Loic Lemeur: Betraying 1000 attendees for his own political ambitions?


fyi: In order to understand my posting, please make sure to take a look at this posting on Loic’s page. He has changed it since it go online, but this is a story which has more than just one side. You should at least follow some of the references.

Last year at Leblogs we had the problem of being promised a high profile event, like *the* major event in this regard, and got took by surprise how the audience was not really even. A lot of more geeky people (as being early adopters and ahead of the curve) met the more normal people.

This year I was expecting differently: No approach as a high end conference to the early adopters with real impulses, real new interesting discussion but I was aware that with 1000 people coming I would not be among my peers only but would be in the ‘consulting’ role.

I was fine with that as it would also give me a chance to meet a lot of new and known people. It was clear that though a lot of the speakers had more to say it would be difficult to get into deeper discussion.

Surely as it turns out it is still a single track program – a fault in itself. Looking at the program it was also clear very soon that there had not been spend enough time on really putting together a program which would work with this audience, the size of the audience and the structure of the audience.

Let me repeat that in different words:
If you have an audience like this and a standing like this in Europe for this conference you invest some time in making the the program. This obviously has not happened. Which is why i have an amount of political content i never wanted to see nor wanted to attend and everything else got pushed aside because of that – without me having really a choice through this.

So far it was to be seen from the preparation that it would be a not very organized event but still. Some of the topics would have been nice.

Would have been. Because this event has been hijacked to be a pit stop of the french presidential election campaign.

I do not go to a EUROPEAN conference to listen to a guy in french talking about french politics. I do not care as they do not care. I would have had less problem with having this scheduled on the program, it being in french and having the rest in order.

I did not go to a conference to have to show my id to get in. I did not intent to go to a tech conference and find myself having barred out of the big room because some security wants to search it.

I do not tolerate that a lot of my friends who are supposed to be speaking for 20 min got told the day of the speaking that oh they have to make it in like 10 minutes to make space for some “last minute changes” while as the same time it was possible to organize translation headsets and translaters for those french politicians.

I will not tolerate that for another politician questions are cut off of people coming to this conference for a totally different thing.

I will not get taken hostage being part of an audience where the headline actually can be “politician … in front of 1000 of europe’s top technology attendees.”

While I did get a free pass for the conference I still have expenses of several hundred dollars in travel expenses plus my time. This event was set up to be a great conference. But nearly everybody I was talking to was disgusted, disappointed and especially personally disappointed with Loic in this. French too btw.

I am wondering as Dieter Rappold of Knallgrau did how the sponsors of Leweb 3 feel having sponsered a plattform for politicians.

Many of the attendees of this conference work in high positions of new AND old media in Europe. They are connected even without a working Wifi.

The result of this conference is very simple for me:
What was done to us today goes against anything this new world stands for. I am surprise about how stupid a person like Loic Lemeur can be to still try to pull it off. ESPECIALLY him.

This has been a mediocre conference through the organisation and how the program have been set up. It has been a mediocre conference through the way the side event / blog entries / connection of the attendees has taken place (or better it has not.) Read the reports on this.

It is not the people attending nor the speakers. I feel sorry especially for the speakers to be connected with this.

For what? The only answer I have for this is:
Loic Lemeur has sold out his european peer group for some cheap headlines in french politics – if at all. He has destroyed trust and confidence in a way I have never seen this before.

He has not shoot himself in the foot, this is more like having shot himself in the head.

Is it interesting to have politics coming to such an event? Could it be done in a good way so people like me really got exited about it? Yes, absolutly. If you want to know how to absolutly not do it, look at this “conference”.

Some reading suggestions:

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27 Responses to “Loic Lemeur: Betraying 1000 attendees for his own political ambitions?”

  1. Tom Raftery says:

    Nicole, thanks for the link.

    Excellent post and I think you captured the mood of the vast majority of the attendees perfectly.

