Archive for the 'Europe' Category

Quand On n’a Que l’Amour

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Quand on n’a que l’amour
A s’offrir en partage
Au jour du grand voyage
Qu’est notre grand amour

Quand on n’a que l’amour
Mon amour toi et moi
Pour qu’éclatent de joie
Chaque heure et chaque jour

Quand on n’a que l’amour
Pour vivre nos promesses
Sans nulle autre richesse
Que d’y croire toujours

Quand on n’a que l’amour
Pour meubler de merveilles
Et couvrir de soleil
La laideur des faubourgs

Quand on n’a que l’amour
Pour unique raison
Pour unique chanson
Et unique secours

Quand on n’a que l’amour
Pour habiller matin
Pauvres et malandrins
De manteaux de velours

Quand on n’a que l’amour
A offrir en prière
Pour les maux de la terre
En simple troubadour

Quand on n’a que l’amour
A offrir à ceux-lÃ
Dont l’unique combat
Est de chercher le jour

Quand on n’a que l’amour
Pour tracer un chemin
Et forcer le destin
A chaque carrefour

Quand on n’a que l’amour
Pour parler aux canons
Et rien qu’une chanson
Pour convaincre un tambour

Alors sans avoir rien
Que la force d’aimer
Nous aurons dans nos mains,
Amis le monde entier

Music and lyrics by Jacques Brel (from the 1957 album Quand On n’a Que l’Amour)

Kraut By Southwest 2008

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

At this point, this is little more than a vague idea but mark your calendars anyway if you’re thinking about flying in from Europe to attend SXSW next year.

Web Monday Innsbruck to launch February 26

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Innsbruck is the second city in Austria to join the Web Monday community. 11 people have signed up so far. Please help spread the word if you know anyone in that part of Europe who might be interested in the future of the web (and how to build it).

Vienna seems to be off to a good start, too, and with the recent Barcamp Klagenfurt getting rave reviews and all, maybe something is really going on in Austria with regard to that internet thing.

Welcome, everybody! Make yourselves at home.

Peuplade — Le premier site de Quartier

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Interesting neighborhood social networking project from Paris, France: Peuplade

Un site de quartier, pour quoi faire ?

  • Pour redécouvrir son quartier
    Restaurants, ballades, cafés, coins secrets,…
  • Pour échanger biens, services ou coups de main à proximité de chez soi
    Petites annonces, plantes à arroser, chats à nourrir, dépannages, gardes improvisées, courses,…
  • Pour participer aux apéros, sorties et dîners
    Rendez-vous minute au café du coin, pétanques, pots de bienvenue, plans « restau », dîners chez les uns et les autres…
  • Pour participer à des projets de quartier
    Maison de quartier, gazette, court-métrage, groupe solidarité, voyages collectifs, concerts privés,…

Peuplade est en somme un cousin des blogs de quartier, des apéros et repas entre voisins, des maisons des associations, des réseaux d’échange de savoir,…

BBC News reports: Parisian neighbours meet online

Just as most Parisians are too cool to visit the Eiffel Tower, most of us ignore the possibilities for friendships immediately outside our front door.

French social networking website Peuplade aims to bridge that small but often insurmountable gap by putting neighbours in touch with each other. It also wants you to meet people different from your usual crowd.

“In life today we get to meet people in a very specific situation and social background. You meet people from your school, from your family or from your work,” said Jérémie Chouraqui, a lawyer and one of the founders of Peuplade.

“With Peuplade you will meet people that you will usually not get to meet in cities: people with different ages and social backgrounds, but they all live in the same neighbourhood.”

The site is effectively a neighbourhood notice-board which started life in Paris’s 17th arrondisement and is now spreading to the rest of the city.


Peuplade aims to change the way we make friends and the sort of people we make friends with - when you sign up you leave your prejudices at the door.

“We have a profile page in which we ask you a series of questions. We don’t ask your age, sex or job because that can lead to discrimination. We encourage you to leave a photo or image that moves you, rather than a photo of yourself,” said Stephane Legouffe, a sociologist and one of the co-ordinators of the site.


Founder Nathan Stern said: “The idea from the start was to create links between people who shouldn’t really meet, who don’t really have an affinity, who aren’t part of the same group or network.

“How do we do that? We go beyond group status and membership and create accidents, chaos. And when you come to these Apero de quartier for a while you develop a familiarity among people who you previously not think of belonging to your world.”

Rules of engagement

Apparently there is a science to this sort of social engineering.

One rule is that breaking the ice is often easier on the net. Another is if you are hosting a party of people who have never met, choose a tiny venue.

