If you’ve never been to Web Summit you’ve probably asked yourself, why are people so obsessed with it? What is it that you can actually do in Lisbon for three days that is so great? Do you go because of great opportunities to network? Or maybe because you want to learn something? Perhaps both? After all, how much can you actually learn in just three days?
The answer is a lot more than you would expect.
After the pandemic forced it online in 2020, this year, Web Summit returned to its real home, Altice Arena in Lisbon. Albeit with strict 3G rules set by the Portuguese health authorities. Naturally, we took the opportunity to see the magic of Web Summit in person.
So, if you noticed some .ME tags or badges at the conference, it wasn’t a dream! Right there in the big venue, our ladies were strolling through and talking with some really cool .MErs while writing in their startup stories. Additionally, they gathered knowledge from the amazing speakers! It turns out, Web Summit’s content is really as dynamic as it says on the agenda.
If you don’t follow us on social media, it’s safe to say that now is the time to do that. On our Instagram and Twitter account, you will find amazing stories about even more amazing startups that were at the conference. Along with that, you will find out how they choose their perfect domain name.
Now, back to the Web Summit story! My colleagues – Nina, our Business Development Manager, Milana, Junior Software Developer and I myself will tell you the story about #WebSummit from three totally different perspectives. So here we go.
Web Summit 2021: From Nina’s Perspective
Nina is our business development manager, always in the adventure of finding new opportunities and ideas for business. Here is what she had to say about our little trip to Lisbon:
“If you want to internationalize and scale up your business and learn about the latest technologies on the market, you should make sure to visit at least once the Web Summit in Lisbon. I promise, the whole new world will come to being in front of your eyes and you will fall in love with this dazzling carousel.
If you are passionate to learn more about complicated pathways of digitalization, reality within which tech giants operate, the thinking behind the GDPR – you will surely find some clarity and answers at Altice Arena!
The 2021 Web Summit was organized in the midst of COVID–19 pandemic which has accentuated the importance of standing united and remaining connected through digital means that we now have at our disposal. It has also raised the necessity of establishing new social contracts with tech giants so as to ensure that digitalization is democratic and transparent.
Such an endeavour is deeply connected to the establishment of concrete regulation which should claim the transparency of the core business models of tech companies and make sure digitalization benefits the society first. In this regard, the EU has a pivotal role in inspiring member and non-member countries to adopt versatile legal frameworks. These allow for swift handling of exponential tech development, whilst guaranteeing that data-based and driven future of the world remains democratic.”
Web Summit 2021: From Milana’s Perspective
I also asked Milana, our junior software developer, what was the most exciting thing about her Web Summit experience. And boy, oh boy, she was so impressed she didn’t know where to start.
“If I could describe my experience at the Web Summit 2021, I would say it was a bit overwhelming. But at the same time, I was like a little kid in candy land. To give a better perception, let us look behind the numbers. There were more than 42K attendees, 1519 startups, and 1333 talks. Amazing isn’t it?
Scrolling through the summit I have come across a lot of interesting ideas that I could see myself using. One of my favorites was Beem.me which is an AI platform that enables live communication with real people.
If you are thinking about presenting your startup at the Web Summit 2022, my recommendation would definitely be our previous blog post. The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Pitch Your Startup at a Conference
Social Media and AI
This year’s Web Summit was all about climate change, AI, crypto, and Facebook. The issue with the social media giant Facebook was at the center of attention. There were a discussions about the current situation with it, following the release of internal documents by whistleblower Frances Haugen. „There is a slim chance that Facebook will change if Mark Zuckerberg remains the CEO,“ Frances said. She gave us the fair point that Facebook needs someone that will focus on user privacy and safety.
„Me, Myself and AI“. A discussion was (what a surprise!) about AI, and how it will change our societies in the coming decades, with amazing Daniela Braga and Daniel Danas. Daniela Braga, CEO of the defined.ai, shared her vision of what is the benefit and the downside of reliance on AI on the WebSummit. She stated that there is no place for fear as long as we raise our robots like we want to raise our children. Her co-speaker Daniel Danes said – „When I look at the people currently working with automation I’m seeing joy, not fear…“
Daniel, don’t worry, we also had fun with our little friends!”
Web Summit 2021: From My Very Own Perspective
And finally, yours truly. Since I am a member of the marketing team, I will summarize the things from my niche that had the biggest impact on me.
Except for the things that Nina and Milana already highlighted, the biggest surprise for me was the content of the conference! There were 748 speakers – a mix of world leaders, entrepreneurs, tech developers, sports stars, musicians and actors with unique insights to share.
One of my favourite speeches was delivered by Sir Martin Sorrel, founder and Executive Chairman at S4 Capital. With Lara O’Reilly, he had discussed what the new era of advertising is going to look like. He was very optimistic about “new” company Meta and their predictions about the future – virtual and augmented reality. In his opinion, this field of technology has the greatest development potential..
On the other hand, Pinterest and Twitter are platforms that are no longer that attractive for advertising. Huge difference is still for Google and Facebook. Wait for 2022 – we will use them even more!
For the closing quote, Sir Martin Sorre addressed that organic reach is going to be the key to success in the future. Not only because of its value, but also because of the GDPR regulations.
Some tips if you plan to visit Web Summit next year
Tip #1: Plan ahead
If you are going to the Web Summit as a team, share the responsibilities. For example, one part of the team attends the daytime events, the other the Night Summit. It’s difficult to do both at once, even if you can work all day with no sleep (believe me, we tried that).
Tip #2: Use WebSummit App to get connected
This application allows you to connect in advance with speakers, investors, startups and attendees and schedule meetings with them. Make sure to download the app before your arrival in Lisbon and start making game-changing contacts.
Tip#3: Make sure you get noticed
You need to somehow stand out from the crowd so that you get noticed. This helps you promote yourself and your company better. It’s best to wear something like a bright hat or scarf.
Tip #4: Share your experience
It is very useful to communicate with other teams and share experiences. At the national conferences, this is sometimes impossible, because you are often considered as a competitor. At the Web Summit, you won’t have this barrier – because everyone is very friendly.
The Summit was like an amusement park – full of captivating stimuli and a bombardment of interesting interruptions. Even though it has only lasted for a week, I am still busy processing my impressions from the talks and the content I’ve witnessed and learned.
In the end, it was an amazing trip which left me feeling empowered, inspired, and aware of the topics I wish to learn more about. And of course, I know what the current and upcoming hot topics are – but that’s a different story altogether.
I really hope that our observations, impressions, and thoughts will help you realize that Web Summit (along with vibrant and picturesque Lisbon) is something you absolutely must visit!
And who knows, next year we may even meet at the Altice Arena!