Now that the event is over and we had a couple of days to think about what happened, we can tell you, the web summit is the „conference of everything“.
If you are not sure if the forum is suitable for you and your business, we can say with a lot of confidence, it probably is. Not only because almost everything is digital nowadays, but also because it covers pretty much every topic, from politics to health, sports, environment, marketing, real-estate etc., you will for sure, find it appealing. Speakers come from different backgrounds, ages, countries and have different expertise. They can be a prime minister, a football player, an influencer, a group of kids from high school, or an ex-CIA employee in exile. Yes, it is that diverse.
This year’s edition gathered 70 000 people from over 170 nationalities. As you can imagine, it was packed, even though the venue has 5 big pavilions with a total of 60 000 square meters plus one concert hall with a capacity of 20 000 people. The space seemed to be not enough. It was hard to get in and move around. From one stage to the other, you would probably need half an hour, if you ever actually get there. Also because you will be tempted to stop at one of the many interactive booths, or because you will engage in a conversation or you will find another stage and be hooked by the topic.
There are more than 20 stages, each one covering a variety of subjects. Before going, you need to plan your attendance carefully. You will for sure have to compromise and make decisions: you will miss interesting talks however you will for sure find fascinating content in every corner of the conference. The web summit app will help you organize your agenda and set up meetings with participants.
Paddy Cosgrave, the web summit founder, welcomed everyone in his opening speech, highlighting how the event gathers people from all around the world. Cosgrave mentioned how happy they are about holding the summit in Lisbon, Portugal and their plans to keep the venue until at least 2028. We have to agree that Lisbon is a great city to be at, the weather and hospitality of its people playing a major role.
This year, Edward Snowden attracted the most attention. On the first day, the Altice stage was filled beyond its capacity and the moment was impacting. Not because Snowden added anything that was not already known, but because of the history and life of the most famous whistle-blower of our times. People listened and clapped, while politicians waited outside the room to avoid a diplomatic incident with the USA.
Jaden Smith, the son of the American actor Will Smith, came to talk about his company, Just Water, and how they are acting to save water and the environment. We are already fans. Climate change and sustainability were big topics, as expected. It seems every company shows concerns and are acting to mitigate, reduce and compensate the harm being done to the environment. Behind every new idea, there seems to be a goal of being clean and sustainable.
Many start-ups filled the agenda on the opening day, again covering very different sectors, such as real estate, mobility, health, lifestyle, sports, and many more.
Going around the pavilions, you would find big corporate companies like Volkswagen, Huawei, KPMG, and Siemens represented in ostensive booths, big digital players like Booking.com, Amazon, and Google and many start-ups divided into three categories: Alpha, Beta, and Growth, depending on the phase they are in.
And in the exhibition space is where networking happens. You will find many opportunities to talk to the companies or to other participants and have very productive exchanges.
To sum it up, the web summit is a pleasing event capable of entertaining everyone, regardless of their background and goals.
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