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Thoughts from Web Summit 2018 and LRUG MeetUp

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It has been an intense two weeks for me and it took me a few days to get back into the swing of normal operation mode. But why would these two weeks be different from any other?

Easy, I wasn’t at the office, but rather traveling; first to attend the biggest web-oriented conference in the World, Web Summit 2018, and then to give a talk at the meetup by London Ruby User Group. Now, since I’ve been back for a few days, I’ve had some time to put my thoughts together and give a summary of what to expect.

My Web Summit 2018 experience

Let’s handle this chronologically and start with Web Summit 2018. I went with Mikołaj, who is responsible for our strategic partnerships. The goal was for him to find new contacts, and for me to see what’s new and exciting on the startup scene. It was the perfect occasion since everyone was there. 🙂

Web Summit 2018

I divided my attendance into three main activities:

  • talking with as many startups as possible
  • talking with all interesting vendors and looking through stands of tools we could use
  • listening to talks, pitches, and workshops

In terms of startups, there were a few that caught my interest, and talking with the people there was an immense pleasure, discussing what’s new and hot in the market.

The one that I’m looking to see become successful is UIzard. If the team there can succeed and be able to generate an HTML/CSS code that can actually be used in commercial projects it will solve a HUGE issue of wasted time on low-level work and quick prototyping. I have been invited for the beta and am anxious to try it out.

In terms of vendors, I stumbled across a few interesting ones. Nothing ground-breaking, but a few that I’d love to try out. Side note to anyone putting a stand up in one of these conferences: make sure to man it with people who can actually tell you something about the product.

Sometimes it’s so hard to have a good discussion, not to mention to see a convincing demo. Honorable mention goes to Falcon.io, who not only had a super cool product, but the person manning the booth (Chris) did the best job presenting and engaging in a product presentation.

Talks & workshops

With talks and workshops, I admit I was so taken by the two other activities I didn’t catch as many as I would have liked. I tried to focus on the ones that were directly connected with what I’m currently focusing on – generating growth, marketing, and sales.

I think all of them were great, in terms of experience, but not so much in terms of usefulness. Somehow I felt like the talks covered the subject too much from the perspective of big players and not a smaller company trying to grow from the initial stage.

Again, honorable mention in this category goes to Saalim Chowdhury from 500 startups whose workshop was exactly what I expected – an account of the practices applicable for small and medium companies. THANKS!

If you’re curious how last year’s edition of the conference compares, see our post about Web Summit 2017!

Talk at London Ruby Users Group

By the last day I had unfortunately become so sick that I was afraid the trip to London would have been pure agony. After spending only one night at home, I checked in at the airport promptly at 5:30 am, early enough to be notified that my plane had been delayed until 12:20 pm :(. Exactly what I needed.

When I finally arrived in the UK capital, it was to a VERY wet welcoming. Fortunately, that was the last of the problems on the trip. By the time I was up, I had managed to fight my cold enough to perform.

Talk at London Ruby Users Group

My talk was not so technical but nevertheless relevant for anyone seeking a programming job – “Most Valuable Employee Traits from a Business Owner Perspective”. You can see the video under this link.

I was a bit surprised by the audience. I think the average age was 5 to 10 years higher than what we usually see at KRUG (Kraków Ruby Users Group). This was an added challenge as the talk was designed to target a younger crowd, but I was happy about how it all worked out.

Another difference is that the UK audience was generally more reserved and harder to engage in small talk, votes, jokes etc. I think next time we’ll add in a two drink minimum for the talk!

Jokes aside, this may be either a generational or cultural difference that sometimes strikes us unexpectedly. Fortunately, there were some people willing to share their thoughts in a positive light about the experience. Thank you LRUG for having me!

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