After so many years in mobility, 2009 was my first 3GSM/Mobile World Congress. I always wanted to attend, but couldn’t justify the expenses at the time (being a small startup).
It was my first time in Spain as well, “La Madre Patria” as it used to be said in Puerto Rico. Visiting Spain was interesting for me, mainly because of my inheritance implications; was great to see that part.
MWC was for me about business meeting after meeting every day: with partners and potential partners, customers and potential customers and walking the halls for some intelligence gathering of course. Because I was so busy I missed many of the annoucenments and friends and couldn’t blog anything at all during the event (I Twittered a bit tho). I think that it is funny that one can learn more about the event itself by not attending and just reading the news/blogs.
Mobility-wise, I saw a little bit of everything. Product and products, big announcements such as (billions of dollars) LTE-related which will soon shape the future of wireless networks, app stores, WinMo and PalmPre, widgets, partners and competitors, and something that really, really bugged me – a blatant copy cat of the iPhone, BlackBerry and other look-a-like handsets (where is the honor and pride on that?). I did though find a couple of gems; more on this later.
I enjoyed the city very much; no, I loved the city, the people, and the food. We stayed at an apartment right in the middle of Barcelona (see photos below). I really had a blast. I met some of my Mobilists and Twitter friends, some of whom I’ve known virtually for years. And I missed many folks due to my crazy meeting schedule; sorry about that. I also missed many of the activities and parties as well; not enough time to see it all. MWC at night is pretty intense.
I was able to attend the MobileMonday dinner and one or two of the parties (such as the Smaato). I missed the Mobile Peer Awards and the MobileMonday founder’s meeting, and I missed Helen Keegan and Caroline Lewko’s (WIP) events, and many others.
But I was able to visit La Rambla (what an experience, literally), el Puerto Olimpico, La Sagrada Familia (impressive). Got to eat great paella and drank great wine, great coffee too, and got to hang out with my co-workers and friends from ACCESS, and others. The best food I had was at a couple of very small restaurants right in the middle of Barcelona – great tapas and Cataluña food and wine.
By the time I got home on Saturday, I was so exausted that I could sleep for 2 straight days; but I couldn’t! That Saturday was my wife’s birthday for which I cooked something nice for her and then Sunday it was soccer game (daughter) all over again.
Going to MWC of course means pushing your regular schedule back a week+, so this last week after MWC was tough with business stuff + hundreds of emails and thousands of blogs to read (still), with MobileMonday Austin that following Monday (great meeting BTW), so it was not until today, a week later, that I got a chance to write this piece about MWC/Barcelona.
So, in short, it was a great trip and experience, definitely a business/working trip that helped validate many product ideas (Motive), met great people and it was all worth it, business-wise and personally… I hope to be back. Below are some of the few photos I captured. Cheers.