How the Irish are influencing tech

posted on 20th Nov 2018 by Gary Gleeson

I’m just two weeks back from the Web Summit so I’ve had time to reflect on this year’s Lisbon extravaganza. This annual meeting of the tech community keeps growing and growing with figures reaching 75,000 attendees now. The Irish begrudgers have long since been silenced as they realised that Dublin and the RDS could never have let it grow to this size of a conference. And now with the pre-conference announcement that the web summit will stay in Lisbon for at least the next 10 years the future is bright for the organisers. A deal worth €110m was signed with a commitment that they will expand the conference facilities so that by 2022 it will be able to accommodate 120,000 attendees! This is some achievement in 9 short years for the brainchild of Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly and Daire Hickey who had 500 attendees in year one. Yet even in Lisbon, there is a distinctly Irish feel to the summit with Irish volunteers, Irish organisers and more than our fair share of Irish speakers and MC’s. Paddy and Co are still flying the Irish flag.

The night summit must be a uniquely Irish idea too, realising that friendships, chat and deals can be cemented in the after-dark hours of Lisbon nightlife – A huge emphasis is put on keeping the attendees corralled together in various parts of the city. Indeed it is here that we have done many of our deals in getting new clients each year. 

Also, the range of talks and stages grows each year, with more areas in technology being covered. We were delighted a couple of years ago with the introduction of the Creatiff Stage and also with the range of brand talks on the strangely named Pandaconf Stage. This really has become more than just a technology conference. It is a conference for everyone and every business, from start-ups (see Startup University and Pat Phelan’s inspiring talk) to music, sports, Saas, health, fintec and even actually technology. Put it in your calendar for next year. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll even get an Irish welcome in Lisbon.

Gary Gleeson, Partner

Gary is a Partner at Neworld, a brand agency with over 30 years experience developing brands to position them for future growth. Gary has worked with some of Ireland’s biggest brands such as Diageo, John Rocha and O2 and is a recognised expert in hospitality branding, working with Fade St Social, Powerscourt Hotel, Mount Juliet and Adare Manor to name but a few. His belief in branding and its relationship with design effectiveness has seen him guide a myriad of companies through the branding maze. He realises client visions using this synergy of strategic branding and design. He is also the self-professed champion of chilli-making!