London Web Summit review: a solid one-day tech conference

Mar 4, 2013
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Paris_logosLast Friday, Paddy Cosgrave and the Web Summit held their second annual London Web Summit in the center of Europe’s venture capital home. The sold-out one day event included talks from the likes of Autonomy’s Mike Lynch, UK Tech City’s Joanna Shields, as well as the obligatory startup competition. This was the first Web Summit event after its not-so successful venture into the world of award ceremony organization with The Euroas in Berlin, and so there was quite a bit of pressure to remind the tech scene that Web Summit still knows how to put on a good event – or at least, in the back of my mind, I was wondering.

The event went over pretty smoothly, in terms of attendee variety. I got to meet with the CEO of Twilio, 99designs, IndieGogo, as well as several startup founders, press colleagues, and venture capitalists. In response to a question by one attendee about what journalists look for in a tech event, I said that the most important thing for me is to maintain relationships: it’s easy to maintain contact by email throughout the year for news, so long as an in-person relationship has been established and maintained at least half-assedly. To this extent, LWS delivered what is always promises: a good group of people with whom to make connections and share ideas.

One of the more enjoyable parts of the event was the intimacy. I was easily able to meet any startup that I wanted in the startup lounge. Unlike Dublin Web Summit, there were only a handful of startups in the startup competition, and it was quite easy for me to identify the interesting ones, and reach out to them or just say hello.

I’ve now officially lost interest in main stage speakers, with very few exceptions, and for those exceptions I often forego hearing them in favor of talking to them one-on-one afterwards  Understandably, this is not possible for all event attendees; however, Dublin Web Summit had some pretty interesting speaker speed dating last time, which allowed any attendee to speak to a speaker in a rapid-fire style office hours. I think that with instant news & Twitter, the value is no longer there to sit and listen to a speaker speak at an event, if your only intention is to absorb what they’ve said.

I enjoy what Web Summit has brought Europe in terms of tech conferences, and look forward to attending their events for years to come. The Web Summit team seems more interested in expanding to the US, with events coming up both in New York and San Francisco, than bringing more events in different cities in Europe; however, hosting events in Dublin & London may be enough for the European tech scene. Nevertheless, with TechCrunch having announced they will bring TechCrunch Disrupt to Berlin, and with LeWeb still knocking at Web Summit’s doorstep in London, it’s hard to see how Web Summit can avoid the fight for Europe. It’s unsure whether Web Summit will be coming to Berlin anytime soon, let alone Paris or Stockholm.

Nonetheless, the London Web Summit was yet again another great Web Summit event, and I look forward to their next event. In fact, we’ll be co-hosting a Paris Pub Summit on March 22nd at Delaville Café.