I normally do one of these Ones to watch each year that goes live a few seconds after midnight on New Years day. Like the linked post. 2010 was quite a busy year for me getting the company going and doing a hell of a lot of travel. 2011 will be the same, I’d expect. It resulted in me having less time to get to know others and what they’re up to. So the ones to watch 2011 post is not as researched as I’d like it to be. Still, I met a lot of new and existing people that were interesting and doing new things in 2010 and I am quite positive about 2011 and the next few years.
Patrick Freyne interviewed me a while back asking me about the idea of an Irish Silicon Valley and whether Irish web startups were at last getting suited and booted and ready to take on the world. It made me think and evaluate things. I recently wrote about the failure mentality in Ireland and this being chipped away is probably helping people too.
Since the days of Paddy’s Valley (Sequel in pre-production hell?), we’ve had plenty of Barcamps, Web Summits, Founders, Web Awards, Bizcamps (mmm coachtastic), Open Coffees, 091 labs and more. All events where people mix and share and build networks. This takes time too. That culture of meeting up with those with the same interests always happened but with the Internet and networks like Twitter you can each out to way more people and then gather them together. Physically or not. As I’ve said probably too much, James Burke and very recently Steven Johnson both talk about cross-pollination of ideas needing to happen for new inventions/technologies to occur.
In Silicon Valley it really does seem like everyone knows everybody else. There are lots of events, lots of startups and lots of starting again. Introductions fly all over the place too. There are plenty of people that have worked with each other before and will work with each other again. Now in Ireland we are seeing the same with companies doing side projects with others, talents are being mixed with some people with experience and some tech geniuses doing something they love for the first time.
Ireland still isn’t as networked as we could be but we’re certainly getting up to speed quite quickly. The average Irish person on Facebook having 160 connections is an example. This recession also gives us many opportunities we didn’t have before: Cheaper labour, companies willing to experiment more, landlords practically giving away office space and even redundancy money waiting to be used on that passion project you couldn’t do when writing java code for AIB. We shouldn’t forget to get out of our small pond too and meet people in London, Boston and Silicon Valley from time to time and bring back and share what we’ve learned.
So 2011, we’re the ones to watch. Let’s get more connected. High five or some shit.