While the very public spat between Web Summit organisers and the various departments in the Irish government rumbles on (with the help of some of the Irish media outlets including this non-story), the vast majority of those attending the opening day of this years event cared little for the political and PR dance. It was simply business as usual. If truth be told, the “we’re open for business” friendly mayo man routine by Enda Kenny left the non-Irish attendees sitting around me completely bewildered at last years event.
But back to this years event.
There were plenty of excited start-ups showcasing in each of the summits, from the unique, to the down right silly, each there hoping to catch the eye of a cash rich investor.
Some will succeed, most will fail; thus goes the merry cycle of the tech industry.
What is evident again this year is the imbalance in the ratio of male to female attendees and speakers. This is not something unique to Web Summit; rather it is an issue within the tech industry at large.
The organisers are however, on paper at least, looking to address this. Billboards adorn the walkways throughout the RDS professing that in 2016, Web Summit will be inviting 10,000 female entrepreneurs as their guests to the various conferences across the globe….including
On a positive note, there did seem to be more female CTO’s and developers at the various start up stands comparative to previous years, which is a move in the right direction.
There were significantly less “talking mannequins” representing the various businesses today; a positive change for both the industry and women in tech.
With an expected visitor number to exceed 42,000 this year, it is clear the event has grown expotentially from its humble beginnings in 2010. Visitors are travelling from over 134 countries, including 1,000 speakers, up to 1,000 investors, over 1,200 media, and 2,100 startups. It is a massive operation, both in terms of logistics, and its direct impact on our capital over the three days.
Love him or loath him, Cosgrave has created something magical.
Will Lisbon be a better location? Time will tell. But I bet they won’t have the multi-coloured sheep……