Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Fluffy Links – Wednesday May 9th 2012

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

IRISSCERT are running a campaign aimed at teenagers and young adults in getting them to use secure passwords when online. They’re giving away 20,000 free toothbrushes with the message “treat your password like you would your toothbrush – Use it often, change it regularly and never share it with anyone”. See the campaign page on Facebook.

If it can be measured, measure it, but use it well. Restaurants copping on to big data. And medium data.

Twitter gives away Obama’s location! Hand wringing about security. Think terrorists in Afghanistan rely on Twitter to give them local info?

Another day, another Apple post but it also shows the depth to the company. More insights for any business about how to inch into a market before taking over a lot of it.

Trust in advertising, thanks Pat.

Zynga making ther money back quickly with Draw Something, even if usage is plummeting.

Via New Aesthetic (RIP) is the Descriptive Camera. You take a picture and it is turned into a textual description thanks to Amazon Turk.

A Joyful Slog

Monday, May 7th, 2012

via Richie Egan – Music documentary about DIY Music in Ireland

State Agencies give €250k+ to F.ounders, Dublin Web Summit

Friday, May 4th, 2012

I recently asked Enterprise Ireland and the IDA about their financial and otherwise involvement with the F.ounders and Dublin Web Summit events in the past few years. F.ounders brings all the tech boys to the yard and they’re like: it’s better than (London, Berlin, elsewhere). Davos for geeks is right.

I really like the idea of F.ounders, bringing a buzz to Ireland and hopefully getting some of those tech boys setting up shop. It’s a juggernaut of tech meetings. It’s a private affair though. Dublin Web Summit then commercialises this very well by introducing the F.ounders types to the public. Is it value for money? F.ounders, I think is. Getting some of the most brilliant people in tech together in Dublin for any event is worth a lot. What happens though when these leads are generated and delivered? Who converts them?

So what did EI and IDA give to the F.ounders and Dublin Web Summit events over the past while?

F.ounders 2010
IDA gave €30,000
Enterprise Ireland gave €10,000

F.ounders 2011
In 2011 a consortium of Irish state agencies gave €170,000 to F.ounders/Dublin Web Summit
Enterprise Ireland gave €50,000
IDA gave €60,000
Other agencies contributed the rest.

EI’s Cloud sub-event
However they also gave money towards Enterprise Ireland’s “Beyond the Cloud” event as part of Dublin Web Summit 2011.

€54,450 was paid to Dublin Web Summit Ltd. by the state agencies
IDA gave €10,000
Science Foundation Ireland gave €10,000
Enterprise Ireland gave €34.450

London Web Summit 2012
Enterprise Ireland gave £10,000 to the event (Press Room Sponsorship)

Here are the original emails from EI and IDA on this (names removed)



Further to your recent query, in 2010 IDA sponsored the F.Ounders part of the event to the amount of €30,000 following an approach by Paddy Cosgrave.

IDA sponsored the F.Ounders event again in 2011 as part of the Ireland team overall sponsorship package. IDA invested €60,000 in the event in 2011. In addition, IDA contributed €10,000 towards the running of the Beyond the Cloud event at the Dublin Web Summit in 2011, in conjunction with EI and SFI.

IDA Ireland can confirm that at no time was it asked by the Department of An Taoiseach or any other Government Department to support these events.


Dear Damien,
In response to your recent FOI request, I have gathered the following information.

Enterprise Ireland provided €10,000 in sponsorship for the Founders event in 2010 following an approach by Paddy Cosgrave.

Enterprise Ireland decided to sponsor the event as it represented an unprecedented opportunity for positive global publicity for Ireland as a top business location.

On foot of the success of the 2010 event, and a sponsorship request by Paddy Cosgrave, Enterprise Ireland in partnership with other relevant stage agencies negotiated a joint inter-agency sponsorship package for Founders and Dublin Web Summit in 2011. The agencies jointly provided a package of €170,000 in sponsorship of which Enterprise Ireland provided €50,000.

In addition, Enterprise Ireland ran the “Beyond the Cloud” event as part of Dublin Web Summit. This event cost approximately €74,500 of which €54,450 was paid to Dublin Web Summit Ltd. IDA and SFI each contributed €10,000 towards the total cost of this event. The rest was covered by Enterprise Ireland.

In 2012, Enterprise Ireland, through its London office, provided £10,000 (Sterling) of sponsorship for the London Web Summit.

Enterprise Ireland can confirm that at no time was it asked by the Department of an Taoiseach or any other Government Department to support these events.

I trust this covers your information requirements,

Fluffy Links – Monday April 30th 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Open Paths. Log all your location data, keep it safe, use it how you want to use it.

Kamori Studios have a blog. It can be read. For free. By humans. Free humans.

Doing some PR Workshops in Cork and Dublin. Sign up if interested.

Mr. Brand Ireland links to an agency called Huge. We’re motherfucking hipster creative motherfucks. Pivot! Creative! Dogs! Passionate! DanishDesignerEyewear!

Ouch. So Google did know they were scanning WiFi networks and intercepting data on those networks. They only got fined $25k for this.

Future of retail? Apple Stores perform 17 times better than the average retail store. Ask them.

If this, then that. Make your web tasks more efficient. Automate things.

Low – Lullaby

Kickstarting for startups

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Just a quick note more than a blog post. I’d like to see anyone that wants to draw down Government funds (EI, Enterprise Boards etc.) have to prove themselves by doing a Kickstarter type drive. We hear about embracing failure (once you learn something) and have the war scars from previous startups can be a good thing and something VCs might want to see.

Pushing the Kickstarter idea can be good for a few reasons: It shows that they can pitch their product, shows they have a network and can use it and also shows that they have some kind of business acumen. It doesn’t need to be a 6 figure kickstarter or even a high 5 figure sum but something that gets the public interested in a project but also not small enough that you get money just from savings and family.

Fund It in Ireland is great for the arts. Small and large projects are on it and there’s a great deal of learning after they’re run. A clone for startup funding could even be created for the Irish market with Government funds. The argument would be this service makes invested money have a higher chance of used well. Naturally scams would be attempted like they are everywhere else but let the crowd find the holes in it.

This was playing as I wrote the post. So there you go.

Fluffy Links – Saturday April 21st 2012

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Association of Online Publishers release a survey on online engagement.

The mp3s of the talks from are now online.

Netflix has a script that acts like a rampaging primate in their systems to train/prepare them for unexpected failures. Great idea especially if you like chaos.

Via Suzy. How hotels now making supremely sure that your first 15 minutes in the hotel are excellent. Damn that social media!

More on Steve Jobs, this time the “wilderness” years which we can see built the man that changed the world.

Mindfulness in Education.

Pinterest list of PR Stunts.

When in doubt, buy out the research company.

Amazing. Using mobile phone usage data to learn about society and relationships.

Not the best start to Open Ireland

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Update: As predicted by Pat Phelan and myself in private conversations, his Twitter follower account and mine suddenly gained 20,000+ each after our blog posts on buying followers. Comments like “well you also have bought followers” were then passed on. Also, thanks for the threatening text message over the below post. Screenshotted for posterity.


Seán O’Sullivan (co-coiner* of the phrase cloud computing) launched his Open Ireland initiative this week and miracle of miracles he gained 15k followers on Twitter in a few hours. As the numbers skyrocketed he bragged about it and attributed it to the Open Ireland coverage.


Until people pointed out they were “spam” followers. AKA they were bought. Seán of course claimed no idea of how that happened. He said at first he thought it was a hacker:


Then later he said at first he thought it was a celeb mentioning him:


Seán’s employee Bill Liao who claims to have co-founded Xing…


Tweet above from the founder of Xing.

… had the same issue with these “spammers” going from 30k followers to 110k in a very short space of time. He too doesn’t know where they came from:


If I saw myself go from 30k to 50k to 100k followers and noted they were all spam accounts I’d be worried about my account security and would report it to Twitter.

Bill instead will Tweet about you for cash to his 25k (when the ads were starting they were this) and now 100k followers. This is what he is saying on his Fiverr profile. Oddly, this is also the site where you can buy “spam” followers!


There’s been a lot of chatter on Twitter about faking follower numbers recently and also over on Pat’s blog. Experienced people can spot fakery but tell media people you are now followed by 80k people and they might not fully check, repeat it and one fake number makes you seem way more powerful than you are.

A conspiracy theorist though might suggest this was timed like that to do damage to the Open Ireland initiative. Or it might have been an intern going rogue. That happens a lot. Still, not the best start to this new intiative.

BTW, with past experience of blog posts of this nature I’m betting I’ll be classed as a bully, made people cry, I’m anti-Ireland, anti-jobs and more. I do admit to all of those and being anti-bullshit too.

* that’s a new one to me

Putting together a conference

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Been chatting to people of late about them running their own events, from conferences to awards shows, to annual days out. Depending on what kind of event you’re running, putting a conference together can cost from 8k to 15k, depending on the location, food and numbers of people. Venue rental and food are normally the biggest costs.

Might as well share some of the things I’ve learned (some at a stiff cost) about running conferences.

Headline sponsor
In terms of headline sponsor, try and have your headliner’s fee cover most of your infrastructural expenses. So venue, speakers, MC, etc. covered by the headline sponsor. If you also have other sponsors, their fee would go into these expenses too. Then ticket sales can pay for food and non-essential but nice-to-have items. Realex Payments, Bord Gais Energy,, National College of Ireland have all been headliners at events and I would mostly have had working relationships with them so when working on ideas for events, I would have sounded them out in advance. Getting commitment from a headliner before announcing and spending on an event is quite soothing.

Ticket sales:
I see ticket sales as where you see the profit. In theory anyway! It just makes it easier for me to calculate costs and revenue when I see x tickets means y profit. With headline and possibly category (if an awards) sponsor, you pay for all the bits that you need to run your event with no frills and then the Y bit is for fun stuff.

You then add in frills when your ticket sales come in. 500 quid in ticket sales = you can now buy cupcakes and sweets. A further 1000 and you can get funkier lights instead of just the venue supplied lights. (Did this with the Web Awards last year, waste of money) 500 in sales for allowed us to Livestream the event for example.

Have a list of what you “can’t do without” at the event and a list of what “you would like to have”. If you see ticket sales come in and everything in the “can’t do without” list has been covered, look at the “would like to have” list. Don’t go mad though as stuff you forgot about will occur and you will have to pay for that. (The sweet jars being nicked at the Social Media Awards last year ended up with me being fined a few hundred euros.) Ice cream trucks, bouncy castles and all of that are also great for PR for the next event.

Rick and his brolly

If you work with people you trust you don’t need to worry or check up on them. Rick O’Shea, Michelle McCormick, Ryan Whalley, Brian Greene, John Williams, Fran Hollywood are involved with most of my events, they turn up, do their thing, exchange nods with me and we’re away and fine. Aoife in the Mansion House is the same. “Usual?” “Yeah, usual”. People are the most important thing in your planning and if you have the right people in place, you can sleep the nights before the event.

Look after those people then. If the budget stretches, bring them out to dinner, get them good rooms in good hotels and remember to thank the shit out of them in front of others. (I always end up forgetting to thank someone so I have finally started writing my thank yous in advance)

Warm-up events
The Blog Awards always left me owing money to people but the experience allowed me to do the Web Awards and Social Media Awards. Running social media mini-events called Measure It! showed me there was an appetite for the event. Run some other smaller events to see how well you work with your team and see how the public reacts to the events.

Give complimentary tickets to business partners, media and those that you can’t pay for the help but want to thank in some small way. While you see comped tickets as being free, if there’s food on the night, you are paying €12-€15 a head for them so you do still need to budget for “free” tickets.

Work the room
The Web Awards suffered last year from ticket sales and sponsors because I was too busy with the day job. This meant less fun things on the night. You have to work hard on social media, email and phonecalls. Remind without bothering about your event. Share the milestones (50 tickets sold, 100 submissions so far, two new sponsors) Every time we tweeted about ticket sales, we got more ticket sales.

Hope that helps. I hope to run another event or two this year and add to the regular events stable next year too. If you want to be a headliner, you know where I am.

Who the fuck is Alice? The present and the future

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Saw Alice in Funderland last night in the Abbey. Ballsy move to host Alice in Funderland in the Abbey. In the Abbey! The Abbey!! Bad language gets uttered in it. In the Abbey!!! The Abbey is not a fragile little place that modern life could shatter if the word fuck is uttered on the stage. And it hasn’t, hurrah. But well done to the Abbey for breaking away from the usual stuff. Works like this should be in the Abbey.

I don’t have the language or education to appreciate arts and culture and particularly plays but I do often feel that even the “modern” plays in Ireland are just variations of what has gone before. We have a world of Beatles cover bands, yet we need hip hop. Alice in Funderland is the Wu Tang Clan. It’s real, it’s present and it is genuinely capturing life and culture in Ireland right now. Junkies, taxi drivers, homeless, politicians, TV3. Some issues are timeless. Some are not.


There are great songs, an amazing set and hilarious moments. I was crying with laughter at the taxi driver singing scene. It felt like Damien Dempsey was your taxi driver singing and uttering what we all have experienced from a Dublin taxi driver.

Dolores, the big bad is superb. The set rocks and the actors seem to have years of valuable experience behind them. Confident without being cocky.

Overall I think this is a piece of work to be proud of and worth bringing people to see. I’ll be going again.

Fluffy Links – Tuesday April 10th 2012

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

I woke up one day, age 33, and realized I’d never been 23. He said this. Still a valid quote.

Letter to the troops from Google’s Larry Page. Mostly uninspiring and defensive but I like the philosophy of: work on something that is uncomfortably exciting.

A/B testing of ads on Plenty of Fish. Shitty MS Paint ad wins. Plenty of reasons why I’m sure.

Devloped countries Google the future, poor countries Google the past. A future orientation index.

Ballard – Invisible Literature. I wonder what aliens generations 100s of years in the future would make of our world if they just had to figure us out by instruction manuals, bills and Littlewoods catalogs?

We’re reading more these days, not less.

Collusion. Firefox plugin allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web.

Final Fantasy model Prada.

The other Final Fantasy