By Florent Thurin
For Lisbon economy, the WebSummit is like Christmas before Christmas. Every year more and more participants attend the conference . This year, the attendance reached the great number of 69,000 participants, including 1,800 start-ups, 1,200 speakers, 1,500 tech investors and representatives from 2,600 media outlets.
The Web Summit is the perfect tech event to mainstream the world’s most innovative advancements. That’s why the blockchain belongs there too. The DLT technology will never match our expectation if only it becomes accessible to the mass. The Web Summit is therefore a great way to get feedback and exposure to your product or service.
As a blockchain aficionado, however, I was a bit disappointed. If you are quite knowledgeable in the industry already and you want to learn more, don’t go to the Web Summit. Nothing is too abundant in technical detail here and I haven’t heard any breakthrough insights during the talks.
But as a Strategic Partnership Manager at Please.com I was getting nervous. So many opportunities everywhere! I met over 80 startups just in the travel industry. I pitched around 25 investors and talked to a few renowned media. Business was being done on stage and at backstage, near the coffee machine, at the toilet, in the queue or at the afterparty. The scale and reach of Web Summit was perfect to get exposure to potential partners, bold investors and those curious about crypto.
The problem with such a massive event is that you have very little control over it. You have to let the flow decide to whom you’ll talk next. Without being open to random conversation at such events is like traveling somewhere without talking to any locals – you just don’t get the full experience.
Opportunities to learn and connect are everywhere but it is quite difficult for to embrace it 100%. This year, the chaos was managed a bit smoother, as compared to the 2 previous editions. The app helped navigate around the confusion of having 7 interesting talks in the same time.
However, whether this was a talk or a booth, every single organisation was fighting over one simple thing: attention.
Blockchain.com understood how to get some great press coverage through announcing an aggressive Airdrop of $125 million worth of XLM tokens. Others, such as eToro or BTC.com, joined the move by giving away BCH and ETH.
That is where having a cool domain really stood me out of the crowd and made people curious about what we are building.
Since Please.com is a strong Brand, our hybrid xApp approach and the large market we are targeting make us clearly scalable. People were getting pretty excited about what we are building.
Everyone likes to travel, and being paid for that is a dream many of us share. An event like this is the perfect opportunity for us to get out, show what we are doing, test our assumptions and gain exposure directly with our real target audience.
CryptoConf, one of the 21 thematic conferences, was held on the last day of the event.
This was one full day of talk and panel discussions about crypto. The quality of discussions was not allways great and I didn’t notice any interesting facts except one – the entire space was always crowded.
While I saw many empty seats for more mainstream subjects and “famous” speakers, there was a giant queue for average/good crypto conversation. It shows the traction and the raising FOMO of general opinion about blockchain.
I had a short interview with Consensys about the implication and future of blockchain in our society.
One of the reasons of their presence in Portugal, is that the blockchain community in Portugal is quite active.
The Block coffee is one of is cluster. The co-working space with “Good Coffee and Good Wifi” was privatized by Consensys for the 4 days of events. The following week, the Portuguese Blockchain Alliance was meeting to discuss the challenges and solutions in the industry at the national level.
Lisbon is a great land to build on blockchain, not just because of its active community and favorable legislation, but also because events like Web Summit are happening here.
For any business, to have the opportunity to find great amount of leads is to get a chance. At the Web Summit, you just need one good idea and you can turn it into an early stage startup through meeting customers, investors, partners and media all in the same place.
Web Summit will remain in Lisbon for the next 10 years. Next year, if you go to Web Summit – and I know you will – remember to #JustSayPlease and you can book an entire trip with your cryptocurrencies and have a hell of a time.