Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The second day, May 25th, the e-G8 seemed to have lost much momentum. I headed back in the afternoon to catch Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's "conversation" with Publicis's Maurice Levy. It wasn't so much a conversation as a halting question and answer session. Poor little Zuckerberg was baffled a few times by Levy's attempts at banter and his thick French accent left several questions and comments falling flat. Zuckerberg was bravely sweating it out, literally, though. Poor guy was just in a t-shirt and jeans but kept sipping his Gatorade the entire grueling 90 minutes. Wait a minute! Poor guy--he's got millions--never-mind! He can sweat it out for a few minutes. Which he did, while we hung breathlessly on every word.
Some of those words were:
* "The best thing about the Internet is it gives everyone a voice."
* "The basis of being grounded in reality makes Facebook Facebook."
* "The Internet lets the best things rise to the top" (People will select what they like and the services that aren't useful fall by the wayside. Zuckerberg is a true Darwinian.)
* "Location is getting bigger and bigger." (My father always told me, "Location, location, location." Oh wait--that's for Real Estate!)
* "The Internet is competitive and the users make The Best win."
* Zuckerberg thinks there are only 1 or 2 things that companies can do well. He gave Gaming companies as an example. Doesn't think companies should try to be all things to all people. Focus on what you do best and just do that.
* "Social design" - a principal for designing something - is something Zuckerberg takes seriously for Facebook. He "bakes" this concept into all apps going forward. An example was the Friend Request. Initially you had to respond "yes" or "no" to a Friend Request. Through his studies of psychology he knew it made people uncomfortable and that there were real-world consequences for a denial. Changing the "yes/no" to "accept/not now" made it easier for people to politely decline a friend request.
* Advice for entrepreneurs: "Believe in what you're doing."
The first question from the audience came from a Frenchman asking a typically French-styled question, which baffled Zuckerberg, even after Levy tried to translate it. It was about the "transparency" of Facebook and could you trust people's sincerity. After several attempts at understanding this question, once even eliciting a huge laugh from the audience Zuckerberg was even more determined to understand it and answer it. He finally was able to frame it, and responded with, "one of the things I've noticed as the company is being built up is how similar people are and not how different they are."
He said they are "really gearing up for mobile development and have some exciting things coming out." "Most of the world will be accessing the web via Mobile and not computers."
Zuckerberg really kept downplaying Facebook's influence over the Jasmine Revolution. In a final comment, he summed up it all with, "[he] really cares about people being sure they can share their lives with each other." I guess that really does say it all of what the Internet can do for us.
Qwerly's Max Niederhofer was Linkedin's EMEA Marketing Director Laurence Bret. I also met Advocate-Hypermedia.com's Stanislas De Livonniere and Whoog's founder Geurric Faure who described (in French) his company's service utilizing mobile phones for emergency communications. Back over by the water/juice/soda bar I met Vincent Barbey, Adminium's Director General, who also was celebrating his birthday this day. Adminium's stores all your appliance and utility invoices online. Its real use comes into play when you're at Darty (http://www.darty.com/) (or BestBuy for example) and you have a broken stereo tuner but not your receipt. No problem, log into your Adminium account, find the doc, and have it emailed or faxed to the store from your online account. Pretty nifty, huh?
On my way out I met New York-based ScrollMotion founder Josh Koppel and Scoop.it!'s CEO Guillaume Decugis who described this service as a publishing platform between Blogger and Twitter, helping people find content, and thus users, by locating pertinent items for your site.
Locating content for my site wasn't a problem this week. Thanks e-G8!