#LeWeb Pro Tips...

Clo did an interview with me at LeWeb'12 about the fact that I've attended every edition of that conference since it started.  In the margin of the interview we started joking around about 'Pro Tips' for attending this conference.  Here is a little list:

  • Bring extra batteries or a power splitter so you can share an outlet.  Your phone/tablet/laptop will need all the power they can get just to get their wifi signal to the routers over the din of thousands of other devices trying to do the same...
  • Wear sensible shoes and something with long sleeves: Paris in december can be quite cold and sometimes even snowy, and LeWeb is spread out over three buildings.  To avoid having to go and get your coat from the cloak room every time you change building, wear something that can resist the cold for half a minute...
  • You don't go to LeWeb for the speakers, but for meeting interesting people.   Pick a few interesting sessions to attend by all means, but know that you can always watch the sessions you missed on YouTube later.  But that opportunity to pitch Robert Scoble or meet a VC? Grab it now, while you can...
  • Book your hotel way in advance.  Best one is the Ibis near Porte de la Chapelle: cheap, free wifi and within walking distance.  All other places are more expensive or require metro/taxi rides.  You only need it to drop off your stuff and sleep a few hours anyway.
  • Don't bother with breakfast at your hotel: LeWeb has a buffet breakfast that is quite adequate, and you can get some early-morning networking done while you are there.
  • Lunch at LeWeb is generally excellent too, with a wide selection of meats, cheeses, pastries and other French cuisine.  The wine is quite a nice touch too.  If you don't like queueing: the buffets in the secondary buildings are generally way less crowded.
  • Need a quiet space for a meeting?  Enter the main hall and find the door to the stairs on the right hand side of the exhibition floor (just before the entrance to the plenary).  Usually there are workshop and meeting rooms on the upper floors that are mostly empty and that have couches and wifi.  Way less distracting compared to the tables and barstools at the 'official' networking spaces in the main hall.
  • The wifi in the plenary will always be flaky, it just can't be helped with the number of devices per square meter all screaming for bandwidth.  Bring your own 4G bandwidth if you need it there, or get press accreditation so you can use an ethernet cable available in the press seats.
  • Wifi in the main hallways or in the other buildings will generally always work.
  • Bring enough business cards
  • If you can avoid it, don't bring a laptop.  You'll have to carry it around for three days until your shoulder hurts.  A tablet or smartphone is usually enough if all you do is surfing, emailing, light blogging and/or tweeting.
  • No need to bring a backpack either: you get a goodie bag at the entrance that is mostly empty, so you can put it to good use by stuffing it full of brochures, booth swag, business cards and your tablet.
  • Try to follow the #leweb hashtag on Twitter now and then: it is a great way to pick up on news about interesting speakers, parties, demos etc. that are happening in the other buildings.

Got any other tips to share?  Put them in the comments!

Traditionally after every LeWeb I send Loic Le Meur a link to the same article from 2007: "Building a Better Conference Badge".  Why?  Because a lot of my time at LeWeb is spent squinting at other people's badges, trying to find out who they are.

Here, for example, is my badge from this year:


I'm wearing the damn thing, so no need for the photo.  If the security guys at the entrance need it, put it on the back.  People know they are at le web, what day it is and in which city, so the logo, date and city name can be a lot smaller.  No need to include my first name twice, either.  The barcode?  Maybe two people used it, and I could have handed them a business card much quicker.

So that leaves following useful information:


But because this information is in an area the size of a postage stamp people constantly had to squint to see it.  I did a little quick copy-pasting and resizing, and here is what the badges should look like next year for vastly improved networking:


Retweet @loic if you agree...

LeWeb 2012

I just returned from the LeWeb conference yesterday where I had a great time with @bnox, @clopin, @mvissers, @nodesktophero, @crossthebreeze and many, many others.