Tag Archives: LeWeb

LeWeb a.k.a. the playground for adults: a meeting design case study


A few months ago, I read an article at the Event Manager Blog that said that conferences are the perfect playgrounds for adults. Well, I think LeWeb couldn’t be a better example of that. This was my first time attending this conference (thanks to Conferize who gave away 1 ticket!) and it’s been a truly fascinating experience. I not only learned a lot about the latest technology innovations and met countless of serial entrepreneurs, but also came away with many meeting design ideas.

I believe that LeWeb does many things very well. For starters, it was an almost flawless meeting – despite being a 3,000+ conference, with hectic schedules (some presentations only lasted for 5 minutes!), there were almost no delays and no technical or logistical flaws (that I noticed). It felt more like being in a TV set instead of a conference! In terms of meeting design, I observed quite a few things:

1. Branding: you only need to look at pictures to see their logo all over the place. I’ve probably never seen a logo so many times in a conference. They’re very good at including LeWeb image and colours everywhere, especially close to the stage. So, the logo was inevitably in most of the pictures that were taken. I think that many times, especially for corporate events, we forget about that. But branding is so important if we want to create buzz around the event and build a community! I also loved the design of the stages: lots of mirrors, textiles, sofas and lamps – simple but very classy.

LeWeb logo all over the stage

LeWeb logo all over the stage

Elegant decor for the second stage

Elegant decor for the second stage

2. Impactful beginning: when I do presentations about meeting design, I always say that setting the tone during the first 10 minutes of a conference is key. I’ve experienced it myself many times – if you want your audience to interact, start by asking them to do something. That will set their expectations. At LeWeb they got this right too – they started with a guided meditation for everyone (the auditorium was packed). It was followed by an interview of one of the keynote speakers over breakfast – Loic Le Meur and the speaker were literally having coffee and eating a croissant – simple but caught my attention.

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3. Really dynamic presentation formats: I thought they did a great at combining speaker presentations (no longer than 20 minutes each), panels and interviews. Most of them were actually Q&A panels and interviews, which are very engaging but I don’t see them that often at conferences – and I don’t know why? Besides being engaging, it gives people the chance to ask questions, but also it’s the perfect solution to having a speaker that hasn’t got the best presentation skills. However, I did miss not having time for reflection nor roundtable discussions… but with thousands of delegates, would that work? (To LeWeb’s credit, there were a few small roundtable discussions and workshops running in parallel. I attended a couple of them and they were great). I should also point out that, even though there were over 3,000 attendees, most of the time there were only 2 main sessions going on at the same time. I’ve been to many conferences with far less people and many more sessions. I believe LeWeb’s approach is preferable: many psychological studies say that when we have too many choices, we are often less happy (because of the so-called FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out). Someone told me that at SXSW they have up to 56 sessions in parallel, which is outrageous, although they do have 50,000 delegates. In my opinion, having 2 or 3 choices is enough, so kudos to LeWeb!

4. I missed more facilitated networking – obviously networking is one of the main reasons why people go to LeWeb, but there weren’t any formally structured activities to help me meet who I wanted to meet. So I probably lost many opportunities. Yes, I know you can contact people over the event app but it’d have been nice to have recommendations based on similar interests, for example. Also, most of the sessions had a theatre style seating, which made it difficult to meet people as well.

Main room

Main room

5. The moderators were just GREAT. They used many moderators throughout the 3 days, but the one I saw more often was Loic Le Meur, LeWeb’s founder. He did such a good job at keeping our attention, controlling the time, asking interesting questions and striking a good balance between his questions and the audience’s. I also noticed Loic’s ability for really listening to the speaker and reflect on the content. Unfortunately, that’s not something so common between moderators and facilitators. Perhaps it’s because of his mindfulness daily practice?

6. Well-curated content. I’m not an expert in the topics (mostly technological innovations and start-ups), but I understand the conference is really well thought-after (let’s not forget, though, that the conference fee is 2.500€! I wish I’d had that budget when I was curating conferences!). Nevertheless, hats off to LeWeb for designing a programme that had a perfect flow and mindblowing content. The speaker presentations were also quite consistent in terms of quality, dynamism, attention to slide design, conciseness.

7. As I said before, the logistics were flawless, even the wifi was excellent! I also liked the VIP seats that they had on the stage for press, bloggers, sponsors and speakers. If creating buzz around your event is one of your goals, why not offer to media and bloggers a table, a comfortable chair, a socket and a privileged spot? Another highlight was the exhibition and networking area: it was designed in a way that there were almost no “dead areas” and in between sessions the space was packed. A special mention as well to the food: the catering was excellent, and I could even taste Iberian ham and my favourite French meal, parmentier de canard!

Exhibition and networking area

Exhibition and networking area

Iberian ham at the Spain booth

Iberian ham at the Spanish booth

Parmentier de canard

Parmentier de canard

Finally, here’s a few cool predictions I learned about:

1. Healthcare apps will be the big hit in 2015, as well as crowdsourced /peer-to-peer services like Blablacar, airbnb or drivy. More and more of these startups will go public, and their funding and execution will dictate which start ups win.

2. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web (who was my favourite speaker) had mixed feelings about whether internet will remain neutral or not (the other scenario is that a few corporations and governments will control the information we access). He argued that “the robots are already here“, they are the corporations and in some of them, humans can’t apply for jobs.

3. Wearables will become ubiquitous and will make lots of data available. Some of the fun wearables or so-called “enchanted objects” that we saw are an umbrella that lights up when the weather forecast says it’s going to rain or a wallet that’s connected to your bank account, and it becomes harder to open as you’re running out of money.

