The Web Summit story is just inspiring. From 400 attendees in 2009, the conference grew to a gargantuan size of 60,000 attendees (of which 42% are female) this year. This makes it the fastest growing technology conference of all times.
With Web Summit becoming “Europe’s largest and most important technology marketplace”, you can imagine how excited we were to work with the organizers for the first time this year.
But instead of writing another TL;DR of all the highlights, I want to tell you a story of how we got the incredible opportunity to roll out Slido and power Q&A and live voting at some of the sessions of this year’s Web Summit.
The winding road to Web Summit
Ever since I attended Web Summit for the first time back in 2015, I felt that many additional insights could be revealed if the audience had the chance to engage with the stellar lineup of speakers more closely.
This was around the same time when I got to know the amazing Aoileann, with whom I reconnected earlier this year in Dublin, while I was there for the SaaStock conference.
Together, we organized a meeting where I demoed Slido to people from the marketing, speakers programming and engineering teams. They all agreed that using a tool like Slido could add value to the event.
Before the rollout at the main show, we decided to put Slido in front of some smaller crowds during the ‘Runway to Web Summit’ tour with Nicola and her team. So later that week, I flew to Amsterdam, to help the team run a Q&A with the Web Summit Co-Founder and CEO, Paddy Cosgrave.
Dublin. Berlin. Copenhagen. Paris. London. It was amazing to see how the team collaborated before the event and brought together the community across half of Europe.
Lisbon as the host city
The Portuguese Government estimated the economic impact of this year’s Web Summit to over €300 million. But if you consider the long term value, such as the global reputation and inspiration to younger generation, the impact is even larger.
Just from arriving at the airport, it is obvious that the entire city lives and breathes Web Summit.
This was my first time in Lisbon and I was amazed by the booming tech community that is strengthened even more thanks to events like this.
Building community and giving back is really important to us at Slido, so we felt like being in Lisbon offered the perfect opportunity to organize an evening social get-together to meet our friends, partners, customers, but also some new faces, and talk all things tech.
The thing that impressed me the most was the team behind Web Summit. Not just the core team of over 160 people but also the 5,000 volunteers, staff, and security.
Every single person on the team was passionate about making this conference the best tech event there is. They’re passionate about every detail, including the lanyard design.
These folks are also responsible for bringing some of the greatest minds together. This year’s speaker lineup included Stephen Hawking, Margrethe Vestager, Al Gore, Caitlyn Jenner, and 1,196 others..
I spent most of my time pending between the Startup University and the Centre Stage, where Slido was used.
Startup University was the place to be to hear from the CEOs, founders and investors on what’s going to make your startup a success. The audience consisted of mostly entrepreneurs and startups who were really keen to learn from the speakers onstage who had walked down the path before them.
It came as no surprise that Startup University hosted some of the most interactive panel discussions with over 300 questions submitted on Slido.
The other thing we got to do with Slido this year was to add a fourth judge for the startup pitch competition on Centre Stage. For the first time in the history of Web Summit, the audience helped choose the winner of PITCH by voting in a live poll.
We had over 2,500 votes in the course of just 15 minutes. See for yourself, the suspense is real!
Web Summit is without doubt one of the trailblazing tech conferences in the world and we feel privileged to be part of it.
It was incredibly rewarding to work with the team behind Web Summit (special shout out to Katarína) and the amazing people we have at Slido. It is at events like this, where the characters are forged.
Thank you Web Summit and see you next year!