Web Summit Survival Guide
There are many trips to other countries all year round, but between November 4th and 7th, the world will travel to the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal!
Anyone who has been in what is the biggest tech event in the world knows it’s busy days, a busy schedule, and many hours of walking around. But there are little tips you can keep in mind to tackle the Web Summit and bring home just a lot of knowledge and memories from times well past.
Want to know what they are? Let’s get to it!
What to keep an eye on in this edition of Web Summit
Before we go into the detail of this survival guide, it’s essential to first know the key highlights of this edition of the Web Summit.
In fact, 20 stages will be presenting speakers from all over the world. Not only from the technological area but also the environmental, content and communication, sports, fashion, music… there’s a little bit of everything for all tastes and interests.
In this year’s agenda, I focused on conferences that have a direct bearing on areas that touch me as a travel blogger or on my interest in environmental protection. And, of course, there are big names that are unavoidable, regardless of our profession or belief.
Such is the case with Edward Snowden. A household name for the whole world, this is the man who risked everything to reveal the mass surveillance system carried out by the US government. At the opening night, on November 4th, Snowden will speak via videoconference from Russia to the more than 70,000 people expected at the Altice Arena (not to mention those online). He will go into detail about his history, how he helped build the system used by the US government, and what motivated him to try to overthrow it.
And speaking of mass control, Brittany Kaiser will be another presence not to be missed at this Web Summit. The former Cambridge Analytica director, starring in the Netflix documentary “Nothing Is Private,” is a confirmed presence on several panels. One of the busiest will surely be the Center Stage with the conference about Donald Trump’s re-election. To see on November 5th.
Also, at the opening session on the 4th, I have some curiosity to watch Jaden Smith speak. It seems that actor Will Smith’s son has become a social and environmental activist.
But that’s not all. On my Web Summit to-see list come conferences like:
- “21st-century design is for everyone” – with Canva’s Melanie Perkins (one of the online design programs I often use) – Creatiff / 11:15
- “We are facing water wars” – Planet: Tech / 12:10
- “Why the ocean isn’t doomed” – with Dianna Cohen of Plastic Pollution Coalition and Garrett McNamara – Planet: Tech / 14:50
- “Can brands save the planet?” – PandaConf / 15:20
- “The promise and profile of the digital age” – with Brad Smith from Microsoft – Center Stage / 10:30
- “The 2020 marketing playbook” – PandaConf / 10:50
- “Private messaging by design” – with Jay Sullivan of Facebook – ContentMakers / 11:30 AM
- “How to win on social” – with GIPHY’s Alex Chung – PandaConf / 11:50
- “The New York Times: Storytelling and Brands” – ContentMakers / 12:50
- “The business of GIF$” – also with GIPHY’s Alex Chung – ContentMakers / 14:35
- “Marketing in 2020” – Center Stage / 15:10
- Baby shark: Creating a multi-billion dollar monster – out of curiosity! – ContentMakers / 15:15
- “Designing your brand to disrupt” – Center Stage / 11:10
- “The power of influence” – ContentMakers / 12:35
- “Branding content: How to do it right” – ContentMakers / 14:40
- “How to win brands and influence people” – PandaConf / 15:35
Tips to keep in mind
Sounds too much to put on the agenda? It’s because it is! And one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered in previous editions is being able to watch everything I want. Because many stages are far from each other and crossing the pavilions with thousands of people is sometimes a nightmare!
Now here are some of my tips for tackling the upcoming Web Summit as an expert.
Keep the app close at hand
The Web Summit app is probably the most essential tool you can have, and it’s always worth having it at hand.
Here you can build your schedule with all the conferences you want to attend, with the stages and times, and see which ones intersect. The hard part will be deciding which ones to drop.
In the app, you’ll also find a complete list of all participants (from volunteer to the most prominent guest), with whom you can even chat or arrange meetings to get to know your projects or even present your own unicorn 😉
Don’t wait until the last minute
As I said earlier, thousands and thousands of Web Summit attendees are expected, so the timing of accreditation or entry can be real torture.
Please note that from the 2nd to the 5th, at Lisbon Airport Terminal 1, there’s a center where you can immediately register without waiting for the first day of the event. I did this last year, and it saved me a lot of time in queues.
Please also have in mind that if you want to attend the opening session on the 4th, don’t arrive late, or you risk missing out. They will block the entrance at the Center Stage if the place is full.
The same applies to conferences during the event period. If you have a particular intervention you’d like to see, go to the stage where it will take place sometime before it begins. When the previous panel is over, people will get up, and you can take a seat and watch the one you were waiting for.
Dress for success… but don’t overdo it!
If you’re going to the Web Summit to make contacts and know the right people to drive your business, thinking about the first impression makes perfect sense.
But forget the strictest dress. You’re among tech people, and you may come across a CEO in torn pants and All Star shoes. I’m not saying to indulge in the sloppiness of a Sunday outfit, but you don’t need a suit and tie or a black dress at all. And ladies, forget about the heels! Web Summit = miles and miles running back and forth! Comfortable footwear is indispensable!
Food and drinks
At the Web Summit, there’s always a food court, but when we’re talking about an event with so many people, it can sometimes be hard to get something to eat. Especially if you’re trying your luck at lunchtime and if you have little time between conferences you want to see.
Next to the event grounds, there’s a shopping mall that reinforces the offer in the area. But my suggestion is to take some energy bars with you and try to eat outside the busiest hours.
Oh, and don’t forget to keep the hydration levels!
Go around the various pavilions
During conference breaks, be sure to circulate around the various pavilions. There are many companies with exciting stands. Go through startups and spend a little time getting to know innovative projects that could one day become giants. If you have a Women In Tech ticket, know that this year there’s a women’s-only corner again. A fantastic place to rest from all the rush.
Lastly, pay attention to the Night Summit programming. After all, the “party” continues throughout the city even after the conferences end at Parque das Nações.
How to get to the Web Summit
To get to the Web Summit on event days, forget you have a car. Parking can be hell! Opt for public transport.
Metro de Lisboa (Lisbon’s subway) has already announced that it will strengthen the offer and has also launched, in collaboration with Carris (bus) and CP (train), three special passes (1, 3 or 5 days), which will cover the areas of Lisbon, Sintra, and Cascais.
Also, keep in mind that, despite being an option, services such as UBER will be crowded, and it will not be easy to arrange transportation at the highest flow of attendees to and from the event.
Web Summit Location
And that’s it! These are just a few tips that I hope will make your Web Summit experience as enjoyable as possible.
For those who couldn’t get a ticket for this edition or can’t be present, I’ll be attending, and I’ll try to share with you some of the best moments. To follow along on IG Stories! 😉
What about you? Have you ever been to any edition of the Web Summit? So you have some tips to share? I would love to know them! Leave it in the comments box below.