It has been my pleasure to interview Jeremiah Owyang at LeWeb this year. At LeWeb 13 London, Jeremiah moved the discussion from the sharing economy to the collaboration economy. A term that I personally like much more, because it encompasses so much more. And that is a much better reflection of the social trend.
On Tuesday, Jeremiah officially launched his new company Crowd Companies on stage at LeWeb. I have included the video below, so you can see the whole presentation and the background on his choice to start his company. As I talked to Jeremiah in London about his ideas on the collaboration economy, I asked him to get back together on Wednesday and do a short video interview on his ideas and his drive to start Crowd Companies.
Jeremiah and myself had been talking before I started the video and I managed to fit in a complete rookie mistake to forget to introduce Jeremiah in the video. Sorry about that.
This is the video of Jeremiah’s talk on stage at LeWeb’13 Paris
Fred Wilson is kicking off the talks at LeWeb. As a VC he is sharing the way in which he is looking at opportunites and how their firm chooses what to invest in. His first statment is one that I absolutely agree on. If you have ready the post I wrote before LeWeb, you will see that I wrote about the fact that I said that society changing is much more important for the next 10 years in technology than the actual technological developments are. And Fred came out and says that they do not think in technologies, but they think in trends. Tech is important, but to him trends in behaviour and society are a lot more important to base their choices on.
The first big macro trend Fred talks about is the move from burocratic hierarchies towards technology driven networks. It is no longer about the hierarchical structure. It is no longer about one person at the top making the decision, then feeding that down through the pyramid to wait for feedback to come back up to help him make more decisions. For a long time, that actually used to be the most efficient way to work. But now we see technology driven networks replace those hierarchies. As an example, Twitter replaces the newspaper. A newspaper is a very bureaucratic product. The content is decided upon by the chief editor of the paper and he filters and decides the content of the things you are reading. That makes it a slow process to produce the news and it also filtered based on the prerferences of the ediitor. And then you have Twitter that allows networks to decide what the news is based on the people they follow, the retweets they do and the way they interact with messages that make it news. News is created by the interest of the crowd and at great speed. The first place we have seen this was in the field of media. But we now see it in hotels with Airbnb and others. We see it with Kickstarter and others. It is in learning with Codecademy and others.
The second big megatrend Fred names is unbundeling. It is a bit about the first trend, but it is even more about how products and services are delivered. In the traditional world, it was expensive to get things packaged up and delivered. But now we are unbundeling that and you can buy products that are much more focussed on what you need. And you pay just for the things you need or want. The product is usually better as well, as it is created and provided to you by people that are doing the things they are best at. Which means that you get the economic news from the guys that specialize in economic news. Or the sports news from the people that are specialized in sports news.
Fred also names the banks as one of the examples of this. And I completely agree with him on that. In fact, back in 2009 I was on a table with a number of bankers in Zürich, Switzerland with a number of bankers and they stated that we would never be able to do without the banks. And at the time I told them that we could if we were to pick separate banking functions from separate startups through the internet. At the time they thought that I was kidding. And now Fred Wilson also states that the unbundeling of banking services has started. You used to go to a bank and then get everything from that single bank. Now you might do international payments through PayPal, get money for a project through Kickstater etcetera. You can now pick parts of what the bank has been providing you as a complete service from other service providers. The same goes for education where you no longer need to have the building and all the equipment for research, but you can also bring those things together from various sources and get to a better result than you could have before.
The third trend is that we are all nodes on the network. We are all connected to each other all of the time through our smartphones. Look at Uber where we are a node on the network and so is the driver. You can connect together and get a ride. Or get transportation. And that will change the way things and people are going to be transported in the future. And that is the same thing with many new services.
Fred obviously sees more opportunities. One of them is on money and new money systems like Bitcoin. Another opportunity will be the way devices are going to monitor our health and wellness and change the way in which we live our lives and improve on our health. Another opportunity is in big data. However, Fred has a very different angle than what we would normally hear. Fred calls big data the pollution of the information age. Our data leakage through online services is also what allows organisations to spy on us. And as trust and identity are big things, or at least should be, this is something that we ought to be aware of. If we would have realized at the start of the industrial revolution that polution would cause so much damage, we would have addressed it from the start. Yet we are allowing Twitter and Facebook our identity services on many other services. We are allowing data leakage that way. So Fred sees a huge opportunity for a identity system that is set up in the same way that Bitcoin has been set up. Not controlled by anyone, but a place where we are the one that controls our own identity and the related data. He has not seen that solution yet, but he is looking forward to finding it.
For the first time, Guy Kawasaki has made it to the LeWeb stage. Fortunately, Loïc and Guy reached an agreement that he is going to be back next year. And that is a good thing as this session had great content and it also as a great laugh.
Guy looked back on the past 10 years and said that back then everyone said that myspace was going to be the operating system of the internet. And some 7 or 8 years ago nobody really thought we needed twitter. In fact, I personally remember a conversation I had with some Dutch early adopters back in 2008 when we said that Twitter was probably not going to be there in three years time. And as Loïc and Guy reminded everyone, Twitter is worth about 20 billion. And Guy went on saying that if we would look at his past at Apple, who would have thought that they would have become the most valuable company in the world. It is really hard to predict the future. That is hard for the next 10 monts, but impossible to do for the next 10 years.
Guy feels that Bitcoin is a lovely idea. Even if for nothing else than that it is completely outside of the grasp of Goldman Sachs. There have been people questioning the Bitcoin because it can be used to fund illegal things as it is not traceable. However, Guy says that there are a lot of technologies that are coming up that will be enabling that. And they will have a balance where some of what they are used for will be for good, and some will be used for bad things. But all of that technology is important to have as that helps us grow and develop new things. And sometimes it can even evolve from something that starts without control and evolves into something that grows something that goes into a control situation. It is when we started with Napster which grew into a movement which has then helped a whole new industry grow. Including iTunes which is very controlled.
Loïc triggers the social media card stating that Guy is a social media powerhouse. Guy answers that his approach is very different from most ‘experts’. And he adds that he uses the term experts very lightly. Social media for Guy is a means to an end. He is not looking to make more friends and more relationships. He says that he has a wife and four kids and that is enough for him. He is not looking to meet new people and have more friends. Social media for Guy is about building a platform. He has embraced the public radio model. At NPR they provide great content 365 days a year and then they gain the privilege to run the telethon once a year. So, his model is to constantly provide great content. He also has a team constantly curating great content, so that he is constantly able to provide his followers with great content. And that also gives him the opportunity to run the Guy Kawasaki telethon, because he has earned the right to do that. That is why he is constantly sharing great content, so that when he publishes a book, he has gained the right to promote his book. Or a new Evernote function as he is an advisor to Evernote. He does read all the interactions and every response from the account is done by him himself. Nobody on the team does that. Guy also repeats all of his tweets four times eight hours apart. The reason for that is that he does not believe that everybody is going to be awake and looking at Twitter at the moment a tweet is posted. Plus, he is not assuming that people are going to be scrolling back through their timelines to find that one awesome tweet. And even though that might piss people off, his reasoning is that if you are not pissing off people on social media, you are not using it hard enough. Also, he has found that posting a tweet with a link four times, really does deliver four times the clicks. He is not using different links for those four links as people rarely see that same tweet and that same link twice. And with a smile he adds that if you see that same link more than once, you probably do not have a life.
Loïc asks Guy to share some tips on entrepreneurship with the audience. He believes that the most important thing an entrepreneur can do, is to make a prototype. If you build a prototype you may never have to prepare a pitch, powerpoint deck or a projection. Because at a pitch, everyone everyone says is that they are going to be doing 100 million in 5 years. If you say you will do 500 million investors feel like you are overestimating yourself and if you are saying you will do 25 million, they think they do not take yourself serious. So, the best thing you can ever do with an investor is to show them a demo that is already in use with actual users and signup numbers. His second tip is that the challenge for European entrepreneurs is to create a product or service that is so good that American entrepreneurs want to copy it. Not to make your own local version of a great American service, but to create something awesome yourself. And there are a few European startups that have made that status like Soundcloud or Spotify. The fun part was that then Loïc took this as an insult to European entrepreneurs where he felt that Guy was saying that European startups just copy American startups. Where Guy is just saying to look beyond the Americans and paying a compliment to the companies that did just that and are defining the playing field they operate in. And his third advice to businesses is to never ask anyone to do something that you would not do yourself. Because that will never work.
