Having grown from a small event in 2009 to one of the biggest events of the industry I was very excited to acquire my ticket.
At that point the list of speakers on the WebSummit website was already long – and most importantly: exciting. In the following I will try to recap my experience of this years' WebSummit covering essentials such as logistics, how to organise yourself and finally the juicy bits: the talks.
Visiting an event with around 60.000 attendees and numerous prestigious speakers (Al Gore anyone?) means that you need to be organised to get the best out of the event. There are too many great talks to miss, so there are two essentials I feel should be tackled:
Accommodation should come high up on your to do list. While the official WebSummit website gives an overview of some hotels that you can stay at we opted for a flat in the center of Lisboa via Airbnb. The trick to finding something is to book early(ish).
I did wonder briefly about how easy it would be to find the location but shouldn't have worried: The city was jam-packed with WebSummit attendees and there was no way to miss the underground stop as the WebSummit was signposted even there.
The basics, such as a roof to sleep under, out of the way it was possible to start planning which talks to go see: No easy feat as usually there were at least three to four very interesting talks happening at the same time. However, the official WebSummit App deserves special mention in this respect as the organisers tried everything possible to make such a vast event manageable.
With the app you could put together your own schedule and prioritise talks according to your preferences. Some talks were even live streamed: A convenient option if the venue was a bit packed (centre stage I am looking at you).
With over 1000 speakers the WebSummit of 2017 provided ample opportunity to get a glimpse of what the industry finds inspiring at the moment.
My personal favorites included the talk by Lars Silberbauer of Lego, who spoke in depth about how they turned Lego's marketing strategy around and gave insight into some of the campaigns and their effects even to this day. A very inspiring contribution!
Uber's Jeff Holden also proved once again that Uber can do (almost) no wrong. His talk about Uber's flying cars made you see a possible future - and not just in your mind's eye, the marketing video he showed made the vision come to life in front of you.
As one of the SEO people at Wondrous I also tried to gain some insight into current trends and expectations for SEO in 2018. Rand Fishkin of Moz shared some perspectives that I hope to put to good use.
Cryptocurrencies are everywhere at the moment and if you listen to Ethereum's Joseph Lubin, Cryptoassets' Chris Burniske, Privategrity's David Chaum and Quartz's Joon Ian Wong they're definitely here to stay. Being somewhat of a novice in the cryptocurrency world it was good to have the chance to get the downlow of current digital currencies and the challenges and opportunities they provide.
Sadly, not every speaker who was inspiring this year can be mentioned here but the WebSumit ended on a high note with a finishing talk by Al Gore who – following his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth – shared some very topical thoughts about The innovation community's role in solving the climate crisis.
The only thing left to say is: Thank you WebSummit 2017 – it was a blast and I feel honoured to have had the chance to soak up the positive vibes all around, learn from those with more experience, be inspired by new trends and of course enjoy Portuguese hospitality and food. See you in 2018!