The Web is quite a contrast. It is like coins whose two faces neither leave nor ever meet each other.

On the head side, the emergence of a new economy, job creation, spectacular growth of a new type of companies, invention of new services, acceleration of innovation, spreading of ideas and knowledge, evolution of modes of interaction between individuals, etc.

On the tails side, the hyper power of the stakeholders organizing information worldwide, the destruction of entire sectors of the industry (music, film, etc.), the disappearance of traditional media (newspapers, radio, etc.), the replacement of information by opinion, the challenging of intellectual property, the evaporation of nation states’ prerogatives…

This book sometimes deals with the Web, sometimes with what it influences, transforms, changes: professions (marketing, management, product design, etc.), behaviors, morals, ideas, conceptions

(in particular innovation), work, communication, knowledge, culture…

It is intended for those who do not wish to play heads or tails. It is equivalent to the coin resting upright, thus revealing both sides of the same phenomena.

The Internet was first a media. It became an industry before turning into a community. The latter should reflect on what it is, what it does and what it thinks. This book asks, and asks this community, a number of questions, initiates answers and opens up a number of areas for further reflections.

It does not denounce anything or anyone. It simply expresses, often in an original and unusual way, sometimes in an iconoclastic manner, new ideas more hosted in the Web era than pending in the moment.

The inside story of the Web is neither an academic work nor a theoretical work. Intuition and freedom play a major role in this book. It is based on one and a half decade spent in the digital industry, mixing with stakeholders, its entrepreneurs, behind the scenes... without ever missing the opportunity to reflect, motivated by an attentive mind and a watchful eye.

Let us be clear, we are not here to put water in your wine, but to turn your water into wine. This book is an appeal for reaction, start, realization and action on a new reality personified by the Web


In the United States, the famous Route 66 crosses three time zones and eight States, from east to west. It became the first transcontinental route to be asphalted in the USA.

The Americans nickname it The Mother Road. Since, it became part of the legend and gave way to another American epic, this time crossing all the states and time zones of the whole world: the Web.

This book will take you on this new journey. We will call this route Web 69 as this work is dedicated to the Web and that it remains the same, whether it is turned in one way or the other, like the figure sixty nine.

Just like the topic it addresses, the Web, this book:

·      is in several languages : in French and English


·     is an incubator of ideas, reflections, challenges, answers of extremely various and varied origins


·     is a vector of a fragmentary, discontinuous writing, advancing by leaps from one idea to another


·     carries a reflection bearing resemblance to fresh paint for it is barely spread on blank pages and has not reached its final color


·     is arranged rather than structured, developed rather than organized, under construction rather than definite


·      is global as it is launched worldwide. Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Dubayy, etc. being the starting point for its launch


·    is on the move as it travels across the world, through states, continents and time zones. After reading it, readers from random cities leave their copy (on a public bench, in the train, in an airport...) so that another reader in turn takes it, reads it and leaves it somewhere. These readers talk about where they found the book and where they then left it on Thus, the journey of the work throughout its route is described.


Whilst you are reading, copies of The inside story of the Web are perhaps flying from New York to Mumbai, or Paris to Tokyo, waiting to be collected from train seats in Shanghai, on tables of business restaurants in Mexico, in business centers in Moscow, in waiting rooms of Californian businesses, in computer cases…


A few precisions on the writing of the book:

At the beginning, this work was done somewhat like a rock album. A group happy to get together and which, instead of playing the guitar, exchanging rhythms, creating musical phrases like starters, looking for a few right chords to make great music, exchanging ideas, comparing opinions, sharing experiences, raising questions, discussing responses, over intermingled professional careers, conversations with common knowledge, exchanging emails, calls via Skype.

In the end, the result resembles more to a jam session, to a jazz concert, a freestyle session rather than a properly scheduled partition of a classical music symphony.

The main interest of this book is the exchange it has enabled, the debates it has generated, the ideas it gave way to amongst each and everyone. This book is not ours. It is that of a community.

The inside story of the Web is and intends to remain an active agent, a positive principle, an expedient, a stimulus, a stimulant. Nothing definitive. Simply a step along Route Web 69 you have already started and which will end with further exchanges, debates and questions that the book may give rise to.






When Harvard invented business romantism


The smart parallels between things that we do not normally align can prove to be fruitful. Let us attempt a trial with the courteous literature of the middle Ages and the American business books.


In the middle Ages, feudal Europe slowly civilizes to become the home of Christianity. The then very powerful Church is faced with a paradox: it preaches love and peace among men while crusades make it possible for it to spread the word, but forged in blood. Young nobles, unable to work due to their class, dream of knightly feats, military prowesses, battles. This generation needs to be channelled.

