Spent the last week talking startups, entrepreneurship, tech and Guinness in Dublin this past week. The 4th annual Web Summit attracted some 22,000 people, and while it was overall a great event, the sheer size and lack of planning experience led to a few major kinks with the event. Ditto with the weekend after-party, aka Surf Summit, in Westport, Co Mayo.
Patty Cosgrove and his team have some serious networking and kung-fu to pull this together. Also, recruiting tech heavyweights through the sister f.ounders event helped a great deal (but the billionaire’s club wasn’t exactly easy to pull off, either!).
Startup exhibitors rotated daily, and they ‘touched every corner’ of the Internet, from all things consumer to Internet of Things, enterprise/B2B, marketing automation, development tools, 3D printing, music, film, food and a lot more. Because of the sheer size and logistics, it wasn’t possible to see or do everything. I spent most of my time walking the expo floor, seeing what startups from the world over are building
A few major wrinkles (such as failing WiFi) have already been written about, but poor printed/interactive schedules, a networking app that nobody used, an army of 1,500 uninformed volunteers and 20,000 people having to walk 20 minutes to a separate lunch had a lot of people grumpy.
As a startup, I would think it very difficult to cut through the noise to get attention. Many of the exhibitors were using the event to launch their app, which broke my heart when I learned that it was ‘the’ event they were hoping would launch them into the stratosphere. I’m all for being optimistic, but a large dose of naivete seemed to be at work.
Stay tuned for a recap of the Surf Summit!