Seven years ago – give or take – I was sat on a Eurostar train very much like this one, on my way to the very first Le Web in Paris. I was excited. I’d been blogging for five years, but it had recently become my job, too. I was busy building out a business blog network that drove millions of page impressions at its peak. And I was off to network with other people like me, doing interesting stuff with Web 2.0.
It’s fair to say that there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. Le Web has reflected that pretty well – the shift from individuals and plucky start-ups to big internet players, and then back to the realisation that the future tends to come from the small guys
The conference has grown and grown, and become more corporate and expensive, as the social web industry has done the same. It’s dived into details, rather than big trends, frozen us, starved us and frustrated us with bad WiFi. But, like the internet business, it’s learnt from its mistakes, and become ever-smoother in its organisation.
In December 2006 I doubt I had any idea that seven years later I would be writing this on my mobile phone – the iPhone was yet to launch – and publishing it via the French 3G network. All of this post – including the photos – were done on the phone. I’m carrying an Kindle and an iPad – neither of which had launched back then.
That’s seven years – how much more change will the next 10 years bring? We can’t guess, which makes the theme if this year’s French event challenging. We’re exploring the idea of the next 10 years. As ever, some speakers will be wrong, some will just focus on plugging today’s product – but some of them will show us the first steps on that decade’s journey.
It’s those people who keep me coming back to Le Web. I’m looking forwards to three days of hunting them down,