As a growing company, we are always pleased while travelling to the New York city. This time, we went there to participate in one of the most famous conferences in technology world - The Next Web conference, which gathers hundreds of startups and over a thousand participants. Read our recap of the trip and decide whether you should go to the conference the next year!
Why should I go to The Next Web Conference?
For young startups, participating in The Next Web conference can be a great opportunity to get noticed, connect with other startups, clients and investors, and to obtain funding as a result. Every edition of the event is attended by representatives of the world’s most innovative technology investment companies. Happily, we already have some clients in NY. Even without participating in the startup exhibition, going there was a good chance to gain knowledge and inspiration together with visiting current clients and meeting a lot of new people at The Next Web.
As you can read on TNW conference’s web page, some of the world’s best startups exhibited are there at the time of launching their products. As examples, TNW gives Waze, Prezi and PayLane from Gdansk. The event is also an opportunity to meet journalists from the best media devoted not only to technology such as Wired, Forbes, TechCrunch and others.
It’s definitely a good event to go to if you suffer from lack of inspiration or simply if you want to take a look at other state-of-the-art technologies. It’s also a great place to exchange business idea in the international atmosphere and with the uplifting feeling of being in the center of the world :)
Did you decide to go? Get prepared!
Book meetings in advance
Before going to The Next Web Conference, as before any other event of such type, it’s always worth to research people, both the speakers and participants of the conference, and plan all possible interactions weeks in advance. I really appreciate conference organisers who understand the importance of networking and publish lists of participants. Thanks to them, a few weeks before the event we browsed through the attendees list and tried to establish connections with people that may potentially be interesting for us via LinkedIn or emails.
It’s good to prepare a list of events at the beginning of the year, and carefully observe their lists of participants to contact them much earlier. Waiting for the last moment is always risky because as we all, other conference participants are also busy and may not find time for you. So the advice is: read the e-mails from the organisers before the conference, make plans, prepare and invite for meetings in advance. Before the event itself, think which presentations could turn the most interesting and useful for you, so that you don’t waste your time during the event.
Meet and talk to people
And it pays off. Meeting people face to face during a business conference is the best way to introduce your business or idea to key clients or partners. These meetings have proper context and venue, also, you gain ability to ask for real-time feedback, which is invaluable. Good business is all about relations, don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask them for favors - just remember to give back at the same time.
Have “your place” onsite
NYC is huge. Be prepared to commute fast to reach your contacts. The best idea is to have meetings on a neutral ground, such as a coffee shop or a restaurant located conveniently for both parties. Do your research, take a look at the map, see what good places are around conference venue and make some reservations ahead.
From the organizational point of view, I must admit that the conference was really remarkable. The venue was situated in an easily accessible, central location in the Manhattan Center. The startup exhibition fair was located downstairs while all the presentations were performed upstairs so that one part of the conference didn’t interrupt the other one. I was entirely amazed by the quality of presentations given by over 20 keynote speakers, which totally outgrew our expectations. The conference staged really awesome speakers, among whom the stars such as Jason Fried, co-founder & CEO of Basecamp, Danielle Strle, Director of Product of Tumblr or Johnathan Rochelle, Co-founder of Google Docs/Drive.
The only disruption from my point of view was the fact the internal space of the venue, which was organized in not the most convenient way. As I said, the location of the startup fair and the presentation rooms was great because one integral part of the conference didn't interrupt the networking zone. On the other hand, you might have felt a little sense of disconnection between the startup exhibitions and presentation rooms which were located a few floors away and accessible only with the elevator. To sum up, the whole event was well executed and it didn’t have major organizational problems. In order to take as much as possible from the conference and the trip in general, we wanted to prepare ourselves first.
Flights from Europe to New York are not cheap and what is more, hotels in NY are also one of the most expensive in the world. In such circumstances the saying “time is money” gains much deeper sense. Having that in mind, we wanted to draw from this trip the most advantages possible. As a result we did 25 meetings within a week and still found some time for sightseeing and having fun.
It goes without saying that the biggest advantage of every conference is always the ability to meet a lot of people from the industry and connect with them within a short timeframe. But all conference participants should always remember that the events are always as good as you make them. Unless you invest time beforehand to set up meetings and are proactive during the event you’ll not get much more than you could when watching the presentations online a few weeks later. By the way, if you’re interested, you can still watch the best moments from TNW conference online. It’s all about connecting with people right there in person both those newly met and those with whom you usually connect only online. From that point of view The Next Web was a really outstanding experience which made the event definitely worth attending again.