I never actually travelled to the old versions of MWC when they were in Cannes, but have travelled to, spoken at, organised a developer event at and done stand duty at MWC Barcelona over the past six years.
With the change to the new location I think many will miss the grandeur of the old location with the fountains and the palace – the views over Barcelona and close proximity to the centre of the city. I’m afraid that given the frenzy of activity – usually from Sunday through to Thursday – MWC actually begs for a decent location and one in which you can easily meet up with friends, colleagues and business contacts in pleasant surroundings. I do hope that the new location will meet up to everyone’s expectations.
Anyway, what are the key things on my agenda. Firstly, it is important to plan your visist and ensure that you can make the most of your time at the event. If you can’t be there for the full four days (something I recommend), then make sure that you start early in your meeting planning to make sure you can meet everyone you need to at suitable times.
Make sure that you work out early the evening events you should attend. There are many free and open events during the evenings for networking and check with colleagues who have previously attended or even Google “MWC 2013 parties”. Take plenty of business cards and get ready to collect and process cards that you receive. How many times have you not contacted those people from whom you have collected a late night business card because you forgot the context of the discussion?
Keep an eye on the MWC daily newspaper – many of the articles remain the same during the week, but there are some interesting tit-bits and sometimes a follow up visit to the appropriate stand can be beneficial.
Choose the hot topics that you are interested in. Whether it is EU roaming solutions, Joyn, mobile apps or the latest handsets you have a vast array of different stands to visit. If you have some time, think of the questions you would like answered from the whole event and ask as many people as possible on their views. This is the best time to get feedback from a new range of contacts – ignore it at your peril.
Read others blogs and tweets on what is going on. It might be on a conference speech or a new product. Spending 30 minutes a day keeping abreast of what is happening is worth every minute.
Write your own blog on what you have seen or heard. If you can (without your own companies thought polices authorisation), feedback what you have seen and heard. The more dialogue on each subject, the more can be learnt from the event by everyone.
Lastly, make sure you have fun. Barcelona is a great city and make sure to see at least one or two of the tourist sites (I recommend La Sagrada Familia). Bring comfy shoes and take every opportunity to sit down if you can. If you are a runner (as I am) you can also have some fantastic early morning runs along the beach or in the mountains.
There are few more beautiful sights than watching the sun come up from the Mediterranean.