Forbes describe Web Summit as an event which “creates collisions between startups, investors, and others so they share insights and forge relationships” and, as we took ownership of our stand for Day 2 and launched into a thousand conversations with attendees from across the world, the unseen impact from these collisions and relationships could be game changing, for the individual as well as the collective.
That’s not to say that after a first full day of #websummit and lively evening at #nightsummit, we had emerged fully formed into the new day but, it’s funny how a combination of strong coffee and bright Lisbon sunshine helps to re-fuel and re-energise.
And boy did we work that stand as attendees, investors and fellow startups from multiple nations stood, stopped, talked and ruminated about everything from Linkilaw to partnership to cross-border opportunities to the joys of congregating at this temple of tech. It was truly a day for exploration, optimism and solidarity. If you want to plug into a wave of energy, optimism and endless opportunities to chew the technology cud, then Web Summit is your kind of town.
One of our favourites for the day was meeting Anita Cedargren and her colleagues from Karma (www.karma.life) – a brilliant project dealing with the global issue of overproduction and waste of food. Karma wants to transform how and where restaurants, cafes and grocery stores can sell excess food to the market. In the meantime, they’re having a great time, doing a great good – what a combination!!
Away from the stand and across to the main arena, it’s just a year since we sat and tried to absorb news of the Trump victory and so, it was fascinating to have Brad Parscale, digital director for the Trump campaign, attend a Q&A session. He was arguably the key architect behind the most seismic political development in modern history and arrived to a somewhat mixed reception, revealing how Facebook drove the campaign and enabled his team to turn his candidate into a highly targeted product.
“Eyeballs were moving to social media in huge numbers, especially on mobile phones and devices. And when Donald Trump asked me to work on the campaign I also knew I had a great piece of product that would resonate with Americans,” he said. Pascale went on to explain that he utilized social media strategies first employed with success by the Obama campaigns. He also added that “social media platforms queued up to help the Trump campaign and take a share of its advertising campaign”.
It can’t be said that he was overwhelmingly popular and there were even plaintive cries of “Hillary Clinton” from the audience but, it was a revealing insight to the key role played by social media in achieving their shock victory.
And it wasn’t just Parscale who dished out some political home truths about the new world order, former chess champion Gary Kasparov was on stage declaring that “In chess, we have fixed rules and unpredictable results. In Putins Russia, It’s absolutely opposite”
Star names, insight and neatly packaged quotes and maxims are the order of the day. It’s a revolving door of fascinating guests across multiple stages, that leaves you suffering from a perpetual state of FOMO.
Tech celebrities come and deliver some highly quotable nuggets … “Dance like no one is watching, but encrypt like everyone is” from Werner Vogels. CTO at Amazon …. but insight is available from every conversation and across every stage.
From the Future Societies stage a discussion based around “Learning inside and outside the classroom”. Stellar guests including Gina Gotthilf (VP Growth, Dulingo), Mmantsetsa Marope (Director of International Bureau of Education at UNESCO) and Jeff Maggioncalde (CEO, Coursera) discussed and debated the response of educative institutions and technology to our need for continuous learning and included comments about the importance of self awareness and asking yourself key questions, Maggioncalde indicating that two important self-awareness questions should be …
How are you most misunderstood? Why do you think that is the case?
This was one talk, on one substage, about one relatively small topic.
After an exhausting day, we packed our bags and slunk out to be met by a clash of old world versus new. Uber drivers had decided to call an old-fashioned strike.
Now, where is that new app for easing weary limbs?
Linkilaw provides a low-cost legal platform for startups and fast growth companies.
Based in London (and Lisbon) we were exhibiting at Web Summit and remain here all Thursday so, please get in touch via www.linkilaw.com or @linkilaw