Is Web Summit a new Klondike?
We arrived in Dublin a day earlier. Everything around the city was already buzzing. Hitting registration line at 9p.m the night before opening ☺ I couldn’t help but think: “The conference must be an incredible event and this line is a live proof!"
Eager to help volunteers suggested to attend “Night Web Summit” – informal gathering at the historical center of Dublin where fresh Guinness and loud energetic Irish life music nurtured excitement, preparing to embrace the life-changing experience. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
In the morning we joined the stream of 30,000 attendees rushing to see The Conference opening. 2,000:3=733 early stage start-ups were already aligned with theirs 1-meter display booths creating backgrounds for attendee’s passageways, conveniently dividing area and entertaining pedestrians at the same time.
Each day all the exhibitors will be completely renewed and all of 2,000 companies will get 7 hours long chance to explain what they are working at to the passing by the crowd.
Every single sq.ft of the pavilion is used wisely and serves its own purpose – there were vintage looking cabins for mentors like Microsoft, fields of tables for meeting with investors, 3 workshop rooms and private balcony for press, speakers and VIP attendees (anyone who was willing to pay the double ticket price.)
All events and talks are happened in two enormous pavilions within 7-10 minutes walk from each other.
The Central Stage with Rock Star like setting was impressing.
At first, we felt overwhelmed – so much happening, so crowded, so messy. You can’t attend the talk you selected – there is not enough room, there are long lines. The conference positioned as Web Start-Up Summit has Start Up talks in the smallest room of all –about 200 sits. What they were thinking about? Spending 40 minutes in line– just make you forget about startups talks – they are not the conference focus. You start to wonder around in the attempt to make yourself busy– everywhere you go there is no room for audience questions –speakers are almost as unreachable as Olympus Gods – they appear from behind the stage waive, talk to organizers and disappear behind the stage in a short while – they are on display to entertain too☺
There are 4 Start up pitch decks with simultaneously delivered pitches jugged by famous rugby players, press and other random selected celebrities, investor… you start to feel frustrated, disoriented and confused.
Asking yourself inappropriate questions about the business value of the conference, it’s goals and it’s purpose. Cost of ticket and accommodation passes by in your mind and you catching yourself suppressing these thoughts, replacing them with the test of fresh Guinness in your mouth and even with evil thought about the cost of Start Up both -- you luckily did not pay for it, the loss could have been worth ☺ you enjoy waive of pleasure and relive. Still, you can’t help but wonder how come all these people are here?
Then it hits you – there is only one startup that benefits from this conference enormously – a Beta Pitch Winner. The winner takes it all – press and investors attention, stage for talking all around the world, increasing company evaluation, prize and applause of a crowd – this one will be talked and displayed in case of success for many ears to come- just like Uber is still heavily used in Web Summit Marketing Campaign. Just like you see a winner of National Lottery on a TV or hear about Alaska’s gold miners– there are few who found gold, but there are many who spend all savings to buy supplies and who made suppliers reach.
If you are a start-up and think of attending Web Summit next year you need to ask yourself 3 questions:
1.Are you in a start-up supply industry? (like a coffee shop, investment or marketing firm)
2.Would you be able to explain to a rugby player why to invest in your startups in 4 minutes?
3.Is anything else in Lisbon that you ere interested in beside conference?
If you answered, “Yes” to all 3 questions – Web Summit 2016 should be on your Must Do list.
Otherwise think twice ☺