Welcome to a new series of articles on the tech scene in France. They will cover the usual range of tech subjects such as internet news, start-ups and new business models, gadgets and so on and so forth.
To kick things off, who better to start with than French Silicon-Valley rockstar Loïc Le Meur. In just 4 years he has created a personal brand and company presence that doesn’t often come naturally to Europeans in SF. Not a shy guy, by any means, his face is plastered all over the web and largely in part due to his seismically-social networking service, Seesmic. Recently he has voiced his opinion on Twitter to a French techblog. He’s close to Twitter, in regular contact with the team and so his thoughts are particularly on the pulse. They are in French, so I took the liberty of putting some of them into English. Here’s a roundup of what he said:
Twitter now want no competitors, as some Twitter clients compete with traffic (eyeballs!) and others with ads.
Doesn’t affect us, and we’re kept in the loop - Ryan Sarver (Twitter Platform Manager) called me before sending the announcement email. Anything that enriches Twitter is welcome, anything competing is bad.
Seesmic is becoming a tool for brand management - managing feedback over all social networks (Facebook, Linkedin, Viadeo - 70 so far…)
Seesmic has 1 million users, 400k active, with good growth (+10k per day), 1/3rd of whom are businesses - which we’ll now focus on. It’s difficult to pursue a strategy of end users and companies at the same time, so we’ve decided to focus on business. This helps us to not compete with Twitter, and have a clearer position and business model.
Our free product will always be so, but the new business focused model will allow professionals to pay to get analytics. We’re remaining open with 70 plugins for Seesmic, made by companies themselves. They can be made in 2 weeks.
Seesmic becomes a pro dashboard for engagement, lead generation. The new partnership with Salesforce helps this. Negative comments can be talked about internally. Companies can manage prospects via social networks.
10% of Seesmic users are in Japan. Euro-Director Cédric Giorgi now handles partnerships in Europe. He is someone Loïc admires.
He also talked about ticket sales for LeWeb11 at 40% sold at present, so now is the time to sign up if you want to attend.
Here’s the original video:
A lot of this info is also summed up in this French press article.
OpinionSo what to make of all this? It seems as though Twitter is forcing the market to innovate and to develop its own revenue models rather than just hang from Twitter’s coat tails, parasite-like (in the nicest possible way). This can only be good for consumers, provided they don’t mind having their public thoughts scrutinised for marketing purposes.
The age-old argument of increased efficiency versus decreased privacy rears its ugly head again. Twitter could have perhaps embraced their client community and somehow worked alongside them, but the decision has been made. Time to see what comes of it.