This year again, for the third time in a row, I took my flight back to Lisbon on 16 April to visit one of my favourite startup events, Go Youth Conf.
Here I’ll do my best to give you a snapshot on why I’m a true fan of this event, and also the whole ecosystem and the city of Lisbon.
First of all, let me tell you a bit more about the team:
Tiago Vidal: Tiago is the founder, main organiser and face of the whole event. A jazz music lover at the age of 21, doing his second year of studies at Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, he is now organising this conference for the fourth time. A very smart, straightforward guy with clear and honest goals in life, you can guess how much he is appreciated by anyone he has been in touch with.
André Miguel Carvalho: André is the operative brain behind all the details. He might be the guy who knows much more about the politics of your country than you yourself, just at the age of 21. Studying law at Universidade de Lisboa, he doesn’t speak too much; he is rather a careful listener, and very much respectful to others and life.
António Mira: António is the self-made man behind the scenes. Responsible for partnerships and sponsors, he has been working hard working since the age of 14, managing companies in parallel, one of them dealing with Portuguese wine exportation. Running 10 kms each morning, this 22-year-old is well-focused, full of energy, and really friendly, just like the others.
Let me also mention Telma Neves and Filipe Castro Matos, who used to be part of the organisers’ team in former years, but do not play an active role at this event. Jokes aside, the whole local ecosystem of Portugal does fully stand behind these guys, growing hand in hand with Go Youth over the past few years.
Well, the food is just amazing. This is not so surprising. But the portions! Oh man, you couldn’t eat that much even if you tried. For me it was also really surprising to see what lunchtime means to Portuguese people – a well-deserved 2 hours full of great dishes, great company and some excellent wine.
While some of us in Europe just eat our sandwich as quickly as possible, by the computer.
Now, we can talk about the event. To me, the first special thing is the level of intimacy – the direct contact between the speakers and the audience. You can listen to some big names on stage, as well as actually also meet them in person. This year the organisers even paid extra attention to this by creating ‘pitch the master’, a place where everybody could spend some time with the speakers and some mentors. In this way, I feel that these guys could really disrupt today’s meetups and conferences.
It’s also amazing to see the high quality of the speakers that these guys have convinced to take part. Hard-to-get, or even impossible-to-get, individuals are coming to Europe just to speak in front of 600+ enthusiastic Portuguese students and young entrepreneurs, giving them huge motivation. And, they all end up being super thankful for being invited.
I could talk for hours about the atmosphere of the venue, the city and the whole ecosystem, but some others have already done that, better than I could. So please check out this article by Portugal Startups and this piece by Ciarán O’Leary (Update – July 2023: The article seems to be not visible anymore, and we therefore deactivated the original link).
Thanks for the invitation guys. I’m really very much looking forward to next year’s edition!
Speaking of events, do you have your ticket yet for the upcoming EU-Startups Summit?