Up and down the Web Summit road
#tech #media #conference #accelerator
Coming back from the WebSummit, one of the largest tech conferences in the world, somehow resembles the feeling of returning from a weekend-long, camping-like, music festival. A combination of being tired, happy and most of all, feeling that you have been living in a parallel universe for the past days.
How “big” is big?
Over 70.000 attendees. That’s how massive Web Summit is.
An international crowd of startups, VCs, tech companies executives, freelancers, students and curios people wandering around the four gigantic pavilions of the conference (let alone the stadium-sized main stage).
Spending the day at the venue requires a survival kit: bottle of water (#stayhidrated), powerbank, business cards and comfortable shoes. Oh, bringing snacks is a smart move, if you want to avoid the huge lines for food.
Having a mission also helps not to get lost in the maze of people and neon lights from the booths. Mine was very clear: to meet as many media startup founders as possible (check!). For that, it really helps having stations for startups to exhibit, sorted by industry. Good call.
Another highlight was the access to the investors lounge. Even though the nice sofas, exclusive cafe bar and snacks table gave a sense of “VIP area”, you still had to fight for a place to sit and have a meeting. Time to make this area bigger?
Go for the side events
What makes the conference special is not so much the venue, but the fact that the whole city turns into a networking area. But in order to really be able to talk to people, attending the many side events and party is still the best option.
This year’s edition included side events like the opening of the Startup Guide store in a beautiful coworking, a gathering of the entrepreneurial community from Hamburg and Berlin as well as entrepreneurial and scale-up evening with EU startups. Not to mention all the countless rooftop parties going on.
The weather though…
Sunny days, warm autumn nights: the Portuguese-cliche everyone is looking forward to. When one imagines going to Lisbon, the immediate picture looks something like this:
Reality was a bit different. While the sun did come out for a couple of hours a day, most of the conference happened under unexpected cold, rainy weather. And let me tell you: trying to navigate in the hilly, narrow streets made of slippery stones under rain is not an easy task. Hoping for a waterproof edition next time.