We couldn’t talk about technology without referring the Web Summit 2016 at Lisbon, Portugal . This post is about our experience as attendees at the biggest summit concerning entrepreneurship and technology, but like we witnessed, it was way beyond that. As a matter of context, I have attended to dozens of conferences and summits at FIL (Feira Internacional de Lisboa), and I know the place quite well. But I have never seen a summit use the entire FIL structure plus the Meo Arena (wich is a 20.000 people concert hall).
As I arrived I was blown by the overwhelming structure and specially the number of people who Web Summit gathered. I mean it was huge.
It took place at Parque das Nações and used FIL a space with 100.000m2 as the main structure, and also included the Meo Arena, used as Web Summit Center Stage. It was full, 3 days in a row. It was like wow…
Arriving Parque das Nações you’d have to walk all the way to the north entrance of FIL. There you would find a customized receiving area, a whole pavilion just to receive attendees and participants, and where you could leave your coat or suitcase and it was working really good, this was a dream come true, I could actually leave my stuff at a cloakroom. Nice.
The pavilions gathered thousands of companies from +150 countries, no way you could see them all in one day… or even three. I soon realized I had to focus on my primary interests. Fortunately Web Summit gave attendees an app where one could pinpoint a company or a conference to meet or attend.
I had my plans and some pins already in my schedule (the problem was I had 100 plus pins for the first day…) .. Well I did my best.
I’ve attended to some pitches, I’ve established contact with a few dozens Startups and I’ve met some really interesting people with really honest and clever ideas, in other words I networked.
At the end I was glad I was there, and even more it was an opportunity to hear and see some of the most influential people on earth like Albert Wenger from Union Square Ventures or Werner Vogels CTO at Amazon. In fact those were the two conferences I paid most close attention to. I also liked to hear Marian Goodell talk about the Burning Man project. Wich was really interesting to hear someone talking about why you should get away from technology in a technology conference. That being said, the Web Summit seems to be an increasing whirlpool of thinkers who expose they’re ideas with a natural freedom. Honestly, it was awesome.
Now the downpoints:
I should point this out, I woul expect an app made by the greatest summit on tech to work, but it actually didn’t. Or at least, not as one would expect to. The Web Summit app should also be capable of ‘scanning’ the QR codes present on the big cards every participant carried on they’re chest, so you could capture contacts in a glimpse but… well that part did not go so well. Most of the times the scan wouldn’t scan. Sometimes the scanned person was not the person you got contact from, and so on…
I’m sure they’re working on that right now. I hope Web Summit test the whole app because most of it has issues beyond bugsy…
And the Wi-Fi, well, that didn’t work either. And that I believe to be a big failure. No Wi-Fi on a High Tech conference? How exactly should the IoT (Internet of Things) work without internet? Or even, how could a startup show they’re breaking through technology if they can’t connect? I’m sure there are reasons, but we need no reasons, we need Wi-Fi.
Anyway, at the end of summit I really liked it. It’s impressive the way such a huge event was organized and went so well. It’s understandable that some things did not.
Special thanks to Sofia
I want to address a special thanks to Sofia Alçada from SA Consulting for the opportunity for attending at Web Summit.
Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments.