The annual Web Summit event – originating in Dublin, Ireland – gets dismissed by Ireland’s press but has grown into a respectable, mature conference attended by leaders, movers and shakers from the tech and other worlds. Dublin’s 2013 event was the first attended by Sound Advice, with 2014 bringing an attempt to redress the gender balance among attendees and our subsequent attendance in Dublin (2015) and Lisbon for the 2016 staging.
This year, in 2017, the Lisbon event’s maturity and networking value was clear to many.
Pre-#WebSummit networking on a day trip to #Sintra, #Portugal. pic.twitter.com/ZdN5mhIBoh
— Caroline Carswell (@soundadvice_pro) November 5, 2017
Being A Summit Veteran and #WIT Helped
Experience from past Web Summit events was invaluable for pre-event planning, logistics and networking over this year’s week in Lisbon, timed in part to catch the fringe gatherings of #womenintech groups around the city. Most of these informal WIT meetups and events were self-organised in social media by summit attendees and/or MCs, many visitors themselves.
Balancing the personal itinerary between #WIT and #WebSummit events was easy, with an extensive menu of options over the summit’s four days. In 2017, the WIT network was synergising more, with attendees visibly buddying to and from Lisbon’s metro stations and teaming up for informal coffee and lunch breaks, presenting their businesses as they went.
#WomeninTech survey at #WebSummit. #ChangeTheRatio pic.twitter.com/cPgysx24N1
— Caroline Carswell (@soundadvice_pro) November 8, 2017
A Personal Hearing-Highlight
One highlight of the fast-paced week, was hearing France’s Olivier Jeannel (who’s deaf himself) present the RogerVoice phone captioning app in a social impact session hosted by Google. Following #WebSummit2016, the (female initiated) pan-European Social Good Accelerator took shape in response to the lack of tech for good initiatives at the conference and returned this year with Francois Hollande’s delegation from France. In 2018, tech for social good will reportedly expand into its own Web Summit section, to the delight of many digital evangelists.
Startup and Innovation Mecca
For lifelong learners, the Web Summit is a startup mecca where people want to meet, talk and learn from one another in their own speciality areas, plus intersectional and generic areas of expertise. In this regard, the summit is an international innovation catalyst, with attendees from all four corners of the globe connecting left, right and centre after just a few minutes chatting in small groups. Once these interactions moved to social media groups, the impetus accelerated with conversations and meetup plans continuing.
Lisbon As A Tech Hub
Lisbon – like Dublin – is a tech hub, with international IT workers and visible city regeneration in both old and new areas. Several locals spoke of the need in city planning terms, to strike a balance between housing for longtime residents and for transient workers, to ensure sustainable accommodation, health and education services, an ongoing challenge facing both Dublin and Lisbon as technology contributes to their prosperity and expansion.