Posts Tagged ‘event’

Dublin Web Summit – More Please

conor 31st of October 2010 by conor

Friday was my first Dublin Web Summit and it far exceeded my expectations in every way. Paddy Cosgrove pulled off a jaw-droppingly impressive feat over the three days and I can’t congratulate him enough.

I won’t go into enormous detail on the Summit, I really wanted to highlight a few key takeaways and offer one strong criticism.

The quality of the speakers that I saw was pretty amazing. The Irish were just as impressive as their US and UK counterparts and the strong sense of community was palpable everywhere. I think we have struggled to create a tech community here and it has been quite fractured and cliquish. Paddy has managed to overcome this and get everyone together, talking, networking and buzzing.

I loved the focus a lot of speakers put on failure. The response to failure in Ireland still remains very much “oh him, he’s just a chancer, his last business went bust”. These words usually coming out of the mouths of people who has never taken a risk in their lives. So it was a joy to see everyone from Jonathan Siegel to Jeff Clavier to Niklas Zennstrom talk about failing and failing again and getting up and falling down and trying again. That message more than any has to be broadcast and baked into the DNA of this country. There are no get-rich-quick schemes, there is just hard work and perseverance and doing your best to help others in the same boat as you.

Like everyone else in the room, I absolutely loved the gaming panel on Friday. It wasn’t just the humour and smart-arsery, it was the acknowledgement, finally, that gaming is a massive success story for Ireland. Why we have had such a problem admitting this I don’t know. Perhaps Plants vs Zombies doesn’t impress Government departments as much as Microsoft Office. Whatever it is, the ideas presented for growing this sector made absolute sense to me.

And now for the criticism. I have a huge problem with the Playas vs Plebs thing that happened with the two separate conferences. In all the years I’ve been to tech conferences I’ve never encountered anything like it. I still don’t understand why it was necessary. Marissa Meyer doesn’t skip TechCrunch Disrupt because some nobody can walk up to her and have a chat. Jack Dorsey doesn’t skip Le Web because a Paddy can go up to him to shoot the breeze. So why a separate invite-only conference in Ireland? Were they afraid the players wouldn’t come unless it was “exclusive”? As for the “Davos for Geeks” line, c’mon, get real. Bitter much, of course I am :-)

A merged single summit could easily be another Le Web. The reason I go to that conference every year is because it is “flat”. From pre-launch startups to billionaires, journalists and bloggers, all of them mixing, chatting and networking. Every cup of coffee an opportunity. Of course there are private dinners and private parties but the daytime is for everyone. We need more events like this in Europe and I think Dublin Web Summit could be one of the best. But it has to be one summit.

Two more very positive notes:

First, big props to Atomico. Those guys spent the entire day meeting startups and listening to their pitches. I popped up to say hello and they were deeply apologetic. The booklet we all received made it look like you could drop in unannounced. In fact it had to be pre-booked. But rather than send us all packing, they are doing follow-ups with anyone who didn’t get a face to face meeting. My kinda guys!

Finally, congrats to DataHug. I didn’t see their pitch but even a second-hand description of what they do was enough to tell me they are on to a winner. If it works well, they will be snapped up in less than 24 months.

Ireland to Exhibit at Le Web 2010!

conor 23rd of October 2010 by conor

I’ve been finding it hard to keep this news under my hat since the idea was first floated a few months back. There will be an Ireland Pavilion at Le Web in Paris this year! This is just an absolutely brilliant idea and huge kudos goes to all of those in Enterprise Ireland who conceived the idea and then got full support for it both internally and from the IDA.

Le Web is the most important conference about the web in Europe every year. You will not see a more impressive collection of heavy hitters in one place anywhere else. It’s the kind of place where you can meet people like Marissa Meyer or Niklas Zennström or Fred Wilson. My trivial claim to fame is that I think I’m the only Irish person to attend every year since 2006 and I’ve watched it getting better and better.

This year some of the speakers on December 8th and 9th include Dennis Crowley, JP Rangaswami, Toni Schneider and Carlos Ghosn.

The importance of Ireland having its own stand at Le Web cannot be underestimated. The first country ever to have a pavilion like this at the show. One place where global businesses, VCs, other European/US start-ups and leading tech bloggers can see the best of Irish web start-ups. One place where you can point people to in the coming weeks and say “we’ll be there, pop on over for a coffee”.

A problem with giant events like Le Web is that co-ordinating meetings can be a nightmare. People are being pulled in every direction and we are all vying for our own little bit of attention. This stand solves that problem in one fell swoop.

I am convinced this genius move will get a ton of coverage from all the attending press. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by this? After all the relentless bad news about Ireland in the global press where we allowed a cabal of innumerate imbeciles to rape our country, this gives journos a totally new, positive growth story to tell. “Ireland may be screwed now but these start-ups are re-building it from the ground up”.

