I’m going to have to say this in advance, the Web Summit is huge, there is a lot to do and this is the perspective of one journalist because everyday I was discovering new and amazing things. So if you feel like I wish there was more of one particular aspect that I covered then don’t worry there’s always plenty more.
By now you have probably been looking through our previous articles dealing with the Web Summit, if you’re still not sure what it is, it’s kind of like Cannes or Comic-Con but for business and technology. When I first heard that I was like this is going to be dull, but I was very glad to be proven wrong. This was a celebration of design and innovation from the practical to the unusual.
Everything was fascinating, because there were so many new ideas out there, or people who had taken a twist on an old worn out idea and reinvented it. The Summit was filled with the young and the old, plus everything in between, with companies like American Express and Google and a nearly limitless amount of start ups.
You got to see the world of business and invention from quite a few different angles. One of the groups we interviewed where the guys from Creativ and they said that we are really in a new renaissance and I think they are right, technology and innovation are things that can really help uplift man into this new and wonderous age, the Summit really helped show me that.
From the moment the opening ceremony kicked off I knew this was going to be a wholly unique experience. Loud music and the bright colours, there was some flare in this and all eyes where easily focused on the main stage.
From the moment that the Web Summit founder (Paddy Cosgrave) stepped on stage he had the crowds attention, he was confident and funny, even giving a big thanks to the Dublin Fire Department (tuns out there was a minor incident at his home with some of the speakers for the whole event). Paddy also had a good mix of enthusiasm and charm.
The first actual talk was the Oculus Rift, this is something I have been dreaming about for most of my life. I am a kid at heart and as a kid I grew up watching television that repeatedly promised us good virtual reality, it’s 2014 and it looks like my inner child will have plenty to be happy about. The demonstration of Oculus Rift showed us how they can use the technology to help soldiers with PTSD, a very nobel ambition. PTSD shows the true fragility of any human, though this extends beyond soldiers the Oculus Rift could be used to help abused men, women and children, fire fighters and so many others. Yes there are many commercial uses for this device but watching how they had someone work through standard military scenarios and then hearing testimonials from soldiers was very impressive. Virtual reality is probably the next step in technological evolution and it’s one many of us have been waiting our whole lives for. I am really glad that it’s being used to help uplift our species as well as entertain it.
Next on the cards for us was a walk round the halls, yes that’s halls plural, so much to do and so much to see. Here is where we managed to meet a few interesting companies from the likes of WÜF, who want to bring dogs into the 21st century to Urbancooking whose goal is to bring people together via cooking.
There were many other great companies we got to interview and you will see our articles for them in our archives or coming up over the next few days. Away from the start-ups there were plenty of industry giants out in force too, one of which was Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola company had organised the pitch stages, similar to Dragon’s Den, were someone had to come up on stage and in a matter of minutes sell their company, both Alphas and Betas were being looked at, what made this more impressive was the fact that several speakers were not doing this in their native tongue, I really don’t envy them.
In a note of interesting things to see on day one, there were sheep. Now you are probably wondering what do you mean by sheep, well just look at the picture below, Tuesday morning we thought they were fake but on closer inspection we noticed they were alive and we were not the only people who noticed this.
Remember remember the 5th of November, well for me 5th of November 2014 will go down in infamy as the day we got to briefly meet Tony Hawk. I was born in 1986 which means by the time I was a teenager I had wrecked myself trying to skate board and it’s all thanks to this man. He was humble and very polite and great to talk to.
Of course we cannot forget Adrian Grenier, being a fan of Entourage his panel talk and press conference was most certainly on the top of my to do list on the last day of the Web Summit 2014. I got to ask Adrian some quick questions during his press conference at the Web Summit 2014 held at the RDS in Dublin. To view the video click on the image below or visit ourYouTube channel.
Many people complained about the lack of Wifi, kind of a first world problem but then again we did rely on it, so it was an actual world problem, but you need to consider that you have over 22,000 people in that area. About the amount you where so spread out you never really felt like there was that many people, With the whole of the RDS taken over and two further locations, space was never an issue. The food summit was held in a near by park with swans and ducks near by was very pleasant. Parking was ample, if you left at one of the off peak times it wasn’t so bad to get out, so stay late is my advice. Getting there was never really an issue as it’s not to’ centralized but you are not to’ far off from the city center so all in all it was a great location.
I don’t have many, I missed the Game of Drones talk and would have loved to have spent time at both the music and sports summits, plus maybe got talking to the fashion and cooking crowds but to be honest we spent so much time every where else I don’t feel that I missed anything, except maybe some sleep.Oh I would have loved to try out the barber and took part in an Amazon talk but that’s because I am an Amazon fan boy.
A word many of us over use, me being particularly guilty of this is awesome, its true definition is -extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe.
The Summit was something that made me feel awe, yes on some level you had people who wanted to make money but at the same time there were people out there who wanted to change the world; such as a teacher who wanted to make learning more effective, a banking company that wanted to revolutionize banking, a system for building apps that anyone can use, a social media app to bring strangers together for a meal and even social media designed to share new and wondrous ideas.
Beyond business you had charities and philanthropy, even some of the older companies were there to invest, the cynics among us would say they are only doing it for money. The Darwinist will say it’s for survival but me I think it’s both these and they want to grow new companies and guide new technologies. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants. Our civilizations have grown to heights never before thought imaginable, with technologies like 3D printing in food, Hoverboards on the cusp of existing and it becoming easier and easier to share new ideas, who knows what tomorrow will hold.
Not everything will be good, some of it will be bad, but it’s all going to create change and change is always good, anyway I feel like I should mention even if most of these ideas don’t get picked up they still represent progress and the Web Summit helps show what progress we can achieve as a species.
‘The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter – for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way.’
Editor in Chief: David