Pirate Summit, one last time

Seven years ago, in 2016, I entered the scrapeyard-turned-event venue that’s Odonien for the first time to attend that year’s Pirate Summit. To be entirely honest, I remember very little from the event, and I’ve only got a handful of photos of Fred Destin and the Burn on my phone to refresh my memory.

I must’ve liked what I saw in 2016 though, because I went back next year. And the year after, and the year after that — without missing a Pirate Summit ever since, up until this year’s Last Burn.

The European tech ecosystem has given birth to a great many of different events, including our own vibrant and festival-spirited TNW Conference in Amsterdam, the gargantuan Web Summit in Lisbon, and a whole bunch of smaller gatherings across the continent.

But I don’t think any of those events can easily replace Pirate Summit. Over the years, this seemingly scrappy, unpolished, raw gathering started to feel like home for a large group of European founders, investors, ecosystem builders, and journalists. But this June, we came to Odonien for the last time, and now Pirate Summit is no more.

As I was sitting on the hopelessly late train back to Amsterdam from Cologne last week, I was thinking about the importance of these small community-focused events for the ecosystem. It’s vital to have a space where unconference-style ‘campfire discussions’ of 10-20 people are given a prominent place in the agenda. Makes much more immediate sense than serious-looking round tables full of suited men at European institutions, if you ask me.

I hope we’ll find (or create) a new space that will — at least partially — replace this event. I, for one, am happy to help with any effort in that direction.

But for now, so long, Pirate Summit, and thanks for all the great memories.