My growing interest for technology was rooted from my professional internship experience at MassChallenge UK, the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet! At first, I have no idea how startups work but because of my internship, I was informed, captivated and impressed how these startups can actually make an impact in the world. This unforeseen and evolving interest of mine has led me to volunteer for Web Summit 2016. It is 'Europe's Largest Technology Marketplace' that originated from Dublin and now relocated to Lisbon, Portugal.
I had three different shifts in Web Summit and after those shifts, I can enjoy a full access to the conference. I must admit that the best part of Web Summit is the 'International Networking' that allows all attendees to ideally meet their possible investors and partners but for me, it is to obtain concepts and meet new people.
Moreover, the event buttressed the International Networking by organising a 'Night Summit'. It is an open event to all attendees (speakers, volunteers, investors, partners, startups) and it is usually held at Bairro Alto, Cais do Sodré and Pink Street. It is a great opportunity for all attendees to come together and connect whilst enjoying the vibrancy of Lisbon's nightlife. Another thing that I liked about the event is the Web Summit App, a portable guide to the event. It also allows all attendees and startups to connect and chat before, during and after the event. For example, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a speaker and I was able to instantly send him a message via the app.
This is the 'Mentor Hours', a 15-minute pre-arranged meetings between ALPHA and BETA startups and some of Web Summit's high-level attendees. In addition, Web Summit has organised an interactive workshops for its ALPHA, BETA and START startups.
Aside from the networking side of Web Summit, everything in the event is about the future. What do I mean by this? Everything you can acquire from the event is all digital knowledge which is the future of all aspects in life. I am not exaggerating - it is all true. I have seen some robots in the event like Sofia, the robot that looks, thinks and talks like a human. It is really bizarre because all these science-fictions movies that I used to watch when I was a kid are now all coming to life. It is amazing but terrifying somehow as we do not know what these robots can do in near future to human nature.
There is also an International startup pitching competitions!
The centre stage is in MEO Arena.
Lisbon is such a beautiful city and I seriously enjoyed the feeling of being lost in its delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets. It is a big city but with a small town ambience that makes it very walkable. The transport system in Lisbon such as metro, trams and buses are easy to understand and can easily take you from the centre to the far corners of the city. Apart from the city itself, I truly admire the Portuguese people. They are all passionate about their city and no matter what I asked them, they will happily help and assist me. I did not even doubt all directions given to me because I really felt their sincerity to help me find my way. Just to let you know, it is my first time to travel alone and I can guarantee you that Lisbon is a safe city for solo travellers. I felt completely safe in this lovely city.
Centro Cultural de Belem
According to one of my portuguese friends, Pastéis De Belém sells the best custard tarts in Lisbon and he was totally right! The custard tarts were really delicious!! It's just right beside the Jerónimos Monastery :)
Overall, my trip to Lisbon was amazing and my experiences were all life-changing! I have met new and talented people (some are my friends), enthusiastic people that are truly inspiring and listened to several exciting and insightful talks about technology.
I would like to thank Web Summit for this wonderful opportunity and unforgettable experience you have given me. Lastly, thank you to my Portuguese friends who were all kind to share with me the best places to see and foods to try. I may have a very limited time to explore the city but I am pretty sure that I will come back in Lisboa!