How To Hack Web Summit

Pedro Andrade
Nov 20, 2016 · 12 min read

What’s up?

My name’s Pedro Andrade, I’m a 20 year old Marketing Management (NAMI) student at ISCTE-IUL, AIESECer, Marketing Man at Craft Wallet and I just hacked Web Summit 2016.

What’s Craft Wallet?

Craft Wallet is a small Portuguese startup based in beautiful Lisbon. We focus in gathering the best materials human engineering has ever produced and combine them in an elegant and practical wallet. We make our wallets always bearing in mind that amazing quality doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

At Web Summit 2016 we were able to:

  • Land partnerships and brand collaborations with 9 companies from 3 continents;
  • Lay the foundations for Craft Wallet’s expansion to Sweden (crucial market for our success);
  • Get Craft Wallet into SendGrid Accelerate;
  • Be interviewed by The Investment Observer, an UK based investment and business magazine;
  • Expand Craft Wallet’s network of ambassadors
  • Raise a lot of awareness for Craft Wallet;
  • Take an epic selfie on stage with Gary Vaynerchuck;
  • Much more!

All of this was done without investing a single cent into a stand like the endless number of startups present at the event. I didn’t even pay the ticket for Web Summit!

But how on Earth was all of this possible?


Well, it all started last year.

This wasn’t my first Web Summit. I went last year to Dublin with a friend for Web Summit 2015 as a volunteer. It literally changed my life. Since I was 12 years old that having my own startup has been my dream and focus, but it was only in November 2015, in the middle of Dublin, that I got my first real glimpse of what the startup world was really like. All the big players were there and businesses were being started and destroyed around me. It really changes the way you see entrepreneurship. The hustle was happening 24/7. I’m talking of a goddamned jungle.

It was undoubtedly an experience to repeat.

Web Summit 2015 pals

After witnessing such a thing I knew I had to step up my game for the next time. There’s absolutely no point in attending such an event and just watch some talks, try some dope new technology and take pictures to later post them in social media and to be able to say “I was there” (especially with such an incredible startup like Craft Wallet with so much untapped potential).

I had to embrace the hustle. But how?


One of the biggest lessons I got from Web Summit 2015 was that in the startup world everything is allowed as long as you don’t break the law. People were running, pitching, giving cards, receiving cards and having meetings 24/7 with absolutely no respect for other’s opinions about them. They were doing whatever it took to reach their goals. There was even a guy from San Francisco who wasn’t able to get a ticket for the event and sent a small robot with an iPad to Dublin so he could FaceTime the whole thing 👊🙇💪!!!

How to attend Web Summit as an MVP (not the Lean Startup one)

I started thinking and realized I needed the following to make the most of the Web Summit 2016:

  1. A way of raising awareness around Craft Wallet;
  2. A way of making people remember they liked Craft Wallet’s products;
  3. An amazing landing page with an e-commerce functionality (Craft Wallet’s one before the event was literally shit) where people could later get one of our wallets;
  4. An easy way to gather the email, name and company name of interested people and companies in partnering with Craft Wallet.
  5. A lot of energy ⚡⚡

In order to raise awareness around Craft Wallet at Web Summit, I had to first raise awareness around my presence at the event.

It all started with the strategic posting of pictures on Facebook of me before and during Web Summit’s opening ceremony, on stage and off stage, always using the hashtags #craftwallet, #websummit #websummit2016, #lisbon and #madeoflisboa. This way I knew every time someone saw those pictures in social media they would see #craftwallet side by side with #websummit.

Remembering Web Summit 2015
Ready to move fast and break things
Miguel Santo Amaro from Uniplaces and me on stage at the opening ceremony

At the same time these pictures we’re posted, Craft Wallet’s new website was being launched, always associating the website’s launch with Web Summit.

Craft Wallet Facebook launch

So, part one of the plan was done. People knew I was going to be at Web Summit 2016 representing Craft Wallet, but that wasn’t enough. I needed to raise awareness inside the event.

Wait! Isn’t that what everyone else is trying to do at Web Summit?

Yes it is!

Unicorn Pedro at Web Summit 2015

This proved to be a real challenge.

All of the others startups and companies out there had invested in some fancy stand with some cool giveaways like dope stickers and pins. I needed something better and cheaper than that (Craft Wallet’s marketing budget is practically non-existent). Walking around with an unicorn head wasn’t an option so I had to be smart.

What do people value more than stickers and pins? Money. Specially their money.

🎶Who run the world? Money!

Who run the world? Money!🎶

🎶Who run this motha? Money!

Sorry, but it’s not cats or puppies. People love their money and when I’m surrounded by thousands of boot-strapping startups, one of the best ways of giving value to someone is by making them save money. And so I did.

Every time someone was presented to a Craft Wallet’s product I’d give them a card with a promo code we created just for Web Summit 2016. That simple.

The sexiest promo code in town

We printed 500 of these.

500 sexy promo codes

Why promo codes? Well, by giving someone a promo code made purposely for a special occasion we enable:

  • An increase in buying intention since they’ll feel they came across a one time opportunity to save money since the promo code is just for that event;
  • An increase in brand awareness from almost non-existent to, in some cases, top-of-mind. Many will remember that guy that showed them an amazing wallet and then gave them a promo code, despite the fact they had already told him they were interested in buying one of his products. That guy really cared about them.

*Important*

Whenever we give a promo code we need to make sure the person in question understands what’s the product and its value (I’m not talking about price). This might take a few extra minutes but it’s worth it. Not only will someone with a promo code really know what you just gave them but they’ll be able to tell others what’s your product all about and what does the promo code represent. It’s all about creating unofficial brand ambassadors.

Hundreds of promo codes were handed out.

In addition to the 500 promo codes, other 500 business cards were printed.

500 business cards

But this wasn’t enough.


We also needed to create an impact and raise awareness among some of the VIP’s attending Web Summit. They were all in a 2 km radius from me. It was just a question of going for it.

We had the idea of preparing some special wallets for some of the speakers attending the event. Why would these wallets be so special? Because they would have printed on them with a laser the company logo, name or signature of the person in question. This seemed to be a good idea until we realized hundreds of speakers were going to speak at Web Summit and we had no way of preparing a wallet for everyone of them. We had to make a triage.

So, how did we choose which VIP’s were going to receive a wallet?

They were all handpicked according to one criterion: somehow, their actions had to have a positive impact in my life. Why? Because I needed to differentiate myself from every other person trying to reach them.

Harry West and me

Whenever I approached one of the targeted VIP’s, I would tell him how his actions had led to a positive shift in my life. Only then I would give him the personalized wallet as my way of returning some of the value he had created for me in the past 20 years.

This way I was not only giving a wallet but also creating a story around it. I was inputting true emotions into the object by associating it to a true story. This kind of thing can’t be faked and the person receiving the wallet knows this.

For example, on the left we can find a picture of Harry West, CEO of Frog, and me. It was while watching a talk by Ethan Imboden, Head of Venture Design at Frog, during Web Summit 2015 that I woke up for the importance of Design. I remember Ethan’s words like if it was yesterday:

“Design the impact, not the product”

That was a life changing moment. I told it to Harry after a talk he gave on designing the next industry transformation and I could see his eyes lightning up with every word I said. I was proofing to him that he was doing a good job as the leader of Frog. Then I gave him a personalized wallet with Frog’s logo lasered in the money clip.

In that moment I stopped being another startup guy looking to put its product in an influencer’s hand and became someone more interested in connecting than selling. I represented the change Harry wanted to bring to the world as Frog’s CEO and for him, Craft Wallet was part of that change.

I wasn’t able to give out every wallet we prepared for Web Summit, but I know that those I was able to give had such an impact in the people who received them that they’re going to be talking about what happened for some time.

It’s all about delivering value, whether it’s physical value (wallet) or not physical value (story).

Craft Wallet

Right now, we’ve been able to raise awareness and make people remember us, but this wasn’t enough. Web Summit is the place to make partnerships with other startups that will help us grow. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Right?

We were able to land partnerships and brand collaborations with 9 different companies. Some happened thanks to sheer luck and opportunism, but the majority thanks to Night Summit.

Giring Ganesha, the Indonesian pop star, and me

Yes, Night Summit, the time everyone goes out to get drunk. But do you know something? Everyone gets drunk together, making the establishment of relationships much easy. If the follow-up is successful in the next morning then well done.

Being a volunteer at the Pub Crawl again this year (thus not paying the ticket) was crucial for Craft Wallet’s success at this year’s Web Summit.

