WebSummit is the 2nd biggest startup fair in Europe, after Disrupt. The aim of this blogpost is not to compare these fairs, it's more of a reflection on what LearningSpaces expected, achieved, and who we had an opportunity to meet.
Here's what WebSummit team says about the event:
Web Summit has become “Europe’s largest and most important technology marketplace”. An unrivaled global meeting place for the world’s most disruptive technology companies and those interested in how that disruption can transform their businesses and their lives.
Here's what I think:
Agreed, that WebSummit is one of the biggest tech marketplaces in Europe. I would clearly disagree with the notion of "the most disruptive tech companies" since it was more of an idea pool, rather than companies gathering in one venue to innovate certain markets.
The event is built on tons of promises; Roundtable sessions, Sunset Summits, Centre Stage etc. Why I call it a promise? In the end, everything that one pays for should add value in one way or another. The event organisers did not deliver, and that's a pity. Empty bragging about the Wifi (Paddy, let's agree, the Wifi itself dropped the mic on you), poorly organised opening ceremony, and an event without any clear focus. I could name many more issues, but I'd like to reflect on the positive.
WebSummit is what the startup makes out of it!
All organisational fallacies aside, WebSummit is a great place to meet likeminded people. Most of the visitors are very tech savvy people. Critical minds were asking the right questions and making the right comparisons. Yes, LearningSpaces is like Slack for learning! But to make it more constructive, I'd like to elaborate more on certain topics;
Women in Tech
Beautiful way of empowering women during the event. The first day was a one big hiccup (so who is entitled for women in tech lounge?). Afterwards, organisers bounced back, decided to allow everyone to visit and spend some time in Women in Tech lounge, which became a lovely idea of connecting both genders to support and empower each other. I was rather skeptical, and had my doubts when Grace from CMS completely changed my perception on this whole Women in Tech idea. It was a bit of "Too little, too late situation" at WebSummit, but we do have to promote employment of women for development positions rather than managerial roles only. Women should use this opportunity of having a "special" treatment during WebSummit to make everyone aware of the, unfortunately, still existent glass ceiling for women and from women in tech. Thank you Grace for reflecting on my thoughts and having the right questions about LearningSpaces too!
Probably the most interesting and reassuring ideas were approached by Trello's CEO Michael Pryor, and Atlasssian's own Jay Simons. Your vision on how the future workplace should function, rather than what it ought to be, made it clear that we made LearningSpaces for a reason. Glad to hear that more than a half of Trello teams are working together, but from a distance. These teams manage to add value and share their knowledge, and expertise no matter where they are. Overall, SaaS Monster stage had tons of great presentations!
LearningSpaces Stand Day
I was wondering, was everyone there because of the legendary PacMan suit? Apparently not! Visitors were actually keen to learn more about the vision behind LearningSpaces. For those, who haven't heard the pitch, I promise to follow up! During our stand day we tried to share some knowledge on e-learning, and how one should be building an e-learning course. If you are interested in reading more about it, and you didn't manage to grab a book, drop me a message and we will sort it out!
Mentor hours were a great success. Maria from Faber Ventures, you rock! We will tell you how your advice worked out. Inspiring and working with innovation departments sounds like a great path for LearningSpaces.
Women in Tech lounge: Joana Barracosa, let's not give up on ministries and other governmental institutions, they have just started their journey of innovation.
Silicon Valley loves us too! Brian Rayner, thank you for pioneering new ways of training and learning in an organisation. We should catch up soon and see how we could work together to make people aware of training alternatives.
Leadfeeder, have I seen you there? Had a great laugh with Leadfeeder team. I strongly believe that if you are new in sales, marketing or growth hacking this app will make your life easier. P.s. Peter, still waiting for my interview to be posted.
Was it all worth it?
As flawed as it is, we have to acknowledge the fact that WebSummit is a great opportunity to network and mingle. It's really what you make out of it. WebSummit is not the people who are organising it, it's the startups and visitors who try to criticise the status quo and search for the best future solutions.