As with all events and conferences, the Web Summit will be of the greatest benefit to people who are looking to meet others. You get the opportunity to make new friends and catch up with old friends that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. It’s always a good time to see new faces; you get to meet people from companies you’ve only ever heard of, read about or know of by using their products. I’d advise attendees and early stage startup teams to work out who they want to meet up with before they go to the Web Summit, and try and get in touch so those people can block off some time in their diaries.
As you may know I wear many hats for many people, I certainly make sure that I am kept busy, but even just one of my positions could probably count as a full time job. Starting your own company is tough, and takes a lot of time. I’ve had to learn many aspects of the job. Once upon a time I was just a developer. Now I have to know every aspect of running a business. If I could give advice to up and coming startups, I’d tell each team member to be yourself. Be what you want to be. Trust and honesty is extremely important in the line of business, otherwise, sooner or later, you will get caught out. I meet a lot of startups on a daily basis and there are a lot out there pretending they are something that they are not. I don’t think that’s healthy for their business.
If you want to make the most out of the opportunity to see and hear speakers, you should work out which talks you want to go to and try and stick to your schedule. I’m mostly looking forward to listening to Tony Hawk at the Web Summit this year. As a kid I was a huge fan of THUG (Tony Hawk Underground). Who wasn’t?! Also, I really hope people discuss the best methods to try and monetise the web. As the Summit is focussed around the web, I hope to hear some thoughts about how monetisation might pan out in the next few years. Currently the only option seems to be advertising or B2B, and in my experience the B2C businesses struggle to work out a decent monetisation strategy. Personally, as a speaker, I hope that (at least) one member of the audience will go away thinking “yeah! I need to go make something”. If they’ve done that, I’ll be happy. If you are at all interested in the basics of creating your own internet connected devices simply by using web technologies then make sure you check out my talk on the Developer Stage.
Syd Lawrence is a developer advocate at Twilio and Co-founder of We Make Awesome Sh. He is a core contributor to Tomahawk, an advisor for Bloo.ie and often builds silly things for the web that make people smile. He’s worked with people such as Microsoft, Intel, Coca Cola and some of the biggest music acts such as the Rolling Stones, Swedish House Mafia and Kylie Minogue. This year, Syd will be speaking on the Web Summit Developer Stage. If you’d like to see Syd speak at the Web Summit, you can register here.