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MWC: A survivor’s guide

What’s one of the biggest events in the tech calendar? What do you start planning a full year ahead of time? What’s the worst holiday you’ve ever had? The answer to all three is Mobile World Congress.

For all eyes in the tech world to stop and look at one place or moment in time is something special. And that’s the feeling you get when you walk Barcelona’s streets in late February. You know that the conversations and announcements coming out of the show will change the mobile landscape in the years to come.

Mobile geeks (he says affectionately) take over the city. You see those passes 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 in a few weeks’ time, old hands like me start to become slightly nostalgic and share our hints and tips for survival. But the truth is I’m itching to be a part of the action again. You can’t help but get excited for the news to come: whether that’s a new flagship smartphone, partnership or processor.

So dear readers… my advice is this:

  • Talk to everyone you can. It’s fascinating to think that the people who are gathered in Barcelona are planning our mobile experiences in 2025
  • Eat when you can – you never know the next time you’ll see a sandwich or tapas
  • Same goes for charging your phone – battery banks are an absolute must
  • Display your Android pin badges with pride
  • Always carry at least one extra pen on you
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll end up walking (and running) miles each day
  • Take advantage of messaging apps – WhatsApp and Skype. You’ll lose track of emails when you’re on the stand, in press conferences, in briefings, or doing the million other jobs
  • Know your restaurants and bars. You won’t get a last minute booking for anywhere amazing, those need to be sorted well in advance, but you need options for when your clients, journos or new biz prospects “just want a quick, quiet drink”
  • Don’t believe anyone who says they want a “quick, quiet drink”, there’s no such thing at MWC
  • Staying out until 6am when you have a 7am breakfast briefing is a bad idea. Do it anyway
  • Don’t forget your team sending news, tracking what’s trending, and clipping coverage at home. Without their hard work and long hours, there’d be no MWC. The team gift may be your last thought in the departure lounge but make sure you pick well. They’ve earned it.
  • Lastly, but most importantly: enjoy the experience. It’ll be wild

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.