It seems elbow-to-elbow people are forced to get along.

Alors, je m’inscris…

Seriously now, what do you know about Bulgaria or Romania?

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Not a whole lot, if you’re like me (heck, I’m still trying to catch up on Africa).

But as of today (tomorrow, if you’re in the US), both countries are the newest two members of the European Union, bringing the total to 27 member states.

Btw, is this a golden age for translators and interpreters, or what.

Anyway, Romania, Bulgaria — welcome! Happy New Year! Hope all your wishes come true. And I look forward to your contributions. Just one request, though: please help move Europe forward! It’s gotten awfully hard lately to get things done with all those additions.

Via Das E-Business Weblog: Willkommen!

Phil Nobel on online politics in Europe

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Nicole just did a nice pre-conference interview with Phil Noble, founder of Politics Online. He has some pretty interesting things to say about citizens, politics, and the internet in Europe and elsewhere:

Nicole: When you look at Europe (and from your experience), what is most astonishing to you that politicians don’t do because it would be so easy to do today. What would you give as advice to somebody who wants to use the internet today?

Phil: Well, it’s really not too surprising to me that the politicians haven’t adopted the internet as aggressively as they could have. What has surprised me is that there hasn’t been more independent citizen organizations, more independent online organizations.

And again, I think that goes back to the political culture and tradition. In this country, politics is very entrepreneurial in the sense that if I decide I wanna run for governor of South Carolina I walked out my front door, call five reporters and say “I’m running for governor of South Carolina.” And if I can raise enough money and run an effective campaign, I win! And I don’t even have to — you know, other than paying my $5,000 to put my name on the ballot — I don’t even have to talk to the Democratic party establishment. And so we are very entrepreneurial.

And France and Europe in general you’re much more bureaucratic, your party structure is much more rigid. And what surprises me is that there’re not more online organizations and structures and campaigns created by individuals totally outside of that party structure. That’s what surprises me most about Europe.

Nicole: Loïc said he could imagine that for the next European election there might actually be a party of bloggers or internet-savvy people who could run as a party and try to change things. And the more I look at how Europe is structured or the European government is structured, I actually believe there could be a chance for it.

For the moment, I think most people don’t really see European government as something which is important (the national elections are much more important than that). But more and more, Europe is taking over, you have government decisions from Europe which have to be transported into national law and everything.

So it would actually be a good idea to have somebody running as independent and writing in English about what’s happening in the European Union itself to get more information, to get more unbiased information as well. But so far, I don’t see that coming.

Phil: I think that’s right. I used to do some work for the party of European Socialists in the European Parliament back in the late ’90s. And it has been something that has surprised me as to why some of the European parties have not moved aggressively to use the internet to really reach out to individual citizens.

And again, I think it goes back to the European tradition. The party of European Socialists or the EPP, or whatever, all these things, they are a creation of national parties. And so, you know, they are most concerned about being responsive to and trying to be directed by the parties — but not the individuals, not individual citizens.

And so I think that’s what’s really missing is that we haven’t had in Europe political organizations that have been interested in bypassing their party structures and empowering and linking and creating a real citizen movement. And I think it could happen. I think it’s more likely to happen on the extremes, you know, some of the, um, on the far right or the far left — I think they are more likely to use it effectively in the short term.

Although I must admit, for example, David Cameron in the UK: I’m very impressed with what he’s trying to do online. You know, I think in Germany, what Angela Merkel… I think she shows that she has some understanding of it, you know. And I think obviously the most intersting one right now is Ségolène Royal. I mean, what is she gonna do with it? I think she has the potential to be a real breakthrough in Europe because she has used her blog and internet in a way that nobody else has. And I think she may be the first real online European politician.

Citizen-centric politics? Citzen-centric parties, even? Smart use of online tools? Empowering citizens? Sounds like a recipe for success for whomever wants to get in (or stay in) the game.

I’ve been on the Politics Online newsletter for almost a decade now (Electofix, one little project of mine, even scored a mention as HotSite of the week last August). If things work out as planned, I hope to get to go to Washington D.C. next March for the Politics Online Conference 2007 (Upcoming).

What the Fleck?!

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

So Fleck is live and it’s some sort of web annotation layer thingy: wants to add a new layer of interactivity to the web. Fleck is inspired on a story written in 1945 by Vannevar Bush and an article titled ‘We Are The Web’ by Kevin Kelly.

Vannevar Bush predicted a machine called the Memex that would allow people to surf from one information page to another. Some people say that Hypertext and the World Wide Web are based on or at least inspired by the Memex.

