Hacking the Summit – How to make the most of the event
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: you need to hack the Summit. With over 50,000 attendees from different backgrounds and sectors, hundreds of speakers across 18 different stages, and side events going on, there will be a lot of things going on during the four summit days.
It is only reasonable to assume it will be impossible to attend everything and very easy to lose track of time with distractions.
Truth be told, it is impossible to attend every single moment of the summit (unless you have the superpower of omnipresence). But also, you don’t need nor should you want to. It’s all about recognising who you are and what can you take most from the event.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of the WebSummit and your days in Lisbon.
Set your goals
This is the most important thing to do. Take into account who you are, what you do, and what are the best opportunities for you during the event.
If you work in the corporate world, what are you looking for? Inspiration and best practices from the speakers, information about news techs disrupting your business, or startups to partner up with?
If you’re a recent startup, you’ll probably be looking for acceleration and open innovation programs and networking in the ecosystem; if you’re a mature startup you’ll probably be looking into prospective clients, investors and partners within your sector.
There are a lot of different insights you can take from the event, so it’s important to set realistic goals of what you want to achieve. It seems basic, but not answering this question might lead to 3 full days of work with nothing to show for.
Research & Plan
It may seem like tedious pre-work, but planning your days ahead will let you hit the ground running on the summit days.
If you plan on attending a lot of talks and panels, go through the schedule first and choose the most important for you. Keep this tips in mind:
- Use the topics tags on the site to see only relevant keynotes (try several tags that fit your interests).
- Keep in mind the venue map. Don’t plan to attend two talks where the second starts at the same time the first one ends if they are on different stages on opposite sides of the venue – you’ll just end up running like crazy and missing the first 5 minutes of the keynotes (which is is particularly bothersome because most presentations will only be 15/20 minute long).
- Research the speakers ahead of time – see what they do, and which position they hold. Looking into previous talks or interviews online will help you determine if you’re interested in this keynote or help you better analyze and understand their positions when listening to panel discussions.
It’s a daunting prospect, but we already did half the research for you. Check our tracks available in Beyond the Summit, they are divided between executives and startups, but inside you’ll also find sectors and themes. They are a great starting point to tackle this task.
Download the app
Download the event app, and make the most of it:
- Use it for a quick and easy check-in.
- Tag the talks and panels you want to see and make your own personalized schedule.
- Consult the venue map and not waste 10 minutes walking towards the wrong stage.
- Use the chat function to reach out to other attendees you want to connect with (see next point).
This is truly the most important part of the event. Take every opportunity to broaden your network of contacts and get to know as much as possible: competitors, innovators in the sector, prospective clients, like-minded entrepreneurs. Who knows, any of these could be your next partner. Make use of the conference app that allows you to reach out to other attendees, and while on the floor (or the coffee break), don’t be shy. If you’re reaching out to investors, we wrote some tips for you here.
Go to the side events
Side events are a great opportunity to meet people, specially because they happen in a much more relaxed environment, but also because they include the local ecosystem and people who may not be easy to find at the event venue. From pub crawls, to group meets to all night parties, there’s a lot to choose from. We have a list of all the ecosystem events right here.
I know this seems like it was your grandma’s advice but the truth is the venue is huge, and so is the number of attendees. You should be arriving at the venue at least 30 minutes before your first appointment – besides the check-in, there’s a security search that usually makes for a long line at the entrance.
Also, if possible, give yourself 5 minutes between talks, or if booking a meeting consider you’ll take at least 5 minutes to get to the place (have I mentioned it’s a HUGE venue?). If you can, have your meals and breaks at unconventional times – because yes, the food courts (even though they are now more spaced out) will be packed between noon and 2pm.
Take care of yourself
We know you will be going on and on for 4 or 5 days, taking the most of the event. And even though the atmosphere at the summit is energizing, conventional sources of energy and self care are still needed: try to drink plenty of water (the temperature is usually warm inside), don’t skip meals and (try to) get at least a few hours of sleep. Getting sick or not being your best self won’t make for a good investment of your time.
All work aside, you’re in the best city in the world (we’re parcial). From the old cobblestone charming streets to modern tech
hubs, from cosy traditional food restaurants to hip cocktail rooftops, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone, with an undeniable Lisbon charm. The Beta-i team has enjoyed the best this city can offer, and we want to share it with you. Check out our profile on Misk (available for iOS and android), and get curated collections of the best places in town for every moment of the day.
And if you’re still a bit daunted by the task, no worries – check our Beyond the Summit. Besides the tracks for download that are a great starting point to plan your schedule, we’ll also update regularly about all the side events, give you tips about the ecosystem and what to enjoy in Lisbon.
See you there!