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If you have been lurking about on Techdigest in the last week or so you’ll know that a few of us have been in Paris at the Le Web 3.0 show. It is the one time of the year when a small part of the French capital morphs into a mini Silicon Valley with lots of entrepreneurs, VCs, web gurus, bloggers and assorted hangers on listening to key note speeches from internet superstars and networking like crazy over radioactive coffee.

Of course it was great fun, but did we learn anything? Well none of the team left Paris feeling like they knew where the web, media or anything else for that matter was really going. Nevertheless though here are a few things that picked up at Le Web 3.0

1 Brits aren’t that interested in web 2.0 – Sure London finest internet companies turned up for the show, but you know what, Joost, Last FM, Webjam, Trusted Places aren’t actually run by Brits. Even at the Start Up competition the entrepreneurs were much more likely to come from Eastern Europe, Italy or Scandinavia than they were to come from the UK. Also notably absent was the UK media. Good to see the Guardian and the BBC reporting from the exhibition as well as the TechCrunch UK crew, but that was about it.

Le Web 3 2007. Television Reborn

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According to the programme, the panel members are as follows: Benjamin Bejbaum, Daily Motion, Nir Ofir, BlogTV Robert Scoble – PodTech, Conrad Riggs – Mark Burnett Productions (LongelyGirl15), Jeff Pulver – Pulver Media. But thanks to this new fangled trend for not bothering to introduce yourself properly, I'm pretty sure we have someone from Seesmic instead of someone from Daily Motion.

So far it mainly seems to consist of them showing us their geek TV services, including Scobleizer and Pulver Media. If this is what we'll all be watching on a Sunday evening instead of Cranford, shoot me now. But I'm suffering an afternoon slump brought on by too much French cheese at lunchtime, so have decided to move proceedings to Shiny Shiny's Twitter page instead (usually inhabited by Susi). If you'd like to listen to me chattering unnecessarily (along with all the hundreds of other Le Web 3 Twitterers) you can join me here.

pigeon-street.jpgPigeons are faster than ADSL. And so are snails.

Yes, it's true, Yossi Vardi, easily the funniest and most engaging speaker of the conference "did a test" and compared the transfer speeds of carrier pigeons carrying a memory card from one town in Israel to another (aka Wi-Fly) and a standard ADSL connection transferring the data from computer to computer, and the Pigeon travelled the distance faster. At least, that's what he said and I believe everything he says.

And a snail strapped to a cart made of DVDs could drag the data across the room faster. I have no idea what's true and what isn't in the world any more, but all I know is Yossi Vardi is my new hero and I love him simply for showing me stupid videos of pigeons and snails. And all the people who blah blah blahed and over-ran and obliged him to skip most of his presentation are now my mortal enemies.

[edit: god bless the internet - someone has uploaded Yossi's talk to YouTube. video after the jump]

Jason%20Calacanis.JPGQuestion: if you create an open system that allows people to upload whatever they want, how do you stop those systems from just becoming huge spam fests that ruin search results? Obviously Jason Calacanis is going to tell you that the answer is Maholo, his new people powered search engine.

He's given the speech many times before, but this time he took the opportunity to name and shame the people he felt were responsible for the spamfest that is the internet, including the founder of Blogger, Ev Williams, Seth Goldin, entrepreneur and founder of Squidoo and Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati.


So, after that long preamble from the judging panel, the winners were announced at lightning speed, leaving us desperately scrabbling around trying to work out how to spell half of the winners. So, without any more preamble from me, here are the winners:

First Place
GooJet – Mobile live (pictured)

Second Place
PLYmedia - Monetise your video.

Third Place - Complete virtual computer in your web browser

Runners up
Erepublik – Massive online strategy game.
Split Games – Network of gamers. Share reviews and games. "We give the gamers everything they need."

TF1 award

Meanwhile, Ashley sat in on the actual pitching, so click over the jump for his report...

