My third House of Beautiful Business is coming up. And this time I am prepared. Not that I haven’t been in any form the last few times, but this time I really know what I’m getting myself into: little sleep, lots of interesting conversations and more impressions than one can process in the following weeks.

The House of Beautiful Business is – in short – beyond my comfort zone. What do I mean by that? As a businessperson, you are not used to people telling you their whole personal story during the first five minutes of getting to know each other. Rarely do you first hear from a CEO that he is an enthusiastic guitar player, or from an entertainer that he prefers to go jogging to clear his head. Ballerinas are also rare in the usual business context. In the HoBB (somehow, I have to abbreviate the long name when planning a project) this is exactly what happens. The program is full. So not only the conference day on Sunday. No, I mean all the time, on all days. Everywhere there is something to see, hear or discuss. There is no escape and FOMO (fear of missing out) gets a whole new dimension.

Between Ballerinas and Nerds

I’m usually one of those colleagues who just disappear sometime. When I’m tired, I don’t discuss for long, I leave the party. When I have finished my day’s work, I go home. I never think I’ll miss anything that speaks for how self-centered or how balanced I am. In HoBB 2017 I first fell for FOMO. The fear that I might miss something kept me going. Which performance of the parallel tracks should I choose? Was I already in all the rooms or did I just miss the improvisation music session in the library? How did it actually go with our installation and where were the colleagues? What had I already tweeted about, was the picture also suitable for Instagram and what was the story of the speaker in front?


Overload happens easily in a room filled with by brilliant minds. I was overwhelmed by the countless impressions, the confusion of people, ideas and attitudes. Some were too esoteric for me while I couldn’t get enough of others. So many clever and cosmopolitan people in one place. Great.

But at some point, you’re full. So not physically, because the food in the house is not worth mentioning despite the charming kitchen crew. They do their best, but I recommend having protein bars at hand and googling the route to the nearest supermarket or café right on the first day. But even the volatile buffet makes sense. First, there is something to complain about, second, you will never eat too much, and third, it forces you to go out and explore the surroundings. Because that’s what I definitely missed out on during my first two visits.

I was indeed in Lisbon, but I didn’t see anything of the city that wasn’t on the way from the hotel to the location and back. After all, I could have missed something in the house.

This summer I changed that. I was in Lisbon, privately, without obligations, without appointments. And I have to say, the city is beautiful!

Oh, Lisbon!

No matter if you will spend time with us in the house or are chased over the WebSummit, take your time to discover Lisbon. At least a whole day. But if that doesn’t work, at least treat yourself to a bus or boat tour, visit the Gulbenkian Museum, climb the fortress or stroll through the monastery in Belem. This is what the soul needs after all the digital gossip and future minded talk.

Lisbon is fantastic to relax. There are small cafés everywhere and the food is excellent. Even a walk can be an experience, if you get into the stairs, downstairs and the maze of alleys. Lisbon is comparatively safe and affordable. So let yourself be carried away before you head back to the house or summit.

Because that should also be Beautiful Business. Know when it is enough and time for the even more beautiful things in life.

Tips for a relaxed first-time visit of the House of Beautiful Business 2019:

  1. Early arrival on Friday ensures a relaxed start to eventful days.
  2. Use all options with advance reservation: Dinner, Workshop, Mistery Meeting etc. So you will quickly get to know nice people.
  3. The conference day is long. Don’t party too hard on Saturday.
  4. Don’t pack your inner schedule too full. There is more to see than you can handle. Plan fixed slots for you and Lisbon instead.
  5. Don’t be afraid to miss anything. There’s no must-have, not the one keynote you shouldn’t miss, but an overabundance of themes and minds.
  6. Make notes. Digital or analog doesn’t matter. But many ideas will jump at you, which you want to pursue sometime further, but which you won’t come to at that moment. Let everything sink in and plan your retrospective for one or two weeks after the house. In a team this is of course especially productive.

More Beautiful than New Business

Free yourself from coming home with 50 new leads. Sales pitches are frowned upon in the house. That’s wonderful, but it can make it difficult to get your boss’s buy-in for Lisbon and House of Beautiful Business 2019. Why should you still take part and do it?

For the classic employee: See the house as a comprehensive experience that gives you access to interesting people and topics that you wouldn’t get to know in the classic conferences or office hallways. Throw interdisciplinarity beyond classical hierarchies and silos into the balance. And speak of your knowledge horizon being broken, ready to stay open. And you will meet individuals who will serve as multipliers, mentors and muses beyond the house. All these are true sales aspects. The fact that it is fun, but also exhausting, is only conditionally drawn in the argumentation.

For the freelancer and/or creative: The house is a bubble. Here you can exchange ideas with people who like you want to change something or have already changed the world. In the house you meet like-minded people and fellow sufferers on the way to more self-determination, innovation and agility. And you will meet clever opinion leaders with whom the friction and confrontation is worthwhile. And if needed you can withdraw and answer a few mails.

Must-have or No-go?

That is up to you. But I am looking forward to the House of Beautiful Business 2019 and Lisbon. I will try to finally follow some of my tips myself and would be happy if one our readers would tap me on the shoulder in the house to have a cup of coffee with me!

Read more about the past events:
House of Beautiful Business 2018
House of Beautiful Business 2017
– Inspiration
– Ai for good
– The Art in AI

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