Wow…what a week! Web Summit is over for another year and whilst it’s certainly been an exhausting few days, it’s been exhilarating in equal measures. The three day long show has been a whirlwind of prospect meetings, pitches, presentations, WordPress eulogizing and so much more.
Things did get off to a somewhat shaky start on Monday, as fog and widespread travel disruption struck, wreaking havoc at the airports. However, the ever-resourceful WP Engine team made it to Dublin on time, even if travel plans began to resemble a European re-make of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
But with that small blip behind us, it was full-steam ahead from that point on.
Web Summit certainly lived up to its reputation as being one of the most packed, vibrant, idea-fueled events in the global tech calendar. Therefore, to try and summarize the whole show in one short blog post would be an insurmountable task. Here are two key takeaways I’d like to focus on:
Selfie-sticks — If 2014 was the year of the selfie, then 2015 has been the year of the selfie-stick.
More than eight-hundred people came to the WP Engine stand to participate in a selfie-stick competition. This task required the participant to take a selfie and post it to Twitter for their chance to win a BB-8 Star Wars droid.
The attendees of the show loved it and the WP Engine branded selfie-sticks quickly became the most coveted ‘swag’ at the show. As many as forty selfies have been posted on social media thus far. It’s been a fun and effective way to raise brand awareness.
Unicorns — At Web Summit, unicorns (a company valued at $1 billion or more, not the mythical creature) are pretty popular. There was a vast array of panel discussion, seminars and presentations across the three-day show, but what people seemed most interested in was the qualities of becoming a billion dollar unicorn.
Our CEO Heather Brunner participated in three panel discussions on a range of different topics, including building diversity into your organization and smart scaling. But it was the third panel debate which caught the strongest attention.
Entitled Monopolies and Unicorns: European Tech and Democracy, the debate was a thorough and intellectual discussion around large tech companies and the impact of globalization vs protectionism in European markets.
One audience member, Karlin Lillington of The Irish Times, was certainly impressed. In his review he writes, “It was easily the meatiest and most thought provoking panel I’ve been to here this week.”
In addition, we conducted a special Q&A with Heather at Web Summit:
So there you have it. Web Summit 2015 summarized in just two words: selfie-sticks and unicorns.
See you in Lisbon in 2016!
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