The best and the worst I saw at the Web Summit

It sort of just sneaked up on us this year the web summit. I felt as if there was less hype and more of a natural authentic feeling about 2017 Web Summit which is great.

I am pleasantly surprised how mature Lisbon and our local entrepreneurs have become in just the second year of the Web Summit in this wonderful city. The organization of the web summit, security and transport by the city are top notch but the most impressive has been our entrepreneurs mentality to what is expected from them and this event.

I felt that last years event was just overwhelming for our young start up ecosystem and that many entrepreneurs thought they were there to attract investments and forgot about all the rest. This year expectations were different, more realistic and ultimately more sustainable for future success.

So what was did I see that shows off the best of the web summit.

– I saw companies that were in Alpha and Beta phases last year back at the web summit in further advanced stages of development. Many of these with improved business models and ready to grow with the right investment or network partners. Many of these companies were not focusing on direct investment to get to the next stage but more on strategic partnerships or alliances. This is great news as Portugal could have a huge advantage in this area due to its lower running costs but at the same time offering a superb test market for proof of concept and then as a launch pad for the expansion phases. Its also great to see companies not disappearing but being resilient and back at the web summit in 2017. Looking forward to seeing some of these returning in 2018 at even a higher level of development or with guaranteed proven success. This is what is needed to drive further Portuguese company successes. Remember that success breeds success in all areas. I also loved seeing some of our larger established companies partnering or supporting our young start ups. This goes a long way in helping start ups to have a higher chance of success as many established companies have large distribution channels that start ups just don’t have.

– I saw a huge number of ladies in all areas from involvement in the start ups, attendees and also as invited speakers. This is absolutely essential for our future success as women are no longer just on the fringes of change but right in the center of it. They are and will in the future be even more important in technology, entrepreneurship and creating solutions for our planet in every industry and sector. The future is really a women’s world and its best we be part of it going forward. I really felt like the tide has turned and the best is still to come as both sexes start working together and using interpersonal and intellectual skills to find better solutions to common challenges.

Even with all the current sexual harassment issues going on in Silicon valley and Hollywood, I had the feeling that the worst is behind us and that we need to look at the future and not start a blame game. The sooner that both sexes are truly focused on working together to surpass challenges in business or any others then the probability of success is much higher. I hope this is a trend that continues as there is only benefit to be gained.

– I was also fortunate to experience the networking effect that the web summit brings to the night dinner events, talks and cocktails. This is really where many longterm relationships are started or cemented and is essential to ensure strong connections for our business to grow and spread around the globe. The Portuguese are great hosts and communicators and we need to use these talents to connect all over the world with people that can help make a difference.

My list on the worst is not really towards the web summit as this would be unfair. I see how much better it ran this year both thanks to the organization and I am sure the city of Lisbon.

– So I would say that if there is more improvement to be made then yes it’s again us the business and entrepreneur sector. I would say that for 2018 companies should set up more targeted meetings and make sure they speak to all the stakeholders that are game changers for their business. I would say less waiting around for silver bullets that by luck change their business but rather go meet the potential game changers with booked meetings.

– On the speaker side it would be interesting if the public could be more involved asking questions or giving opinions. This would create more interaction and ultimately get the best from your speakers and enhance the experience for all involved.

– We also had a Tsunami of the word AI (artificial intelligence). Yes I believe this will be a big topic and opportunity today and into the future but at the same time there are disruption opportunities in many areas. Don’t simply go with trends but find your own competitive niche and focus on obtaining the competitive advantage.

Overall congratulations to all involved and best of luck (hard work) to all the companies and hope to see you all back in 2018. My last comment is to the Web Summit close the event for the next 10 years in Lisbon as you both make a perfect couple.

This article was posted at Link to leaders, 13/12/2017.

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