“In times of crisis, only imagination is more important than knowledge”. Albert Einstein
In the weeks before Mobile Word Congress was supposed to kick off, everything was going as planned. Many Lleida.net workers were putting strong efforts into one of the most important events of the year.
However, one month before, fear gripped colleagues and relatives. That fear was spreading and growing as the great day drew nearer. It was then ,that some of the most important MWC companies began to drop out; Ericsson, LG, Nokia, Orange, Facebook, etc., and the panic started to set in to the extent that we had 50% less meetings scheduled compared to previous year .
And the day arrived: February 12 the GSMA called off the entire congress due to global concerns over coronavirus.
That night, many of the attendees phoned me commenting that since they had non-refundable travel plans, they were not going to cancel the trip and therefore they were coming to Barcelona, if only to spend a week at the beach! Most were looking to hold alternative meetings in Barcelona … but where? Nobody knew it. This is when Lleida.net turned crisis into opportunity. We were about to consign months of efforts to the waste bin, the cancellation of all the meetings where a lot of business was generated, the investment of everything related to the event; stand, hotel bookings, merch…
So, why not merging all in one and holding those scheduled meetings at our offices while tasting typical Catalan food? And this is how Lleida.net World Congress aka LWC, came about. Five hectic days to have everything ready in record time and to turn this event into great success.
On February 25, LWC kicked off. Around 10 in the morning, the first assistants arrived, 86 people from 47 companies from all over the world They took a guided tour through Lleida.net, and our CEO Sisco Sapena, told various anecdotes that took place over the years and explained the history of our headquarters buildings. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the CeDiCo room at the Parque Científico y Tecnológico Agroalimentario de Lleida we met and network to hold the scheduled meetings of the MWC in Barcelona, while drinking coffee and having breakfast.
At 1 p.m we went to the Paeria, the city hall of Lleida, where Mayor Miquel Pueyo welcomed us. Customers, suppliers and operators enjoyed a glass of cava while contemplating the 13th-century Catalan Gothic building. On our way towards Palau de Margalef restaurant we rejoiced from the landscape of the spring flowering trees. A calçotada was waiting for us, along with local products such as snails, grilled vegetables or artichokes al caliu. We really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, where everyone made the most of the day to meet people from the SMS industry.
Undoubtedly, a unique MWC that none of us will probably never forget.