Five tips for surviving Mobile World Congress

What's one of the biggest events in the tech calendar? What takes a full 12 months to plan? What's the worst holiday you've ever had? The answer to all three is Mobile World Congress.

Plan for any eventuality at MWC, says Tim Lines
Plan for any eventuality at MWC, says Tim Lines

For the fast-paced tech world to stop and focus on a single moment in time is very special. And that’s the feeling you get when you walk along Barcelona’s streets in late February.

You know that you’re in the heart of the action; that the conversations, deals and announcements coming out of the show will change our lives in the years to come.

Mobile geeks (he says affectionately) take over the city. You see passes and Android pin badges everywhere. You can’t get a cab or a hotel room. But it is all part of the fun.

As we gear up to Mobile World Congress, old hands like me start to become slightly nostalgic. Allow me to share some tips that will help newcomers prepare for the craziest week of your life.

It’s like Las Vegas with a turbo-charged processor. So, for anyone about to embark on their first MWC experience, my advice is this:

It’s all in the planning. It’s no exaggeration that the PR planning for next year’s congress starts the first Monday that you’re back in the office. You’ve had a weekend to recover after all. Book your hotels and entertainment well in advance, because you won’t get a last-minute booking anywhere good. Have a list of options for when your clients, journos or new biz prospects "just want a quick drink". Plan for every eventuality. Plan your team back in the office carefully, including a strong team lead. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve been saved by a friendly voice at the end of the phone; without their hard work and long hours, there’d be no MWC.

Don’t be the person who runs out of battery at a mobile show. Battery banks are an absolute must. Take them for you, for your journalists, for your clients, for the bar. It’s always fun to be the one that saves the day.

No-one wins awards for style. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll end up walking (and running) miles each day. Your feet will thank you.

Your survival pack might just save your life. Plasters for blisters. Painkillers for hangovers. Snacks for sugar lows. Duct tape for… well… who knows?! You won’t have time to go shopping so take absolutely everything you can.

Don’t stop talking. It’s fascinating to think that the people who are gathered in Barcelona are planning our mobile experiences in 2025. The people you’ll meet, tech you’ll play with and things you will learn all represent an incredible opportunity. Enjoy it, embrace it and soak up all the knowledge you can.

When you’ve done something so many times you’ve lost count, you could say that you’ve done it too many times.

That could be true of many things in life, but not Mobile World Congress. It’s hard work. But it’s worth it.

Tim Lines is associate director at Nelson Bostock Unlimited

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