People, technology and life

Tag: leweb12

My second day of LeWeb

Marko Ahtisaari meeting with bloggers

Ok, LeWeb is great. You might have figured that out by reading my previous post. But I love it. Unfortunately, due to what I am doing at LeWeb, I find I have much less time to write blog posts than I would like to. So I decided to just give you a quick recap of some of the things that made my day yesterday.

As LeWeb warmed up for the second day, I sat down with a startup that pitched their service to me. It was a good conversation and they told me that they left with a great view on how to improve their startup’s strategy. Later that morning I was at the main stage long enough to see Marko Ahtisaari launch the new Nokia 620. Soon after, I was talking to the Nokia crew and Marko. It was great to work out a way to have Marko spend half an hour with the official bloggers of LeWeb. It was a great session where bloggers could ask any questions and Marko answered all of them. Regardless of how difficult they were. Then I met a friend who wanted to pitch her startup to Robert Scoble. Having made it happen, that left me time for a walking pitch with another startup after which I made my biggest LeWeb mistake so far. We sat down in the hallway for about 5 minutes so he could show me their service on his laptop and we talked about live blogging. A guy across from us got interested and he was included in the conversation. I saw his face and I distinctly remember seeing him before. So I told him that I was sure I had to know him, but that I had no clue what his name was. After a while he introduced himself to the other guy as “Matt” and it dawned on me. I had not recognized Matt Mullenweg of Automattic and WordPress. Ooops. Even though we had dinner with a small group of people in 2010. That is what you get if you are running around like mad all day. And it was going to stay that way, because before the demo was finished, I was joined by the industrial designer of the Lumia 620 and some of the technical minds behind it. They spent another 45 minutes with the official bloggers to show the new devices and explain why certain choices were made in the design process. But what struck me most was the passion and enthusiasm of the team. They know Nokia has lost a lot in the smartphone market, but for each of them personally, that what drives them to try to build the best phones they can think of.

To be honest, the two hours after that just flew with people that wanted to meet and making connections between various people that I believe can work together to achieve great things. It is awesome to see how happy people are when you can put them together with other great people.

At the end of the day, I fell into a chair up in our blogger lounge to unwind and hear how bloggers enjoyed their day. And really, it was just great to be in a chair for more than five minutes for the first time since 9am.

I hope that you will have as inspiring a day today as I had yesterday. If you have questions about LeWeb, let me know. I’ll try to answer them. If you want to be inspired about social media, look up Ramon DeLeon. While I was writing this, he did an awesome presentation of what they have done for six Domino’s Pizza in Chicago. I am not sure when the presentation will be out on the YouTube channel, but when it is, you need to watch it.

Do you blog/podcast/vodcast etc? Register to be an official LeWeb’12 blogger now!

Yes, we are gearing up for LeWeb Paris again. Personally, I am looking forward to visiting one of the greatest conferences in Europe. And the great thing is that you can be there too. Obviously I want to encourage everyone to buy tickets, but if you are a blogger, you might have another way.

If you think you can add unique coverage to LeWeb, then you might be the blogger we are looking for. If you love writing about conferences and spreading the word on everything you have heard, then you might be the blogger/podcaster/vodcaster/etc we are looking for for LeWeb.

What will LeWeb’12 be about? Watch this video, then go on reading.

What do we expect of official bloggers? We are looking for people that:
Have a passion for content and reporting;
Commit to attending and covering the conference (it’s in English) on their blog (any language);
Have significant reach and influence inside their community.
And naturally, they have to have a proper, publicly accessible and established blog or postcast. And by the way, having huge numbers of followers on whatever social network does not make you a blogger. Blogging does.
(An official blogger will receive tickets to LeWeb’12 for free. Every blogger will need to cover their own expenses for visiting the conference.)

Stephanie Booth, Frédéric de Villamil and myself will be going over all submissions as they come in. This takes time. Please allow us to take that time. Each blogger we select to become an official LeWeb’12 blogger, will be contacted by us personally and directly.


And now, sign up if you feel you meet our criteria!

