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Tech giants and start-ups share the stage at Web Summit

The Dublin Web Summit – now rebranded as “The Summit” - has been taking place in Dublin’s Royal Dublin Society (RDS). Two days during which the biggest, brightest and best technology leaders have gathered to share knowledge, network and no doubt enjoy some Irish culture!

Dubbed “Davos for Geeks” this year’s Web Summit is bigger than ever. Having kicked off three years ago with only 500 attendees The Summit has grown dramatically with over 10,000 attendees descending on the RDS this year. The sheer scale of the event is almost as mind blowing as the technology that is presented there.

On entrance to the RDS the place was buzzing. Having been kicked off by Paddy Cosgrave, founder of The Summit, proceedings went full steam ahead. With over 350 speakers spread over multiple stages and hundreds of exhibitors there was plenty of opportunity to catch the insights of those most in the know in the technology world. They really need to come up with something to practice bi-location as unfortunately you can only be in one place at a time and there was so much to take in.

The major hiccup of the beginning of the first day was, ironically for a technology conference, issues with wifi within the RDS. With no printed schedules and attendees expected to download the official Summit app (with schedules, attendees’ profiles, venue maps and even live streaming) there was a certain amount of frustration being voiced.

That aside it was all action on the numerous stages. On the main stage there was so much to see! Some highlights included keynotes from Saul Klein of Index Ventures, Gary Vaynerchuk of Vaynermedia and Scott Belsky of Adobe and there was the ESB Spark of Genius competition for Irish start-ups which was won by ViddyAd. There were plenty of “Fireside chats” with the best in the business (and even outside the business) including Jamie Heaslip Irish Rugby International, Matt Mullenweg, Co-founder of WordPress, Tony Fadell, Founder and CEO of Nest as well as much anticipated Tony Hawk – the skateboarder. The main stage also saw the NASDAQ bell being rung from Ireland for the first time ever.

For the more technical minded there was the Developer stage and Cloud stages featuring the likes of designing with code, Implementing Micro Service Architecture, Adapting to the Cloud at the BBC and everything else you ever wanted to know about the Cloud!

For a more commercial focus the Digital Marketing stage featured big names such as Nicola Mendelhson from Facebook and Stephen McIntyre of Twitter both companies having headquarters in Dublin, as well as Keynotes from Cindy Gallop, Make Love Not Porn and Debbie Weinstein of Unilever.

The Library stage provided more in depth discussions with a closed session on hacking, a keynote from father of the internet Prof Kleinrock and topics such as Ethics of Engineers and How Technology can save children from childhood obesity.

A walk around the central hub and past onto Alphaville were rows and rows of starts ups promoting their wears; everything from e-learning solutions such as Learn Upon, Mallzee, a personalised shopping app for the shopaholic, who were providing shots of whisky and warming those that stopped by and for the parents the likes of Keepy, an app for storing kids artwork and Storkup.com a marketplace for stocking up on original kids toys are all up and coming. You name it, it was there!

There were no less than three Pitch stages running concurrently on the first day with some of the exhibiting start-ups vying to be Pitch Winner. Given only 7 minutes to deliver their pitch to a team of 3 or 4 judges as well as be questioned it was quick fire! The Pitch finalists, were brought to the main stage for a final battle in two categories – alpha and beta. The winners have just been announced. In the Alpha category Placemeter, an app that tells you how busy a place is in real time so you can check before you go somewhere took the prize while in the Beta category Import.io, software that turns any website into a table were winners.

One of the reasons for the change of brand and the dropping of the word “Web” from the title was the fact that this year’s summit branched further afield. A Food Summit was running during the two days in Herbert Park a short stroll from the RDS where a marquee was in place serving up food for the 10,000 attendees from some of the finest chefs in Ireland. Other side events such as yoga and various workshops were also going on as was The Night Summit.

Not satisfied with occupying attendees during the two days, the Night Summit ensured that attendees, most travelling from outside Dublin (indeed Ireland) got a taste of Dublin night life - and no doubt a few pints of Guinness!

The Summit is being closed off with a final panel discussion with An Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, last minute addition Elon Musk best known as founder of PayPal, as well as Shervin Pishevar & Mark Little.

Sorry you missed it? A 2-for-1 offer for tickets for The Summit 2014 have already opened for registration! See you in Dublin next year!

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