Daily highlights & impressions of Web Summit 2022: day two
- The Lego Group is developing a metaverse for kids
- Formula 1 is making use of cutting-edge technology and remote work
- The startup industry has a competitive advantage over large companies
The second day of Web Summit 2022 continued to be a resounding success with F1’s Toto Wolff, Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith, and TV presenter Cristina Ferreira, among others speaking to attendees. You can read my Invezz exclusive recap of day one here.
Overall, more than 600 talks are scheduled over the three-day event, spanning topics such as deep tech, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, society and politics, environmental issues, and journalism. The following are the trending talks from Day 2.
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Lego plans a kid-friendly metaverse, calls on developers to follow suit
Julia Goldin from The Lego Group talked about the brand’s cultural relevance nine decades after it was founded. A focus of the session was on how the brand pushes creative boundaries and innovates, how it’s connecting with children and adults through new channels, how it’s helping to create a safe metaverse for children and keeps play at its core.
The metaverse promised to be a virtual realm where people could work, entertain themselves and build fantastic new worlds. Metaverses exclude children, which is a major drawback that needs to be addressed, according to Julia. Children today use digital platforms that are unsafe, she said.
“We want to make sure that children have the opportunity to participate in the metaverse, and to protect their right to play,” said Lego Group global chief product and marketing officer Julia Goldin.
Lego aims to create a metaverse experience that is child-safe from the start, and hopes to inspire other developers to do the same.
Technology’s role in Formula 1’s success
It was one of the most anticipated Web Summit talks this year, largely because Toto Wolff, the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team principal, was slated to speak. The session featured Totto along with TeamViewer CEO Oliver Steil and Rosanna Tennant F1 TV Commentator sharing insight into how talent and technology work together to make champions.
Toto began his racing career in Formula Three and other lower-level championships. In 2007, he switched from corporate management to motorsport management, and assisted then-unknown Lewis Hamilton with obtaining a McLaren contract. With Toto now leading Mercedes AMG Petronas, he had a lot to say about the sport and the team’s future. With cutting-edge technology and remote working, the Austrian billionaire hopes to bring his Formula1 team back to the top. The star of Netflix’s (NASDAQ: NFLX) Drive to Survive series, Wolff, uses TeamViewer technology to share real-time analytics and augmented reality with his engineering team during races. F1’s normal working practices will be further modified by technology in the future, according to him.
“We won the championships eight times in a row. But that’s the past. I think you need to look at tomorrow. We had a difficult season. We just got the physics wrong. There are no mystics in Formula 1. We got the concept of the car not in the right place and, in Formula 1, it takes a long time to unwind things that you built into the car,” Toto said.
Startups have an advantage over large corporations
Moving on to some venture capital news, Fred Destin is the founder of Stride.VC, a London-based venture capital firm. Fred’s portfolio, which has a value of over US$20 billion, has generated over US$1.4 billion in shareholder value.
Current economic headlines point to a more challenging than normal for startups, and Fred offered advice on how to succeed. According to him, startups still have an advantage over the status quo because of their inherent culture.
“The reason why small companies – small startups – continue to kick the ass of incumbents is teams of eight, 10 or 15 people. They’re highly fast-evolving organisms that thrive on chaos,” he said.
According to him, startup founders should take inspiration from samurais as they meditate on their own death 1,000 times before going to battle. Similar to this, startup founders should meditate on the failure of their business until it no longer stresses them.
“The second thing samurais do is they kill you with one slide of the sword. So this is about a maximum impact. If you have limited energy, limited time, limited money, everything should have an impact at all times,” Fred Destin said.
I asked the NearPay team what they thought of the event.
“The NearPay team had three pitches with investors, all of whom had a Web3 background and asked interesting questions. Instead of using our booth, we went to see what other firms were offering. When we asked the big companies why they attended, they said they were simply there to promote their brands. Additionally, it is great to see that large enterprises actively support startups with grants and discounts. We went to say hi to Figma, as we use their products. We have also received a lot of tips from the community regarding grant applications. The next step for us is to apply for a grant from Google Cloud,” Kirill Arutyunov, CTO of NearPay, said.
“Day 2 was productive for me; I visited all of the booths I wanted to. Each project or company is identified by a sign indicating which industry it represents: FinTech, Healthcare, Sustainability, etc. Below is a description of what they do. That’s very convenient. This makes it easy to find what you need. As a result, I was able to easily explore the entire FinTech sector. There was a project from Cambodia that was particularly impressive. Three years ago, they created a CBDC, Central Bank Digital Currency, that exists today side-by-side with fiat money. People can now transact with digital money through an app released by the Cambodian central bank,” Yaroslav Reznichenko, Tech Lead at NearPay, added to my collection of impressions.
“Having never attended Web Summit before, I found it very impressive to see so many projects, countries, people, and ideas here – it’s definitely a huge and meaningful event. When I realized that I wouldn’t be able to visit all the booths in three days, I simply walked around and visited the booths that caught my attention. You’d have to spend a month here to see everything,” Ivan Ilin, COO at NearPay, said.
“Based on what I saw, cryptocurrency-related solutions and ideas are no longer seen as mere “nice to haves,” but as something that can be used in everyday life. I saw demand from different groups from Africa, Asia, South America to use crypto for transfers and payments. The startup world today isn’t about speculative business plans, but about creating safe and useful products. In one of my conversations, an interlocutor compared crypto to QR-codes; they used to be unfamiliar, but now even grandmothers know about them. Eventually, blockchains will also become a part of everyday life. Though the global situation is difficult, people see crypto as capable of a bright future,” Ivan added.
NearPay CMO Ilya Romanov said the event was not only a huge hit, but also a very practical networking opportunity:
“The scale of Web Summit is impressive. The second day fulfilled different wishes for me personally. By accident, I found guys who are launching projects in developing countries and want to collaborate, something that we ourselves have wanted to do for a long time. Additionally, we’ve always wanted to make cool merch, and yesterday we found guys who might be interested in partnering with us. During the evening, I attended side-events, which was also a good networking opportunity. There was less interest in them than in the main events, most likely because everyone was tired. It still resulted in a lot of useful contacts. Our team looks forward to the third day and a networking event from Kikimora Labs on Monday.”