How did I hack the Web Summit

Vivian Sarazin
Nov 14, 2016 · 5 min read

Web Summit, one of the largest web conferences of the moment, took place in Lisbon from November 7th to the 10th. Bloomberg gave the following analogy: “Davos for geeks.” And I have to say, they weren’t wrong.

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The Web Summit and its celebrities

In my last article on The Next Web @Amsterdam, I noticed this tendency to idolize these new rising stars coming from the web. New professions, whether they’re CTOs (Facebook, Amazon) or content producers (ProductHunt, Reddit), are seeing their popularity skyrocket, very quickly. Maybe even too quickly.

In reality, many people questioned during the Web Summit felt the same annoyance: the conferences were disappointing.

The storytelling seemed phony, and the subjects discussed were (purposely?) weak. Regardless of the big names offered during the conference, I was left unsatisfied. It’s also possible that I had too high of expectations.

The Web Summit and its atmosphere

Nevertheless, there was a friendly atmosphere that was established upon the first day of the conference. This environment was truly pleasant during discussion with others. Hats off to the Lisboans for their reception which was, in my opinion, flawless.

Positive aspect of the conference: the variety of subjects presented. AI, Gaming, VR, Advertising, Saas, Travel, FinTech; very little was missing. This diversity therefore balanced out the conference and truly legitimized the name of this event: the Web Summit.

An added asset to the Web Summit was the WiFi connection… No, I’m kidding; it was a catastrophe.

A word of advice: if you’re going to an event of this scale, buy yourself a local SIM card so you can take advantage of the national 4G…

The Web Summit and its hack

The day before the conference, I was looking to hack something that I would be able to make use of during my stay, but moreover, I was looking to elaborate on Summit Hacking (I’m currently applying for a patent for this designation, so watch out…).

Since, truly, the conferences are privileged moments for any self-respecting Sales Hacker. The number of contacts is multiplied and a collective memory is credited for this newly-built relationship. Not to mention the presentation in situ, which is oftentimes much more effective than a Skype call.

I love you, public APIs

The coming of new J-Frameworks (React, Angular, etc.) is a godsend for growth hackers. With public APIs, all you need is an Internet connection and semblance of intelligence in order to recreate interesting databases.

I remind my (new) readers that I am not a developer. Amateur, sure, but not a true developer!

Isn’t the best way to learn by example?

The starting point

What I was interested in was having the list of attendees. There were 55,306 of us total to have visited the conference. Not bad.

So, to start, you need to find the Attendees page.

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Click on F12 and then on the Network tab

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Refresh the page (F5 or Ctrl+R) and then scroll freely and the miracle appears :)

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You’ll find a query which seems interesting: attendees?limit=25&page=2

And then, like magic, you have the uploaded lists.

But what happens if you write in all 55,306?

Well, you have the list of everyone at the conference :) No more, no less!

Enhancement for better targeting


Thanks to the information containing the First_name, Last_name & Company, you’ll be able to find a lot of profiles on LinkedIn.

My first piece of advice is to segment your list as much as possible according to each Company. Often, when you want to reach everyone, you reach no one.

For this first enhancement step, I use the outstanding add-on Blockspring. Remember, I’m not a developer. But above all, I’m lazy, and I like to move quickly without requiring too much effort.

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As soon as your file is put into Google Spreadsheets:

  • Add-ons
  • Blockspring
  • Authentication
  • Then search “Retrieve LinkedIn Profile URL”
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Choose “Insert as a formula”

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If your table is organized like mine, all you have to do is put this formula in column D:

=BLOCKSPRING(“get-linkedin-profile-url”, “name”, concatenate(A2,” “,B2,” “,C2))

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And there you are!

The retrieve ratio is great, as there are for example more than 85% that have been found. Pay attention to homonyms, even if the Company often avoids this.

All you have to do now is attend to your profile, by, for example, indicating your presence at the conference in the description and then by adding different attendees in order to establish contact.

A few lines of script will do the trick as soon as the URLs are defined.


Now if you’d like to have email addresses as a matter of priority, you need to use an intermediary tool.

My preference for this highly distinct step is Voila Norbert

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By simply adding the 3 desired parameters you can find up to 30% of the attendees’ emails.

This makes sense, since the file filters out volunteers, students, etc. In any case, I don’t think this is of any importance for you, since we all know that students are not loaded.

What’s interesting about it is the email verification so as to avoid corrupting your IP address. Even if zero risk doesn’t exist (trap box), at least you have a good indicator.

I then suggest emailing by Mixmax drip messages with a link to your Calendly in order to easily set up an appointment.

And please, follow up, follow up, follow up — but first and foremost, be unruly, unruly, unruly!

PS : I didn’t say all :) Would you take expresso with me ?

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