LeWeb'10 - Day 1

   I am not going to recap everything that went on at LeWeb today. TechCrunch had a full team of actual, proper bloggers all over the place and there is also online videos on Ustream and Youtube. I would just like to share a few toughs on some of the most interesting talks that I attended.


Hey that's my face on a huge screen at #leweb !

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman & CEO, Renault S.A. & Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

   According to Mr. Ghosn, the electric car is the certain future of cars. I wonder if he was not just trying to seduce the geeky audience. His emphasis was mostly on comfort: the low noise and vibration of electric motors, the smooth acceleration etc. He glossed over the environmental considerations. I guess they are trying a different angle.

   Mr. Goshn noted that the shift to electric cars was an opportunity to rethink cars completely. 43% of the 25 to 34 year-old consider cars have more drawbacks rather than advantages according to Mr. Goshn. Making the car smarter, more connected would make it appealing again to the young generation. I agree but why wait for electric cars?

   Mr. Ghosn also mentioned autonomous vehicles. He said that this is a more remote possibility. Clearly Google has shown that there is no technical reason we can't have autonomous cars. But the car manufacturers don't want you to consider your car a commodity because people want cheap commodities. Instead they want you to have an emotional connection with your car. After all, it's the car YOU drive.

Osama Bedier, Vice President of Platform, Mobile and New Ventures, PayPal

   Mr. Bedier explained that PayPal froze the Wikileaks donation accounts because the US State Department said it was illegal. Amazon probably stopped hosting the Wikileaks file for the same reason. It shows the control that the US government has over the Internet.

Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Initiator & Chairman, Solar Impulse Keynote


   An inspiring presentation of a solar plane that can fly 24/7 without any fuel.

Matthias Lufkens from the World Economic Forum

   Mr. Lufkens made a funny presentation on "Twitter Diplomacy". How governments use Twitter, what politicians are really tweeting themselves and more importantly how they follow each other. He pointed out that @Elysee, the official account of the French Presidency, is not following anyone. Very telling.

Tomoko Namba, CEO, DeNA

   Ms. Namba was very candid. It was refreshing after all the PR talk of the other CEOs. At some point, she mentioned that her company made "1.2 billion dollars selling virtual goods to 20 million users in Japan." This, to me, is crazy.

Marissa Mayer, VP, Google


    It seems Ms. Mayer has big plans for Google. Now that she is in charge of geolocation, she hinted at a few things Google is working on in this domain. One obvious thing is using your location to enhance your searches. But also Google wants to provide you with location related information that you didn't think of. Suggestion based on what your friends did at the same location, what they bought, comments they left and so on.

   We also had a very cool demo of the new Google Maps Mobile in Android Gingerbread. Some of the interesting features:

  • Vector graphics for smoother zooming
  • 3D models of buildings and documents (similar to Google Earth)
  • Control over the angle of view and ability to tilt the map (similar to Google Earth)

   I guess we are going toward a fusion between Google Maps Mobile and Google Earth Mobile, as is already the case with the web version once you install the Google Earth plugin.

Media panel

   Again Wikileaks was in the center of the discussion. One of the panelists was wondering why the mainstream media are not speaking up against what is happening to Wikileaks? I guess many people in the old media industry enjoy seeing the new media guys getting slammed. But how can they not realize that they are next. After all, they are the one who helped Wikileaks go mainstream.

   Another good point raised was that we should not let the controversy about Wikileaks eclipse the content of the leaked documents themselves.


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