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Dealing with the Web Summit tsunami

Anyone interested in new technologies and the on-going digital transformation should visit Web Summit. Here’s why.

Facing the wave


Web Summit is held at the Feira Internacional in Lisbon, next to the River Tagus. When you arrive, it doesn’t matter if you’re a young entrepreneur, an investor or a journalist: you’re immediately hit by a tsunami of information. There’s not just one but 25 conferences which are held simultaneously, with 1200 speakers, 2000 start-ups pitching like dogs barking at cars, 1400 investors and an ocean of 59,000 participants. Don’t come unprepared: you’ll be better off staying home and watching it live on the internet!



“People visiting conferences use very old-fashioned software: their eyes and mouths. It’s shocking.”

The app


Paddy Cosgrave, the founder of Web Summit, has managed to scale up his event like no-one else, starting with just 400 attendees in 2010. To do this, he hired data scientists, and statisticians because “people visiting conferences use very old-fashioned software: their eyes and mouths. It’s shocking.” The Web Summit app has been designed to provide 59,000 people with new software to enjoy the conference. You can browse all 25 conferences, add events to your diary and connect with you want. It may sound like other apps you’ve seen elsewhere but it isn’t: you need a critical mass of information to really make it work! In a few clicks, you can start multiple conversations, get an alert telling you that one of the talks you want to see is starting in 5 minutes and more. Everything is simplified.

Breaking the waves

There’s a lot to learn from this experience. Web Summit demonstrates how huge volumes of data can be harnessed to deliver maximum value to individuals. The way technology puts data to work can inspire CEOs all over the world: hiring data specialists, collecting and large volumes of data, automating processes and coding simple interfaces will enable your employees to access what they need and to connect with someone in a click. Everything becomes a game of numbers.​



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