Kevin KellyOne thing that the Memex had and the web doesn’t is the ability to add new content to every page it contained. After reading the Wired article by Kevin Kelly we decided to try to add a new level to the web by adding new tools that would allow its users to add information rather than just consuming it.

Fleck allows you to interact with pages on the web just as if it were pages in a magazine. You can save your annotated page for yourself, send it to friends or colleagues or use it in your blog.

You can start using Fleck right now. It’s free and what’s best: you don’t have to install anything on your computer. Try the search box at the top of this page or add Fleck to your browser with a Bookmarklet or Extention.

Fleck was founded by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Patrick de Laive and Arjen Schat and is privately funded.


Marshall has more over at Techcrunch: Fleck Offers Zero Friction Web Annotation

So if you feel like Flecking along, why not start with this page right here?

Oh, and check out how they launched their site to the public. Pretty creative.

Web Monday Vienna, October 23

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Looks like Vienna will join the crowd this coming Monday, October 23. Welcome, Austria!

If you know anyone in or around Vienna who might be interested, please spread the word. Thanks!

Europe — sort of a black hole for social application development (and that includes Germany, I take it)

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Stowe gives feedback on his More Europe project: The More Europe Project: Two Weeks In Europe

I think it has to do more with the small number of social application start-ups in Europe than anything else. Yes, I know all about and Plazes — in fact I saw Felix Petersen of Plazes in Lisbon a few weeks back — but aside from those two (and of course openBC!) there doesnt seem to be much going on, really. (Oh, I am using Fred Oliviera’s Goplan, a Basecamp competitor. and he is based in Portugal, now. Shouldn’t forget that.) On the other hand, I was in San Francisco the other day for Office 2.0, and I saw no less that 25 companies demoing their applications. I had invitations from companies in Mexico, Canada and Israel for meetings, but nothing in Europe.

I think that Europe is sort of a black hole for social application development. For some reason, there is just not much happening. Are there other stealth startups that I just don’t know about? Is it Graham’s hypothesis? Have all the inventive Europeans already departed for San Francisco? Is it lack of VCs? Surely not education; is it a cultural issue? People in Europe being less likely to quit their day jobs?

Sadly, I think Stowe is right on with his assessment.

I’ve been thinking about this, too, for the past 18 months or so (ever since I moved to sizzling Silicon Valley in May 2005). I think it’s a combination of cultural issues (Germans being a little too risk-averse all the time combined with a common disdain for failure) as well as lack of infrastructure (mainly, the aforementionend technology hubs and an ecosystem for funding).

I see small pockets of resistance, though.

Web Monday, the event I started almost a year ago, is aimed at addressing the cultural issues in that it gives people who not only have ideas but also want to do something about them a chance to present to their peers in an overall nourishing environment (that’s what Wiki Wednesday is to me). The recent Barcamp Berlin also helped bring people together (a mini-hub, if you will, though only for a weekend) who share the same passion about people and technology. And judging by what these people had to say afterwards, it will not have been the last barcamp in or around Germany.

A handful of successful internet entrepreneurs have begun to serve as angel investors: Lukasz Gadowski of Spreadshirt (who may join us for the upcoming Web Monday Silicon Valley, November 6) and Axel Schmiegelow of Denkwerk (who has invested in Qype, who will join us over the web and do a presentation from their Hamburg, Germany headquarters) come to mind. That’s only two, you may ask, but it’s a start.

The recent decision by the German government to pursue more of a hub approach with regard to their funding of universities is also a move in the right direction, in my view.

All this will take a while to really take root. In the meantime, if you’re the young and aspiring entrepreneur out there in the German hinterland, please do us all a big favor: Don’t think you need anyone’s permission. Don’t let the risk of failure overwhelm you. There are enough people who will gladly help you (even in Germany). Don’t wait until you have a perfect plan.

Just do it!

What the citizens of Europe care about

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

As the final part of my little research tour across Europe, I’m at the agenda-setting event of the European Citizens’ Consultations in Brussels today.

Here’s the preliminary list of 25 issues which the participants — a randomly selected sample of 200 citizens from all 25 member states of the European Union — care about:

  • Agriculture and food
  • Culture and heritage
  • Diversity
  • Economy
  • Education and study
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • The Euro
  • Free Movement of Persons
  • Sports
  • Global role
  • Social welfare
  • Immigration
  • Institutions
  • Integration and Enlargement
  • Jobs
  • Family
  • Outside borders
  • Peace and security
  • Policy-making and citizen communication
  • Regulation
  • Science
  • Solidarity and equality
  • Transport
  • Values

Very interesting to watch how the final agenda will take shape.