The Pirate Summit: Europe’s most ‘unique’ Tech Conference

Aug 11, 2014
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As the fall season approaches, journalist’s everywhere are prepping for the September-December conference rush. Tech.Eu’s Events Calendar shows you just how many conferences are going on, and, for me, the season officially kicks off with one of Europe’s most unique conferences, the Pirate Summit, which returns for its 4th edition on September 3rd & 4th.

In the conference’s first edition, I met The Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave, as well as TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher, which resulted in my one & only contributing article on TechCrunch(go Strasbourg!). In the following editions, I’ve met amazing people each time, and always people that I run into almost nowhere else in the conference circuit.

This year’s speaker line-up is shaping up to be quite something, a combination of veteran Pirates and new speakers representative of the growing European tech scene. There are journalists/bloggers – Mike Butcher, Robin Wauters, Milo Yiannopoulos & myself – Venture Capitalists – Balderton Capital, Point Nine Capital, DN Capital, White Star Capital, Connect Ventures, T-Ventures among others  – and Founders – EyeEm, Podio, Transferwise, Infogr.am, and many more.

There are few conferences in Europe that I blindly agree to attend each year, and each for their own reasons. The Pirate Summit, in addition to having sentimental value (I attended the first edition one month before launching Rude Baguette), the event creates what I consider to be the most important part of any conference: unique experiences. Somewhere in between zip-lining above the main conference stage, yelling as trains go past, explaining to taxi drivers that, No, you’re not going to the brothel across the street, and watching a man dressed as the pope set ablaze an unusual looking scarecrow, labelled “the copy cat guy” or “the corporate guy” – somewhere in between all of that, undergoing that shared experience with a curated subset of the European tech scene, great professional relatoinships & friendships are started.

This year, the conference falls in the middle of a bigger “Pirate Week” that the organizers have been working on this past year – there will be an event dedicated to putting corporate executives in touch with mobile startups on September 5th, and the “Pirate Camp,” a free portion of the event that is expected to bring together 1,000 attendees on September 3rd.