The thought of Lisbon hosting the 2016 Web Summit is exciting enough for newspaper articles [PT] and big movements on the internet. We all know there are good reasons for Portugal’s capital to receive Paddy Cosgrave and his host of international all-star guests.
But if you haven’t attended a Web Summit in Dublin, you can’t begin to imagine what is involved in putting together such an event. It’s three days jam-packed with nonstop action. I’ve been there twice as an attendee so, though have a somewhat outside look, I’ve also been on the inside (though not behind the scenes).
Here are seven challenges that must be overcome if we want to successfully host the Summit.
Last year alone, there were 8 stages with talks happening simultaneously. There were also two full pavilions for the exhibitors (mostly startups from all over the world showcasing their wares).
The Web Summit takes place at the RDS, a huge but closed facility in the centre of Dublin. The fact that it’s closed helps immensely with the in and out points of control. The only place I can think of to host such an event is the Expo area, both the exhibition halls and the MEO Pavillion.
The solution the Summit found was to partner up with Good Food Ireland, a country-wide organization of food producers and caterers that were able to deliver food to over 20 thousand attendees. The food court was in a huge tent at a nearby garden, and there were dozens of lines for food, so things worked out ok. Dessert and coffee were served in the gardens. This was possible due to the effort of hundreds of people who curator Paddy Cosgrave made a point of bringing up to centre stage to get their deserved applause.
Mention WiFi to Paddy, and he’ll have a fit. If one thing was a constant headache last year that was it. The local venue, the RDS, insisted on running the WiFi themselves, when the organization had offers from at least 4 huge companies, namely Vodafone and Cisco to set it up for free. There were, of course, big WiFi problems, and both the audience and Paddy were very vocal about it.
One big advantage of Lisbon applying to 2016 is that, at least, we now have Uber! Deals can be struck to get people moving around town, and to and from the venue. There are probably not enough cars today, but maybe special deals can be reached. I won’t even mention taxis, because I’m a bit mad at them nowadays 🙂
The Night Summit was the other half of the event. All over town in pubs, bars and restaurants, live music and networking was happening through the night.
I’m sure some local sponsors would benefit from associating themselves with this event, and maybe it will be a prerequisite from the Summit for it to happen in Lisbon. Just know that it’s worth the investment.
The Web Summit is an event that takes over the whole city. Imagine 30 000 techies set loose in the streets of Lisbon. It can be nothing but fun! But for this to happen smoothly, the city council must be involved. They have shown in the past that they support technology and entrepreneurship, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
So, what can you do? You can
- Write a blog post if you have a blog;
- Join the Facebook group “Bring the Web Summit 2016 to Lisbon” and share it with all your friends;
- Tweet to @paddycosgrave and @WebSummitHQ (using hashtag #LXwebsummit16) and let them know we want them in Lisbon next year.
Let’s do our best to have the chance to host this memorable event. The Web Summit is, without a doubt, the best tech Conference in the world.