Fascinating piece by Paddy Cosgrave, founder of Web Summit in Dublin, on engineering serendipity.
There’s always been a challenge for large/huge events, and it goes something like this.
Everyone wants to be at the event that everyone’s at – think GSM if you’re a mobile geek, now in its second decade – and for some, the success of the event is the numbers’ game. “How many delegates did you get?” The pull of the crowd creates good business for commercial event organisers, but many regular delegates can struggle working their way through the crowds and connecting with the right people (or sometimes, anyone).
Events aren’t only about who you meet – aside from the networking, there’s the content, the location, the time out of the office, the food, the entertainment… but the networking and connecting is key.
For sure, sponsors and special package VIPs can get some of that done for them, and there’s a bunch of pre- and at-event networking technology out there, since the rise of social media.
But I think lots of delegates / participants get to an event and think, right, I’m here, what now. There’s the occasional serendipity of sitting next to that great potential JV guy in a session, but what I love about what Paddy’s team have done is how they’ve hard-wired that into the event technology.