It feels remarkable to be out. Almost revolutionary. For the past two years, Untile and our team had to reinvent a lot of what we did. We barely saw each other for long periods of time, and attending events was out of the question. Our office was deserted for weeks on end, traveling became a distant memory.
We are fortunate to have technology on our side, and we were able to continue work. The company kept going, and we kept delivering for our customers. We are proud of what we achieved in these last couple of years.
In fact, some things actually proved to be effective and fruitful. In some respects, we aren’t going back to the old ways.
Some things, however, we missed. And being with our friends, colleagues and people from all over the world was certainly one of them.
Needless to say: we were thrilled to get on a plane and go to The Next Web event in Amsterdam.
The Next Web delivered
We missed Amsterdam.
We missed being among like-minded people, entrepreneurs and creatives, dedicated to bringing to fruition new ideas, new projects. This is our world, and we were very glad to walk it once more.
Some of the highlights from TNW aren’t exactly highlights. They aren’t specific moments. We got to share that space with extraordinary companies, listen to remarkable talks, and reintroduce ourselves to this cauldron of innovation that was totally absent from our lives for two years.
Not to worry, though, we do have some specific memories to share here.
First of all, we are glad to say we finally got the opportunity to meet our advisor in person, the invaluable Sebastien Toupy. He has been working to make Untile better for a while now, and we were glad to greet him and speak face to face.
Some talks were also worthy of singling out, especially Jen Carter’s, about google.org’s project to put tech to use making people’s lives simpler. She gave the example of an app that helps Indian farmers reduce insect infestations in their crops without the use of pesticides. It was inspiring and it felt real.
The founder of Vivino also made an impression. The wine market is near and dear to all Portuguese people and Untile in specific, and he spoke very candidly about how he led the whole process of moving to the US and becoming the number one wine world app.
Last but not least, we also managed to get some work done. (shocking!) Aside from catching up with Sebastien, we also got to visit some incubators, which we hope will lead to some pretty incredible things, and we got to meet with a number of new clients.
And then we got back to Portugal, a little sad but definitely very happy because… WebSummit was right around the corner.
WebSummit was special
Just three short weeks after Amsterdam, we were in Lisbon for WebSummit. It was pretty incredible to go from two years of barely any socialising to two massive events in succession. Forty thousand people attended WebSummit, which made it truly grand.
First of all, we’d like to congratulate Portuguese company Smartex.ai. They won the final pitch at WebSummit, out of 1200 participants. It’s good to celebrate the achievements of our fellow Portuguese entrepreneurs and trailblazers, so cheers to them!
But the final pitch wasn’t the only exciting event at WebSummit this year. Here are a few of the themes that caught our attention:
The World Health Organization made some thought-provoking statements about how the pandemic deepened the wealth gap between the rich and the poor which left no one indifferent.
Data security and the new era of the Web was a massive subject that dominated the whole event. One of the best talks on this was delivered on the last day.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa made a fine contribution, reminding us all that WebSummit is about its people, and technology is a tool. We use technology to improve our lives, not for its own sake.
Climate change, of course, was also a dominant concern. Businesses must lead the way in finding solutions.
Shoutout to Scaleway, which is developing a number of hosting solutions to help keep up with the Paris Accord targets.
And of course, since we brought up Scaleway, and since we would be remiss not to mention the social aspect of these events and WebSummit in particular, we’d also like to point out that we attended a lovely get-together hosted by them on a boat in the Tagus river.
It was cheerful, colorful, bubbly and all around happy.
We appreciated all of it, and left both events invigorated to face the future once again.
Now, onwards, back to work!
Cheers, and thank you for reading.