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Covering Mobile World Congress 2016: some recommendations for attendees

February 19th, 2016 |  Published in Mobile World Congress 2016


MWC 2016

19 February 2016 – We arrived in Barcelona early this morning for some pre-event meetings. We are very late with this but given most of you will not hit Barcelona until Sunday, or even Monday, we hope this helps:

1. ALERT: the Metro workers have called a strike for Monday and Thursday.  If you are a veteran, you know that strikes and protests are the norm during MWC.  It is a great event to use to get noticed, what with 95,000+ attendees which includes 6,000 CxOs, and about 1,200 press/bloggers covering the event.  Two years ago a group blocked the metro tracks at Placa de Cataluya, then the switching station for the line going to MWC. Sources tell me there is some last minute efforts to delay the strike.  You can follow all the news on Twitter by following hashtag #MWC16 – as well as following that hashtag for events/announcements at the show. And the MWC app (see below).

We had this issue a few years ago and the metro ran at 50 percent during rush hour – 6.30am to 9.30am and 4pm to 8pm.

The GSMA (the organizers of MWC) is putting out updates and is planning contingency bus service from central points in Barcelona.  Also, we are told one of the regional train services is not going on strike. Bit of a PITA using it (a few changes) but it will get you there.

2. Download the MWC app.  It is brilliant.  You can access the names of the attendees, options to send them messages, request meetings, see exhibitor profiles, see the entire event schedule with seminars, keynotes and partner events, maps of the event, receive last-minute alerts, etc., etc.

3. There are more food venues this year but the full restos will have long lines at lunch.  Pack a bottle of water and a few health bars.  Or, as you peruse the venue, jot down the vendors offering food, drinks.  Many give out fruit and water.

4. Bring those mobile chargers, spare batteries! There are scores of power stations all over the event (many with locker systems so you can securely leave your phone to charge. But best to be covered.

5. Fellow MWC veteran Julian Pena advises “take your tablet with you.  It has been my most useful item: taking notes, navigating through the MWC app, quickly finding booths/scheduling meetings, showing materials to potential business partners, etc.”  One of the best pieces of advice we received.  And …  its battery (generally) lasts much longer than a phone’s battery.

6.  And one thing we cannot emphasize enough (as does Julian): join the LinkedIn MWC networking groups. There are dozens. Search for “MWC” and “Mobile World Congress” groups and join as many as you can. We use them all during the year, and especially at MWC.  It is how we find out which of our connections will be attending, too.

7.  Lastly (the one always repeated): bring a stack of business cards.  Julian again (and he is spot on): “bring at least twice as many business cards as you think you will need … and double that number again to make sure you don’t run out”.  Last year we brought 1,000 cards and came home with 29. You will not believe how many you will give out.  Trust us.

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