Web Summit 2017: Trends, Surprises and Ideas
Web Summit has become a buzzword for innovation, technology, and the future combined. Web Summit, one of the biggest technology conferences in the world, closed last week, and pre-registration for 2018 was opened immediately afterward. We're back home from beautiful Lisbon already, and we thought it just about time to share our experience and tips with you while the emotions are running high. Here is our impression of Web Summit 2017.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, was a perfect location for the event. The city, and the whole country, is home to a very open-minded society that accepts change and innovation eagerly. Lisbon is a great city set over seven hills, just like Rome. It is located close to beautiful sandy beaches. Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, and five centuries ago the Portuguese Empire was the center of the entire world. Therefore, Lisbon and the whole of Portugal, has a rich cultural heritage to explore. Plus, the nature is breathtaking.
The presence of this massive event hits you upon landing. Right there at the airport we met many volunteers who eagerly helped everyone who needed assistance. It was also very convenient that there were registration stands at the airport as well. On most means of public transport we saw signs directing visitors to the Web Summit.
"Web Summit was a great experience for me. I've never been to such a massive event before - 60,000 attendees, 4 huge halls with stands, startups, projects, companies, and ideas. I believe that Web Summit is a great place for meeting investors, startups, partners and clients, both present and future. As a business analyst, I found the event to be great for business analysis of the presented ideas. The division of startups into segments gives opportunities for better analysis if you are thinking of your own startup. There were cool themed parties for different business areas, a lot of free workshops, meetups, and trainings. As for the organization, it was top-notch, volunteers were very helpful, everything was smooth and well-organized, be it transportation, registration, or management of queues."
Slava Ledenev, CBDO @MLSDev
From 9 to10 a.m. it was possible to get inside in 15 to 30 minutes, as there was always a queue at the entrance. Scheduling meetings in advance saved us a lot of time and effort because finding someone in a 60,000 crowd was next to impossible.
Web Summit 2017 had 1,200 speakers and over 60,000 visitors from more than 170 countries. This was definitely an overwhelming experience, especially for those visiting this event for the first time. Of course, it was impossible to see everything, so you had to choose what you wanted to see carefully. The more thoroughly you think through your schedule in advance, the better it will turn out for you.
I enjoyed the speech given by Joel Spolsky, a co-founder of Stack Overflow, on coding the future. Other speeches I attended gave food for thought but didn't impress me as much as the above-mentioned one. It was overwhelming to see a thousand startups in a few days, and I liked that they were divided into three groups - Alpha, Beta, and Start. Seeing our client speak at Growth Summit was a great experience as well.
Denys Telezhkin, iOS developer @MLSDev
At Web Summit, you could see all kinds of innovative technology, from machine learning and self-correcting to AR and VR, and everything in between. All of the presented technologies offered great possibilities for humanity, but there were also warnings. At the opening ceremony, Stephen Hawking said: “We cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it”.
I was greatly inspired by the number of presented innovations, ideas, and startups. Definitely met some new, useful people. I also liked the organization of the summit a lot. Everything was on schedule despite the massive concentration of events and people. The summit functioned as one mechanism. I enjoyed the networking possibilities that Web Summit offered - you could have meetings 24/7, because no matter what cafe or bar you went to, there were Web Summit speakers or attendees. We went to a seafood restaurant with Anton and over the course of one hour we talked to three companies, and we are discussing business with one of them now. We met our competitors on the flight home as well.
Ivan Mak, CCO at MLSDev
Web Summit 2017 emphasized that the time of blind technological optimism is over. Many speakers underlined that the great opportunities digital transformation brings are accompanied by an even greater responsibility.
The main trends of this year's speeches were as follows:
- Artificial Intelligence is the most promising and challenging sphere of technology right now;
- Technology aims to solve global problems
- ICO is the new reality of finances
- Thought leaders become the new media
- Brand trust determines brand survival
- People are the main value of any business
- Equal rights are the new normal*
- Uber partners with NASA to launch flying taxis
*Women in Tech was a program that offered crucial benefits for women as the tech world is still a man’s world. Successful women in tech spoke to encourage women all over the world to build careers in technology.
Web Summit was 4 days long, but the event was so overwhelming that they went by very quickly. The more you put yourself out there, the more you could get out of it eventually. We tried to make the most of our experience and interact with other attendees. It was an amazing opportunity to meet old friends and make some new ones as well. We also met our clients, which was very exciting! We met Wanda Egger from Sqyle, and another client, Yakir Gola from goPuff, spoke at Growth Summit.
It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough! It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with humanity!” this was Steve Jobs’ statement mentioned in one of his last famous Keynotes.
I remembered this amazing statement every day as I entered the Web Summit venue. Yes, even here it was a marriage between technology & humanity with faith, dreams & the excitement you see in such a large crowd. I never got tired of walking around and meeting dreamers, believers, and hard workers. From informative workshops to an amazing session,ending with exciting discussions with amazing people with an unusual startup idea.
Frankly speaking, I never thought I would get out of this Summit with such excitement and a dream about a better future for humanity despite all of our differences. One main thing that triggered this feeling was that I came across an amazing philanthropy startup called “Diwala”; its main idea is to use Blockchain technology to empower and support refugees by verifying their skills in order to use them to enhance their income, and it even supports P2P donation. The idea is in its early stages, but thinking about it and seeing such a young generation try to push the human race forward is something that set a fire in me and keeps me smiling and dreaming for a better future for humanity.
I really wished that I had been able to thank founder Paddy Cosgrave and his team individually because this was humanity and technology married, not just a regular technology summit.
Raed Almansor, Co-Founder @ Kitchen Arts
Web Summit App
Rated 2.7* on Google Play (iOS rating is unavailable), the official Web Summit app was helpful and challenging at the same time. The map was a heaven-sent opportunity to get around the venues without wasting the whole day searching for a specific aisle in the crowd. However, we didn't find the map user-friendly enough (see the screenshot below). Also, the app slowed down from time to time and crashed occasionally while searching, though the wifi signal was perfect at the venue and even still from a short distance. It would have been great if the Web Summit app had a feature to add your own meetings to "My Schedule" so that there would be no need to switch between apps.
Web Summit: the intersection of beauty, technology, and innovation. High-speed networking, renowned speakers, fairytale sunsets, and unforgettable experiences all collide in Lisbon. With accelerated success guaranteed at the Web Summit, there is no reason not to go! See you there next year.*
Samara Stevens, COO at 1DREAM
Food and Drinks
There was free water, tea, and coffee in every hall, which was very convenient because you didn't have to miss anything if you were thirsty. There were food courts between the halls, so we could easily grab something to eat. Although food was always available, there were huge lines at lunchtime and the menu wasn't diverse, it was mainly fast food. If you have specific nutrition needs, it would be a good idea to walk some 20 minutes to the riverside and have lunch in one of the numerous cafes.
Web Summit does an amazing thing - it connects people from around the world and helps them focus on the opportunities that innovative technology offers today. Web Summit is a unique experience for anyone working in tech who wants to be a part of how technology changes and enhances humanity. As a startup or an existing business, you should definitely try to visit this event at least once. It is a great opportunity to meet your clients and partners, listen to first-rate tech thought leaders, discover rising tech stars, and be the first to hear the most innovative ideas for the next year. Web Summit 2018 will elaborate further on the question of which direction humanity wants to take technology. MLSDev definitely recommends Web Summit! See you next year in Lisbon, friends!
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