Interview: Loic Le Meur on Seesmic, Building a Community, and Just Doing It


loiclemeur_socialnerdia21I had the great pleasure of talking with Loic Le Meur, a French blogger, serial entrepreneur, and founder / CEO of Seesmic for The Social Nerdia Show! last night.

I didn't only get to ask Loic a few questions, but I also got to do it on his 37th birthday and Le Quatorze Juillet so I am very grateful for the time he took to chat with me. I had no idea that it was Loic's birthday (or Bastille Day for that matter), but I quickly found out through Twitter.



If you've ever used Twitter, chances are that you've heard of Seesmic and its very popular Seesmic Desktop (or its Twhirl predecessor), which is not only a fantastic Twitter and Facebook client/app, but also "a tool to manage your community," as Loic explained to me. Seesmic has been working hard to launch a brand new web-based in-browser app called Seesmic Web that is not yet as good as its Adobe Air brother, but is catching up (in terms of features) and will do so probably sooner than later.

newseesmic_socialnerdiaLoic told me about the importance of "not rushing things" and the value of Team Seesmic, a group of 52,000 members that provides Seesmic with feedback. "We build as much as we can, obviously based on demand.. but we have a lot of surprises coming that no one suggested."

A Seesmic iPhone app is coming soon (and Loic said it has surprises as well) so I asked him about a potential Palm Pre app. Loic didn't give me a clear yes or no, but he did say they are "doing other platforms."

Having been at the forefront of a lof of things, from blogging to social media, I had to ask him about how he decides to pursue certain opportunities as an entrepreneur. He answered, "I don't think it's a gene, it's just about throwing yourself inthe water and starting to swim rather than thinking about it; it's not even about being smart."

He acknowledged that it takes much time, talent, and hard work but "it's doable, even in a recession... You don't need marketing... The good news of Twitter and Facebook is that you see if it works immediately. Times have changed a lot with the real-time web, you can see if something catches on."

Loic is not keen on market research, especially because he simply doesn't need it. "We have users mentioning Seesmic every minute (on Twitter), that's my research."

loiclemeur_socialnerdia4On moving from Paris to San Francisco, he said the following about Silicon Valley: "Everyone is in one place; it's like a university campus where everyone is there. Everything you do, you do it with people in the industry. I personally love it, I'm lucky enough that I built what i do to be both my passion and my job." He then offered a good tip for everyone, "whatever is your passion try to build something around that."

Loic also noted an insightful cultural difference he's discovered: " The reaction to failure is very different. In Europe if you fail, you suck and you should hide. Here, if you fail, it's ok, try again."  Instead of focusing on the problems and complaining, Loic is encouraged by a community that seeks to find solutions. In the end, "life is too short to be sad all day."

The interview goes on for 45 minutes and Loic tells me about his video and podcast interviews, the LeWeb conference, his excitement over ChromeOS and augmented reality, the future of the cloud, some of the people he admires, blogs he reads, and the word "friend", but perhaps what impacted me the most was Loic emphasis on communities. Sure, the word has often been noted as a vague cliche, but I fully agree with the point that Loic made by saying that when you are in a hard time (like losing a job) you go to your community and that you do the same in good times (like when you're launching a product).

Those that don't get this now, will get it... eventually.

loiclemeur_socialnerdia3Loic is a great example of the kind of people that make Silicon Valley so attractive for geeks and entrepreneurs. Passionate about what he's doing, authentic, talented, and willing to take risks, Loic has come a long way and he has not only found a great community in California, but he is helping create one online. "Community" might be a loaded term, but without those around us, we really wouldn't enjoy much of anything and that's the substance behind such a confusing word.

How amazing that in 2009 we are not driving flying cars, but we are, at least, able to talk to anyone from anywhere, in real-time with text, with video, with pictures, with sounds. This may just be the beginning of a brand new community-driven web (call it post-web 2.0, 3.0 or whatever you want) in a hyper connected Earth, and small companies like Twitter and Seesmic are helping shape a global community that is changing everything.

Copyright © Esteban Contreras. All rights reserved.