  2. Nicole says:

    It reflects todays conversations – as I would like to stretch also with french.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree, and was disgusted with how the audience were visibly the least important people in the room as Sarkozy spoke. The French often speak of people’s being “branché” (connected) as an essential element of success, and I felt this entire conference from start to finish was a display on Loic’s part of being “branché” – to the point where I am questioning if he cared about the result of the conference at all. His handling of the event communicated to me that he cared about securing a future for himself based on this appearance of being “branché”. I hope he enjoys the result, because I fear that he lost a legion of people who believed in him because of his all-too-obvious intentions. Of course, Loic Le Meur is not the only one guilty of this type of behavior amonsgt the Web 2.0 folk here in France or elsewhere. I just hope this provides a stark enough of an example of what NOT to do. that it changes the behaviour of others.

  4. graham says:

    Likewise, (thankfully) I didn’t pay. I’m very disappointed. I do feel Loic totally lost his focus on this. People travelled from 36 different countries. Some may have travelled anything up to two days at considerable expense to get here and then what with all the changes, all the politics… Accchh… well, I’ve written elsewhere about this and The Guardian will run something in half an hour, but sufice to say, I’ll be leaving Paris very gutted. As Tom says above, you captured to mood from the floor with this post

  5. Chris says:

    Yes, the event was garbage. I’m so glad that I didn’t travel for this. After 2 hours today, I had to leave because I was getting so angry (and I wanted to avoid getting clubbed by the gendarmes should I lose my cool.)

  6. Agree with your point of view.

    The talk from Shimon Peres, was unexpected, I found it very interesting. Though, I think it’s delicate given the actual climate in the middle-east, and I guess that not everyone in the attendence was happy to see Mr Peres on stage.

    About Mr Bayrou and Sarkozy, you do express your point of view as an attendee. But what about the sponsors of the event. Do they sgree to have sponsored the campaign of two candidates? I think there’s also to say about this.

  7. Ton Zijlstra says:

    Ouch, that must have hurt…..
    Glad I decided early to stay away.

  8. Vince says:

    european comments are very tough about le web3 and le meur. was not there I cannot say.
    It was the first big event like this in France and if le meur made it bad so what is the future of french web..!?
    french coverage on my blog:

  9. good coverage, I didn’t go though… but it seems like he literally shot his head off..

    merry christmas –

  10. Cardon says:

    Really Guys, you are so right, I’m french, and I thought it was weird before they appeared but thought we might learn something and we really did not.

    Or maybe we did, we’ve learnt that they are nowhere near Shimon Perez. That guys was worth some arrangements in scheddule, the others were jokes really, and so french, therefore so not respectfull of what was a really enormous pool of talents not speaking french.

    This is when we demonstrate the power of the web over politics.

  11. Xav says:


    I just want to say sorry to all the non-french people who attented the conference. I am feeling ashamed, as a french, by the behaviour of Loic Lemeur and our two candidate for the presidency.

  12. First. It was great meeting you in Paris!! (we confused our jackets on Sunday). Just for that it was worth being there. Anyway, I do agree it was not the best idea to bring French politicians to the event, but I do believe the conference was great anyway. It could have been perfect, though ;-)

  13. Nicole says:

    I feel that it is important to stress that in itself – politicians / politics want to come to such a conference and engange / talk / be part of it – would have been totally accepted.

    A session on politics, a real interaction with somebody from the other side, a conversation? Perfect! With french politicians because we are in France? No problem, makes perfect sense!

    But misusing some of the smartest people in Europe to be theather guest, just as a picture wallpaper for some TV recordings?

    Where the host of the conference just takes off to do an interview in the middle of his conference? Sorry.

    Besides: Those guys are supposed to be the possible new president?

    How about them at least trying to speak in the general accepted language and show they at any way cared? If you want to be president of France and still are not able to do a basic media pit stop in Englisch on a conference of this kind your PR department should be fired for not doing their homework.

  14. Looking at this as someone who was booked but didn’t come, I still made the right choice. But I wonder whether Loic was, as he has so many times before, stepping up to the edge. This time, it didn’t work and whether the event evolves or is nuked – it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that people who care about ‘new media’ will organise and organise other events.

