Once again, however, Le Web attracted Les Whingers.
Le Web’s biggest “controversy”, of course, was Sarkozy speaking to the conference in 2006. Not to dredge ancient history, but I do wonder how many conferences would like to have the “problem” of hosting two of the three candidates for the presidency speaking at their conference?
Among Carr’s complaints:
– Shortage of Wifi
– A misspelled sign (“Cloackroom”)
– Chilly room
– Speakers – He complains that some were good and others not good. One of Carr’s least favorite speakers, Paulo Coehlo, was mobbed by attendees for nearly half an hour after his presentation.
There is always room to improve a conference – or any creative endeavor – but I have found the reaction to Le Web fascinating over the years.
In some ways Le Web offers a micro-study of European self-hating attitudes. (Full disclosure: Loic is one of my best friends and I have been involved in Le Web since it started years ago as Les Blogs.)
In Sauna Veritas
From his comments about the Sauna set up outside the conference, Carr shows his true European colors:
I found [the sauna] packed to its pine rafters with Brits, getting slowly drunk on licorice vodka and gleefully bitching about how disappointing everything was.
This gleeful bitching and cynicism by Carr and his fellow Europeans may have something to do with the difficulty Europeans have in getting things done.
As a European-American now living in Asia, the morosity and self-hate of Europe is really striking when I come back. I am not asking Europeans to adopt Pollyanna-style positivism (Panglossian positivism to a European), but they should try to encourage those who actually do things.
An example outside the conference: I have a young friend now doing his MBA in France who, while studying, launched a small start-up business. Rather than being cut slack for the project, my friend has been forced to keep the business hidden from fellow students and most professors. Starting a business would be seen as grandstanding to students and distracting from this studies to professors.
The striking aspect of the Sarkozy “controversy” of 2006 was how European many of the complaints were. Much of the righteous indignation came from French pariticipants writing in French about how foreign visitors would not want to hear French politicians. In the Anglophone blogosphere (or more precisely American blogosphere) there were many neutral or even positive comments about getting a chance to see a high ranking politician (and future president).
My message to Paul Carr and his fellow Euro-whingers: Get out of the Sauna and cheer up!
Any other Le Web attendees have views on this topic?
UPDATE: Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten concluded his posting on “Why we love to hate Le Web” with a great Sibelius quote: “Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic”. Svetlana Gladkova did a posting on criticism of the conference.