The Web Summit Highlights

It was another great conference, with lots of new ideas, great speakers and interesting people.

Highlights for me;

Seeing hundreds and hundreds of start ups; many I will never hear of again and some won’t ever “make it big” but it shows that digital is still innovative, and that much of the innovation is outside the standard companies. I spoke to a couple of people who work in incubators – helping these new companies get off the ground. It takes time and support to build a business out of an idea. Here are 15 of the hottest apps from the Summit.

I went to the “Leadership Lunch” which is a lunch for women in leadership positions in the digital world with keynote speakers. I’m usually a bit wary of “separate” events, but this had some great speakers so I signed up. It was really interesting to hear more personal insights of the challenges women have faced in working in Digital, but the biggest round of applause came for Caithriona Hallahan’s comment that one day we won’t think women leading in digital as unusual or remarkable and this won’t be needed.

Best session for me was a panel discussion on privacy, this is going to be an ongoing issue for all companies as digital becomes more mainstream and increasingly ubiquitous. It’s one where neither law nor technology has all the answers.

This year’s summit had more than twice the number of participants as last year, it added a “food summit” to showcase Irish food and is slowly being rebranded as “The Summit” as its fame grows. Some things were better this year – the taxis had been warned for example, and some things were worse – the wifi truly sucked.

There are plans to make it bigger and better next year – and you can already sign up for the 2014 two-for-one ticket offer. Prices are up on this year but it’s still good value as conferences go.

Web Summit

websummit2It’s the Web Summit conference in Dublin this week; a conference¬† filled with the great and the good of the digital world. This year’s conference has five stages; Main Stage, Digital Marketing, Cloud, Development, and Library.

There are more speakers with “Founder” after their name at this conference than any other I’ve been to, and there are new start ups pitching great (and not so great) concepts. There are also events beyond the conference – this year a Night Summit and a Food Summit have been added.

There are some speakers I’m really looking forward to; Padmasree Warrior, Robert Scoble, Matt Mullenweg, Phil Libin, Michael Acton Smith. All leaders in digital business. There are speakers from the best publications in digital; Spencer Reiss from Wired, Mark Millian the tech writer from Bloomberg, Alexia Tsotsis from TechCrunch. And there are some topics that tempt me; “Big Data for Good or Ill” and “Future Content: Making Stuff People Actually Want to Read”.

Last year some of the most inspiring talks were from people I hadn’t heard of before – it’s where I first heard about Coder Dojo for example.

This conference attracts speakers who are driving digital change, they are leaders and innovators. It’s an great lineup.

I’m looking at the agenda and it’s really terrible, there is so much great content that I’m struggling to make a choice on which session to go to – it’s a luxury problem.

Conference or Classroom

When I first started attending conferences I took my schoolgirl habits with me;
– I arrived when the conference organisers said it started
– I went to every session
– I took notes
– I wanted a copy of all the slides

Oh how times have changed.

I look now at the agenda and the list of speakers and attendees, I attend the sessions that are useful to me right now, or inspiring for the future. Twitter becomes my notes, I’ll follow conference speakers and later check their websites, blogs or linkedin profile. I will skip supplier presentations 80% of the time.

What brought this change about?
One thing is just time pressure, even if I’m at a conference the emails still roll in. A second thing is I just can’t listen and concentrate for that long.

But perhaps the biggest thing is that I’m not collecting information to pass an exam of random questions. I walk in the door with the questions and I’m looking for answers.

postscript; the conference organiser read this post and has been checking my attendance