#WebSummit Preview: Day One

You’ve arrived late, the traffic was madness itself but you’re finally at the RDS, surrounded by similarly disoriented people, many of whom are just in from the airport. Somewhere in the Main Hall, behind the barrier, the opening speech is being delivered. You hate to miss it, but you don’t even know where registration is…

With 30,000 people set to attend ‘Europe’s biggest tech conference’ this year, it’s easy to feel a little bit adrift at the start. The best way to get the most out of the Web Summit is with preparation: Download the Web Summit’s official app and don’t wait to bump into people. Make a WhatsApp group for your team and make a list of everyone you want to meet, then get stalking them on Twitter.

The Web Summit blog has tips on registration, but the key things to know are:
1. The registration area is to the left of the main entrance of the RDS, and is open from 8am till 5.30 except on the final day, when it closes at 2.30
2. To get your ticket, you need to bring your QR code, your Ticket Reference Code and a photo ID

There will also be registration at Dublin Airport at Terminals 1 and 2, as long as you have the app downloaded to your phone when you arrive.

Once you’re through the barrier, use the first half hour to get your bearings. Where’s your company’s stand? Where’s the cheapest (or better yet, free) coffee?

This first day is the one with the most straightforward tech-related talks, so try and take in as many as possible – you can afford to slack off later. The same goes for the Night Summit: it’s important to at least make introductions early on, then form a plan for the people you’d like to formally meet with.

We’ve put together this guide (we’ll be additional daily previews during Web Summit) from the optimistic standpoint that you’ll want to go to as many panels as possible. But if you’re working throughout that’s OK too–just pick out the best of our selection and sneak off for a half-hour when it’s possible. Then hit the Night Summit and have fun – don’t worry, it’s not like everyone’s going to show up on time tomorrow …

10.05am The Email Killer
Enterprise Stage

First up on the Centre stage is CNN Money’s Laurie Segall speaking to Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and CEO of Slack. The panel discussion with 2015’s most talked-about startup is sure to kick things off on an inspiring note, especially given Butterfield’s hippie background and the company’s off-beat backstory. Also definitely worth a look: General Electric CTO Harel Kodeshi’s talk over on the Enterprise Stage.

10.30 EyeRobot: Are Machines Finally Catching up to Science Fiction?
Machine stage

For those who lie awake at night wondering when the machines will gain sentience and steal all our jobs (or just anyone casually interested in AI, AR and the Internet of Things), this panel addressing ‘seeing’ machines should prove thought-provoking, with speakers from DAQRI and Movidius.

11.00am Free People: Technology and EU Migrants
Society Stage

Why isn’t technology doing more to address the refugee crisis in Europe? This panel examines what tech can do, with guests from Irish broadcaster RTE, UNICEF, Startup Boat (a project bringing together entrepreneurs from around Europe exploring ways to help people on the island of Samos), along with Mike Butcher, Editor At Large of TechCrunch.

11.30 Connecting the World
Centre Stage

Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook, speaks about the world’s biggest social network and its plans for connecting future generations. VR? High-altitude drones? Laser communication systems? Sure, why not?

11.55 The Best Interface is No Interface
Design Stage

I want to break free…. a talk on getting away from our screens by Golden Krishna (the irony being, of course, that half the crowd will likely have their laptops out.) Krishna is Senior User Experience Designer at Zappos, the Las Vegas-based startup known for their radical ‘holocratic’ management system.

12.05 Bringing VR to the Masses
Centre stage

Palmer Luckey, inventor of the Oculus Rift, is interviewed here by Laurie Segall of CNN Money. For VR fans, this might just be one of the highlights of the Web Summit, provided you can get over your jealousy of this outrageously talented wunderkind (he’s only twenty three!).

12.40 Chris Froome in Conversation
Centre Stage
Stay at the Centre stage for a little more inspiration from greatness, with an interview with the road racing cyclist and two-time winner of the Tour de France. The Web Summit has really catered to sports fans this year: look out for panels with Rio Ferdinand and Padraig Harrington on the 4th and 5th.

1.00 GitHub and the Open Source Revolution
Enterprise Stage

One for the developers: Co-Founder and CIO of GitHub Scott Chacon joins Ciara Byrne of Fast Company to talk about how a git repository-hosting site managed to take over the world.

1.20 Beyond the Second Screen: Making Sport Interactive
Sport Stage
Oh hey, did we forget to mention there’s a sport stage? Worth a look, even if you’re not the biggest fan of rugby/football/curling/WWF (it’s a sport!) Swing by for this panel on the interactive side of sport, featuring the Guardian’s Ian Prior, Ben Gallop, Head of Sport at the BBC, and Danny Keens, Head of Sports Partnerships at Twitter.

2.00 3D Printing the Creative Classrooms of the Future
Machine stage

MCor Technologies is one of those Irish startups doing inspiring, exciting things but who don’t get nearly enough attention. This talk is a chance to meet the Louth-based 3D printing innovators: Hear co-founder and CEO Dr Conor MacCormack talk about how 3D might soon revolutionise the ways that children learn.

3.20 Me, My Selfie and I
Society Stage

What will the future of our cyber selves be? Explore ideas of on-screen selfhood with this talk from Grainne Faller of the Irish Times and Mary Aiken of RCSI, a leading cyber-security expert known for her work with Europol, Interpol, the London Metropolitan Police, the LAPD and as the inspiration behind CSI: Cyber.

4.00 Instagram in Focus
Centre Stage

Only one more, we promise, then you can run off for a nap before the Night Summit. Taking to the Main Stage for the final talk of the day, Co-Founder of Instagram Mike Krieger details his vision for the second-largest social media platform in the world.

Extras: the Food Summit
If you’re hungry and have enough time to run out for some fresh air, then head to Herbert Park for the Food Summit, where 47 Irish artisan producers will be selling their foods as well as staging tastings at the Good Food Ireland pop-up shop. Look out for smoked meats, artisan pickles, sourdough bread, locally-grown berries and Lambay Island beef burgers. Oh and there’s the option to have purchases shipped home, making it a great option for souvenir hunters.

Afters: the Night Summit
Because the daytime is only the beginning of the Web Summit. Don’t miss your chance to socialise with like-minded nerds from around the world; you might even meet the odd investor! There’s a Night Summit pub crawl lined up nightly. The party starts at Harcourt Street across four locations: Everleigh, Odeon, The Dean Hotel, then finally (if you’re feeling brave) Copperface Jacks to finish the night, leaving you well and truly wrecked for Day 2 at the RDS… Pace yourself!

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