I met some amazing startups from the four corners of the planet, an Indonesian pop star, raised awareness around Craft Wallet, expanded our ambassador network, which now goes from Silicon Valley to Japan, and even got an interview with the The Investment Observer, an UK based investment and business magazine, for the next day.

I knew from experience from last year that internet connection is always a scarce resource at Web Summit, so I needed a quick and efficient way to gather the emails and names of interested startups and companies in Craft Wallet’s business solution (personalized wallets for the entire company with a logo, name or signature lasered to the wallet) and that at the same time didn’t require a strong internet connection. A small Typeform which can be found in our website’s homepage was the solution. Every time the app failed the Typeform was there to save the day.

Backup plans are essential. Invest time in them.

Craft Wallet + Plomo + Zooband + Kincir + NAMI
Miranda and Safiya (The Investment Observer reporters), a Telepizza lad and me

Web Summit’s last day was, for the moment and without any doubt, the most intense day of my life.

I don’t remember being that tired since last year’s Web Summit. An entire week sleeping 3 hours per night can be destructive and believe me, physically, I was shattered. But there was no time for resting. It was Gary Vaynerchuk day.

I woke up specially early to be one of the first at the center stage and get a seat upfront. I got one in the second row and there I waited for several hours until the great moment.

You have no idea how packed Meo Arena was. It was crazy. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of Gary, and there I was in the second row, right behind the media.

When he finally entered you could hear a loudening cheer coming from the crowd. There he was, Gary Vaynerchuk, the real MVP and my hero. I absorbed every single word that came out of his mouth as if God was talking with me. I even cried a little. That was some intense shit. There I was, 5 meters from my hero. I needed more. When he finished his talk with a “Thank you” I knew it was my time so I got up, ran to the stage, climbed it and…

Epic selfie on stage with Gary Vaynerchuck

Without any doubt, one of the best moments of my life. Seen by millions live on Facebook, there I was, the Craft Wallet lad on stage with Gary fucking Vaynerchuk. After stepping of the stage tears started streaming down my face and the hugs and congratulations from random people arrived. Intense as fuck.

But I had no time to cry. Ten minutes later I had an interview with The Investment Observer as agreed the night before during Night Summit.

After being interviewed all I wanted was to lay on the ground and sleep, but, again, there was no time to lose. I still had 5 hours of Web Summit and I had to make the most out of them. And so I did.


At the end, Web Summit 2016 was a tiring but rewarding experience, that turned out to be more than I ever expected.

What’s the Web Summit’s ROI?

Incalculable.

We invested around 110€ in cards, but there’s no way of really calculating the Return on Investment. We can’t measure things like lessons learned, knowledge absorbed in talks, awareness raised, meeting Gary Vaynerchuk, etc.

Regarding the established partnerships, it’s still too soon to get a real value, although we already have an idea they represent several hundred thousand euros in future revenue for Craft Wallet.

Web Summit truly changed my life. It has allowed me to connect with people which in a normal situation would be out of my reach and, above all, has inspired me to keep improving on a daily basis. At Web Summit I gain the strength to make sure my dreams turn into the reality I’ve always wished for. The last two Web Summits were spent as a volunteer. Let’s work to spend the next one as a speaker.

At Web Summit 2016 opening ceremony, Paddy Cosgrave said that hustling is what entrepreneurship is all about. According to Urban Dictionary, Hustle means:

Anythin you need to do to make money… be it sellin cars, drugs, ya body. If you makin money, you hustlin.

I been workin two jobs, tryna stay on my hustle and make this money, na mean?

#hustler #money #job #hustling #dealing #staying alive

And it’s true. 95% of startups fail. If we want to be part of the 5% we need to do anything in our reach (as long as it’s legal) to survive and become the king of the jungle.

We need to hack, find the uncharted path around problems and keep moving on. Not moving fast and break things has never been an option.

We need to realize that without hustle, talent will only carry us so far.

Do we have another option?

I think not.

If you found this text sexy, please support my work by hitting that little heart!

https://www.messenger.com/t/pedro.xyz

Don’t hesitate in contacting me!

Here’s my Facebook Messenger code. Scan it with the Messenger app and ask me whatever you want 🔥🐲🔥

Pedro Andrade

Written by

23 • Professional Optimist • Global Citizen • Tackling the safety issue in Micro Mobility @ Hunter (hunterboards.com)

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