Le Web 3: Old Europe vrs Silicon Valley

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

For some reason, this conference seems tgo be more about slightly negative affability rather than confrontation or passion. Loic came on after this session and said that he wanted to stop things getting too negative. Maybe the fact that I’m the only person in the hall who seems to have reliable WiFi is influencing the atmosphere�

The panel, on the whole, came down on the side of Silicon Valley, because Europe is such a diverse, fragmented area.

Brent Hoberman pointed out that Lastminute.com couldn’t go pan-European organically – it had to acquire to do it. It might be easier to roll out tools rather than services.

Marc Canter of Broadband Mechanics talked up his product. Ho hum.

Martin Varsavsky of Fon suggests that people want to pin down companies as being national. You can accept that, but spin it a different way. (Readers might like to note that I pinned his firm down as �Spanish� in my last entry.)

The broadband differential between the US and Europe (Europe has better bandwidth now) should allow European innovators to build the high-bandwidth applications first. But, says Georges Nahon of Orange, California has risk taking in its DNA in a way that Europe does not. Go there and get infected.

Canter finally chips in with something useful – focusing on the region is weird, he suggest, because there are multiple regions of specialisation in any field.

Hoberman points out that interoperability of mobiles across Europe just isn’t there yet, so location-based services don’t work where they’re really useful: abroad.

Onwards to NetVibes, which is a success and which should pick people up a little.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.