"At Seesmic, a video blogging service, the day of reckoning — when it runs out of the $6 million it raised in May — will come in three years. To make the money last, Loïc Le Meur, the chief executive, recently laid off seven employees, or one-third of his staff, and cut all projects not directly related to the video service." Great messaging, Loic. Now for the bad news: No video blogging service will get its picture in the NYT until Web 3.0.
Seesmic has laid off 7 employees — a third of its staff. Never heard of Seesmic? You must be doing something right with your life. The startup was ridiculous from its very conception as a tool for embedding videos as comments on blogs. Only to people who spend all day reading and commenting on blogs did that sound like a good idea. But that's exactly the kind of people Loic Le Meur attracted to himself — the groupthinking commentards of Silicon Valley, a self-appointed A-list of the blogosphere. To anyone conducting serious business, Le Meur's bloggy pals were an A-list, all right — "A" as in "avoid." Predictably, Le Meur and his investors — a group which includes Michael Arrington, a frequent promoter of Seesmic on his TechCrunch blog — are spinning the layoffs as a result of the recent economic unpleasantness.Nonsense. Seesmic wasn't just a bad idea; we hear from insiders; it was poorly executed, to boot. The company was in the midst of a top-to-bottom rewrite of its code. In the Seesmic video in which Le Meur announced the layoffs, he alluded to cuts in engineering — people "working behind the scenes" on the product. What that tells me: Le Meur has given up on this horrendous waste of time and effort, and is just biding his time until he can offload it on someone. He has a good track record of doing that; Six Apart, whispers have it, regrets spending the money it paid for Le Meur's Ublog, a French blogging service. Unfortunately for Le Meur, these are less bubbly times. Will the $6 million he raised in Seesmic's last round see it through next year without an acquisition? That's the only way in which Seesmic's fate is connected with the real economy: The suckers who would normally pony up for Le Meur's latest overpuffed adventure are hiding under their desks. Buying Seesmic is just another disaster they can put on their A-for-"avoid"-list.
Loic Le Meur! Gabe Rivera! Joi Ito! Don't feel bad if you've never heard of them. BusinessWeek.com's latest 25 Most Influential People on the Web is a mashup of billionaire powerbrokers with a randomized handful of those folks you run into at that same little tech conference that happens under a different name every month. I'm guessing they left out TechCrunch's Michael Arrington to create buzz. If you don't want to click through 27 pageviews on BusinessWeek's site, here's the entire list in alphabetical order:
Dashingly awkward entrepreneur Loic Le Meur was last seen making conferencegoers squish up in their seats with his "How to find the G spot" presentation earlier this year at Supernova. This December, Le Meur may bring yet more sensual discomfort to the attendees of his Le Web conference, organized by his wife Geraldine. The couple promise sessions on "Platform Love" and "Big Love" and "Love Entrepreneurship." Put on some Al Green before diving into the full invitation below:
BoomTown's Kara Swisher went to Palo Alto’s MacArthur Park restaurant for a luncheon hosted by Germany’s Hubert Burda Media yesterday, the organizers of the DLD conference. A target of her shaky videocam work: Facebook flack Brandee Barker, who hid behind a fern. Asked if Microsoft was buying Facebook, Barker shouted, "Never!" Brave words, if not exactly consistent with Facebook's fiduciary duties to shareholders to consider all reasonable offers. Besides Barker, Swisher captured Silicon Valley figures like nerd chanteuse Randi Zuckerberg; Wired writer Steven Levy, fresh from his fly-on-the-wall writeup of the making of Google's Chrome browser; and layoff-happy Loic Le Meur. The crowd is shown descending into a happy drunkenness, giggling about Wall Street all the way down. After the jump, the full clip and a guide to the best moments:Click to view
Click to viewSeesmic, an online-video startup, is laying off some employees working to create original clips for the short-form video site. The official explanation, from newly unemployed video host Rachael Joy: "Seesmic's not a content site, never has been. It's a conversation tool." Joy was host of the startup's daily news and views "Seesmic du Jour." Talk of layoffs is not the conversation founder Loïc Le Meur wanted to start about Seesmic, which lets users pretend they're talking to each other through the medium of short, recorded webcam clips. Joy delivered the news with a wagging finger, in a spot-on parody of the bombastic Le Meur.Before flirting with the idea of Seesmic as an online-video studio, Le Meur had been aggressively pushing Seesmic as a platform for blog comments, even trying to convince Valleywag to deploy the company's product. The startup had been engaged in a major redesign, already delayed, that would have highlighted its video shows, according to a source. The layoffs suggest that plan is off. It's also attempting a complete rewrite of the site's backend code — an expensive endeavor. One has to wonder if this is a truly a strategy shift or just a ploy to slash the company's burn rate.
