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Text © 2016 Simon Cocking

Photos © 2015 Simon Cocking

A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 978 1 84621 193 5 (PDF)

ISBN 978 1 84621 194 2 (ePub)

ISBN 978 1 84621 195 5 (Kindle)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying and recording, without written permission of the publisher. Such written permission must also be obtained before any part of this publication is stored in a retrieval system of any nature. Requests for permission should be directed to

A percentage of the revenues from this ebook will be donated to, a social enterprise that provides refurbished computers and digital literacy training to schools in Africa, the Caribbean and Ireland.





Photo Ops


Four Bonus Insights

The End (Or Is It?)



About the Author

Reviews of 2015 edition

About Oak Tree Press



Introduction to the 2016 revised and expanded 2nd edition

Last year saw the 5th, and for now, final Web Summit event in Dublin. As you all know, the Web Summit has moved to Lisbon, Portugal, to facilitate its relentless global expansion. This year will certainly be bigger, with over 50,000 (and counting) people from 165 countries registered to attend the event. But since it’s bigger, the challenge for you, as an attendee, is to make sure it is better too for you.

We have drawn on participants’ insights from all of the previous Web Summit events, as well as other international conferences in Paris, Singapore, Moscow and Tel Aviv over the last 12 months, to ensure this handbook offers you the best possible tips and advice to make the most of your time at this year’s Web Summit.

There are great speakers attending; there are politicians of global stature attending; there are interested investors, angels and VCs (venture capitalists) attending; and there are useful, influential members of the world’s media attending too. The opportunities still exist, if you can successfully identify what it is you are looking to achieve from your time at the Web Summit. If you can strategise and prioritise what it is you’re are hoping to achieve from your time there, then with a bit of luck and some planning and smart thinking you can ensure you have a successful and productive visit to Lisbon this November.

Finally Lisbon / Lisboa is a lovely place too, and for all the Irish laments of how it is not Dublin, it is a beautiful city in its own right with great cafés, trams, avenues, the sea, Belem, the Museo de Azulejos and even its pavements. Make sure to look up, around and even down to appreciate the awesome location that it is, as well as getting the benefit of the Web Summit side of things while you are there.


The Web Summit in Lisbon 2016 ( will take place from 7 to 10 November 2016, in the Feira Internacional de Lisboa and Meo Arena, R. Bojador, 1998-010 Santa Maria dos Olivais, Lisbon, Portugal, with satellite venues across the city. Now in its 6th year, Web Summit Lisbon 2016 will host 21 themed summits, 1,000 speakers and over 50,000 attendees from over 165 countries. This ebook is an unofficial guide, aimed at helping you to get the most out of your visit to the Web Summit, a place where fantastic opportunities exist for you to initiate, grow, fundraise, connect and sell your business to investors, customers and the world’s media.

We have shared with you a series of shortcuts, tips and ideas to help you maximise the impact of your time there. Some of these are tactical, some strategic and some esoteric; all are aimed at putting you in the right headspace to really get the maximum benefit out of your time at the Web Summit.

We also asked key attendees over the last five years for their insights on making the most of the Web Summit. Strategically placed across the book, these insights bring real practical value to your Web Summit strategy.

Twitter recurs as an invaluable tool for contacting and pitching your idea to these contributors and many others. With their permission, we have included contributors’ Twitter handles (where possible) – this may help you to line up useful encounters with investors, gurus, technical whizzes and anyone else that might be able to help you get your awesome idea / product / story out to the world – which is what you’re attending the Web Summit 2016 to achieve, isn’t it?

Remember too that the Web Summit’s own website ( also has a useful FAQ section which will help to answer some of your most basic questions: where is it, how can I buy a ticket, can I give it to someone else, etc.

Good luck!



Web Summit is, intentionally, like going to Glastonbury [Woodstock, Montreux or your local festival] – Insights from founder Paddy Cosgrave

At the Web Summit it is, by design, impossible to see everything. The event is designed to allow you to achieve serendipitous encounters by deliberately not holding everything in one place. It is partly the great swelling of people, in and out of different tents, different stages, and different events that creates the opportunity for random encounters. You may think the Glastonbury comparison is stretching it, but when we asked Paddy Cosgrave (@paddycosgrave) about this atmosphere he confirmed that the music festival was the vibe the Web Summit aspired to replicate in a tech event.

Here are some insights into how to get the most out of Web Summit events from an interview we conducted with Paddy Cosgrave:

We’re always working hard to build on our gatherings. It is important for us to use the feedback we get to influence our next event.”

We are committed to making our attendee experiences better and we tend to obsess over new ways to innovate. We want to create legendary networking at our gatherings and engineering serendipity plays a key part in this. It was in fact, our engineering algorithms which allowed us to generate 600 meetings between investors and startups across two days.

We asked Paddy what his key tips were for startups looking to apply to future Web Summit events

Firstly, get in early. Thousands applied, so be sure to get in early so you don’t miss out.

If you are looking for investment, have a plan to pitch. Keep your story to a sentence that encompasses the nature of what you are doing and why it is important. Rehearse and anticipate questions.

Also, know the venue. It will save you time and help you find the people you’re looking to meet. Prearrange meetings where possible and prepare in advance. Our event app is a great starting point!

Finally hustle, hustle, hustle. Use your team effectively. Make sure you stand out. Strike up conversations with everyone and anyone.

Ask yourself ‘What do I want to get out of the Web Summit?’

Why are you coming to the Web Summit? Do you just love the smell of freshly-opened computers in the morning? Or seeing the fear in people’s eyes before they go on stage to pitch their possibly excellent or perhaps ill-conceived concept to a critical audience? These may seem like silly questions, but asking yourself a series of ‘Why?’ questions may help really drill down to the reason you are coming to Lisbon.

Maybe it’s just to listen and be inspired by dynamic and interesting people. If so, then map out where you need to be and when to catch all the people you really want to hear.

Most people who attend the Web Summit are looking to make connections that they wouldn’t be able to make otherwise. The Web Summit is a three-day networking event, with lots of opportunities to connect.