How do non profits use social media

This was a conversation with Roberto Kusabbi from the British Heart Foundation and Euan Semple from Voice. Really, this is an overview of a number of things that have been discussed. And it includes a number of suggestions and experiences that will be very beneficial to you if you are looking to use social media for a non profit organization.

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF), they put social first. They do not consider it as a bolt on at the end, but everything needs to be centered around being social. That makes a huge difference in how you create the things you share, but also your ad campaigns for instance.

One of the biggest challenges Voice has found with their clients who are non profits is that it is hard to sell the idea into the organization. Even though as a charity you have a unique audience that is looking to connect to you, it is sometimes quite difficult to help the organization to get a vision to engage with people outside. And to be honest, it can be a quite daunting situation if you are a 14 year old that they have asked to tweet on behalf of a charity. Mainly because you were the only one they knew who was using social media tools in the first place. And if something goes wrong, people can jump on you from great height. These are the issues that need to be addressed.

You cannot just add a brand name, you need to add value to the community. That is the main thing for BHF to gain traction in their recent campaigns. And for them the promoted tweets were great value for money. Six months later they are still going over the data. And as a result of their campaign they have found 60 people that have said that after seeing the video on Facebook and Twitter, they have saved people’s lives. That for them has been absolutely incredible.

For Voice, another challenge that exists is that the level of experience of their client groups have is very basic. And their clients are very cautious about getting involved. Another reason for that is because it is harder to get budget allotted to online engagement. And then there are lots of questions to be answered. What to do, who to talk to, how does it work etc. Most of the people have not used social media on a personal level, so that creates a whole new situation. They get into new relationships that they have not been in before.

Roberto says that the biggest challenge is the culture within the organization. To be successful you need belief. Non profits are not built to be social internally. We are lucky at BHF, but that is what we see. You need to have clear leadership on the inside, so you can be social to the outside. If you use it well, you can do a lot more work through social media, but it is a cultural shift. Social is by definition quick and spontaneous. You can plan campaigns and other things, but it is important to be quick and spontaneous.

Euan shares that his dream is that everyone within a non profit can blog. There are many things that are intriguing to the outside that you take for granted on the inside. And it is the mundane that is interesting for the outside world. Luckily we see that more and more non profits realize that they have been hiring media companies to thick boxes, but that they need to more than that to be successful. Roberto jumps in and says that even though the content strategy is not sexy to talk about, it is vital to have good content. Once you are on the way with that you can create new content together with the people around you.
Euan reminds of statement Halley Suitt wrote which said “content is a pimp word”. Having a content strategy often sets off a bell for him as it can also mean you are feeding content into a machine. And that is the antithesis of personal contact.

Both agree that it is easier for newer organizations to integrate social. It is a lot harder to make that cultural shift for organizations that have been around for longer. And that is probably the biggest problem for non profits. A great bonus for charities, is that commercial organizations need to look for an ideal to sell, but charities have that ideal ready. That does give them an advantage.

The last question asked is whether they will be using Kickstarter for fundraising? But that is a route that is not new and other have done that already. Kiva is also a very good platform to raise funds on as that makes it easier to see where your money goes.
As a last addition Roberto adds that gaming companies are interesting to non profits as well. Not to just use the fashionable term gamification, but it can be very beneficial to apply game techniques to what non profits are doing.

Socialbakers; be socially devoted

The most important two words by Jan Rezab for his presentation were “socially devoted”. In all honesty, social media marketing so far has been mostly broadcasting. Companies are sending out their messages proactively, but they are still just sending out their messages. The interaction also needs to be social reactive. A conversation has two sides that means that both speak and listen. That part has been missing in many cases. Right now Emarketer says 80 or 90% of the companies are active in social media. But only a very small percentage of them is doing it well. At LeWeb Socialbakers presents a study that they have done for Facebook, but they intend to gather similar figures for other networks as well. From the figures they have gathered, they have deducted three main points that you can use as guidelines to becoming more socially devoted as a company.
They have put those three points into a very basic manifest:
1. Opening yourselves. Do not close your Facebook wall, or close your profile be open.
2. Responding to fan questions. At least 75% of questions needs to be answered
3. Communicating in a timely fashion. The industry standard is 28 hours to give an answer, which is much too long. You will not wait in a store for an answer for 28 hours.

