Is Web Summit Really Worth It?

Savion Ray
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The Web Summit took place in Lisbon, and after spending time among the most important tech experts and entrepreneurs in the world, here is what I thought.

At the end of October, when I told one of my business partners that I was going to the Web Summit, the biggest technology conference in Europe, he said: “I have one question for you: Is it really worth the hype?”

I admitted that I had no idea and that I would only be able to answer their question once back.

The Web Summit took place last week in Lisbon, and after some intense days spent among the most important tech experts and entrepreneurs in the world, here is what I thought.

You Should Go to Get Contacts

Even though they advertise their speakers and talks as the central events of the Summit, you should mainly attend to meet people in a similar mindset to yours, who will be able to become business contacts for you and your company, and with whom you could build a real working relationship.

For example, I met a representative of Top Digital Agency, an organisation that matches clients with agencies. I was specifically looking for an agency of this kind to move forward with my business development, so this opportunity was really important for me and my company.

If you only attend the Summit to get inspired by good speakers and meaningful talks, you could easily go home disappointed, since the quality of the speakers is very uneven.

It’s also really easy to get overwhelmed by the scale of the event and the number of talks and people that surround you, so I would make sure to focus on meeting people, rather than running from one talk to the next.

You Should Go as an Exhibitor If You Are a Startup

There are two key parts to the Web Summit: the talks and the exhibitions. In the exhibition hall, companies and start-ups have their own stalls where they can present their business ideas. This is a perfect way to get a lot of exposure since thousands of people walk through the hall and it is very likely that you could meet the right person at the right time.

It is also worth mentioning that Web Summit is also the world’s largest gathering of international journalists, attracting more than 2,500 global journalists from publications including Bloomberg, Financial Times, Forbes, CNN, CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal, so it’s an ideal place to get the media coverage your company needs and to tell your story on a bigger scale.

Don’t Go as an Attendee, Unless Someone Sponsors You or You Are a Woman in Tech

My advice would be not to go as an attendee (paying your own very expensive fee, which can be up nearly 1000€) unless your big, rich company sponsors you.

Web Summit is actually a great place for bigger, international companies since it offers high-level training and many interesting business opportunities. Therefore, it’s very likely that if your company has the resources, they would agree to sponsor you.

If you don’t know how to tell your boss, the Web Summit website also has a section on how to convince your boss.

If you are a woman and you work in tech, they offer a huge discount on the ticket price since they claim to be fully committed to changing the gender ratio at their events, mainly attended by men, empowering women across the globe through fostering networking opportunities, mentorship programmes.

Overall, I am satisfied with my experience at Web Summit as a woman in tech and I would definitely attend again. Let me know if you have been at the Web Summit too, this year, or if you are thinking to attend next year by commenting this article or send me an email at [email protected]

Photo credit: Web Summit 2019