Web Summit is growing up and today’s speaker announcement, our first for 2016, reflects that.
In six short years, Web Summit has grown from a tiny and local 400-person gathering to the “most important event in technology”, “Davos for geeks”, “Glastonbury for geeks” and all those other nice things the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the Guardian have noted.
In short, we’ve grown up a lot.
We’ve grown to become “Europe’s largest technology conference”, in the words of USA Today because of our ability, in the words of the New York Times, to convene “tech industry’s high priests, who come from all over the world” to be at Web Summit.
On the one hand it’s very exciting: we live in an incredible moment in history and technology’s impact is only just beginning.
But on the other hand, there’s much happening in the world that is concerning.
There’s an unprecedented refugee crisis, political uncertainty in the United States and Europe, a sluggish global economy, growing numbers of terrorist attacks, a backlash against globalisation, fears over technology’s failed promises and so much more.
So now it’s time for Web Summit to grow up that little bit more, and in a way that reflects the growing impact of technology on every aspect of our lives and the lives of 7 billion other humans.
For the first time the President of the UN General Assembly will take to the stage, as will the Director General of the World Trade Organisation. They’ll be joined by some of the most forward-thinking Prime Ministers, Ministers and Mayors from around the world.
We’re also adding leading academics, and outspoken heads of NGOs that provide critical support and assistance to those less privileged across our world.
Bringing these two worlds together I believe will have a compelling and positive impact.
Web Summit is growing up.
And like always, through September and October we look forward to continuing to announce many of the biggest names in technology.
If you’ve any suggestions for voices that you feel should be heard at Web Summit, or topics that you feel we should focus on, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.