A day, one week from LIFT

Here is the day I just had:

  • 8h: Meeting at Hotel Intercontinental to hammer out last minute details with a LIFT partner
  • 9h: Meeting to prepare press conference
  • 9h45: LIFT08 press conference starts, we welcome around 15 journalists, more than twice the number of people who showed up for LIFT06.
  • 11h30: Press conference ends, I open my gmail to find 55 messages
  • 12:30: lunch
  • 14: Final meeting at the CICG to check everything is fine.
  • 15h30: Interview on World Radio Switzerland, followed by a meeting to review potential stories in the program.
  • 17h: Email and accreditation of journalists.
  • 18h: LIFT Nouvo debate starts, third time I talk about LIFT in public, I try to avoid repeating the same stuff all over again.
  • 20h30: I listen to my voice mail to find the RSR calling for an interview. I call back and it’s (fortunately) too late.
  • 20h45: Cool, we have 499 participants! I update the website with the latest info (workshops, venture night, etc…)
  • 22h: Review of the program before it goes to print.
  • 0h43: Still reviewing, train tomorrow at 8, and I just thought I would blog this just to show what kind of work it takes to put together LIFT. And I am only one member of a team of 25 people.

Have a good night ๐Ÿ™‚

A final word on coComment

Tonight at the LIFT Nouvo debate (I had a great time by the way, you should really come next time if you weren’t there!) I got a comment from an entrepreneur who proposed his company in the LIFT venture night, and he asked me to clarify my role in coComment. As coComment – a company I helped get off the ground – won a spot in LIFT’s prestigious venture night, he was wondering whether I had any conflict of interest in the whole process.

This made me realize that since I left everyone’s favorite comment tracking system, I haven’t really talked about it much, so here are some needed clarifications:

  • I was a cofounder at coComment in the sense that I am half of the idea, Nicolas Dengler being the other half. At the time coComment happened I was a consultant hired by Swisscom, Nicolas an employee, and coComment was not a company. So actually nobody was a founder in the real sense of the term. But we were considered founders.
  • I left coComment in August 2006 (18 months ago…) without having ever possessed any form of equity. Cocomment formally became a company months after I left. Since then I have not been involved in coComment in any way, nor I have received any form of salary or payment from coComment.
  • The fact that cocomment is present at the LIFT venture night is a testimony to the objectivity of the whole process;-) Seriously, I had absolutely no influence of the choice of this or any other venture to be selected by the panel. coComment is there by its own merits and the fact that the panel voted it there.

The coComment story has been both amazing and tough. Amazing for all the people I met (a special thought for Nicolas Dengler & Marco Chong here) and all the lessons I learned, tough for having to leave my baby after months of hard work. I obviously had other plans for the service I helped start than leaving the company, but that is now part of history, and this decision involved so many elements and people it would be a mistake to judge it quickly and draw easy conclusions. I wish great success to coComment, mainly to be able to keep my bragging right about how creative I can sometimes be ๐Ÿ˜‰

I often do so many things that I forget to pass important information, and this was one very unclear situation since August 2006. My apologies for that, and now stay tuned for more cool web projects coming soon….

Uploads, the personal computer, and why you should and should not buy apple stocks

The Macbook air showed that the whole computer industry functions around one factor: upload speed. Follow me a bit here.

What do you do with your computer? You probably work a lot, writing email, juggling spreadsheets and word documents, browsing facebook wallstreetjournal.com. Then there is your personal space made of conversations, websites, but also pictures, videos or music. That is why you call it a personal computer after all.

Back in 1995, Microsoft got really annoyed by Netscape when the Redmond giant realized that the web browser was set to become an operating system in itself. To use Gmail or Writely (an online equivalent ofย  Word, now bought by Google) all you need is a browser, and you don’t care if it runs on top of Microsoft, Linux or Apple software.

So it is not interesting to fight on this ground. It is a lost war. What the operating system makers need to do is to focus on two things: what people do not want to upload, and what people can not upload. Why? Because it is everything that happens outside of the web browser, and in that sense it is where you can make a difference, you can separate yourself from the pack.

One company seems to have understood that: Apple. What do you get out of the box if you buy a mac? A web browser (Safari) but no office suite. You go online or download the free Neo Office for that. Then you get tools to manage your digital assets (iTunes for music, iPhoto, iMovies, etc…), i.e. these things you can not upload because of network limitations.

And the mac will also take care of the stuff you do not want to share because they are too personal, you have encryption (Filevault) and automatic backups (Time Machine). That is what you call focusing on users needs.

Now there is a next step coming. Uploads are getting easier with bandwidths widening slowly. More of the things you had to do on your computer (like edit a picture or a video) are moving online. Ask Rodrigo of vpod.tv for a demo of their next product and you will be blown away. You can edit video, create transitions, add overlays of information, all online and in real time. Flabbergasting. Imovies and Photoshop are now coming to the browser.