    In terms of organisation, it is clear this was hastily cobbled together. A good chunk of the speakers were the same as last year. As far as I could tell it was overly consumery. I could be wrong but that’s what I got from following the links at the time.

  15. alex says:


    Thanks for this excellent analysis. Anger is understandable and it is the first step for moving aways from what we do not want. Also, Loïc Le Meur has many failings like all of us and I am sure we have all made a few mistakes in our lives… So how about we dissociated Loic Le Meur as a person from the issue of governance such events? I am writing a post on this today.



  16. Kris Tuttle says:

    I couldn’t agree more and posted a similar opinion of the event. I moved to Europe recently from the US to start a research company and although conferences are not our business I am longing for an event like O’Reilly ETech in Europe. Le Web sure isn’t it. So I’m trying to scare up interest in doing a real emerging technology conference next year in April. If you have content, initiative, sponsorship, a venue, or anything else and want to work on this, please send me an email. I’m totally open about it but we need a dedicated group of five to ten people to manage the process and ensure the event is a success. I can’t do it alone.

  17. Ivan Pope says:

    Totally agree with your position on this and have blogged it myself. To avoid descending into personal attacks, I’d like to note with sadness that this was a total Conference 1.0 with no attempt at all to make it a Conference 2.0. What does that mean? Well, the audience were broadcast to, they were there as a supporting cast for the egos, ambitions and friends of the organisers. But a conference now should be based on the attendees. Essentially we provide the UGC – the networking. That’s the real content. Now, someone needs to really invent a Conference 2.0 outfit and it will fly. I’m about to blog this over at Snipperoo.

  18. Patrick says:

    I agree with you that it was a very disappointing conference. There was no intimacy at all! Le Meur for president :(

  19. Patrick says:

    Wow!!! Loic gets Angry!!! This is amazing! Techcrunch is a sponsor of Le Web and places an honest post about the conference, Loic doesn’t seem to be happy and starts to call names (scroll down please). I left a note where the interesting part starts :)


  20. Nicole says:

    Patrick, I am not sure if that actually is an answer by Loic himself. I’d rather expect what we can see – people close to him coming to his rescue and posting, and if I would expect to see something on his blog. Which he probably does not do at the moment because if doing without comments it would give flack as well as with.

    We have to learn out of this, but why cant we learn without such hurtful experiences?

    And for the people asking for more unconference style, which puts the people into the forground more than just sponsors, you might want to look at http://barcamp.org and the concept behind it.

    Over the last year these barcamp conferences have proven to be much more inspiring and worth the time.

  21. Lara says:

    Emotions aside. I think the most unprofessional part of the ‘programme changes’ was the fact that the organisers did not take into account the fact that attendees paid 300-500 euros expecting to receive smething quite different on Day 2. As they seem to have screwed up 50% of the conference – could we suggest a refund? Or an apology and a HUGE discount on the next conference? That would seem fair compensation…

  22. Parallèles says:

    I’m sorry for you guys who have been taken hostages and frustrated of what could have been a great conference. But I’m sort of glad that the truth is out in the open now: I hope that Loïc’s partisanship and political agenda, the delusional way in which he had thought he could get away with using new medias to serve old politics will make it clear that he’s no expert but a fraud as far as blogging is concerned and, more importantly for us Frenchies, that he is in no way a representative of the our “blogosphère” as a whole. As matter of fact, he has become a wart on it. I think people should have become suspicious before the event when Loïc started feeding to news agency the idea that Le Web3 was a “Davos of the internet” of sorts. It was indeed…

    Harsh words maybe, but he’s looked for them by putting himself at the center of the public sphere, in fact even trying to pose as its center of gravity.

  23. kael says:

    Loïc Le Meur is definitely the moronic Sarkozy sucker.

    How about launching a Google bombing based on the http://loiquejemeur.blogspot.com/ parody blog ?

  24. Nicole Simon says:

    Kael I dont find that reasonable, I do have more interest to use the results / experiences / etc (good and bad) to make better conferences for example. And I do not really intend to fire up a site with ‘linklove’ I do not know nor support in content.