Web Summit is one of the world’s largest gatherings of tech entrepreneurs, developers, start-ups and investors. Held in Dublin each year, this year’s Web Summit was set to be the biggest yet, having started with just 400 attendees four years ago, we at Codemakers went for the first time joining another 22,000 people for three days and nights of inspirational talks, networking events, start-up pitches, product demos and Guinness. Lots of Guinness.
“We were in for a busy week, soft launching our new Codemakers brand, launching Shipmate our latest product and exhibiting Spike – The Digital Receipt”
We were in for a busy week, soft launching our new Codemakers brand, launching Shipmate our latest product and exhibiting Spike – The Digital Receipt, a product we have been working on for the past two years. Armed with our promotional swag, we just crept in under our baggage allowance and got on board our flight to Dublin.
After picking up our wristbands and passes, the week began with a pub crawl where everyone had been randomly assigned a starting pub, eventually meeting at one of several large venues. This really got the spirit of the conference underway and we met some great people sharing our enthusiasm for the future of the web, ideas for each other’s products and what we were expecting to get out of the week.
On the first day of the conference itself, we heard talks from Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus VR, Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox and John Sculley, former CEO of Apple. There was also an inspirational talk from someone who had made a machine that uses the camera in a smartphone to detect early stage cancer using a tiny blood sample, and another from a company that uses Virtual Reality to rehabilitate soldiers struggling to return to civilian life after serving in conflict. We even witnessed the opening of the NASDAQ stock exchange by the Irish Prime Minister!
The sheer scale of Web Summit is incredible: 9 auditoriums spread over a large area, hundreds of exhibition stands showcasing everything from start-up web businesses and mobile apps to a mini Google-plex and even a fleet of Audi A3 e-tron cars impressively ferrying people from building to building in total silence. Then there was the Food Summit, catering for all 22,000 attendees with freshly prepared local produce; no mean feat of logistics in itself. We spent the rest of the first day looking out for hints and tips on exhibiting, since day 2 was exhibition day for us.
Having gained entry early using our ‘Alpha‘ start-up passes, we set up our stand for Spike – The Digital Receipt, a product we have been working on for the last two years, meeting our business partner from Australia for the first time. This represented the perfect opportunity to gauge our peers’ reaction and feedback on the idea, in turn starting discussions with potential partners and users. We received incredibly positive feedback from some global names as well as people from all over the world who will ultimately use the product once it’s launched. Importantly, we have a potential international launch partner lined up as a direct result of exhibiting – watch this space.
After an exhausting day on our feet talking about and demonstrating Spike, I was off to Google’s European Head Quarters where I joined other Managing Directors, CTOs and CEOs for a tour of the Google Innovation Centre and an evening of networking with activities including trying out Google Glass, talking to Googlers and even pulled my own pint of Guinness! It’s an impressive facility and proof that from small ideas, huge companies can grow and build inspirational places for their people to work.
The day wasn’t quite over – I then rejoined the rest of the team for a Night Summit event being held by Braintree_PayPal, a live gig by The Kooks at a small club in Dublin city centre. As well as listening to some great live music, this gave us the opportunity to reflect on the feedback we received on the day and come up with further ideas for how we can take the product further.
After the excitement of exhibiting on day 2, we spent most of the final day in the auditoriums listening to talks on topics from furthering the Open Source initiative by Github to tips on attracting investment by a panel of billionaire investors. The conference wrapped up with a talk about the future of movies and music by a panel of big names including Journalist and Author David Carr, Eric Wahlforss, Founder & CTO of Soundcloud and star of U2, Bono.
We all left Web Summit feeling truly inspired, not only from the talks by well-known people from our industry but with the belief that we make world-class products that easily stand up against the ones we all use every day. I left Dublin feeling incredibly proud of what we as a team have achieved in recent months and years and excited for what the future holds, both for Codemakers and the web industry at large.
We’ll be back again next year!
Sign up to receive news, insights and web-tech updates from Codemakers! We send a newsletter about once a month, fresh to your inbox.