LeWeb3 is all the rage

At least it created a furios scotsman: Ewan didn’t like it at all, it seems:

“Unfortunatly Loic Le Muir, the organiser, put paid to that and canceled my session for another ’surprise speaker.’ By deciding (for whatever reasons) to provide a platform to the ex-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perezm and French Presidential candidates Nikolas Sarkozy and François Bayrou, Le Web 3 was turned into a political rally, all the attendees and sponsors will now be used to provide legitimacy for the candidates views, a good number of speakers have not been able to put on a great show, and the general feeling from attendees is as close to a lynch mob that the blogosphere can muster.”

Neither did Tom Raftery:

“What really annoyed everyone was the fact that the conference was completely hijacked and changed from a conference about new web technologies into a presidential campaign for the next French election. Two of the candidates, Nikolas Sarkozy and François Bayrou were parachuted in to the conference schedule at the last minute, displacing other speakers.

Worse than that, at a conference where the majority of the delegates were not French, the two political candidates addressed the audience in French (and Sarkozy didn’t even take questions).

I have heard many people speculate that this is conference organiser Loic LeMeur’s way of furthering his own political ambitions.”

Nicole Simon has some strong words as well:

“I do not go to a EUROPEAN conference to listen to a guy in french talking about french politics. I do not care as they do not care. I would have had less problem with having this scheduled on the program, it being in french and having the rest in order.

I did not go to a conference to have to show my id to get in. I did not intent to go to a tech conference and find myself having barred out of the big room because some security wants to search it.

I do not tolerate that a lot of my friends who are supposed to be speaking for 20 min got told the day of the speaking that oh they have to make it in like 10 minutes to make space for some “last minute changes” while as the same time it was possible to organize translation headsets and translaters for those french politicians.

I will not tolerate that for another politician questions are cut off of people coming to this conference for a totally different thing.

I will not get taken hostage being part of an audience where the headline actually can be “politician … in front of 1000 of europe’s top technology attendees.””

It seems Loic leMeur has done himself a disservice and has some explaining to do. If he wants to further his political ambitions, this is completely fine, but this needs to be clear in advance. Hijacking a tech conference is certainly not the smartest way to do that.

UPDATE 2006-12-14: Nothing to do with the conference directly, but it seems the discussion around it, and the heat it generates, got Sam Sethi of Techcrunch UK fired. Wow – I wonder if we might get any politicians to retreat, too ;)