I attended Le Web 3.0 in Paris the past two days. That’s a photo of me posing a question to Shimon Peres this morning. Altogether I thought it was a terrific conference. The organizer, Loic Le Meur, brought together people from 36 countries, many of whom are entrepreneurs. I also gave a presentation today about how to turn a blog (like Muniwireless) into a vertically integrated media business.
Surprises of the day were the impromptu appearances of Shimon Peres, Francois Bayrou and Nicolas Sarkozy (the latter two are candidates for president in France).
Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Israel showed up in the morning to talk about how the Internet has liberated us from having to remember a lot of things (just do a search on Google or Wikipedia). Why waste time and effort trying to remember something when you have Google? He believes that the task of people is to create, imagine and discover, not to remember. He also discussed the decline of the nation state which is based upon an agricultural economy that in turn relied upon boundaries and keeping out people from your land (for which one needed armies). When the source of wealth is intangible property (such as patents, copyrights and trademarks), why does one need borders? What is an army supposed to defend? No government today controls the Internet or the money flows between individuals and companies; they can barely control immigration. Individuals are becoming creators of ecosystems where wealth creation relies less upon the accumulation of tangibles like land and gold; rather to create wealth you have to be able to exploit ideas.
Francois Bayrou and Nicolas Sarkozy
At least Bayrou gave some of his presentation in English and fielded questions from the audience. Sarkozy came in the mid-afternoon with bodyguards and staff, and lectured the international audience on his view of the importance of the Internet… in French! Sarkozy speaks English but he refused.
Not only was he unbelievably rude (addressing an international audience in French as if they were subjects of the French monarchy), he also just left the conference right after his speech. The audience did not get to ask him any questions, unlike Peres or Bayrou. Sarkozy marched in like Louis XIV and marched out like the Sun King followed by his retinue. It was clear to all of us that his presentation was purely for the French media and the presidential campaign. He used the conference to further his political ambitions.
To read other blogs covering the Sarkozy fiasco, just to go technorati.com and do a search on leweb3 and sarkozy.