What goes on at WebSummit doesn’t just stay in Lisboa

We wanted to take advantage of the fact that we’ve come back to work full of energy, and tell you about our experience at the largest technology event in the world (this is not our appraisal, it’s what the Financial Times calls it): Web Summit 2019.

Web Summit brought 70,469 people together for 4 days, around 1,200 speakers on 22 stages. These numbers alone are quite overwhelming, but you also have to add everything that is going on throughout the city over those days.

It is worth having an advance plan with the things you want to take advantage of at the “Web Summit experience”; at Etnonautas we knew exactly what we wanted:

  • to attend the largest number possible of Women In Tech side events
  • to meet companies that are in the process of internationalisation into Spain, which our localisation and content services would suit

The rest… is about being there and timing, about the number of people in the queues for the talks and workshops and about who you bump into (literally).

Our Web Summit 2019 Top 8

You have to understand that the most important thing about the Web Summit is not the talks, but the people.

1 Side events

Our schedule began the very Sunday that we landed in Lisbon, with the dinner organised by Marina Ideses to meet other women from the technological field who were attending the event. Fintech, digital marketing, software development and data analytics all seated at the same table; Russia, Wales, Brazil, Ukraine, Togo, Portugal, Argentina… all from very different spheres but with the same energy and desire to take advantage of the trip.

On Tuesday, and in a converted old building supplies store in the centre, another group of Women in Tech gathered around glasses of wine, and the conversation focused on the importance of good software localisation and how to set a start-up going and not die in the attempt.

Amazingly interesting women who we will surely meet again along the way; but this is just a sample of the hundreds of side events to which we were invited. Whether specifically for developers and localisers, as in our case, or for the general public; and WhatsApp, Linkedin or Facebook groups that sprang up during those days and which have led to a very active post-event community.

Picture by Nora Goerne

2 Opening Night

Monday saw the start of the show. There was something epic about the Web Summit music that made your heart skip a beat as you crossed the threshold to the Altice Arena and looked for a place among thousands of attendees. Even more so if it was to listen to Edward Snowden speaking from exile; an intense start to prepare you for the next few days.

3 Mentoring

Within the #WomenInTech programme, Booking.com sponsored private mentoring sessions with relevant women in the sector. We had the opportunity to meet up with Amali de Alwis from Microsoft for Startups UK and Polina Montano from Job Today; conversations that have helped us to focus our objectives from a business point of view and reminded us of our strengths. Moreover, we met with the founder of Portuguese Women In Tech, and founder and CEO of FES Agency, Liliana Castro, whom we also thank for her outlook and selfless help.

4 Women In Tech

Female participation at 46.3%, in addition to the numerous female speakers, and a specific line of talks by relevant women in the sector confirm that the Web Summit’s effort for inclusion works. But there’s no doubt that our best memory is of the “Women in Tech Lounge.” An oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the pavilions where you could have casual conversations with a glass of champagne in your hand.

5 The next unicorn

2,150 start-ups meet for four days in the same space. While they are indeed focused on showing their products, they are also focused on growing and expanding, and that’s where we came in. Our goal was to position Etnonautas as the perfect companion for the internationalisation of these start-ups; we’ll see the results at future summits.

6 The Canary Island Connection

As soon as we arrived in Portugal, we met the other Canary Island companies that came with us under the auspices of the Canary Island Technology Cluster and PROEXCA: InerzaEdataconsultingFreshcommerce, Grupo Valora and Singular Factory. It’s hard to credit that, even though we knew of their existence, it wasn’t until the Web Summit that we got to know each one’s strong points and found out how we could collaborate with each other. From scoops about new projects to getting it off our chests about the day-to-day activity of web development: these were the Canary Island Night Summits.

7 Night Summits

And if there was one thing that the event organisers understood perfectly, it was that relaxed environments create the best scenario to speak at length about your project, to create new synergies and ideas, and to close agreements.

From all these encounters, potential collaborations emerged that we hope will turn into something real very soon.

8 Design without borders: The Future of globalisation and the industry

Of particular relevance to us was the talk given by Patrick Llewellyn (99designs), Rosanne Somerson (Rhode Island School of Design), Tim Kobe (Eight Inc), Charlie Smith (Charlie Smith Design) and Erika Allen (VICE Media LLC), because it focused on our sector and because we know that machine translation technologies are making great strides.

The conclusion we draw is more a confirmation of what the experience of these seven years with Etnonautas has already given us: professional translation is still necessary as a matter of trust; the user needs to trust the product offered, and this comes hand in hand with understanding and the professional quality of communication, to which we add cultural adaptation in the design.

With our cases stored away again and our Linkedin accounts full of new contacts, there’s just one more thing we’d like to say:

See you next year, Web Summit!