Should I go to a tech conference? And 6 fool-proof steps for a participant’s success

Are tech conferences for me?

Technology and start-up conference tickets might come with quite a price tag, but the experience obtained at one might be simply invaluable. One only has to know how to use their pass at full efficiency.

  • If your goal is to get contacts and network;
  • If your aim is to hear the trend formers and market leaders;
  • If you are in search of potential partners;
  • If you need investors;
  • If you require inspiration or solutions for your business;
  • If you’re simply interested in what’s going on in the innovation industry;

If to any of these your answer is yes — you should keep on reading!

How to obtain the most from large start-up conferences and events?

According to Forbes, WebSummit is one of the best tech conferences on this planet with over 700 panelists and 800 investors attending; over 42 000 people under one big roof in total. ChangeMakersON was there too this year — our Simona and Giedrė went to Lisboa, Portugal to hear the newest tech trends, listen to finest-of-the-industry speakers and bring back inspiration of the year.

First Giedrė’s #tip is to clearly know why you’re here and what do you want to obtain from the conference — and to stay focused on that. “It was my first time participating in such an event,” says Giedrė Bagdonavičienė. „The main question is how to choose, who to choose — there are so many amazing panelists and so little time to hear them all.“ In WebSummit, the main currency is attention and time.

Another great #advice from the ladies — use the event’s dedicated application.

“WebSummit’s app facilitated easy daily planning and push notifications reminded to stay on track. Make sure to include workshops in your days — they offer profound discussions. As most of the panels are 15–20 minutes long, the workshops tend to scratch deeper.”

Giedrė Bagdonavičienė at WebSummit

A short guide on how to succeed at a tech conference, according to Giedrė:

  • Step 1: Answer a question — why am I participating and what do I need from the conference?
  • Step 2: Create a thought map on how you plan to take the most value from the event
  • Step 3: Dedicate time to review the topics and the panelists — find your favorites
  • Step 4: If your goal is partnership or networking — be well-prepared for your 30-second pitch
  • Step 5: Read the newsletters — they will help you to be well-informed of the event’s format and highlights
  • Step 6: Make sure not to miss out on informal, evening-time networking possibilities — the alley of bars and restaurants is made for exactly that!

Three present and future directions

Simona and Giedrė spent the second day of WebSummit reviewing prototypes as well as existing products from over 1200 start-ups in the pavilion. Giedrė concludes the experience in a few clear trends or directions of start-ups:

  • Artificial Intelligence, Machine-Learning usage and development;
  • Sustainability that’s becoming a necessity rather than a luxury; recycling;
  • Social Inclusion and Enablement.

„These few trends envelop in many different forms and shapes,“ shares Giedrė. „I, in particular, remember a prototype of a machine that transforms carbon dioxide into ice that’s used for cooling. In the conference we were even able to eat the ice cream that was churned with the help of the device — now that’s strong, now that’s sustainable, with zero greenwashing.“

To sum up — everyone is creating solutions for various problems facilitating tech in the best way possible. You could call it the age of #tech4good. It’s the tech solutions the entrepreneurs are working on that facilitate comfort, accessibility, improved healthcare, advanced marketing and communications, and time-saving practices.

It’s the golden age of social innovations.