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Why Is Web SummitMore Relevant Than Ever

01. Nov 2021. Business
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If you followed us on social media, you couldn’t miss the posts of our team attending the Web Summit in Lisbon, the first in-person event since before the pandemic.

To bring you closer to the magnitude of this offline conference, we need to start with these impressive figures:

  • ‍42,751 attendees from 128 countries with 50.5 % women
  • 748 speakers, 1,333 talks
  • 872 investors & 211 partners
  • 1,878 members of the media
  • more than 70 unicorns (and our graceful Martina Milec riding one of them!)

Some of the most mentioned keywords across different lectures and panels were the following:

#purpose #sustainability #metaverse #AI #VR #growth #DEI #creativity #content #influencers #remote #talent #digitaltransformation #China #firstpartydata #Web3

What Was it All About

This year it was all about mitigating the damage COVID did to brand-customer relationships and (re)defining the purpose of the brands in this new realm. Only around 7% of the world’s CEOs actually know their companies’ purpose, and that number is terrifying. Consumers, more than ever, look for brands that share their beliefs and are even willing to pay more for their products. Still, for that to happen, the brand needs to live and breathe those beliefs. The new consumer audience, however, is not easily tricked. It can identify and punish any ‘greenwashing’, which occurs when companies provide misleading information about the nature of their environmentally friendly products.

We talk about digital, ecosystems, and strategies, but in the end, it all comes down to simplifying the complex world we live in. We need to start actively listening and remember who our audience is. Nothing revolutionary, but it is always good to remind ourselves what is crucial. Business growth is a curvy line — there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and this is why the key thing is to test and learn.

To highlight some names, let’s mention Facebook’s (sorry Meta!) whistleblower Frances Haugen, and Meta’s CPO Chris Cox. There were also people knighted by The Queen —like the inventor of the WWW Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee and the controversial founder of WPP plc, Sir Martin Stuart Sorrell. We listened to Apple’s Senior Vice President Craig Federighi, Vice Chairman and President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, and Amazon’s Senior Vice President, Tom Taylor. We also got to hear about new career paths from former football players Thierry Henry & Samuel Eto’o.

Apart from the big shots, we were delighted to see and meet so many inspiring people promoting their entrepreneurship, innovations, and business ideas with infectious passion and healthy ambition.

A Couple of Memorable Quotes

China’s digital ecosystem is now far ahead of the West and is getting further ahead of the West. People not using this platform is a fundamental problem. That is the biggest issue. I mean most of our clients, their number 1, or 2, or 3 market is China, and it is a premium market, and they make a lot of money there. The lack of a relationship between the US and China is a problem. I am not clever enough to give you the solution. But it is absolutely critical for the future of us, of the people in this big room, that we sort that out. At Glasgow two people who weren’t there and the only people who are going to be there in 2035, president Ji and president Putin. That is something to think about
― Sir Martin Sorrell on future trends

A year and a half is a long time when you build new habits and those habits stay with you.
― Mada Seghete, co-founder and VP of marketing, discussing the future of remote working

All: Should Mark Zuckerberg step down?
Frances Haugen “Yes.
― Frances Haugen, Facebook’s former employee and whistleblower

Personalised health is boundless and AI is extremely powerful.
― Reshma Sohoni, a managing partner of The Seedcamp, talks about how health tech funding is on the cusp of a trillion-dollar explosion.

Let’s hope that the supply chain shortage of microchips doesn’t kill Christmas this year
― Leisha Chi-Santorelli, Senior Journalist and Editor at BBC

Final impressions
At the first, second, and third glance Web Summit is a bit overwhelming. It was hard to choose between an abundance of high-level speakers, but whichever panel, talk, roundtable, masterclass you chose, you couldn’t lose!

The organization was spectacular, absolutely amazing. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the same team will power the next CES (perhaps the world’s largest trade show with more than 200,000 attendees).

And as a final note let’s say we wish we could go back to this time last week and do it all over again. But, until the invention of the time machine, we wait for the following Web Summit with all the impressions and experiences that will come with the next generation of CMGers attending this extraordinary event.

#UntilNextYear we love you Lisbon <3

P.S. We are not sponsored by the Portuguese Tourism board, but the Portuguese are the kindest and politest people on Earth. So, visit Portugal whenever you can!

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