So, interested?

The EI package is as follows:

  • A full LE WEB pass, giving you access to all the seminars, networking events and competitions over the two days
  • Use of a dedicated 18m² meeting place/demo area which your company can use to meet with key contacts and demo your solution.
  • A drinks reception on the Irish pavilion on the evening of 8th December for EI clients and your guests.
  • In the run up to LE WEB, EI overseas offices will endeavour to link your company in with influential people from overseas markets that will be coming to LE WEB.
  • Your company’s profile and contact details in Enterprise Ireland’s Internet marketing materials designed specifically for the event

EI is providing this at a totally knock-down price.

There is really only one limitation which is that you must be an EI client to apply to be on the stand. There are only 14 slots so not everyone is going to get through. To apply, simply contact Karen Hallez in the EI Paris office at and she will send you an application form and details on the cost etc. They really need to get this wrapped up in the next few days so apply now.

Also don’t forget that this is the last weekend where you can enter the Le Web Startup Competition.

I know I’ve been lauding Enterprise Ireland a lot recently, but with good reason. Of all the state and semi-state bodies I’ve dealt with since the country went to hell, EI and all its staff are the ones that more than rose to the challenge and they are impressing me with every single encounter. Right now, the way EI operates shows the best of what the public sector and private sector working together should be about.

Lovin’ Le Web

conor 11th of December 2008 by conor

Le Web 2008 was less a technology conference and more a business one. After 4 years of excitement, energy and desire to build new things, the focus moved to excitement, energy and desire to build new sustainable businesses.

The conference was merely a reflection of the global mood. 2008 was a year of consolidation needed after years of ideas. The year when open standards stopped being something Marc Canter talked about and were actually implemented by the big guys to help build their businesses.

There is fear and trepidation everywhere but also hope and a will to knuckle-down, get customers, get revenue and then maybe, only maybe, raise funding if needed. My conversations with some VCs were no different than any other year. If you provide a great opportunity to them, they are still interested in investing.

Problems with Wi-Fi, heat and food made people grumpy on day one but the second day was much better. A lot of the doom and gloom seemed to dissipate overnight. Highlights included Marissa Meyer from Google, French Minister for Finance Christine Lagarde and my absolute favourite, Gary Vaynerchuk. A lot of the Euro-mumblers and Euro-wafflers should spend time learning how these people communicate.

We had few game changing apps, market disruptors or “wowsa” moments. The final three in the start-up competition reinforced the view that innovation in tech is possibly being put to one side whilst people focus on business and revenue. Two of the three start-up competition finalists (Zoover, Webnode) were me-too apps but highly successful ones. Having said that, the winner Viewdle, is a pure technology play and is ripe for acquisition due to their amazing video parsing IP.

The theme of lurve at Le Web was groan-worthy but actually worked. It provided the hook for everyone, a way of relating heavy technical topics to the more philosophical ones. That flow from hardcore OAuth to lightweight discussions of brand meant that everyone got something out of the two days.

That mix at Le Web is what makes it very special. The mid-Atlantic, slightly French, slightly American melange works beautifully. It’s an internal tension that causes it to drift from San Francisco to Paris and back. Also, compared to any other tech conference I have attended, the high percentage of women attendees was refreshing.

Like many Irish people working in Tech, I look simultaneously to mainland Europe and the US for inspiration and vision. That is why Le Web, despite all its problems, remains a cannot-miss event. As Hugh MacLeod said in the last few minutes of yesterday, “I come to Le Web to be inspired”.

BarCamp Cork II on November 1st

conor 30th of September 2008 by conor

It has been over two years since the last one, but BarCamp is finally coming back to Cork. It’s soon, very soon, only four weeks away. The venue is the lovely Webworks building in the City Centre, just like the last time.

We have a strong vision for this event and we need your help to make it happen on the day. Please read the first set of posts and give us your feedback. If you think you’ll be attending, please register. As always with BarCamps, it is completely free with the costs being taken care of by our kind sponsors.

If you wish to sponsor or help, please read the “what we need” post.

We have two mottos for BarCampCork II “talking with, not talking at” and “less talking, more doing”.

If you don’t know what a BarCamp/Unconference is or have never attended one, here is a simple description from the main BarCamp site:

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants.

Every attendee of BarCamp is expected to contribute in some way. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give a talk. But at the very least, you should take part in lots of the discussions that occur and share the knowledge you have in your area of expertise.

We’d love to see you down in Cork and we encourage anyone based outside of Ireland who reads Web2Ireland to consider flying in for the day.

Sign-up now.

Telco 2.0 Roadtrip Dublin

admin 19th of May 2008 by admin

We have a couple of invites left for the experimental Telco 2.0 roadtrip to Dublin, happening on Friday 30th May (yes, Friday-week).

Mail me at sos “at” dial2do “dot” com for an invite. Outline details are here.