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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020
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Heading to the Web Summit tomorrow? Here's how to prepare

If you’re heading to the Web Summit and haven’t put any plans together yet, here’s what to keep in mind.

The Marketing stage from last year's Web Summit.
The Marketing stage from last year's Web Summit.
Image: Web Summit

WITH THE DUBLIN Web Summit officially starting tomorrow, preparation for it is in full swing as many descend into the capital for the three-day conference.

The event is expected to bring in more than €100 million to the Irish economy, according to Failte Ireland, and will see more than 22,000 people attending, and over 2,000 startups exhibiting

It’s going to be a hectic three days, regardless of how many of them you will be there for, but if you haven’t done any preparation for it yet, here’s what to keep in mind.

Learn the layout

For one, the Web Summit is more spread out in comparison to previous years, since there are almost twice as many stages as before (nine stages and one cinema screen to be exact).

Because of that, the conference now expands to both Herbert Park and Simmonscourt, which are a few minutes walk away from the main RDS arena.

Main RDS Building - Marketing Stage, Builders Stage, Library Stage, Machine Stage, Music Stage, Sport Stage, Film Stage.
RDS Simmonscourt – Centre Stage, Enterprise Stage.
Herbert Park – Food Summit.

RDS Web Summit Map Source: Web Summit

Image too small? Click here for a larger version.

If you’re there for only a day, then it’s likely you will only be able to fit in talks from two or three stages at most, assuming you will want to catch talks from the main stage at some point.

Roughly, it will take you around five to eight minutes to walk from one venue to another, the exception being the walk from Herbert Park to RDS Simmonscourt where you will need to give yourself 15 minutes. That said, however, it’s better to overestimate the time it will take to get there so you don’t miss the beginning of a talk. On a related note…

Make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes

Even if your plan is to say within the one section, you’re going to be walking around a lot anyway as you’ll want to see as much as possible. It’s better if you’re wearing shoes that are comfy, or be able to change to them if needed if you’re going to be there for the three days.

Pick out the key talks you want to see

With talks lasting from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the stage and topic, it’s recommended that you pick out the talks you really want to see first (if you haven’t already).

It’s best to limit it to five main talks at most (per day) that you really want to see. That way, not only will you catch them all, but you won’t feel as bad if you go off the beaten track, and you will.

If you have trouble deciding, a quick pick of the more interesting talks at the main stage can be found further below.

Don’t be too rigid with your plans.

There are two reasons for this. The first and obvious reason is that you will likely be taking trips from the main stage to some of the other stages. Regardless of distance, you will need to give yourself some time to walk to and from them as well as taking other impromptu breaks.

The second is there are going to be distractions. A lot of distractions. Part of the fun of events like this is being able to wander around and see what stands and companies are out there. It’s important to have a plan, but make sure you give it some breathing space as well.

The Summit Wednesday There will be a large number of exhibitions, stands and startups at the conference so don't limit yourself to just talks. Source: Web Summit

And above all

Enjoy the event. There will be so much going on that you’re inevitably going to miss out of a number of things, but with some advance planning, you can get the most out of it.

If you’re unable to attend…

There will be a live stream of the Main Stage on YouTube, and if you’re not sure what talks to catch, here are the ones to watch from the Main Stage.

Tuesday 

9:55 am – Brendan Iribe (Oculus Rift) in conversation with Peter Ruben (Wired)
10:45 am – John Collison (Stripe) in conversation with David Rowan (Wired)
12:15 pm – The Role of Technology in Filmmaking
12:35 pm – Eva Longoria with Jemima Khan Vanity Fair

1:20 pm – Can robots feel? Andra Keay (Silicon Valley Robotics)
1:35 pm – Meet Nao the Robot: Laura Bokokza (Alderbaran)
2:35 pm – Artificial Intelligence: Gary Marcus (The New Yorker)
4:10 pm – Is There A Right to Privacy?: Stewart Baker (Steptoe & Johnson LLP), Matthew Prince (Cloudflare) James Ball (The Guardian)

Wednesday

12:55 pm – The Role of Tech in Pop Culture: Dick Glover (Funny or Die) David Goldberg (Surveymonkey)
1:10 pm – How Data was used to win the Presidential Election: Dan Siroker (Optimizely)
2:40 pm – The View from Space: Scott Larson (Urthecast)
4:40 pm – TV in the Age of Technology

Thursday

9:40 am – Drone Demo: Christian Sanz (Skycatch)
10:35 am – The Future of Wearables: Liam Casey (PCH) Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media)
11:20 am – The Next Frontier in 3D Printing – The Unintended Collides with the Unimagined: Avi Reichental (3D systems)

12:45 pm – Real Life on Demand: Oisin Hanrahan (Handybook), Jay Bregman & Ingrid Lunden (TechCrunch)
1:35 pm – Music in a Digital Age: Adrian Grenier (Shft), Eric Wahlflors (Soundcloud) Jimmy Chamberlin (LiveOne)

Read: Ask.fm is moving its HQ to Ireland >

Read: Here’s what Google is showing off in a hidden exhibition in London >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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