I spent last week at the Web Summit event in Dublin, and I have to say that it was a great experience for good and for less good things.
With nearly 30000 attendees coming to Dublin from all over the world, I can say this has been the biggest event I have attended in my life and to be honest it can be a little bit overwhelming.
You really need to set yourself a clear goal, otherwise it is impossible to see everything. The amount of startups is huge, split by field (IoT and hardware, entertainment, health ...) and by development status alpha or beta.
Trying to fit some of the talks into my schedule was nearly impossible as the distance between the main stage and the machine stage (the one dedicated for IoT) made it a little bit difficult, but anyway as I said before you need to be prepared and at the same time learn as the days pass.
The names of the speakers were impressive, Ed Catmull president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, Stewart Butterfield Co-founder and CEO of Slack, and many more Web Summit speakers 2015 list, however I was a bit disappointed with some of them that turned out to be more a sales event, with somebody on the stage trying to sell his solution or in some of them very vague discussions about an specific topic.
It could be also that my expectations were too high however I felt very disillusioned in some of them, I would have expected a little bit more by taking a look at the names and job positions.
You can smell it, it is in the air, people expectations are high and most of them have the belief that they might be the next big thing, the next million dollar business.
Investors are everywhere and they wear a different color on their wrists and their badge, you can clearly feel the eyes of those hungry people looking at the badge in the search of his angel.
It is also very inspiring, people share ideas and experiences in the corridors between the booths or ever having lunch, everybody is chatting about technology and giving away business cards, which is an important part of the networking.
If there is something in abundance, it is passion and you can feel it when you start a conversation with some of them.
The Night Summit
I bet there are few places better than Dublin and Ireland to go out at night and meet new people, Irish are friendly and that is contagious, every single people I have met was convinced about that, Dublin was a great place.
Every night in a different area, we were going out and meeting new people. I have to admit that networking is much easier when you hold a pint of Guinness, that iconic and magic beverage that the Irish have exported all over the world.
Some of the parties were organised by startups, Orderella was one of the organisers, the party was good I can not say the same about the app.
My personal view
Web Summit is a big business, there is no discussion about it, the prices might be high however if you are really serious about your startup, either if you want to look for an investor or potential partnerships, that is the place to be the probabilities are high you will find something interesting for the good or for the bad.
Attending there is by itself a big learning experience, however I understand it can be very disappointing if you have high expectations, I heard people complaining about the high prices of the booth.
To me this was an opportunity to go a little bit deeper into the startup world, meet new companies and ideas that I would not probably have found otherwise.
I really enjoyed the pitch stages, and the pitch competition I saw some powerful pitches and presentations that inspired me.
If you are in the tech business you should go there, it is definitely worth it specially if you are two and you can split the tasks.