The Church then invents, finances and promotes a new form of story: the courteous literature[i]. The Grail quest is one of the master pieces and Chrétiens de Troyes is one of the masters. The novels softened the ardor of the youth by inventing the figure of the white knight roaming in quest of adventures, loving his belle with a courteous love, fighting for his king, under the gaze of God.

Two centuries later, settlers snatching independence of the United States from the British replay almost the same scenario. The conquest of the continent is made forged in blood. The stake is henceforth the quest for fortune. But greed is contrary to religious beliefs. The first universities were then built. Harvard is designed to teach theology and commerce. Since, the United States will keep on developing a new literature: the managerial literature. The one praising new theories such as Fordism, invents new sciences such as marketing or management, but most of all telling success stories of American entrepreneurs. It reconciles individual aspirations of readers (enrichment, power, success, etc.) with collective values (wealth, morality, integrity, work, etc.). Everything is politically correct. The characters are so faultless that they have almost nothing to do with reality.


The Web 69 journey is also marked with heroes, feats and legends. The true reality is less beautiful. The legend of Route Web 69 has managed to develop its over observance which discourages, makes one feel complexed, want to be more than perfect, more than best, more than excellent. In short, filling the pockets while the Web 69 journey is still to be travelled.

Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Manager                         


We all know Arsène Lupin, Maurice Leblanc’s sympathetic character, nicknamed the gentleman burglar. On the other hand, we overlook the fact that he is also a real manager. Many novels in which he appears show him surrounded by a whole team of accomplices that he organizes and manages masterfully. The planning of his burglaries has nothing to envy from many strategies. The means which make it possible for him to hide the booty of his burglaries in the Hollow Needle of the beach of Etretat is a real logistics device. The way in which he rewards his accomplices almost reminds of political motivations. The way in which he uses the papers to taunt the police, to publicize his projects or to build his notoriety is a well-orchestrated communication plan.

In short, Arsène Lupin is a manager, existing in novels only.

However, numerous real illegal organizations (mafia, underworld, cartels, etc.) also include managers. As a matter of fact, they can be compared to enterprises. Likewise, they have strategies, objectives, organizations, processes, a hierarchy, collaborators, competitors, products for sale, clients… Studying them is perhaps a way to learn, discover, identify best practices[ii].

To be able to break free from the rut which the enterprise is sometimes stuck in, it is perhaps important to look at "what is not in compliance with morality and acceptable manners" to find the solution.

What glitters dazzles                                            


Books, studies, articles, programs, websites, blogs dwell on the same ongoing examples of "best businesses".


·     In the sixties, people only swore by Chrysler.


·     In the eighties, it was by IBM.


·     In the nineties, it was General Electric.


·     In 2000s, it was Microsoft's turn.


·      Followed by Apple or Google in 2010s.


99.99% of businesses worldwide will never do so well, will never come close to these legends.

Shouldn’t we focus on less spectacular but similar businesses.


Mac vs. PC


Mac vs. PC ? There exists a clash of philosophies behind this simple opposition between two computer brands.

That of the PC, or the personal computer, forming part of the past. It requires man to adapt himself to the machine. That of the Macintosh is more modern. It aims at adapting the machine to man. The first capitalizes on the capacities of adaptation of the individual, whereas the second one relies on its potential. In the first case, man is at the service of the machine. In the second one, the machine is at the service of man. The first one is machine centric, the second one is human centric.

All our companies, strategies, processes follow the logic of the PC. Man is called upon to follow rules, modes of functioning, habits, a hierarchy, dashboards, ERPs, packages, etc. And when this does not work anymore, companies request their collaborators to further adapt themselves, by becoming more flexible, mobile, versatile… Because we are not afraid of paradoxes, we can see actual winners, such as Google or Apple, and we conclude from this that the key to success is in creativity, innovation, communication - in short, in man’s potentials, that Mac's philosophy precisely proposes to free.

In other words, there exists two types of enterprises.

Those obsessed by organization, planning, implementation of a predefined strategy. Individuals are once again called upon to adapt themselves to a framework. In spite of themselves, even the best of the new forms of organizations or work, such as IBM or Cisco, have produced this slip. These companies are company centric.

Then, there are the companies more centered on individuals to build a framework which will make them do their best, work more efficiently, better succeed. These companies are people centric.


This way of considering the business, the organization mode, this philosophy can contribute to closing the last mile on the Web 69 journey.

[i] Based on the book Pour un autre Moyen-âge, by Charles Le Goff.

[ii] The book The Mafia Manager, by an author who did not wish to be in trouble and who signed by a simple V.