This year I was attendee at Web Summit in Lisboa. It was my first time at Web Summit, one of the biggest tech conferences in the world. There were 70,000+ attendees, 1200+ speakers, tons of startups, workshops, exhibitions, demos, so it was very crowded and schedule was tight, because 4 days wasn’t enough. A week before the event I spent a lot of time to research about the speakers and talks in order to organize my schedule in a better way, because there are so many talks across 20+ stages and most of them are happening in the same time at different stages, so it was a bit hard to chose the most interesting talks:)
Be prepared in advance!
Even through I heard and read that the event is really HUGE, I was not aware how HUGE it is. I didn’t schedule any appointments before, all what I did – a bit scheduled interesting talks. Take a guess how many talks I visited? …7-10 🙂 That was because once I came to the central pavilion, I saw so many interesting things around me, a lot of startup stands and workshops, so I spent about half of the day just talking with interesting startups, attendee at different workshops and just walking around and see what’s going on here and how everything is organized.
Be on time!
The opening ceremony started at 5:30 PM, I’ve arrived half an hour prior to the opening and stuck in the huge queue. It does really make a sense to arrive few hours prior the opening. As it turned out later on, after 2 hours from the beginning, thousands of people with tickets were not able to get in to the central stage just because the stage was full of people and there were simply no seats! That was an organizational fail. So, I would really recommend to arrive few hours before, because after few hours your ticket doesn’t guarantee that you will get in 🙂
Every day starting around 8PM and till the late night there are a bunch of night events. These are the places where you could meet with a lot of people hanging out and drinking a beer. This is a good place for networking and meeting new people. People are not in a hurry for the next talk or appointment, thus usually they have plenty of time to talk.
What I learned from Web Summit?
- Define your goals. First thing and the most important one is to know what are you trying to achieve attending at WebSummit. If you want to sell your services or find investors for your product – you need to start preparing long time before the event, to start searching the leads, get their contacts, follow up them and schedule appointments. In this case it’s important to be prepared. If you just want to see what’s happening around and don’t set any specific goal, than you probably can ignore the preparation.
- It’s very important to be on time. The queues are everywhere, so it’s important to arrive a bit earlier to get inside faster. If you plan to come in the middle of day for a specific talk – give yourself at least 1 hour to just get inside and get to the stage. If you think it would take 15-20 mins, well, it would take longer for sure 🙂
- Networking more important than talks. Most of the talks are about basic and general things and very small percent of them would tell you some unique experience, so I would say that it would make more sense to meet with different people or participate at interesting workshop, rather then spending the most of the time on the stages.
- Night Summit is a good mix of fun and networking. You don’t need to think how to start talk with the people there, because everybody are open and a bit drunk, so the conversation usually starts easily 🙂 I recommend to visit it and not to lose an opportunity to meet cool people.
Thanks for reading! See you there next year 😉