For the past nine years thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, bloggers and business leaders (not to mention world leaders like Shimon Peres and Nicolas Sarkozy) have been coming to Paris to attend LeWeb, Europe’s largest internet conference.
LeWeb is run by Loïc Le Meur, whose most recent startup is the social media managing tool Seesmic. While he calls San Francisco home, Le Meur is considered one of Europe’s preeminent web advocates.
In a conversation at this year’s SXSW Interactive Le Meur said that he thinks of LeWeb as “a studio” as much as a conference. The key, according to Le Meur, is to produce quality content that can be leveraged to promote next year’s event.
So instead of spending money on a sales team (LeWeb’s full-time staff consists of Le Meur and his wife) or on sponsored speakers (LeWeb never sells speaking slots) Le Meur said he invests about half a million dollars in producing, editing and distributing video content.
And although the face-to-face aspect remains as powerful as ever, “the online component of events is becoming much more important,” Le Meur said.
The theme for the London edition of LeWeb is “Faster than Real Time.” It includes speakers discussing how this concept translates to social media, business operations and the platforms that make them work.
Speakers include Highlight founder and CEO Paul Davison, TechCrunch Editor Eric Eldon, Celebrity Chef and food activist Jamie Oliver, Instagram co-Founder Kevin Systrom and comedy writer Baratunde Thurston.
After his SXSW talk, Le Meur took a few moments to speak with Sparksheet Editor Dan Levy about content’s role in LeWeb – and events in general. He started off asking Le Meur about the online value of offline events.