Why I’d rather set fire to my house than attend Mobile World Congress

After much soul-searching and generous offers from two PR companies (you know who you are) I have decided not to attend this year’s Mobile World Content/Mobile Content World/MWC/MCW/whatever in Barcelona.

It’s not because I prefer it when it was held in Cannes, it’s not because I’ve met enough antennae-salesman in my life and it’s not because I received nearly 400 press invitations to meet companies… it’s because the idea of a traditional trade show repels me.

For others, the idea of heavy drinking and lavish parties in Barcelona far outweighs the (high) chances of being mugged on La Ramblas. For those who have gambled on setting out their expensive stall at the show, conditions resemble those of Cairo’s Tahrir Square even if food is harder to come by at the show.

Furthermore, the big news has already been announced today by SoftNokia/NokiaSoft/Microkia and Apple never attends mobile trade shows so I’m happy to pass on witnessing an event where beta-males flaunt expensive watch-dials and visiting North Americans can’t believe Europeans drink themselves into the ground.

For many years mobile events on both sides of the Atlantic have been extravagant and prodigal. At one CTIA show in San Francisco, I remember skyscrapers of oysters, a cavorting Rhianna and more champagne than attendees could wave their cocks at… and that was eight hours before I went to bed. Ancient Rome 45BC would have struggled to compete.

Fortunately, events that encompass social media and technology that are the same thing nowadays are less Neanderthal in their set-ups. TED and (its ginger orphan) TEDx events are intellectual in their outlook and are more tofu than tequila while SXSW is a show I’d love to attend (BUT HAVE NEVER BEEN INVITED TO – NUDGE-NUDGE).

Throw in TechDisrupt events, Geeknrolla and the name of that Dublin show I’m too Googled-out to bother searching, and there is an air of modern, fresh and smart shows with real innovation among the degeneracy.

So while the EasyJets fly from all cardinal points of London’s M25 to sunny Spain, I’ll be sitting in my safe European office using Twitter to keep up with what’s going on knowing that I have a week without abusing my liver, waiting ages for taxis or listening to aforesaid antennae-salesman. Ah, peace…

Monty (632 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.


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About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.