Thanks to Nicolas Sarkozy Squawk Digital is on the road in Paris. The French president has invited the elite of the digital world to talk growth and regulation ahead of the G8 later in the week.
Sarkozy kicked things off with a speech dripping in superlatives: “You changed the world like Columbus, Galileo and Newton.”
Wow! Thanks! Do you sense a big but?
Sarko went on to issue a dark warning about protecting children from the “moral turpitude of certain adults.”
Oh and terrorists of course. Always terrorists.
Talk about spoiling the mood…
And so he headed off to get on with running the country and the real fun began with two days of addresses, media interviews, one-on-ones and the dreaded networking sessions.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is here (Like). She declined to do any TV interviews (Unlike) as speculation over timing of an inevitable IPO mounts (Poke).
But I did chat with her privately and I can report back that she is very sweet and very pretty and even came to say how nice it was to meet me before she left. And she had on a lovely red dress and precipitously high heels. Of which I approve.
Speaking of IPOs I also caught up with Martha Lane Fox. She knows a few things about bubbles.
As founder of lastminute.com she floated at the peak of the dotcom boom, that we may come to call “the first dotcom boom,” in March 2000. Back then the stock surged in the first day of trade, before tumbling and ultimately being acquired by Sabre Holdings.
Speaking about the LinkedIn IPO, she urged restraint on valuations of the new generation of social media companies. But she’s also convinced that this time it is different on the basis that these companies have a business model and lots of people actually use the Internet now.
Business models are not popular with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales though. He told us he’s totally committed to running the service like a public library for as long as possible. And totally committed to dressing head-to-toe in black, even in the Paris sunshine.
And don’t forget, deals get done on the back of relationships forged at these events too. Our chat with eBay CEO John Donahoe was canceled because he’d gone for a private stroll with Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.
And there was a beautiful moment at the CNBC camera position when Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales and Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer had a heart-warming reunion — Squawk Digital plays cupid.
Tune in to CNBC Europe on Wednesday morning for coverage.