The Dublin Web Summit was on last week and a huge amount of people went to see it. A great networking event from what I’ve heard. I’ve heard complaints too from those that do conferences in the tech scene that the conference somehow steals the lunch of other organisations. When is time, not effort, a right to maintain a monopoly? Jack Murray from Media Contact has started running social media conferences and digital conferences in the past while. “Pivoting” an existing business that was about a printed database being posted to people twice a year into using that database to bring people together and extracting more value from it. If it wasn’t for the Dublin Web Summit and the various Media Contact conferences in the past few years we’d just have the same ole same ole with pretty much the same Irish speakers on rotation. New blood, new talent, new takes on things. It’s good to see conferences becoming more competitive and new conferences taking over. In time they too will be usurped.
The Journal won at the Web Awards last week. I saw one person asking was it the “Best Copy and Paste” Award they won at the Webs. Humour that has truth to it is a great weapon. The Journal is about a year old and is the most disruptive thing in the Irish Web right now. Have a look on Google Trends for a rough idea how they are dominating breaking news. It’s fascinating how this product launched with momentum and is still gaining it. There are plenty of critics of it and plenty of internal chatter from organisations with even legal people consulted about the way they work. The Journal though is a web service run by a new generation, totally immersed in web culture and the new way information moves. The stature of the Irish Times, RTÉ and other media organisations in a way is their detriment and I can’t see how they can successfully react to this without first pretty much destroying their own organisations. What The Journal will do though is get these organisations to either take risks or do really silly things which will do more harm. Such is the cycle of things though.
Enterprise Ireland announced a fund this week to encourage startups to move to Ireland and people were complaining about the money not being spent nurturing local talent. There are plenty of social welfare for startup funds out there if people looked though. Bringing startups in to Ireland is a very good idea once they are a benefit locally. Experience and even philosophies being brought in to disrupt an existing industry is a very good thing. Dublin Web Summits bring wisdom to people for a few hours, this EI fund will bring new ideas for a much longer time. It might bring enough people that a creative hub establishes which will bring more people along too. The gravity from these centre of talents isn’t strong enough just yet. I think Malcolm Gladwell pointed out that when Tiger came along, the game of golf adapted and everyone got better to match him. Maybe we’ll get the same with this fund?
Eugene from Tweekaboo (a client) went off to Silicon Valley and got inspired. I met up with him this week and a short visit over there left an impact. It made me think of when we organised Paddy’s Valley and of course vowing to never do it again. Myself and others kept telling Eugene he needs to get over there and see how the tech and investment world works there. Getting talent to inspire you locally is good, bringing long-term talent to Ireland is also a very good thing, bringing new blood into a stagnant industry is a good thing but also going to where there’s an ocean of talent (and money) is an important thing. There are some tech tours (UK Centric) that go over to the Valley now and then and it’s worth sending people over once they meet and greet and don’t shy away from networking and feeding on the brains of wonderful tech people. Though Zuckerberg seems to think Boston is it.
And cross-pollination is great and is important but a worry is that you are still only learning from a subset of clever and engaging people. Why not leave art and culture inspire you too? Cross training in sport works. I recall my idea of trying to intern in some companies before to gain experience. Maybe some of those tech hubs should have artists around too to hang around with.