On November 1–4, JetStyle’s CEO and co-founder Alexey Kulakov visited Web Summit. This is Europe’s biggest tech conference that hosts over 70K participants each year.
We spoke with Alexey to know what he thinks about the conference and the profits it can bring to you if you participate. At the end of this material, you’ll read insights that can make your visit to Web Summit more effective.
Leave a comment if you have any questions about Alexey’s experience at Web Summit. Hope you enjoy it!
What do you think about Web Summit’s organization?
Alexey: It’s all amazing, both visually and technically. Web Summit is indeed a top-level event. Of course, it was pretty crowded there, and it’s such an inspiring and awesome crowd! Startups, entrepreneurs, investors: 70K people from one industry met in one place, all united by a shared goal to network.
The only organizational drawback I can mention is the lines. Boy, were they huge… I spoke with other visitors and everyone agreed that the lines might be a Web Summit’s iconic feature. However, I do appreciate the effort the Summit management team makes to ensure safety at the event. For everyone who’s visiting Lisbon next year: just be ready for that. It might be plotted by the organizers though — waiting in line could be an extra networking event :)
Have you taken advantage of Web Summit’s networking opportunities?
Alexey: Totally, as Web Summit provides options for both big and small companies to take part and present their services. You could communicate with the giants of the industry at Web Summit. Personally, I preferred smaller booths, as communication in this case gets more flexible and open. You have a chance to chat with C-level executives, while at big stands a bigger share of visitors use scripts to communicate with you.
I’ve never met an event app as effective and user-friendly as Web Summit’s one. This app is the event’s main communication channel. It’s convenient to express your interest towards a company that could be your potential partner. I love it when everyone is so well-prepared and detailed with their profiles (well, better than I was this time). It takes just a couple of clicks to learn the most crucial info about a participant, or to visit a company’s website and see their demo presentation.
What were Web Summit’s keynote topics of 2022?
Alexey: First, everyone talked about current international political issues and restoring peace on the planet. Another topic in the spotlight was ecology. We can never overestimate the importance of our common contribution to reducing climate change consequences.
Talking about the tech world, there was much discussion about Web3 and the crypto economy. Debate on the term “metaverse” took place as well. For many, it lost its initial allure, even though we are all still inspired by the idea of living in a multiple universe. The reason is that now there are too many 3D spaces with integrated NFTs, and we don’t really see the actual value of them. I still believe that we are capable of finding a way to create tangible profit. I spoke with other tech visionaries at Web Summit, and we agree that VR and AR are important steps before mixed reality gains popularity. We’ll see.
What kind of target audience did you look for at Web Summit?
Alexey: I was mostly looking for partners to develop VR. Ideally, JetStyle would like to engage in partnerships where we could demonstrate the profit VR can bring to businesses and customers.
Did you showcase any of JetStyle’s services at the event?
Alexey: I brought a few headsets to demonstrate our VR showroom. To give you an idea of how it works:
We developed a VR-platform for one of our clients. With their approval, we use this platform to store several VR spaces. Each space shows one of JetStyle’s core areas of development: VR rides, training simulators, corporate metaverses… In each space there can be either a “room” with the objects that you can touch and interact with, or a video sphere. You can put your head in it and see a panoramic view of a VR space we created.
One of the spaces features a VR ride we developed for an entertainment park in Amsterdam. For this project, we modelled over 200 buildings and street objects of Amsterdam — and in this showroom you can see the result of this work.
This is the kind of environment where a person can get a full understanding of how VR works and interact with the space. It is a much more valuable experience than just looking at VR in a video reel.
At Web Summit, I was performing the role of the host: I helped the guests with putting on the headsets, and my colleague was “inside” the platform guiding the guests through the spaces. My job was quite challenging: I tried my best to navigate the clients through the crowds at Web Summit hall to make sure nobody bumps into each other.
What kind of feedback did you get?
Alexey: Well, I’ve no intention to brag too much, but the feedback was unanimously positive. People loved our VR spaces. What’s more important, many agreed that VR holds a gigantic potential for engaging customers and employees, for corporate training and edutainment.
It was a valuable experience for me to show our work and see what our colleagues do. I realized that JetStyle’s level of visual excellence and smooth experience is high enough. I guess we are worthy competitors in the market.
Let’s summarize your experience. What have you learned after this year’s Web Summit?
Alexey: There’s a couple of conclusions I’d like to share, mostly organizational ones:
1. Web Summit is not a place to make connections, but it’s a place to build and develop them.
At Web Summit, people usually don’t have time to make a lot of new contacts, as there’s too much going on around. If you start communication with your potential partners before the event via the app, both sides will have enough time to see if there’s any mutual interest at all.
2. Have your own booth.
This is the tip I’m going to use myself next year. If you have a specific product you want to promote, you should consider having your own booth at Web Summit. It will make you more visible to investors or partners.
After I managed to prevent a few human crashes (between the people who were wearing our headsets and the other attendees), I realized our VR demo would work more effectively (and safer too) if I had a separate venue. Another idea is to rent TV screens that would show the insides of the showrooms and thus attract other visitors.
3. Two heads are better than one
If you visit Web Summit (or a similarly huge conference) make sure you bring your colleagues along as you might want to share your duties. I definitely needed a “co-pilot” who would handle online communication in the app.
Another idea: having several people on board, you could “split the shifts” and send somebody to visit the side events of the Night Summit. I gave 110% of my power during the daytime and there was nothing left for the afterparties. Sometimes I wish I were more of a party person — it would probably be more beneficial to the business goals.
Any final thoughts?
Alexey: All in all, Web Summit is indeed a grand event. It gives you so much information about the current state of the market. It is the best place to connect with the brightest minds of your industry. I loved Lisbon very much, too. I look forward to visiting it again next year.