Lift10 program in 140 chars

I hope to see you at Lift! We have an amazing program (20 keynotes, 30 workshops, 10 open stages), an amazing Lift experience (organized by the Geneva University of Art and Design) and a startups zone prepared with the cluster Alp ICT.

Here are the 20 keynotes, each presented in less than 140 chars:

  • Jamais Cascio, Ethical Futurist, why prospective matters and how to anticipate the future.
  • Rahaf Harfoush, New Media Strategist on the Obama Campaign: using Social Media for politics in the US, Iran and elsewhere
  • Yeon-ho Oh, Founder of OhmyNews: the story and future of citizen journalism.
  • Neil Rimer, Investor: Entrepreneurship and investment in today’s world.
  • Olivier Glassey, Social and Political Sciences researcher: myths and realities of online behaviors.
  • Catherine Lottier, TV program foresight specialist: how contents are influenced – or not – by technologies.
  • Amelia Andersdotter, Swedish Pirate Party Representative: how to leverage collective intelligence in politics
  • Mercedes Bunz, New media strategist: what opportunities for media in new technologies?
  • Christian Heller, Post-privacy optimist: the upcoming social norms, and how to navigate them
  • Virginia Mouseler, TV program foresight specialist: future of TV content
  • Felipe Fonseca, Brasilian media activist: hacking to climb the social ladder in Brazil
  • Antonio Casilli, Critical thinker: debunking the myths of the forever young users of digital technologies
  • Julian Zbar, Third culture student: how twenty years old use technologies
  • Richard Murton, Social Media Expert: social media for businesses
  • Russell Davies, Really Interesting Group: printing the internet out and into things
  • Basile Zimmermann, Chinese studies researcher: how china adapts and reinvents western web services
  • Aubrey de Grey, Eternal life advocate: aging as a disease, and how to curate it
  • Katrin Verclas, Mobile services activist: what does and does not work in mobile participation
  • Alice Taylor, Playful experiences builder: using games beyond gaming
  • Jean Burgess, Media studies researcher: the evolution of YouTube usage

Let’s meet

I will be attending the following events in the next two months:

Lift10, 5-7 May, Geneva

Of course 🙂 This promises to be our most ambitious event ever. I said after Lift09 that the next Lift would be different, it was time for a change. And we did just that: we have completely revamped the pace of the conference (workshops every morning, more interactivity, improved open stage and social events), created a startup corner, partnered with the Geneva school of Art and Design to create a scenography and an improved Lift experience. The response has been amazing: new partners like Google, Frog Design, Canal+, Ricard , IMD or Red Bull joined us, and the roster of participants is simply incredible. Entrepreneurs, designers, CEOs, artists, investors, researchers, students, journalists, bloggers, some of the world’s best minds will gather in Geneva in four weeks. A little less than 300 tickets remain as I write this.

Switch conference, 15-16 May, Coimbra

A new conference starting in Portugal. I will speak on entrepreneurship alongside the likes of Charles Spence, Michel Bauwens or Stephanie Booth. I look forward to spending a bit of time in a country I have a soft spot for, and maybe see the old Portuguese gang.

PINC, 18 May, Zeist (Holland)

Founded 11 years by Peter van Lindonk, PINC is constantly cited among the top conferences in Europe. I will gladly attend for the first time, and look forward to hear a co-founder of Kiva, a winner Ig Nobel Prize, a Micronaut, a Neuro-Psychologist and more intriguing (in the Nicolas Nova sense of the word) speaker. 

Frontiers of Interaction, 3-4 June, Rome

I will be animating the balcony interviews where my job will be to keep the audience entertain between talks by making interesting people talk. Should not be too hard: the team has assembled a great line up of speakers, and a conference that happens at a city like Rome has already done half the job right. This will also be an occasion to catch up with Lift07 speaker Sister Judith Zoebelein, who moved on from being the webmaster of the Vatican to new duties.

Transatlantic Network 2020 Summit, 20-25 June, Chicago

I will try to offset the carbon footprint of all those trips by a positive contribution to the Transatlantic Network, an ambitious British Council initiative that aims to “build innovative collaborations between young North Americans and Europeans to address challenges that will define their generation”. The event “will have the overarching theme of Using Technology to Create Social Change and feature programmatic elements that fall under the three TN2020 focus areas of sustainable living, building community resilience and creativity and innovation”.

