Events || I went to Web Summit...

By 16:50


... and it was awesome!
Last year, when a friend of mine told me about Web Summit and asked if I wanted a ticket I said "alright". It was a great oportunity that I was taking without knowing it, since I did not even imagine what Web Summit would be like. Honestly, until last week I did not know exactly what Web Summit was about and I just really discovered it when I was there.
One of the first conferences I attended to was "Growing computer science one woman at a time" with Telle Whitney, from the Annita Borg Institute, to whom I need to thank for the opportunity to be at Web Summit, since Telle was who proposed, per say, the Women in Tech tickets. 
Web Summit took place at FIL (Feira Internacional de Lisboa), which is composed by four huge pavillions plus MEO Arena (also a huge pavillion, used for concerts, mostly), so one can only imagine the distance one can walk inside Web Summit. My feet were sore all the time. 
FIL's pavillions were filled with several stages for conferences and pitches - which I did not attend to, since it wasn't my interest to sell or buy anything - and also numerous stands from an astronomic number of startups and companies from the most diverse types. My attention, of course, was focused on the health area. Many, many applications are being developed in health - as if that's news to anyone, but the amount of apps is insane - for the most various purposes. There were also several companies waiting for investiment - which is why, by being a student, is hard to approach these people. In Web Summit, the main focus is  investing in new stuff, and I, as a student, can't invest in anything, so the CEOs were not really interested in talking to me. I was, indeed, interested in talking to them, because I am about to enter the market and I wanted to look at possibilities for my future. I ended up getting a few contacts, but nothing quite interesting, not one person was interested in hiring me (*sobs alone in a corner*).
So I gave up on making contacts and, in the last day, I just sat all morning on HeathConf, a stage only for conferences about Health and listenned to them. Now, that morning was productive. Many presentations and debates were made and I learned a big deal about what's being made, what's on demand. 

So, yeah. My general opinion is that it is worth going to Web Summit, even if you have nothing to give. Try to approach people, talk to them. They may think too they have nothing to offer, but in the end you both might get to an agreement and something new is born. Approach also people who work in the companies, even if they don't offer you anything, at least you tried and got a business card! I didn't bring my own business cards, but it might be an idea for next year, to make some and take them with me, although the Web Summit app has a feature where you can read the QR code of someone's card (the card that they give you at registration, to carry around your neck) and you'll have their contact. 
Some more practical advices: dress smart, but comfortable. You'll walk miles inside Web Summit and you may not be able to sit on chairs, so, inevitably you'll have to sit on the floor sometimes.
There are free coffee stands where you can get free coffee and tea. The food isn't free, there are tones of restaurants one can chose from, but all kinda (a lot) expensive. If you're lucky you'll find some free food on some companies.

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