Declan Bradshaw, Babel

Quickfire MWC questions – Declan and the Biggest Trade Show…in the world!

In the run up to the biggest telecoms trade show in the world, MWC, we let roving reporter (and Alan Partridge aspirant) Ben sit down with our telecoms sector wizards. He’s gauged their thoughts on the show and discovered their top tips for a healthy and successful outing, and is bringing them hot off the press – to you.

First up, he speaks with Declan Bradshaw, Consultant and junior team football coach, about robots, being part of a human migration on par with the Lunar New Year in China (well, almost!), and what is potentially the most expensive burger and chips ever.

How many MWCs have you done now, Declan?

Last year was my first MWC.

Ah a newbie of sorts then. How did you find it? What struck you most about the show?

Its size, in the first instance. Other members of the Babel team had warned me about the scale of the event (and advised comfortable walking shoes!) but I didn’t really believe them until I was standing in the middle of the Fira trying to figure out where Hall Seven was. I’d actually been to Barcelona plenty of times before but never knew there was this gigantic conference centre in the city.

Outside of how big it was, I was surprised by the amount of talk of driverless cars. I expected the new smartphones and the 5G chat, but I didn’t expect quite as much attention to be on autonomous vehicles. Also, some of the big brands with big budgets actually had some pretty bland stands and exhibits. Money might buy you a lot, but it apparently doesn’t buy creativity and impact.

Sure, the sheer scale of the thing is impressive. How did you find the networking opportunities with journalists when you were there?

We obviously do the majority of our figurative legwork before the show, spending countless hours locking in journalists for briefings, which just leaves the literal legwork for Fira.

However, with facetime with journalists harder and harder to come by nowadays, the chance to network in person at MWC was invaluable. It goes without saying that journalists I met in person at the show were much more receptive to my pitches and invites for drinks once back on home soil.

Highlight of the last MWC for you?

The whole experience was new so it’s hard to say really. Of course, the Babel activities and dinners outside of work were great – I’m not much of a wine drinker, but nothing beats a locally brewed Estrella Damm. In terms of highlights of the show itself, there was a robot that fell over and tripped someone up – that was funny, a bit of schadenfreude went a long way that week.

Being a football fan and coach, another highlight was the Champions League trophy being there. Excellent Instagram opportunity that one.

Any advice to people going to MWC for the first time this year?

Wear comfortable shoes, bring a phone battery pack, and pick your pass up at the airport. Oh, and please, for your own sake, don’t buy the burger – it’s possibly the biggest and most expensive disappointment I’ve ever bought and eaten. Finally, if you’re in the market for it, also find a good PR team with experience of the show and a great network of journalist contacts; 100,000 people is difficult enough to navigate at the best of times, at MWC it’s even worse!

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