Lift France 10, with Fing, 5-7 July, Marseille

“Webify the real world!” After gathering 560 people in 2009 around the likes of serial entrepreneur Gunter Pauli, philosopher Dominique Pestre, writer Bruce Sterling and minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Lift France is back in Marseille in the heat of summer: July 5-7, again in the beautiful setting of Le Palais du Pharo. This year Lift France with Fing will explore how the technologies and concepts of the web are changing the real world today and in the future. For the last 20 years, networked technologies have redistributed the power of imagining, evaluating, and acting. No frontier has remained fixed. No longer the world’s factory, Asia has become a major source of innovation. Consumers have also become producers. The divisions between industries or disciplines are being redefined. This change extends far beyond the digital. It transforms manufacturing, learning, cities, public policy, perhaps even our own minds… The Web changes the world – But to what extent? With what limitations? How can it reach its full potential?

Silicon valley = detroit (2/2)

 One last article I read while fighting with the lowly economy class seats of a Finnair cattle transporter plane earlier this week: an interview of Internet pioneer Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal.

Wired: We’ve had tremendous growth in the Internet, which is how you made your fortune. Why not look there?

Thiel: Obviously we’ve done well online. But how much more progress is there going to be? How many big new Internet companies are there? In the ’90s we had Netscape, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon. In the past eight years there have been only two: Google and Facebook.

Wired: Twitter?

Thiel: Possibly. Still, the numbers suggest a maturing industry. The Internet may be culturally important, just as the automobile was culturally more important in the ’50s than the ’20s, as we got suburbia and built the Interstate Highway System. But the last successful car company started in the US was Jeep in 1941.


I wrote a post comparing the Silicon Valley to Detroit a little while ago. This makes me think that this old intuition is getting closer to turning into a fact.

Defriendization is the future of social networks

Small is beautiful, time to remove friends overload (“defriend“) from Facebook and other services! Two reasons for that:

  • Socializing does not scale
    I wrote about this earlier (“Openness is difficult to scale“) and you might have heard of Dunbar’s number, “a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships“. After over-adopting social networks as we over-adopt any new technology, we will  push the envelope back (another fundamental trend I believe).

    Clive Thompson explains in a recent Wired column:

    “socializing doesn’t scale. Once a group reaches a certain size, each participant starts to feel anonymous again, and the person they’re following — who once seemed proximal, like a friend — now seems larger than life and remote. […] So the conversation stops.”
    Clive Thompson in Praise of Online Obscurity

  • More friends mean more ads
    Another reason is that, as soon as advertising becomes more aggressive on social networks, each of my friend and “friend” will becomes a reasons for social networks to advertise on me. “John bought this”, “Peter registered for that”, why don’t you do the same? That is the balance Facebook and all its competitors will have to solve.

How is the internet shaping us?

More and more voices are wondering. And the words “addiction” and “detox” are coming quite often in discussions these days. Only a couple of hours ago at the Lift@home workshop on teens and technology, half of the panel of four were confessing to be “seriously addicted to Facebook”. Are we faced with a real (and seriously widespread) issue, or is this another one of these moments where, faced with a radically new balance, we temporarily lose footing while defining the new rules needed to survive life on the social web?

Check this recount of a Facebook and Twitter addict taking three month away from status updates:

This year, in my late-twenties, I set a resolution: for four months, until April 1st, I would turn away from Facebook and Twitter.  I had grown bored, obsessed, bothered, even – I admit it – enamored with my reflection there. […]

“Information systems need to have information in order to run, but information under represents reality.”   I’m not my Facebook profile, nor am I a series of Twitter updates.  And the time I spend on these sites means I have less time to write fiction and converse with people in person, two things that make me feel most alive in the world. […]

The problem of the internet– its power, and the way it’s changing how we live our lives–is a big topic these days.  There’s The Tyranny of Email: The Four-Thousand Year Journey to Your In-Box by John Freeman, and, forthcoming, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.  The internet age is so young that we’re worried, and intrigued, by how it will shape us – we simply have no idea.