Factory @ Web Summit 2018

Written By Ben Tennant. Updated 15th November 2018
Ben Tennant is a former Googler and an authority on Pay Per Click. He has developed and implemented campaigns for small business up to blue chip FTSE 100 companies.
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Between 5-8 of November 2018, the tech extravaganza that is Web Summit rolled into Lisbon once more.  Factory was there for the second year running to take in all that is hip and happening in the tech arena and also what is yet to come.

With over 69,000 people from 159 countries and 1,200 speakers across 24 stages - Web Summit is the place to be for tech. 

With so many talks sandwiched between the opening and closing remarks, there was something to whet every attendee's tech appetite.  Opened by the awesome Paddy Cosgrove, founder of Web Summit, alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee on day 1, we heard many ideas on the future of the web.  Right through to closing remarks alongside Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal, on day 4.

With so many great speakers, there was a huge range of topics to fit into the 4 days.  Topics ranged from Web & Data Security, Marketing & Content right through to AI & the Singularity.  With talks from tech start-ups to tech leaders and even 2 humanoid robots in-between, knowledge and learning were everywhere.

Great location?

Oh Yeah! 4 gigantic exhibition halls and a 20,000 capacity arena, there was space for everyone.  With so many exhibits in the halls, it was great to see what the future holds - from Alpha businesses who are just starting out all the way through to giants such as Google, BMW and Microsoft among so many others, each of them sharing powerful ideas to improve our online world.

Web Summit Main stage at the Altice Arena, Lisbon
Main Stage, Altice Arena, Lisbon

If you are involved in tech and want to know the current and future happenings, then this is definitely the place to be.  With so many volunteer staff around the complex, there is always guidance on hand to ensure you get the best out of each day. 

The volunteers did an awesome job and were extremely informative, whether you need information on talks and timings or you just want to know where you can get your next pastel de nata fix - they're on hand to help.

Factory's Web Summit Highlights?

With so many stands to visit and talks to take in, it's hard to have a "highlight list".  However, I've got it down to 1 or 2 for each category, so here goes:

Main Highlight?  As a digital marketing and web agency, it was awe inspiring to see Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web.  Without Sir Tim, the world would very likely be a different place these days!

Best exhibition stand?  As an ex-Googler, I loved everything Google.  The stand didn't disappoint - they had an upstairs and a slide to get back down!  TeamViewer was also great - they had a huge Scalextric set, what more can be said?

Best Main Stage talk?  Krishnan Guru-Murthy's live interview with Christopher Wylie discussing data security and the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal.  Also, Ben Goertzel's demonstration of AI and the Singularity with Sophia & Han the Robots.

Ben Goertzel demonstrating the power of combined AI and the Singularity with Sophia the Robot at Web Summit
SingularityNET's Ben Goertzel with Hanson Robotics' Sophia the Robot

Best talk away from the Main Stage?  David Schneider & Joe Orton from That Lot talking about social media strategy and how to stand out from the crowd.  Another great talk was with Sir Tim Berners-Lee discussing how to connect the remaining 50% of the globe to online content.

Best food truck?  At Factory, we love our food and drink - my favourite was Natábua - the best steak and garlic butter sandwich with seasoned fries mmmm.

Away from Web Summit highlight?  EVERYTHING!  What an amazing city Lisboa / Lisbon really is!  Also, the Time Out Market is not to be missed!!!

Time Out food market, Lisboa
The Time Out Market in Lisboa has something for everyone!  Awesome food!!!

The most surprising highlight?  The Lime-S electric scooters!  What a great way to get around the city.  After downloading the app, you can see on a live map where the nearest scooter is.  You simply walk up to it, scan the QR code and ride away.

Overall, Web Summit is the place to be if you want to discover what is next for our digital world.  Don't get me wrong, you will be tired and potentially have achy feet, but you will learn a great deal about the future of our world.

Web Summit 2017

Every year, the biggest tech conference in the whole universe takes place in Lisbon. They call it Web Summit. I went to check it out.

Arriving in Lisbon, orientation started at the airport. Signs were up and a team were waiting to point us in the right direction. With over 60,000 delegates arriving in the city, this was no surprise.

Stephen Hawking at Web Summit

I arrived at the venue in time for opening remarks on the main stage. To our absolute amazement and delight, the conference was opened by none other than the late Professor Stephen Hawking. He welcomed us and spoke on the future of AI.

It was an absolute honour and once in a lifetime privelege. to be addressed by the legendary Professor Hawking

Later, I was very lucky to be invited to the exclusive speaker dinner. There I met lots of exciting people, brushed shoulders with Youtube celebrities and ate dinner with the co-founder of ethereum. It was all a bit surreal. Is this what Silicon Valley feels like?

The next day Web Summit began in earnest. With over twenty-five individual conferences and stages taking place over all four huge exhibition spaces, along with workshops and mastermind sessions, the hard decision was choosing what to attend and what to give up.

Whilst I spent most of my time at the content creation and digital marketing spaces, Danny who was with me, spent a great deal of time listening to the keynote speeches on the main stage.

Nasdaq open at Web Summit

My highlights

Some of my personal highlights was a short workshop from BBC comedian and writer who explained timing and humour in social media. Full of memes, it was current engaging and funny.

Moz founder Rand Fishkin also gave a talk on the future of SEO in 2018 which was highly relevant and full of great tips. It deserved its own summary completely so we wrote about that here []

We were in the main stage for the official opening of the NASDAQ trading, where there was a live link to Times Square.

Overall we came back from web summit armed with new information, future technology and current best practices, and it's an event that will stay in our minds for a long time. Well until the next one blows it out of the water.

Made By Factory is an award-winning digital agency in Manchester. We are also builders of high-quality web sites and web applications, marketers of business, designers and creators of beautiful brands.