he has never changed; entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, charismatic, incredibly energetic. He does more with his time and will than most of us. I respect fully his recent statement that he personnally supports the right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidential election. I myself have called to vote for the left-wing candidate Ségolène Royal. For full disclosure according to the blogosphere etiquette (although I don't feel I need to), my company vpod.tv was one of the sponsors of LeWeb3
- no other Internet conference in Europe this year has brought in such great quality of networking, of participants, of blue-chip sponsors, of press attention, of global attention. Loic has almost single-handedly brought the spirit of Silicon Valley to Paris for 2 days. For those who can not afford to fly to San Francisco this was a unique opportunity, thanks to Loic.
- I was GLAD that the level of discussion went up at this conference. The Internet is not about blogs only; it includes virtuals worlds (WoW, 2nd life), tools (VoIP, Wikis), many stakeholders (sociologists, education professionals...); hence leWeb3 was a great name. That someone brought a Nobel Peace prize to talk to us is utterly outstanding. That he indeed managed to bring in 2 front-runners to the presidential election in France next year is amazing: that Loic got them to talk about their vision of the Internet; and at least for one of the 2 candidates, you can say that that one hasn't got a clue as he could have talked about bananas or education in the same words (at least LeWeb3 was the occasion to show it to all). Thanks again to Loic, all stakeholders were united in the same place. I also noticed that noone left the conference room during the politician's sessions, although there were plenty of other opportunities to do so (networking rooms, startup corner, sponsor booths...)
- I can't imagine that the top 1 search on technorati is LeWeb3. Can't people focus all of this negative energy into a positive one, and talk for instance about the campaign against poverty such as www.one.org or Blogging for a Better world, an initiative that was born at this conference (a participant offered to donate $100,000 + Shimon Peres offered to be on the board) ? Bloggers have wanted for a long time to become actors of a new world, instead of just being witnesses. Now is the time to start acting and not just booing. If some among us stand up and take on this endeavour, then we should support them, as it is a very difficult task, and not bash them.
- almost all VCs I know attended the conference, which is a BIG win and move from last year, as they are an essential ingredient of the Internet ecosystem. They are not visionnaries we all know that, that's why we have entrepreneurs. But entrepreneurs most often than not, need capital to realize their vision and dreams. LeWeb3 was a great place to foster these encounters
- finally, interestingly, most business models adressed at LeWeb3 (hence of the current entrepreneurial generation) are ad-based. I did not see any large brand, ad agency, ad specialist at the conference. Missing in action? Next time, we need them to face the entrepreneurs, and double-check that our industry is going the right way.
I don't think Loic can go back to being the EMEA guy for SixApart and keep on promoting blogs. He's been influenced too much by his entrepreneurial life (he's create about 4 companies with a 3-year cycle), about the Davos conferences he's been attending in the past 5 years, about his regular appearances on radio and TV in France, about his quest for a more entrepreneurial and active society. Don't get me wrong, he's done a phenomenal job at promoting this technology and his company. He really deserves a lot of credit for the work achieved. But I believe he's grown out of his job.
He's recently been twice managing Internet feedback at 2 rallies for the Sarkozy presidential race. You know I don't like this politican and I don't support him. But Loic does. And this is a fantastic opportunity for him, maybe once in a lifetime opportunity to give a hand to the guy you support. So if I were Loic, I'd go full time for Sarkozy (I need to find help on the Socialist front to fight him them :p). And after the campaign is over this summer, find himself a job were he can have a strong impact on European society and entrepreneurship. The guy is 34. He's got at least 30 years of public life to give us. Choose well Loic. Do something that you really want to do, that is meaningful. You were not chosen to be a Global Leader of Tomorrow at Davos for nothing.
As you once said, power comes with obligations and duties. And you also said "ideas don't matter, only excution does". We definitively need more folks like you in Europe! Help us foster this new generation.