4. Driveless cars are coming much more quickly than anyone realizes, perhaps in 5 years they will be mainstream, as well as electric cars. We’ll have different lanes for humans and robots.

5. The rise of the crowd economy: healthcare, corporate, transportation, utilities, cities, trucks, hospitals, police, university lectures – peer-to-peer sharing is now really everywhere.

6. In the future we’ll be able to use technology to “rewrite” the brain and to read someone else’s brain, and know if they’re saying the truth or not.

Truly astonishing stuff for a sublime conference.

As a closing thought: they say that Millenialls spend more money on experiences than on consuming products – so I predict that conferences will be even more on the rise in the near future, as others have also argued. They are the ultimate playground for those who are curious about the world and love meeting like-minded people.

Have you got inspiration from other conferences that you’ve attended? Would love to hear your meeting design ideas!

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Tips from an adopted Parisian to enjoy the city during LeWeb


This week I’ve won a fantastic competition run by Conferize – the prize is 1 ticket to attend LeWeb! As a very curious person and a lover of conferences, I’m overly excited about the opportunity to attend one of the most fresh and forward thinking events in the world.

So I thought that I’d take this opportunity  to write a blog post on what to do in Paris during LeWeb. Now, I’m not French, but I feel like an “adopted” Parisian: I’ve spent a lot of time in this city and for almost 2 years I’ve been working for a Paris-based start-up company, so I come here every month and I hang out with locals. Paris is absolutely one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s so huge that obviously there are a million things to do here, but I’ll share with you my favourite off the beaten path spots and tips for business travellers like you.

Getting around the city and to LeWeb:

First of all, the closest airport to the venue is Charles de Gaulle, in case you don’t have your flight ticket yet! From CDG airport you may take a taxi (check out the discount LeWeb offers here) or the train, which stops in most central train stations. Beware that Uber taxis may be more expensive, because of the conference.  If you arrive via Orly, there are trains but also buses from AirFrance.

One of my favourite things about Parisian airports is that the wifi is fantastic: Barclays offers unlimited wifi for free (there is a paid premium version, but unless you have to do a video conference call, I think you’ll be just fine). Also, here’s a great tip: if you want to bring a nice souvenir, some macarons from Ladurée will always be appreciated! And you can find Ladurée outlets in both Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports.

Ladurée outlet at the airport

Ladurée outlet at the airport

If you’re into running, this is probably not the best time to be in Paris because it’s quite chilly and it rains often. Also, the city has an stunning number of beautiful parks that are perfect for doing sports, however in the winter time they close early, by 5 or 6pm. Therefore, I usually just run in the street or around parks.

Another practical tip: if you run out of toothpaste, need to buy some basic clothes or whatever you left at home, Monoprix is a great place to go: you’ll find many of them around the city.

Places to visit:

As I said, there are many things to see in Paris but here I offer you an alternative plan, popular between locals. A very nice way to spend half a day is to do this tour: first off you start your stroll at the Canal St. Martin, and walk from Gare de l’Est to the Bastille. Then you can spend some time in the 4th, 6th and 7th arrondissements. I especially like Le Marais (the 4th): it’s gorgeous (it’s the oldest quartier in Paris) and it’s full of relaxing cafes and fashionable shops. I also love St. Germain des Pres (the 6th) and the Jardin de Luxembourg, probably one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Also not so far away is the library Shakespeare & Company, where Ernest Hemingway and many other writers have lived. If you’re a book lover, this is your paradise!

Canal St. Martin

Canal St. Martin

Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company

Afterwards you can continue onto the Musée d’Orsay and the Voie sur Berge, which boasts many shops and cafes on top the river. At the Voie sur Berge you may have a drink or two in the famous Rosa Bonheur. And if you still have energy, you can end the trip at the Palais de Tokyo, which hosts amazing contemporary art collections.

Rosa Bonheur in Voie sur Berge

Rosa Bonheur in Voie sur Berge

If you’re into art, you may also want to visit the recently launched Louis Vuitton Foundation, whose building is from architect Frank Gehry. And if you’re feeling Christmassy,  head to the Champs Elysées or the Galeries Lafayette to contemplate their Christmas decorations.

Foundation Louis Vuitton

Foundation Louis Vuitton

Finally, if you want great views of the city without going to the super touristic Eiffel Tower, you can go for a ride with a hot air balloon!

Places to eat:

Not too far from the area where the convention centre is, in the district of Batignolles, there is a charming street called Rue Legendre (closest metro station is La Fourche). This street offers a wide range of nice restaurants famous between locals. One of my favourite ones is an Italian restaurant called Fuxia.

Rue Legendre, Batignolles

But if you want to try authentic French cuisine, I recommend you go to this typical French Bistro called Le Restaurant du Marché. Their food is top quality (my personal favourite is their Parmentier du canard) and the customer service is great. It’s a bit far from the centre of Paris, but you’ll probably not find any tourists there!

Inside the Restaurant du Marché

Inside the Restaurant du Marché

Parmentier du canard

Parmentier du canard

Other restaurants that stand out in Paris are Le Cornichon, Le Cantine du Troquet, Afaria or Sanukiya (best for Japanese ramen). If you’re looking for upscale restaurants, then I recommend Le Chateaubriand or Le Dauphin.

And for a quick bite, la Briochée Doree is a nice alternative to McDonald’s! It’s a large French chain, you’ll find shops in most streets.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and please do let me know if you have any questions!

Enjoy Paris and see you at LeWeb!