Written by Chris Malby-Tynan
4 min read
Web Summit 2019: Learnings And Takeaways from The World's Largest Tech Conference
So there’s something you should know about Web Summit – it’s the only conference in the world where you can get Jaden Smith [Actor], Ronaldinho [Footballer], Jessica Ennis-Hill [Athlete], Tony Blair [Politician], Michel Barnier [Politician], and Sir Martin Sorrell [Businessman] all on the same card.
It’s also the only conference that could make a £720 knitted jumper cool and then sell out.
If you’re not aware of Web Summit, the above will give you something of an introduction. It’s a tech conference, the largest one in the world for that matter, but calling it that almost is too narrow a view. Before I left, I remarked that I was going to a tech conference to friends and neighbours, their response was to ask if it was to do with websites or developers… they in fact even asked what the benefit was to someone in marketing going to such a conference.
Web Summit though is a draw for anyone – regardless of the industry they operate or function they perform. It’s an amalgamation of ideas, a central mecca for people to come together to pitch, collaborate, and form new connections with people you never would have met otherwise.
During the show, we had a booth for one day and during that time I was able to talk to a myriad of people from industrial automation, software and application development, artificial intelligence researchers, and members of venture capitalist firms. Each of these individuals were keen to know more about the emerging technologies that they may be able to work or collaborate with to achieve something greater than could be done with the sole resource of one team or organisation.
Web Summit offered us a brilliant opportunity to explain not just the work our teams have been able to achieve to date with CCP Games and The Francis Crick Institute but also talking about the longer term opportunities of our mission and technologies. Hadean is focussed on helping solve some of the key issues affecting humanity including terminal disease and climate change. Through working with new and existing partners, we can continue to improve and expand the strengths of our technology.
And it’s not all ‘shop talk’ either during Web Summit. There were a wide variety of talks and opportunities for people to learn new skills from or pick up and develop existing ones. One such example was the Growth Summit stage which played host to a variety of speakers during the final two days. Our own CEO, Craig Beddis, gave a talk about Creating And Leveraging Your Company’s Genius Zone By Having The Right People, Right Role, Right Time.
I was able to explore and get the full experience during one of the days, allowing me to go and soak up knowledge and facts from a wide variety of speakers and panels throughout the day. A few of my favourites included:
UI and the Future Of The Customer Experience – This talk was really interesting which really highlighted the humanity, the customer’s experience, and encouraged those in the room to think beyond just using engineering, but also with empathy.
Machine Learning Will Make Your Marketing More Human – A fabulous keynote presented by Kristin Lemkau, CMO of JPMorgan Chase, and I think my favourite talk of the event overall. Not only did Kathrin contextualise the issues affecting JPMorgan Chase and banking in particular, but then she went through concrete examples of what they’ve been able to achieve and implement.
What Does It Take To Be A Modern Day CMO? – A great conversation hosted by Katie Deighton, Senior Reporter for The Drum, which covered everything from the issues currently stopping CMOs including the drastically shorter tenure on the board in comparison to other C-Level executives. One of the main takeaways that I took away from this, was the need for unification in the marketing function. So many times, companies are removing the CMO role entirely and are instead covering it with 2-3 leaders who ‘lead’ the marketing function internally – however, the knock-on siloing effect can have drastic long-term impacts on the business.
From a business standpoint, we loved being out there meeting some of our new and existing partners including Microsoft and Google as we prepare for new and exciting ventures coming up, like EVE: Aether Wars Phase Three. There are some incredibly exciting opportunities that we’re working on with our spatial simulation tool, Aether Engine, across different verticals including cloud gaming, life sciences and beyond.
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