Web Summit 2017, Lisbon

This year, I was lucky enough to attend the event of a techie’s dream, Web Summit 2017, Lisbon. It truly was the place to be if you are working in tech, a startup founder or an aspiring entrepreneur as for 3 days straight you are surrounded by the industry’s most influential. As an employee of a tech company, I was fortunate enough to attend the event on my company’s behalf, thanks guys! In this post, I will delve into the some of the things that I learnt, liked and didn’t like throughout the event.

What did I learn at Web Summit 2017?

One. One of the main trends that continued to crop up was the importance of customer service. We all know that customer service is a biggie, right? However, did we know that customer service should be one of our biggest company expenses? We are living in a time where people don’t and won’t wait for customer care and support. If you don’t have the resources in place to provide a quick and sufficient response, you are leaving the door wide open for your competitor that does! You need a brand promise and a penalty for breaking that promise in order to show your customer that you are fully aware that without them, your business wouldn’t even exist. Don’t underestimate your customers, if you show them transparency they will return the favor with loyalty.

Two. Don’t just talk about yourself on social media. We don’t like it when our friends do it, so why would we let our company do the same? Talk about things that interest you and perhaps your audience. Have a conversation with them and engage the audience about various (although random) topics. This is a great way to ‘secretly’ expose your current and potential customers to your brand.

Three. Don’t focus your time on accumulating users, spend time looking at usability. What are your customers doing? How are they using your product? Where do they come from? Do they use your product every day? etc. Most importantly, if you have an online service that offers a free version of your product. Don’t just let those numbers build up without investigating why and how the product is being used. Many future investors care more about your service and what it provides to the user than numbers (by no means am I saying that numbers are not important, they are, but they don’t stand alone). 

What I liked about Web Summit 2017

One. The location, Lisbon! It was the first time I had been to Lisbon and I absolutely loved it. The event finished at 5pm each day, so it was great to be in a city that invited us to explore. I stayed in Alfama, it was right next to the port, mapped with charming cobbled streets and full of chic bars and restaurants.

Two. The talks that I managed to attend were interesting and insightful. Although many of them didn’t include new information, it was interesting to hear the opinion of a professional.

Three. The choice of themes were perfectly selected in order to cover each section of the industry. I spent most of my time between Saas Monster, Creatiff and The Startup University. I would have loved to attend talks at Future Societies and the Panda Conference, but it just wasn’t possible! I would have had to split my self in to three.

Web Summit 2017 - Exhibition space

What I didn’t like about Web Summit 2017

One. Dare I say it, I think the event was too big. We had purchased an early bird ticket, these tickets were available before the schedule release. When the schedule came out, it turned out that many of the talks were invite only. I mean, come on! It seemed quite clear that the event was oversold. At 500+ euros per ticket, I had expected to enjoy each part of the event.

Two. Again, I don’t think there was enough preparation for the amount of people attending the event. We missed important talks just waiting in a queue to enter the venue and in the never ending lunch queue, far from ideal.

Three. In my opinion, the ‘Women In Tech’ booth didn’t send out the right message. As a women in tech myself, I felt to have this section of the Web Summit sectioned off from the rest and limited to invites only, defeated the object of its purpose. Didn’t that just bring segregation to the event?

Last, but by no means least (as I think this annoyed me the most), no food or drinks (apart from coffee) were included. At 500+ euros a ticket, I and many other attendees thought this decision was a little miserable.

Will I return next year?

If I was lucky enough to be invited again, yes. If I had to by my own ticket, I’d prefer to wait until I was further along in my career as the information received at that price was not worth it in my opinion. However, as an entrepreneur or business owner, I think it is the place you need to be for connection and networking opportunities.