Then Jan Rezab shows a couple of examples. Claro answers 90% of its question within 19 minutes. They are doing well. But If we look at car companies, that are effectively social companies, they answer just 17% of their customers’ questions.
Shockingly, Disney, American Express, Xbox, Skype, British Airways, McDonalds all have their walls on Facebook closed. What are they afraid of? Why do they not dare to answer the questions of their customers?
Through quick response and being socially devoted, Vodafone UK didn’t just cut the amount of questions through the regular channels, but they made 1 million Pounds in upsales. That can be completely assigned to being socially devoted to their customers.
Having a personal touch in social media is important. There are companies that are trying to automate the process like they have automated the phone services but really, do not automate it. You cannot automate real human interaction and the result comes from real human interaction.
Interestingly enough, with gains at close reach, we still see that 70% of all fan questions are not responded to. Which is strange if we factor in the efforts we make in marketing. We spend a lot of money to get people interested. But once we have them interested or once they have become a client, they are socially ignored. In 70% of the cases they do not receive answers to their questions. And that is a great challenge for companies.

If you want to read up on Socialbakers manifest, read up on it on And if you want to, you can help to extend the manifest.

Startup, pitch passionately and relevantly

Over today I have seen a number of startup presentations and I have two startups come to me to pitch. Naturally, I love that. I love startups. However, there are times when you had better think your story over again. There are multiple questions that people will ask you over and over again. And if you are smart, you include them in your pitch.

I know this has been written about hundreds of times. But there are so many things that you can improve on your pitch.

Tell everyone your unique selling point. If you are not original and you are not able to communicate that to me. I will not use you. And neither will others.
Be confident in your product. Half of your presentation is how you present your pitch to me. If you are confident, I will be more confident in your product.
Check who is doing the same thing. Really, if you have not found them, you probably have not been looking hard enough.
Be social. Two startups I talked to today said that social network integration was on their roadmap for the future. That tells me that I cannot share it with my friends, nor will that bring my friends into your app. Bad thing. This is not a point on your horizon. This is something to do NOW before your startup dies.
Get your business model right. If your business model is completely based on advertising, think again. If you believe that your users are not willing to pay for your product, that means it is not worth anything to them. Rethink it.
Be original. Both in presentation as well as the way in which you present it. If you are passionate about your product, how on earth can your presentation be boring?
Don’t overcomplicate things. Both in technology as well as in wording. Yes, I want to know what it does. But no, I do not want to know the scripting language of your engine explained to me in seven syllable words.
Be clear. Of course you have a unique new technology that will able to beat your competition. But by all means, tell me how. Just saying that it exists is not enough. If it is defines what will become the user experience or if it defines your future value, name it. In simple terms, but name it.
Don’t kill your own story. Wordings like “we are completely unique”, “nobody else does it this way” or even statements like “Google and Facebook have not discovered this kind of” or “we can do this better than Google and Facebook because they are too big” will kill your story. People will shake their heads or even laugh and discard you as a dreamer that cannot be taken seriously as you don’t know what you are talking about.
Practice your pitch. You need to be able to tell me in 30 seconds what you are doing and I need to be able to understand in the same time. If you cannot tell me in 30 seconds, there is a fair chance you don’t have it clear yourself. So, practice. And not just to your friends or your mirror, but find your local Ikea. Why? Go stand next to the elevator and ask people if you can explain your business to them and that you just want to hear from them whether they have understood it. Don’t sell anything to them. Just have them listen and tell you whether they understand it. Because if they can, you do.
Focus on your strong points. Even if you only have two, that might just be your unique and minimum viable product. Twitter only had 140 character sharing and Instagram did a slightly different cut out for mobile pictures that got hit by a filter. That is not much, but it was enough. And they went from there.

By all means, go. Have ideas. Turn them into quick concepts and build them. And as that is a passionate period for you, please keep that passion alive for your presentation.

