DLD 2011: Probably the best organized conference in Europe

#DLD11 conferenceLast week I had the pleasure to attend the DLD 2011 (Digital Life Design) conference in Munich, which was co-hosted by Dr Yossi Vardi and Burda Media, a large German media company (for those who don’t know). I’ve attended quite a few conferences and industry events, but DLD manage to stand out. What was so special about it?

The organization – The conference itself is fairly large: 3 days, 172 speakers, 60 sessions, 180 international journalists and about a thousand attendees. Everything ticked like a clock (almost) when it comes to sessions and the organizers arranged for a few good ‘extra’ activities. One example was the optional tour in one of three museums. We got a guided tour of the Deutches Museum on the first day (before the conference opened) and shuttles were arranged for us to transport to the conference venue on time. There was also plenty of food, drinks, and music including James McCartney (the son of), Duffy, a few DJs and  a live band on stage for when speakers were announced.

The panels – there were some good ones and some less engaging ones, but overall great content and speakers. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Paulo Coelho and Sean Parker on the “Future of books” – it was interesting to hear from a best-seller author that traditional book promotion is changing quickly. Paulo didn’t do a book tour around the world this time – he simply promoted his latest book “Aleph” through Twitter, Facebook and his blog. The result? This was his most successful book launch ever. Sean Parker described himself as a platform builder (Napster, Facbeook, Causes) and commented on how he was portrayed in the ‘Social Network’ movie.
  • The Big Picture panel:  social, mobile, advertising, TV, media – with Google’s Nikesh Arora, Jim Breyer (partner at Accel and board member at Facebook), Thomas Ebeling, Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn, angel investor and partner at Greylock), and Paul-Bernhard Kallen. Jim Breyer was very bullish on China saying that Accel invested $1.5 billion in Chinese startups in the last two year and plans to invest another billion Dollars this year. He was less bullish on Israel and India, which raised a few eyebrows in the audience. Kara Swisher of All Things D (and previously the WSJ) was a brilliant moderator (in this panel and others), and managed to get these experienced execs uncomfortable in their chairs with a word association game. Nokia, Steve Jobs, Facebook and tablets had some interesting answers and ‘no comments’.
  • The fashion panel with the founder of Net a porter shed an light on
  • Quotes, comments and tweets (14,000 of them) are a great way to catch the vibe and golden nuggets out of panels. This link was a good way to follow the thousands of updates. Below are some of the best ones with the tag #DLD11:
    • Avg hold time of a stock in 1970 was 5 yrs. Now it’s 3 months. Now buyers only care about earnings for next quarter.” Barry Silbert
    • A NYT article is tweeted every four seconds,” Arthur Sulzberger, NYT publisher says.
    • Ynon Kreiz: Social TV next big thing. Whoever figures it out is the next Steve Jobs.
    • Groupon’s Andrew Mason: We want to be the Amazon for local. But says nothing concrete. Kara Swisher calls him “a corporate douchebag”
    • Murdoch: paper costs killing us, cost of digital going down. Vast majority of revenue comes from payTV 70% in EU
    • MSFT’s Dan Reed: Truly transformative technology is technology that users don’t notice they’re using.
    • Eric Schmidt: Every parent knows there are only two states of children in the current age. Asleep or online.
    • young entrepreneurs now develop for mobile first , not the desktop. Growth in smartphones worldwide will be a tidal wave on the West

The people – I had great conversations and good laughs. There was an unproportionally high number of Israeli entrepreneurs (courtesy of Yossi Vardi). To name a few, I’ve seen Outbrain, Similar Group, Donanza, HitPad (still in stealth), Superna, Speedup, JamRT(creators of Tubehero), Mythings,Fiddme and more. I’ve met  plenty of CEOs, VCs and industry execs from the usual suspects.

To name a few: a scientist that creates clouds (literally, and not the digital kind), Dan Rose of Facebook (asking me what I would like to hear more about a moment before he got on stage), the guy that designed the vehicles for the Tron movie, a German reporter with perfect Hebrew (has been taking classes), Pete Cashmore (good to reconnect after meeting in SF), Avid from Boticca, the Accel London team, Mike Butcher (finally connected the name to a face), Yossi Taguri, the master of the Footloose lip dub video (below) and the post would be too long to mention everyone, but needless to say that I had a good chance to catch up with old colleagues and hang out with folks that had a really positive vibe.

Overall, DLD 2011 was a great conference. You can catch all the videos of the sessions here or on this link. I highly recommend attending next year if you can.

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.