Guy shared that the richest vein for Sequoia investment is two guys of girls building something in a garage that are building something they want to use. That is very different from people that build something from a business point of view to earn money. Again, I personally agree with that and that has been a point I have been pushing since 2008. If you want to build a startup, make it something that you want to use yourself and that addresses a problem that you have yourself. If you are just doing it for the money, you will have a hard time making it.
A guy from the audience asked Guy what he thinks about an investor offering to invest money if the startups would move to their area. And Guy said that if this would be the decisive factor on whether or not you can get the investment, they ought to drop the investor and find another investor that will work with them However, he does offer a middle ground where you keep your developers local, create a Delaware corporation and a west coast head office in Silicon Valley. Because it allows you to have the best of both worlds for both parties as investors do not really want to fly for 11 hours for a board meeting. And that is a factor for Guy himself as well. He is not specifically looking for opportunities that are far away. His statement literally was “why fly 30 hours to loose money there, when you can loose the same amount of money closer to home”. Mich Atagana came back to that statement and asked Guy whether he thought that not investing further away from your home town is a potential for lost opportunity? Guy agrees, but from the investors perspective it is a slightly different issue. They do not know a thing about the financial laws for investments or IPO’s and then the board meetings are 30 hours away. That is just throwing up speed bumps while you are the one looking for investment. But he does agree with Mich that the next Google might be in South Africa for instance and an American investor would not know about it.
Yes, it is the start of LeWeb. I will be enjoying my time here. Hope you will as well. There are a number of speakers that I am looking forward for. If you don’t want to wait to see what I am seeing and hearing here, you can follow the live stream yourself. Check it out at live.leweb.co.
Ten years of LeWeb, how time flies. I have been at LeWeb for the past four years and it has always been a privilege. The theme for LeWeb for this year really triggered me to think about the future of technology and naturally of startups. As ever, I still strongly believe that startups are the best option to turn our economic processes on their heads. And the past ten years more than prove my point. Startups like Google, PayPal, Facebook, eBay, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, Uber, AirBnB and many others have changed our lifestyle and our habits in amazing ways. However, for the next 10 years, I believe that technology will not be the primary driver of innovation.
In the past twenty years, a lot of innovation has come through the fact that we finally could. The world shrank as we finally could easily connect and keep up with friends around the world. New cell phone technology allowed us to move around and still access the same online resources as at our offices. Computers in everything have allowed us to automate many processes and make them much more efficient. But times are changing. I am not saying that technology is slowing down, because it is not. However, I strongly believe that we will see more and more technology that is driven by social developments.
I believe in the collaboration economy. And I believe that that is the track for the future. Technology that allows us to share with each other. So we can share knowledge, but also resources that we have to our disposal and that we do not use 24/7. Like the extra bedrooms we are offering on Airbnb, the rides on Blablacar, the communal bikes in cities like London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Kopenhagen and others. I believe that in the next ten years, we will see technology integrate more and more into our daily lives to make it more a part of it than an attachment.
Take Google Glass for example. It is one of those developments that can change the way in which we interact with technology in relationship with others. But it is not the glasses themselves that will trigger us. It is the things they can do for us that are becoming more and more important. So, I do not believe that wearable technology as such is going to be a technology driver. But I believe that the way it will allow us to interact with our friends and our environment, will be the driver for technological innovation.
That is where startups come in. The next ten years are a time to reassess all the processes that run in the world to see whether we can replace them by a combination of individual masses and resources. Because there is a lot to gain in a revision of our daily routines to make them more fun and more effective through new technology. And startups are the ideal vehicle to question these daily routines.
What are your thoughts? Add them in the comments, or talk to me at LeWeb next week. I will be interviewing interesting people at LeWeb and hopefully posting some blogposts and some videos. See you there?
I never considered going to Istanbul for a tech conference, even though Plamen Russev has been trying to get me here for years now. Until this year. I decided that 2013 had to be the year and so I am now at Webit. And I have to say that I love it so far. Why? Let me quickly break that down for you:
1. I meet people that I have never seen before, from areas that I do not usually see at other conferences. Just this morning I talked to startups from the Ukraine, Estonia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Germany. (I stand corrected, I talk to startups from Germany more often.)
2. Especially when you book early, the ticket prices make Webit much more accessible than most other conferences. Off the top of my head, a silver ticket costs around €150 when you pre-register. So, is it cool because it is cheap? No. It is cool because this ticket price allows startups with a much tighter budget to enjoy a conference and especially the networking.
3. People are eager. A lot of the people I have met are eager. They want to learn, they want to grow, they want to change. And there is a great opportunity that I rarely focus on when I am back home or at conferences in London, Paris or Amsterdam. I keep asking myself why I do not think about eastern Europe, Africa and Asia more often. Sure, I have met guys that do startups in Beirut, Tel Aviv and Cairo. But here, eastern Europe, southern Europe and many Arabic nations are standing in line with me to get lunch. And talking to them has allowed me to see new opportunities beyond our regular markets.
4. Networking. Did I mention that already? I have yet to try the networking site, but so far I have met some great people. And with 8100+ attendees, there are lots of networking opportunities.
5. Short sleeves. Yes, I know, a rather unprofessional reason. But lets face it, I left Rotterdam with pouring rain and 6 degrees. It is November and I am in Istanbul, wearing a short sleeved shirt and eating kebabs and networking on the water front with some great people pushing great technology. It is hard to get it better than that.
So, five reasons why I love Webit. And if you are up for the challenge of taxi drivers that do not speak Turkish, it could be a great experience. Anyway, I am off again. Time to meet more people, to have more food and to visit a party in a club on an island between two continents in the middle of the Bosporus tonight.
– And in case you were wondering, Plamen has not bribed me into writing any of this. 😉
This morning Chris Guillebeau shared three quick lessons that he had learned while he visited every country in the world.
Time and Money
If you cannot understand all of the different costs of a project, then the project or the quest becomes much easier to pursue and to complete.
For Chris personally, he just wanted to travel. And then he changed it to visiting 100 countries in the world. He thought about it and started to share it. But then he got the criticism from someone that visiting these countries was not going to be hard, all you need is enough time and money. Which caused him to structure his quest. Which meant figuring out what he had to do to succeed and what the cost of succeeding would be. And then he could break it down and share it as it all grew and became possible for him.
Experience produces confidence
Actually going and doing, helps you become confident that you can do it. Start with the smaller things first, then build up. It will help you grow. As you succeed in smaller things, you will help you understand that you can succeed at the big goals as well. He has seen others look up to him and playing down their own quest, because his had been much bigger. But whatever your quest is, it is the most important thing for you to focus on. The most important thing in your life at that time.
You are not alone
The new demographics are less about where you come from, but more about psychographics. About shared views, shared values etc. In essence, you are not allone. If you have a crazy idea, if you believe there is nobody as crazy as me, then there certrainly other people all over the world that share your passion. That want to make the same ideas succeed. So, it has helped him a lot to see that other people had the same dream and made it succeed. And it helped him to tell their tales to grow in his own understanding of his own quest.
Two suggestions to live by:
Get your own quest. It is important. As Elon Musk said, we spend too much time on small things. And we need to move up in the world and build a bigger thing. And all the people Chris has talked to that have gone on to try their own grand adventures, and they shared with him that at some point they had just decided to go for it. Whether it would succeed or not, it was important for them to do it and it changed them.
Find a way to tie your quest to something that makes the world a better place.
There are so many opportunities to mean something to the world. And it is not meant to sound heavy or be a heavy responsibility, but it is about sharing and helping build the world. And doing that is not just about giving things up for others, it is also about the fact that through doing that, it will contribute to us. It will change us, build us up which he shared he experienced when Chris and his wife worked with an NGO on a hospital ship.
A great story. And yes, I want to live up to at least part of that. That is why I am building TechPastors. Because I have a dream, I want to pull it off and I believe that I am not alone in believing that the church and Christian organizations could really do with a clear view of what you can do with technology. So, I am going to push forward. Want to help? Let me know!
Yes, it is time. LeWeb is going to be starting in minutes and I am happy to be back. It promises to be a really interesting conference. I have noticed that the quotes of two of the Google speakers read “Don’t be evil” and in the light of recent developments that could be an interesting statement to make.
Anyway, I will be blogging here today. I hope to be sharing some of the pictures that Luca Sartoni is taking and just give you a nice overview of the day.
I will also be adding blogposts to Techpastors, my new blog. It will be the start of something new and hopefully something that we can make bigger than myself. The site is still in a very preliminary layout, but I wanted to have it up for LeWeb. So, enjoy!
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.
As most of you will know by now, I am currently in Paris at LeWeb. Interestingly enough, I have been at main stage for about an hour and a half now, and I have just been listening breathlessly. There have been some great speakers and some great subjects. But for me, the thing that has been most important so far, is not the internet of things. It is the way life and technology are getting closer and closer together. The internet of things might seem far away from the comfort of your life and your home. However, within half an hour we have seen so much already. At first we got comfortable temperatures in our homes, through the intelligent Nest thermostat. After that we have seen live interaction with technology through your brain changing fonts in emails to show your mood, or controlling other things through your thinking. And lastly, we have seen Mars Rover Curisosity land and explore a new planet. From your home to the future for the world. It has been here within half an hour. And most importantly, I really feel it shows how we are connecting every day life and technology. I know there will be people out there that are nervous about this. Will we get implanted chips? Will we be controlled by whatever? Or are we moving towards big brother and 1984? But I believe that connecting technology has huge opportunities to enhance our lives in ways that it serves us and helps us live our life in better ways.
Did this trigger you at all? I hope it did. It sure has triggered me to watch more closely. If you want to watch more closely as well, click below to see the live stream. Enjoy!
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!
Yes, I watched (part of) the Google I/O keynote today. And I loved it. There are reasons why I have an Android phone, and Google I/O is one of those reasons. I have to be careful not to write yet another Google versus Apple piece, but lets face it, there is something about Google.
Just to get this out of the way, yes I have an Android phone. But I also have a MacBook and an iPad. Oh, and three Windows machines. So, how partial am I? I don’t know. After WWDC I decided that when the iPhone 5 would be released, I would get it. Now I am watching the Google I/O I want to stay with the Nexus series. The reason? Everything around it.
The way I see it, if we look at Google and Apple, we have two very different companies here. If you buy an Apple, you know you are getting great quality. It will work great and fluently and will keep on doing so for years to come. But more and more Apple has become the ‘safe bet’. The one to go for, because you know it will boost your productivity. The stuff you use will be integrated and the new features are cool enough and designed well enough to make you want one.
And then Sergei Brin walks on stage, completely messes up a reasonable Google+ presentation to have four people jump out of a blimp about a mile above the conference center to have a Google Glass brought in. With the live jump on Google Hangout, the stunting mountainbikers, the climber abseiling from the building. So much could go wrong. But they do it live. Why? Because that is their passion.
The Google I/O is not as slick as the Apple WWDC. To be honest the two people presenting the background for Google Glass should never have been on that stage. They were not very good presenters in the first place. But unlike Apple, Google bares it all. You see the people behind it, you see that sometimes little things go wrong and the whole world can watch it happen. And that is what attracts me to Google products. They bare it all. They show you the gears, the nuts and bolts if you will, and they are not afraid to show you that it is greasy inside.
Is my Nexus S perfect? Nope. Far from it. After a year of using it, I could really do with a new Nexus. It has that problem more than my iPhone did. But it is a love and hate relationship because of that same reason. After Google released Ice Cream Sandwich, it uploaded to my phone automatically a little later. It makes you feel like you are part of the progress. It gives it something of a tech cool. I cannot put my finger on it, but it does.
Well done Google. Well done for taking the risk, well done for pushing it forward. And I am sorry I wasn’t at the Moscone Center today. (If nothing else, because now I do not get that free Galaxy Nexus phone, Nexus Q, a Nexus 7 tablet and the Jelly Bean preview.)