Whichever of these it was (or wasn’t), it’s clear that Web Summit now stands in a different place.
Now under new leadership, the event may be tempted to eschew controversy in favour of more vanilla topics to suit corporate sponsors.
That might be better for its bank account, but it would definitely move it even further from the edgier aspects of startup culture.
If the event’s organizers have enthusiastically boasted that the week was just as strong as ever, those attending did admit it was quieter, but in an oddly positive way.
“With less celebs and VCs around, I actually had more time to walk the halls and actually talk to startups,” one high-level networker said to me in the Forum.