Jamie cooking up pictures at LeWeb London

Picture from LeWeb London by Jamie Oliver on Instagram

Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram and Jamie Oliver, cook, telivision personality and avid social media user took the stage together this morning. And the whole story of the way in which they know each other started when Kevin found a sneaky way of putting the Instagram app on Jamie Oliver’s phone about a year ago. And the next day he started to use it in his daily life.

Through the pictures he shares, Jamie sees that some things work better than others and some work more easy than others. And that is the way in which he uses it. He shares from his passion and then it is good to see when the things work and when they don’t. He took a picture of him being eaten by zombies one day, and that definitely didn’t work, so he immediately took it off. That is the reason why he likes Instagram. Like he says, when you have a 6 year old nephew who is using it and a dad who is in his sixties and he is using it, then you know it is good.
For Jamie the success of pictures can be seen in the comments and the likes. Apparently nobody in his audience seems to be interested in LeWeb as that only 400 people liked it in 20 minutes. He uses Instagram as a vehicle to share his story and to share moments in his live. And the good part is that he can use it to update his twitter and his Facebook.

A while ago Jamie had to do a speech at Harvard and he just posted a written message on Instagram and he got lots of response. He did the same with a job opening he had and he looks at the 10 hours after it was posted. And he got 300 applications.
The good thing is that it takes him about 15 minutes a day to scan all his responses. So, that is not that bad. His attitude on it is that we are all novices at this stuff and what really seems to work is emotion and recipes. The recipes obviously are due to the audience that follows Jamie. And lots of people are getting his recipes for free. Just before coming on stage, he talked to a women doing makeup and she never bought a book, but she got the recipes from the internet for free. He laughs about it. “It is not good news as I am about publishing, but we need to find out how that works.”

Right now they have a team of 40 people who run And he is an avid user of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Obviously if you have lots of followers and lots of people commenting, you always have jerks there. The good thing about Facebook is that you can just get rid of the comments that are just crap, not true etc. A form of curation is possible. At Twitter this is not possible. And there is a trouble in that, because people will say stuff that isn’t true and other people will pick up on it and quote it as the truth at some later point. And then you will need to get into defending that.

Another reason why Jamie loves Instagram is that when people express themselves through pictures, they share more beautiful things. And when people share in words, it will usually be less beautiful. It can get ugly.

A great example of what online did for Jamie Oliver is that at some point, the FDA in the USA allowed food that was supposed to be processed into dog food, to re-enter the food industry and to be processed for consumers as long as it has 25% of something in there. Obviously that makes it very low quality. So Jamie started to run stories about it online, and the attitude of the American people changed. That had an impact that was so big that in the end, McDonalds pulled out and after they went, everyone else stepped out as well. Jamie has an attitude towards sharing things. If you give the public good information, they usually make good decisions. And this shows.

Jamie really things the future is digital. “I really, really do.” A great example is the way in which the Food Revolution went from a small office to all over the planet just through digital. We have been talking about the fact that TV is going to be changing a lot in the future and then nothing happened. But his idea is that a lot will change in that respect in the coming three years.

When Loïc asked Jamie what his advice was for the entrepreneurs in the audience, Jamie laughs. He points to the popular page at Instagram. “If you want to be successful, just look at the popular page. It is boobs, pretty girls and dogs. So if you want to be big, do something about boobs, pretty girls and dogs.” But then he goes on saying that it is more important to do genuine sharing. It has to be genuine. That means it is about sharing your passion. For him personally, he does not give a success story on how he set up his business. “Genuinely, everything I do is purely driven by creative ideas. If they are good enough they will be successful and it will make money, if they aren’t, they don’t.” He does note the difference between San Francisco and London where when you walk into a coffee bar in SF, you will always hear new ideas buzzing around you. It is a melting pot of ideas. and that is just not as present in London.

Signing off, Jamie shares that if you want to talk to him, you are much more likely to get in touch with him through Instagram than through any other medium. “And thanks for invading LeWeb with an army of French. But for heavens sake, please make the croissants a bit better next time.”

LeWeb London has started

Yes, we are on our way. LeWeb has just kicked off at its new London location. Over 1400 people from 50 countries have gathered. If you weren’t able to make it to London, don’t worry, you can follow everything from the comfort of your home. Check out the new live stream at

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