Four First Impressions From Portugal
The first full day of programming at Web Summit 2016 has finally come to a close. Four quick thoughts after Day One of this massive event:
- Scale is the enemy of innovation. Lots of amazing startups have come to Lisbon for Web Summit. Lots and lots and lots. There are just way too many of them (and way too many in one relatively small venue) for my tastes. Talking and connecting — not to mention finding clean restrooms and line-less subway stops — is difficult with so many people.
- Poor wifi humbles all event planners. Streaming of Monday night’s Opening Remarks was plagued by an inconsistent wireless signal. For much of Tuesday, it was impossible to access the Web Summit online schedule. Large or small, almost every single tech event suffers from this problem — but all the more so with the size of the crowd in Portugal.
- Robert Scoble will always proudly be Robert Scoble. He participated in Tuesday’s center stage debate (titled “The Benefits of Technology are Worth Sacrificing Our Privacy For”) while wearing a VR headset. At one point, moderator Kurt Wagner of Recode deadpanned how most of the audience probably didn’t even notice the bulky and distracting device. Love him or loathe him, few figures embrace the crown of World’d Geekiest Geek as fully and completely as Robert Scoble does.
- Yes, Lisbon is a bit like San Francisco. When they announced the move from Dublin, Web Summit organizers pushed the idea that Portugal’s capital city is a lot like San Francisco. The claim is more accurate than I had thought. Lisbon has trolley cars, steep hills, great food, interesting architecture, frustrating traffic and cold winds off the nearby water.
Tuesday evening brings our two-hour SXSW 2017 networking event. I am looking forward to meeting lots of cool startups tonight!