More than 1,200 people attended a two-day web technology summit featuring presentations from senior executives and founders of some of the world’s biggest technology and internet companies including Google, Microsoft, YouTube, Skype, Bebo, Amazon.com, and Twitter.
Boxpay, Hittheroad, RedeemGet, Vigill and Vocalytics made presentations in the ESB Energy Ireland-sponsored Spark of Genius competition with a prize fund of €140,000 (almost $200,000). The prize also includes a €100,000 (approximately $142,000) seed investment from ACT Venture Capital.
The Dublin Web Summit, taking place for the seventh time, is the nearly accidental brainchild of 27-year-old Trinity College Dublin graduate Paddy Cosgrave. A company called MiCandidate in 2009, an aggregator of the profiles of political candidates for syndication to the media, had persuaded companies “big media companies around Europe like Sky and the Telegraph” to come to Dublin to evaluate the City. But then MiCandidate was dropped as a sponsor when a management buyout occurred with four weeks to go to the event.
The young Trinity undergraduate Paddy Cosgrave was in a bind. “All these guys were coming over so I was like, f**k, I’d better do something.” He managed to turn the visit into a conference and the rest is history.
An interesting tidbit from this year's summit is the disclosure made by Tony Wang, general manager of Twitter in the United Kingdom in an interview associated with his speech to a standing room only crowd.
Mr Wang said the main considerations when deciding on Twitter offices were availability of skilled staff and good technology infrastructure. Ireland not only has these, but the “friendliness” executives encountered in Ireland was an additional factor. They are establishing an office in Dublin.
One of the most exciting ideas was presented by IfWeRanTheWorld which has an application that harnesses social networks to prompt people to act in ways that will change the world.