So here we are, Day Two of Le Web 3, 2007. While I spent the day sat in the main conference hall listening to the speakers, my fellow Shiny, Ashley Norris, has been over in the Start-up Dock listening to new businesses pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

Now, back with me in the main hall, the judging panel have congregated to announce the winners. Members of the panel include Robert Scoble and a number of venture capitalists and other web entrepreneurs, including Jean-David Chamboredon from 3i, Saul Klein from Index Ventures and Seedcamp.

I'm currently privy to a very interesting and tightly argued discussion about whether the web is killing our society. It seems that Emily Bell (of The Guardian Unlimited) and controversial author Andrew Keen (most famous for 'Cult of the Amateur') have argued this many many times before and seem to have a very easy relationship where they feel comfortable insulting each other like some sort of bickering elderly couple.

I've put in some of their key points below, but for a short precis of how the argument went: Andrew makes a point about how the internet is rubbish (in one way or another), Emily calmly points out why he is wrong whilst rolling her eyes and laughing; Andrew says “yeah, I mean, I agree with you, I couldn't cope without the internet any more than anyone else”, and so on...

June Cohen, the CEO of TED Media talks about the way that our media is changing - and that it's not necessarily a bad thing. I've done my best to capture what she said in her own words.

There are 110 million blogs online. Lots of us say things like that, but rarely stop to think just how incredible that number is. It's seen as something that is beginning to dilute and replace old media. But Old Media is actually astonishingly new. If you took the extent of human history and condensed it into a single day, all of the media we use (books, tv, newspapers) would have been invented in the last 2 seconds before midnight.

Communities, however, have always existed, and that was always the way that information was shared amongst us all - in our villages and round the campfire.

What happens when you get Mattias Leufkens, moderator of the World Economic Forum, Rafi Haladjian of Nabaztag, Iris Ben David, of Style Shake (a site that allows you to create your own clothes using an interactive design service online), and Brent Hoberman from Last Minute and mydeco sitting on a sofa together?

A vague sense of unease, that's what. They've just spent the past 30 minutes talking about the impact of design on the web, and thanks to Rafi Haladjian's decision to criticise Hoberman's new venture, mydeco (which allows you to work out how you want to design your home using a virtual design service, discuss with others, and find the best places to buy products), the conversation become strangely stilted.

And when it was his turn? Well, no one actually sat there and said "this guy has built up one of the few Web 1.0 success stories and you've created a plastic bunny that sometimes connects to the web if you're lucky", but that was the general gist of the discussion.

Philippe Starck is currently giving a very funny talk about design and technology. His firm belief is that we are constantly designing new things when the things we are currently using work fine. He is appalled that we seek out the best oil for our cars and the best products, but then go into a restaurant and eat any old crap they put in front of us. If only he wasn't the designer of one of the worst mice I've ever been unfortunate enough to own, I would feel even more endeared to him than I do right now.

***** Breaking news ***** Robert Scoble has just clambered onto the stage to ask Philippe what he thinks of the Amazon Kindle. Starck has not seen it before, but a quick assessment he offers is that it is "almost modern". That the designer obviously wanted to create something modern but was not courageous enough and that they have made something that doesn't work ergonomically.

Check out our other posts from the show in the Le Web 3 category.

"There are hundreds of types of wine, but I only know two types: red and white. I'm not interested in wines. I don't know wines – but I know more than two hundred types of countries. My neighbour, he knows hundreds of different types of wines, but he only knows two types of countries: western countries and third world countries. There are too many people who know wine and too few people who know countries."

If there's one thing you would ask of bloggers, what would you ask?
"Consider how all these blogging communites may enforce the ethnic homogeny of western europe and America. Break that, and work out ways that this technology may help to encourage diversity and support different cultures."

"Equality is about everyone having the same choices in life, it's not about making everyone the same. We don't need a world where everyone eats Camembert"

Check out our other posts from the show in the Le Web 3 category.

(photo via Le Web 3's Flickr page)

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