web summit

Web Summit 2014 : Summed Up

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For those who havent heard of the Web Summit before it is 500 speakers, 100 tech CEO’s, 900 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees gathering at the RDS in Dublin for 3 days of talks, demo’s and networking.

Back in September I spotted a tweet about joining the Live Team at “Europe’s most global tech event”. Essentially the Live Team was 180 people from 16 different countries whose job was to create and share content from the various sections of the Web Summit. I filled out a quick application form and was lucky enough to get accepted. In return for our efforts we were given a free ticket (worth around €1500) and a handful of us, such as myself, received a free hotel room near the event.

What better way to summarise a Tech event that using a collection of my own tweets (highlights / key takeaways) from the event itself? (Apologies for any slow page loading as there are 37 tweets embedded below)


When I arrived at the summit venue it seemed to be organised chaos. There was people cleaning, building stands etc and it was due to start in 40 minutes.


Perhaps the biggest problem right from the start of the summit was the lack of Wi-Fi. Paddy Cosgrave made his feelings on this very clear during several justified rants:

Sadly the absurdity of no Wi-Fi at a tech summit was noticed by large Irish brands such as Guinness and the Independant:

guinness wifi

Tweet taken down later

Image from @maikoschaffrath

Image from @maikoschaffrath











Oculus Rift was a huge topic of discussion at the summit, partly because the team were there:


With so many young CEO’s and founders around the topic of “Entrepreneurship” was a popular one:


Digital payments popped up in a number of discussions:


Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, gave insight into the internal structure and plans for the business:


One of the most popular speakers at the (85% male) event was Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria who discussed females in the tech industry, philanthropy and fame with Jemima Khan.


Being a tech conference there was the obligatory creepy robots:


This quote from Tony Strudwick, Head of Athletic Development at Manchester United, is something all brands should be doing:


The folks at Ideapaint had a whiteboard wall where anyone could write a message. I decided to be sneaky and use a freebie sticker to affix a business card instead. I managed to inspire Unique Sound to copy me: idealpaint


I watched an interview with Cathal Pendred who really reversed the clichés that come with MMA/UFC fighters:


This image during Dan Siroker’s (CEO of Optimizely) talk showed the power of A-B testing:


A discussion with Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein brought out some interesting lessons/points:


The Machine Summit hosted Rob Coneybeer, Founder of Shasta Ventures, who came up with some valuable insights for those looking for investment:


There was a group discussion at the Marketing Summit that brought out the following interesting points:


CEO of CKSK, Cillian Kieran, had a short prezo full of great insights for digital marketers. I recommend you check it out: http://slidesha.re/1zzW9wQ


This quote from the guys at Elite Daily really shows what type of social content brands should be producing:


David Butler, VP of  Innovation at Coke, talked about Coca Cola Founders and their plans to invest in early stage startups:


Two great quotes from Julia Hartz, Co Founder and President of Eventbrite:


I couldn’t resist creating my own version of Conference Bingo:


A number of insights came from a discussion between John Hayes, CMO at American Express and David Karp, Founder of Tumblr:


Adrian Grenier, of Entourage fame and founder of SHFT.com, discussed Music in a Digital Age. adrian grenier


My last session of the conference was watching the Coca Cola Pitch Competition where thousands of startups were whittled down to 6 (3 alpha stage and 3 beta stage) businesses. These 6 had to do a 4 minute pitch on the main stage infront of a team including Coca-Cola CTO and 5000 audience members. There was some superb business ideas and the pitches were one of the highlights of the summit.


Having finished the conference it was time to go back to Manchester. I waited for the AirCoach back to the airport in the poring rain at a bus stop. After 50 minutes and no sign of a bus I got talking to two very nice folks also heading to the airport who recommended we share a taxi. After a 1 hour taxi ride getting to know these folks I realised I had just €5 left. They very kindly offered to pay my 3rd of the fare (about £9). This was a great example of the kind of people I met at the conference and the friendly vibe in Dublin.

I really recommend anyone in a startup, marketing or tech head to the Web Summit in 2015. I will certainly be re-applying for the 2015 Live Team so hope to see you there!
I would love to hear your highlights from the Web Summit in the comment section.

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On November 7, 2014