Web Summit 2017: How to Make the Most of It

15 November 2017 267

Sharing our experience of visiting one of the biggest tech conferences. How to prepare? What to look for? How not to waste time and opportunities?


When: November 6-9, 2017


Where: Lisbon, Portugal


What: WebSummit, according to Inc., “the largest conference in the world”.


Participants: early stage startups with no finished product to giants such as Booking.com, Airbnb, Mercedes-Benz, AWS, Google etc


Brief history: first time hosted in 2009, the conference gathered about 400 attendees. Web Summit attendance shot up to 60K in 2017.


Speakers: during the previous years speakers included Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Dropbox Drew Houston, President of Pixar Ed Catmull, founder and CEO of Dell Michael Dell, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer and many more.


Well-known speakers, lots of visitiors and startups, it all proves that this scale conference is a great way to dive into the tech world for a couple of days and enjoy lots of its benefits.

Here are just a few opportunities we have found during WebSummit 2017.


1. Meeting people:

You can email anybody you wish to talk to.


Meeting face-to-face means something more than just exchanging the needed information.


It is about building personal connections.


Mingling with your prospective clients, partners or investors informally gives you more chances to leave a trace in the memory of a person you meet.


So... Who could you meet during Web Summit?


1. Colleagues from your own country

Most probably it will be much easier to meet the most active people from your domain being far from home and here is why:


They are here looking for new connections, open to new ideas and willing to invest in networking.


2. Startups

The best way to see what is happening on the market in a short period of time.

Talk to guys representing Alpha-, Beta- startups and you will see the overall landscape of the future market.


3. Customers

While looking for the clients you will most probably meet your competitors.

And sometimes you will be pitching to the same client with your competitor together.

Hmmm… we got a spirit of competition here!


It is hard to find the right person in the crowd moving in between the pavilions, however, you have much better chances of meeting them:


1) At meetups. Meetings where you can stumble upon lots of interesting people from your target market.


2) Personal meetings. It is better to get to know people you would like to meet beforehand and necessary to agree on the time and place where to meet asap.


3) Startup stands. If your target market is about small businesses which are just launching, you may find lots of them in the areas “for startups” and also partner with accelerators.


2. New ideas:

Web Summit is not so much about speeches.


We have barely spent a couple of hours listening to the best to my mind speakers.


And we would better spend time on networking.


Here are the most shocking speeches from WebSummit 2017, free to watch:


Will artificial intelligence spell the end of humanity? 

Let's ask two robots. Einstein and Sophia debate what AI truly means for those of us made out of flesh and blood with Ben Goertzel of Hanson Robotics Limited on centre stage at WebSummit 2017. Free to watch video here.

Stephen Hawking speech at Web Summit 2017 Opening

Dangers of artificial intelligence and much more in the speech of one of the most influential scientists in the world today! Watch the video here.


Facebook star & magician, Julius Dein

Julius Dein Magician and Facebook star Julius Dein grew his audience to 15 million followers in about one year. You can watch it here.


In the era of information so easy to find, it is hard to create a truly unique speech.


If you are looking for the best talks ever - better wait when WebSummit is over and watch them online. Or if you are not attending it - just join Live stream and enjoy!


Don't get me wrong, talks from the top tech entrepreneurs are definitely worth your time but taking opportunities that only exist at WebSummit sounds more rational.


Choosing between numerous stages, you will most likely find yourself lost and running between pavilions which are far from each other and trying to find a free seat.

To sum up

1,6% of the Web Summit audience was Ukrainian (1K visitors from Ukraine out of 60K visitors overall). The growing number of Ukrainians traveling to the top tech conferences proves the potential to become a leading tech community in Europe.


Web Summit is a place for inspiration, building valuable connections and expanding your horizons.


Having planned your time wisely, you will be able to meet the right people, understand the current trends and state of your niche at the moment.


Preparation for this kind of huge events should start months before, but these will be worthy investments.


See you at Web Summit 2018!

Maria Borysova

Passionate about making the world a better place to live through technology.