The tasks we could not do online because of technological limitations will soon be available as web pages. A next paradigm is coming, and again, who gets ready for that? The macbook Air! It is a lightweight terminal with reasonable performance (it runs a web browser very well) and a small 60GB hard drive (about half the size of what you get on the cheapest PC).

This is the computer for the next evolution, when everything you do is online, and the personal computer has to become a light, reliable, safe, autonomous and friendly terminal able to connect to the web and run a browser. Apple is getting in position to reign on that market, taking the lead in almost every dimension that matters (interface, size, security, communication). That is why you should buy Apple stocks.

And the reason not to buy these stocks? The fact that this company loses 50% of its value if Steve Jobs has a car accident tomorrow. Who said investment was a gimmie ๐Ÿ˜‰

Eight things I think I think

Every time I do a personality test I end up on the intuitive side of things, not on the sensing side. The MBTIs the former-big-5-consultant that I am had to take were always filing me under “imaginative and conceptual”, not “practical and organized”. So I tend to feel things without really being able to explain why. In the past I would wait until the image would stop being blurred, and write about it after a long maturation process.

But I am out of time these days, and after all it’s fun, so here are the things I think I think (but can’t really tell you why):

  1. Celebrity will soon be perceived as a disease. Young stars will receive government funded psychological treatment, and governments will have to create services dedicated to teach celebs how to deal with things like the loss of privacy or control of their identity.
  2. Google rank will become a political argument. Instead of saying “this is why I am right” political leaders will say “type ‘Iraq war’ in google and look at how my speech comes up first”. Google will be perceived as the ultimate organizer of relevance, and as nobody can control it it will provide the needed crowdibility (that’s a new word I just made up) politicians have lost. If you are on top of google you are right, and you are right because the population put you there.
  3. Strikes will follow wars and happen online. It makes so much sense. Web War I proved that you can impair a government with online activities, and unions will need to stop bothering clients who have more and more tools to hit them back and influence public opinion with blogs and cell phone cameras.
  4. Work will be an socially accepted reason for divorce. “I am leaving you for my job”. Work is becoming so intensive and personal, private and professional lives are merging so much, so more and more people will find the level of socialization they need at work, a much easier to control and therefore tempting environment.
  5. Our whole economic system will be reinvented around the correct assumption that people do not create for money but for fun. That day copyright and intellectual property will stop making sense, and the 99% of the inhabitants of this planet who create for pleasure and not for business will finally be treated fairly.
  6. Somebody will get stabbed for speaking too loud with his mobile phone in a public place. Every time I am in a situation where somebody disrespects an entire bus to say hi to his grandmother, I find the general hate level is becoming higher and higher.
  7. Entrepreneurs will equal adventurers. Where is the excitement these days? Crossing the Atlantic is so twentieth century. Entrepreneurs will be among the cool dudes, hit the Jay Leno show and get coverage in tabloids.
  8. Presence applications will impact sociality in a negative way. Twitter users will stop talking about their life to others, not knowing if the person received updates he or she sent over Twitter or Facebook. Presence applications will create a fear to send the same signal twice. (this one I write to make sure you guys comment on this post ๐Ÿ˜‰

Why LIFT costs what it costs

I have been podcasted by Thierry Weber at Leweb3 and we discussed LIFT08 (in French).

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We talk about the European alliance, the new formats, why the entry price went up (Thierry told me I never really explained why, sorry about that I will do an english video one of these days), and reveal one of this year’s coolest activity: the fact that we will write a magazine at LIFT with content created by the participants. Live. You will leave the conference center with 8 (yes EIGHT) editions of a LIFT magazine that will be printed rightat the conference and contain, among other things, your blog posts and pictures.

Three LIFT events in three weeks

LIFT lab is involved in the organization of 3 events in the next 3 weeks. See you in Sierre or Geneva innext three weeks!

Communicating objects and mobile : the futur of the internet?

January 25 @ TechnoArk Sierre

The TechnoArk will host an event (in French) where we organized two presentations by Bruno Giussani and Frederic Kaplan to discuss the future of the Internet, communicating objects and mobile applications. More and (free) registration on rezonance.ch.

Rendez-vous Nouvo-LIFT

January 29, 18-20h @ Tรฉlรฉvision Suisse Romande, 20, quai Ernest-Ansermet, Geneva

In partnership with our friends of the TSR, we organize an informal panel to discuss the big trends of 2008. Nicolas Nova, myself and Marc Laperrouza will be present to discuss with the audience the big changes expected for 2008. Registration is free and happens by emailing melanie.bader@tsr.ch

LIFT08

February 6-7-8 @ Multiple locations.

The best conference we have ever done is in three weeks now. We have prepared the best ever social events, an amazing setup at the conference center (a room full of sofas to chill out, an luminous installation with 20 beamers projecting images on the walls, games, artistic installations, the swiss television to capture the speeches, a nice buffet for lunch, etc…), a surprising and inspiring program (latest speakers announced: a guy who captures solar energy in space and beams it back to earth), and many many surprises. We have around 200 tickets still available, time to register folks! More info on liftconference.com