Insights from the Mobile World Congress
A few weeks back I published a post about the Mobile World Congress, and you can read it here.
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is basically covering contemporary and future trends in the mobile telephony/technology industry. Within this congress, there is also a slightly smaller event called 4-Years From Now (4YFN), which emphasises technological start-ups.
20-year-old Laura Konitzer and 21-year-old Georgina Mestre Angusto got to attend the 4YFN event. As the 4YFN event lasts for only three days, while the MWC lasts for four days, the girls also got to enjoy the last day of the MWC, and I’ve had a talk with them to share their experience here on the blog.
Both Laura and Georgina are studying business at La Salle, and they are currently in their 3rd year. Georgina is from Barcelona, while Laura is half German and half Canadian.
Here are Georgina Mestre Angusto, Kari Pettersson Andersen, Laura Konitzer and Dōng Xu (from left to right) at the Mobile World Congress.
For Laura, this year was not the first time she went to the congress, she also went to the 4YFN event last year. She is very interested in startups, especially those related to technology and she has worked in two different startups herself. This year, one of them was actually presenting at the 4YFN, so for Laura this happening was particularly interesting.
As the event is a gathering of passionate people from all over the world Laura views it as a great way to meet new people and to network. This is significant for the 4YFN because the event has a startup atmosphere where people are typically very interested to get to know each other.
Georgina had worked as a hostess at the Mobile World Congress in the past, but this was the first time she got to participate at the event as an attendee. She was happy to finally get the full experience; while she was working at the congress she didn't feel like she got to know everything that was going on. For Georgina, attending the 4YFN this year was a great opportunity to see how startups are doing in the real world and to get to know more about which factors are crucial to achieve growth and to be successful within the industry. The last day, when she got to enter the main congress, she enjoyed seeing new technologies.
She also liked seeing how the companies tried to out shine their competitors in order to attract more attention at the congress. For Georgina, the whole experience was great. During the event, she also discovered that many of the companies present at the congress actually deploy concepts in their strategies that she has already learned in class at La Salle.
Laura told me that most people who go to the congress are people especially interested in the mobile industry or people who are working in the industry and who want to get to know first hand what is going on. She also said that at the 4YFN event, you could see many of the “big guys” from the major companies checking out the start-ups and their products. Attendees also want to know what will come in the future and who they can connect with.
Georgina added that what makes this event so special is that everyone is willing to show, explain and totally let you into their world, and there is such an positive environment that it does not feel like just a conference, but rather like a social event with all the different companies.
Laura’s favourite part of the event was the speeches. As there were so many of them, she really got to pick and choose, and to walk in and out during the different presentations. The talk she found most interesting was one called “Can entrepreneurship be taught?”, by a professor from Colombia University.
When I asked the girls if they had experienced any negative aspects of this year’s congress, Laura explained that there had been some problems related to the session in which entrepreneurs got to pitch their ideas in front of investors. The scheduling had not been optimal and several start-ups ended up waiting in line for hours before being put in front of investors who were not interested in their particular area of focus.
According to Georgina, the experience of a participant completely depends on one’s expectations. She as a student felt that she didn’t have that much to contribute to conversations with certain people, because most entrepreneurs were very eager to talk to investors. However, she found it very beneficial to see how people work and communicate, and to hear professional’s opinions on technology today and in the future. Personally she found the conferences truly interesting and believes that as long as one knows what to expect, one is likely to have a genuinely positive experience.
However, she also said it can be difficult to know what to focus on because there are so many things going on.
Laura agreed saying that as there were so many things happening at the same time, it was important to try to get the most out of it all and that they were really exhausted by the end of each day. She also said that she definitely enjoyed the 4YFN event overall more than the MWC, because people were more open and because she personally is more interested in startups.
Laura says she for sure will be back next year; for networking and also to see what new start-ups are on the rise and which new technologies are predicted for the future. If Georgina is given the chance, she will definitely go back to the conference as well, and she feel that if she is lucky enough to return she will actually get more out of it next time, as everything will not be so unfamiliar.