Highlights from Web Summit

The next Web Summit conference is months away (November 6-9, 2017), so we’d thought we’d take you down memory lane and go over some of the highlights of one of the largest and fastest-growing technology conferences in the world.

But first, let’s talk about what Web Summit is in case some of you aren’t familiar with it.

About Web Summit

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Web Summit is a technology conference, as stated earlier, and it’s grown to become one of the largest technology conferences in the world. Some publications, such as Inc., have even called it “the largest conference in the world” with over 50,000 people attending the conference during its 2016 edition.

The conference has had over 650 speakers appear at its event and has presented exhibits from such top tech companies as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Intel and Samsung. Other attendees include Coca-Cola, Toyota, Nike, Uber, Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, Slack and Tesla. Leading investors are also known to attend.

Attendees come from over 160 countries around the world, but interest in the conference is even greater given the fact that the Facebook Live turnout for the conference peaked at 10 million for its 2016 edition.

Let’s get on with the highlights.

The Early Years (2009-2012)

Web Summit had humble beginnings when compared to the turnout it has nowadays. It was co-founded by Padd Cosgrove, an Irish entrepreneur, David Kelly and Daire Hickey. The company was founded in Dublin, which hosted its first handful of conferences.

The first conference featured a small gathering of journalists and bloggers, which included the likes of political blogger Iain Dale, Ben Hammersley of The Guardian and Ian Douglas of The Daily Telegraph.

The attendance turnout shot up to 400 in 2010, and attendees included local entrepreneurs, members of the local business community as well as investors. Attendance tripled by 2011, and speakers included web giants Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress.

Attendance shot up to 4,200 in 2012. The event became a hub for business, and many companies used the event to launch their latest products.

Highlights from Web Summit 2013

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Interest in the summit skyrocketed in 2013 with attendees including serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of VICE Shane Smith, entrepreneur and pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, founder and CEO of Dropbox Drew Houston, and co-founder of Skype and Kazaa Niklas Zennström. The turnout for this year went well over 10,000, and many of the attendees were not based in Ireland, which was a nice change from the previous years.

This event also gained heavy interest from mainstream media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Wired and CNN. It also gained interest from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who opened the NASDAQ Market from the event. Other events were also unveiled to complement the summit, including the Food Summit to showcase gourmet Irish food and the Night Summit for after-hours entertainment.

A major highlight from this event was the talk between Elon Musk, Prime Minister Kenny, co-founder of Hyperloop One and Sherpa Capital Shervin Pishevar, and founder of Storyful Mark Little. The talk emphasized the importance Ireland has for success in the technology and business industries before the focus shifted to Elon Musk’s success in spite of all of the setbacks he’s faced and risks he’s taken.

Thoughts on this summit:

Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur on Twitter

Tony Hawk, Pro Skateboarder & Entrepreneur on Twitter

Highlights from Web Summit 2014

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Web Summit 2014 was attended by 22,000 people. Press coverage extended for this conference, which meant it was now being covered by CNBC, CNN, Fox Business News, Bloomberg, Sky News, BBC and Al Jazeera.

There were a lot more speakers at this event, including actress and founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation Eva Longoria and clinical psychologist/neuropsychologist and director of medical virtual reality at USC Skip Rizzo. The summit was broken down into nine “mini summits” to combat the influx in speakers. These mini summits were called Centre, Enterprise, Marketing, Builders, Machine, Society, Film, Music and Sport.

Thoughts on this summit:

Eva Longoria, Actress & Founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation on Twitter

Highlights from Web Summit 2015

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This event was attended by over 42,000 people, and speakers included President of Pixar Ed Catmull, founder and CEO of Dell Michael Dell, and Amit Singh of Google. Here are a few great talks from this summit:

Creativity: Ed Catmull of Pixar in Conversation with Caroline Daniel

The president of Pixar discusses balancing creativity with business and the ever-changing world of technology.

Machine Learning: The Next Great Leap – Amit Singh, Google

Amit Singh from Google discusses the importance of artificial intelligence and how it helps Google improve the products we use.

Clicking Through: Charting the Ecommerce Journey

Mollie Spilman of Criteo and David Rusenko of Weebly break down the journey a customer takes from an ad they saw for your product/shop to the checkout page they land on after they purchase your product. The talk involves the use of multi-device and platform-driven environments.

In other news, it was announced the summit would be hosted in Lisbon, Portugal beginning in 2016. The announcement came following a dispute between the Irish government and the organizers of the summit over whether or not Dublin was equipped to handle a three-day event consisting of over 40,000 people.

Thoughts on this summit:

Michael Dell, Founder & CEO of Dell on Twitter

Highlights from Web Summit 2016

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Web Summit 2016 was moved to Lisbon, as promised. It was also announced this would be the venue for Web Summit 2017 and 2018. This conference was attended by over 53,000 attendees, which included over 1,500 startups.

Over 600 speakers attended this summit, including John Chambers of Cisco, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, and founder and CEO of Elon Musk. Here are a couple of talks from this summit:

Every Country Will Be Digital

John Chambers and Izabella Kaminska of Financial Times discuss what needs to be done to ensure crucial companies and countries don’t get left behind as the entire world goes digital.

Ten Years from Now

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer outlines what Facebook has planned for the next decade.

Thoughts on this summit:

Linda Boff, CMO of General Electric on Twitter

What’s in Store for Web Summit 2017?

Unfortunately, it’s too early to tell, but you can get access to a discount on tickets using this link. In the meantime, be sure to follow along with the latest news at blog.websummit.com, and catch up on past summits on the official Web Summit YouTube Channel.

Lyn Wildwood

Lyn Wildwood is a freelance blogger and avid WordPress user. She loves sharing new tips and tricks with the WordPress community. Check out her portfolio at LynWildwood.com