Day One of The Next Web Conference is over and it was incredible! We listened to so many inspiring speakers on topics such as innovation, design, millennials, brand strategy and so much more. Here are a few of our favourite speakers from today:

1. Gillian Tans, CEO of

Today we listened to Gillian Tans, CEO of a travel fare aggregator website and travel metasearch engine. Gillian spoke in depth about managing failures, company agility, growth, organisational culture and managing 15,000 employees.

Key learning’s:

  1. Have a company that stays agile & when you fail, fail fast. Although failure is painful, you need to accept it, make structural changes and then move on. This will enable you to quickly gain skills and to grow at a rapid pace
  2. Don’t focus on too many things, chose something and do it well
  3. One person can change your whole organisational culture. You have to spend a lot of time carefully considering who you are bringing into your company and how they could influence the current culture. For example, when establishing in Asia, Gillian flew Europeans into Asia to make sure the organisational culture was properly established in line with the vision and mission.
  4. Managing employees is about managing accountability, people need to feel accountable (to the right degree). Employees need to be in positions where they can be accountable for the work they produce, they shouldn’t be able to hide behind a process or a machine if something has gone wrong. “We need transparency and accountability”

The future for
Gillian finished her talk stating that the future for will be better, faster and smarter. The website will continuously aim to empower people and be the platform to meet “every possible need” of the consumer.

2. Ray Chan, CEO & Founder of 9Gag


This morning Ray Chan was asked the very difficult question, what are millennials actually thinking? His answer was a brief, yet highly entertaining presentation showing results from a recent survey 9Gag conducted on their millennial following.

Firstly, he asked millennials to describe themselves with one emoji…


Yes, that’s right! The number one emoji millennials used to describe themselves was the poo!! As Ray summarised so nicely “so they feel like a piece of shit but they’re happy.”

The survey results also showed:

  • A majority of millennials would rather give up sex than give up access to the internet
  • A majority of millennials would rather be smart and receive no praise than be average and receive lots of praise
  • A majority of millennials would rather start up their own business than work 9-5
  • A majority of millennials would rather give up their online voice than not be able to vote

To finish his presentation, Ray highlighted that millennials really aren’t that bad! “A lot of the older generations don’t want to hear it.” His advice to the older generations: “listen more before you judge, ask questions before you comment.”

“Go from this emoji:”



“To this emoji:”



3. Lucie Greene, CEO of JWT Intelligence

18554093_10155123947648382_534066461_oLucie Green was from JWT Intelligence, a centre for provocative thinking that focuses on identifying shifts in the global zeitgeist. She gave an interesting talk on how “Political is Personal.” Companies are getting involved in politics because consumer’s are now expecting brands to take a stance. A few brands that have responded to this movement of social activism include:

Refinery 29 releasing a plus size campaign called “67%” to reflect that 67% of American female’s wear clothing size 14+:refinery29-67-percent-project-tout

& MTV’s Gender equality alarm: “The Daily reminder that the wage gap is real” representing that if women only get 79cents to every $1 of a man, they should only work 79% of the time:

MTV_79Clock16Key Learning’s:

  1. Consumers are now expecting brands to have a political stance, to be thought leaders and to fight for a cause- so have a point of view!
  2. Do it responsibly and collaboratively without seeming opportunistic
  3. Contemplate, could your brand be a force for good?
  4. Make way for Gen Z activists (they’re the most political age group, yes… the 12-19year olds)
  5. Consider (and don’t forget) that politics is now everything

We will continue to update all our social platforms on the latest news from The Next Web Conference so stay tuned!

Author Kate Hall

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