Why should the Web Summit be of interest to my business?
We have all heard the hype about the Web Summit. We have seen the superstars of business, music and movies on the news and some of us have experienced traffic delays around the RDS, but what is the Web Summit really about and why should it matter to my business?
The Web Summit manages to bring together the creme-de-la-creme of business, technology, innovation, social and food. It draws a crowd from the furthest possible places on the globe and unlike previous iterations of “Technology Trade Shows”, people pay hundreds of euro to enter. It is also not a “Trade Show” – it is for everybody and anybody. After experiencing my second Web Summit, it is still hard to put my finger on why it works so well, but I will give it a go.
To have CEO’s from world leading companies such as Dropbox, Zendesk, Nest, Braintree, Stripe just to name a few all lining up to come and speak in front of a huge crowd is pretty amazing.
The stars come onto the centre stage and share their insights in an informal interview style. The interviews are short, but it’s plenty of time for you to get a better idea of who these people are and to get an appreciation of what they achieved and how they “made it”. It puts a face to these successful enterprises and it makes it seem like anything is possible.
While all this is happening in the Centre Stage, there are a variety of other stages dotted around the RDS hosting speakers and specialists in different areas such as Marketing and Machines. There is also an Enterprise Summit and a Builders Summit. If ever I wanted to be in two places at the one time, it was at the Web Summit. It was a bit like getting a Selection Box on Christmas morning and not really knowing what to dip into first. The choices were almost impossible. With live streaming available from the Centre Stage, at a minimum, I would recommend tuning in here.
Meanwhile, wandering around the stands made up of Alfa (start-ups), Beta (in business longer than start-ups) and other more established businesses, I couldn’t help feel a sense of awe at the scale and size of the whole exhibition and also of the endless ideas that were being presented on each of these stands. You can see everything from robots to farm compliance solutions from 3D printing to innovative education solutions.
Like most businesses, we took a stand at Web Summit on one of the days to talk about our Sage 200 Online software and our Easydd Direct Debit software for Sage. Thanks to everybody who came along to talk to us!
For the businesses looking for investors, companies can put themselves forward to get on stage and pitch their ideas in front of a panel of investors and a crowd. I didn’t manage to see very many pitches, but the ones I saw were quite impressive. It’s a great way to be seen and to help attract the right investment partner to your business.
This brings me to a point raised by Mikkel Svane, the CEO of Zendesk. He co-founded Zendesk and worked from his kitchen before moving to Silicon Valley to seek investment. He was asked about choosing the right type of investment and he said as hard as it was and as starved of cash as they were at the beginning, he waited to find the right investment partner. To quote Mikkel “it is not a one-night-stand…it is a relationship”. This relationship needs to be nurtured and worked on in order to grow a successful business, with your investment partners.
Then there’s the Food Summit which is all the work of Good Food Ireland. Good Food Ireland is a collaboration of leading restaurants, hotels, cookery schools, shops, pubs, café’s and food producers passionately committed to local Irish Food, highlighting Ireland’s food culture. Catering for 20,000 + visitors is no small task. Nestled in Herbert Park, massive marquees are erected to host lunch for the hungry “Web Summitters”. The food is fresh, Irish and very delicious.
We can’t forget about the Pub Summit. This is where the networking and craic spills over into Dublin’s pubs and it’s where most of the deals are done! What a great way to involve all of Dublin into the Web Summit.
When thinking a little more about the whole Web Summit experience, last year I might have said that it is great for technology companies and businesses involved in the world of IT, Cloud and Technology. But after immersing myself in the Web Summit for three days, I realised that it is not just for the “IT and Science Geeks”. Technology affects us ALL. Just look at how the taxi cab industry, which was very traditional has turned upside down with technology advancements and the cloud. Just look at printing. Who would have imagined that you could put A4 paper into a printer and a “plastic-like” colour 3D model would come popping out. Look at health and fitness, education, even watches. The point is that technology impacts us all. Our businesses need to embrace technology in some shape or form otherwise we get passed out, overtaken by a new entrepreneur who has set up overnight and has captured a substantial market share before you can even blink. Gaps in the market exist where there is a traditional business or industry which has remained traditional. Scary thought but it is true. We can’t continue to do as we have been doing – we need to innovate in our businesses. We need to step out from the crowd, put on our running shoes, drive forward taking quick steps, using technology and the internet to help us get achieve our goals faster. This is not a time for wearing heaving muddy boots. Being nimble and agile is the name of the game.
Good job Paddy Cosgrave – I look forward to a bigger and better Web Summit 2015 (preferably with functioning Wifi – ha ha!).
There is a 2 for 1 sale on this Thursday 13th of November, if you are interested in snapping up a some tickets for next year’s Web Summit http://websummit.net/2for1?source=ADWg&gclid=CPTPjdei8MECFQKc2wodY7EAlA
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