Please tell me someone has pictures of Seesmic founder Loïc Le Meur giving small-time technology investor Michael Arrington Segway riding lessons outside 330 Ritch for the TechCrunch50 conference's closing party. For now, I'll have to settle for Siqi Chen, left, and Alex Le, right, the guys behind Facebook widget Friends For Sale, at the Plista party at Fluid. Where's the afterparty? It's not at the W or the Four Seasons. Maybe Mahalo chief Jason Calacanis is drinking responsibly tonight and has turned in early, but I'm pretty sure Arrington is up drinking scotch somewhere.
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington just wants to get a scotch and hit on girls at the Seesmic party at 330 Rich, but ended up stuck in the multi-hour-long line outside the closing night party. Dutiful Seesmic founder Loïc Le Meur personally came out to escort him past the velvet ropes. For a second there, people might have come to the conclusion that TechCrunch50 was some kind of democracy.
At the brand new Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco last night, the team at European VC firm Wellington Partners celebrated the addition of an outpost in Palo Alto to their existing offices in London and Munich with a swell mixer. The hors d'oeuvres? Cheese gougères, tiny lamb chops, mushroom napoleons, Kobe beef sliders, croutons with creme fraiche, smoked salmon and caviar and a bite-sized tuna tartar, all washed down with French wine which topped $300 a bottle — which, as the joke went, "Is like, what, 20 euros?" Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis explained that for European private equity investors, the American market offers a double-dip:
Egobloggers Jason Calacanis, Robert Scoble as well as startup PR clearinghouse Michael Arrington all want to know: How amazing is it that after two years of using Twitter, they've each already got nearly half as many "followers" on FriendFeed after just a few months? Asking the question, each offer hypothetical answers involving the social-network aggregator's ease of use — "The comment systems is so fast and easy that it's perfect," says Calacanis — or Twitter's frequent outages — "Twitter downtime plays a big part," writes Arrington. But here's the real answer to the amazing growth these bloggers have seen on FriendFeed:
Metcalfe's Law, first forumlated by Robert Metcalfe, states that "the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system." The problem is, that as actual humans connect, the number of people you can connect to instantly swells far past Dunbar's Number, or "The Rule of 150," another popular concept among social network theorists, which Robin Dunbar uses to describe the typical amount of other people a person can realistic communicate, connect and relate to.
$1795 a head is a lot to pay for a sex ed lesson, let alone a tech conference, so why not combine the two? That was apparently the idea behind "Liquid Conversations" at Supernova, which nearly ran off the rails when panelist Loic Le Meur demonstrated his startup Seesmic, which the ebullient founder describes as "
video for Twitter for video." The video he chose featured an international group of users and a talking head with a velvet vagina puppet leading them on an intrepid search for the g-spot. Le Meur may have thought the full-motion lesson would shake up the room of predominantly male attendees. But putting female sexuality front-and-center, especially when the few women in attendance just wanted equal time on the mic, not necessarily equal time for their orgasms, was just awkward for everyone. And it didn't do much for the sex ed lesson, either, nevermind that in another context it would have been not only appropriate but sorely needed. More sexploration on Seesmic after the jump.
CARLSBAD, CA — A rumor sweeping the press corps here at the D6 conference: TechCrunch's Michael Arrington was set to stream Bill Gates's presentation live, but organizer Kara Swisher, who wanted to keep video restricted to her AllThingsD.com website, put the kibosh on it. Arrington abandoned the effort, but cited "bandwidth issues," not Swisher's strongarming, as the reason. Update: In the comments, Swisher denies she personally asked Arrington to stop streaming and says it's "the first she's heard of this." But, as commenter Mr. E. notes, Arrington associate Loic Le Meur confirms via Twitter that a man who "wasn't nice" asked Arrington to stop recording. In a subsequent email, Swisher says Arrington should have known better:
TechCrunch's Michael Arrington and Frenchman Loic Le Meur got into a 140-character Twitter war this afternoon. The topic? The TED conference and French military history. Arrington said TED is lame because he wasn't given a free pass: "I defame anything cool that ignores me, until it stops doing so. it's worked so far." Loic defended the conference: "TED is the best conference... Pay your tickets it's worth it!" Arrington and Loic then claim to "remove" each other from their friends lists and Arrington made some tired jokes about France's inability to win a war.
Blogger turned entrepreneur Loic Le Meur has raised $6 million to inflict on the world a decades-old technology thoroughly rejected by consumers: videomail. He calls it Seesmic, and has repackaged videomail as "video conversations." Really, what this means is that the same people who film videoblogs you promise to watch but never do have a new way of forcing themselves on you. Video is one of the most inefficient means of communication, suited only for self-important types who overvalue their own thoughts and undervalue the time of those they speak to. Which makes it perfect for Le Meur and the star-studded list of investors he's rounded up — including TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, whose blog has conveniently touted Seesmic at every turn. The press release is ludicrously embargoed, since it tells us nothing we haven't already heard from loquacious Loic. All the same, here it is: