Leading tech figures to speak in Dublin


SOME OF the leading figures from the online world – including the founders of Craigslist and WordPress – are gathering in Ireland next week to discuss how to grow a business on the internet.

More than 400 people are expected to attend the Dublin Web Summit, which takes place at Trinity College Dublin next Thursday.

The event is the brainchild of Paddy Cosgrave (26), the co-founder of MiCandidate and Rock the Vote. It will be focusing on a number of other related issues, including the future of social networking and new internet-based technologies.

Among the guests at the summit will be keynote speakers Craig Newmark, founder of classified advertising website Craigslist, and Matt Mullenweg, the man behind popular online publishing platform WordPress.

Also lined up to speak are former Iona chief executive Chris Horn, Wired editor-at-large Ben Hammersley, and Ciarán Bollard, chief executive of Irish-based music website Muzu.tv.

The idea for the summit came about after Mr Cosgrave heard of similar events taking place in Silicon Valley, and wondered whether he could do something here. As a former president of TCD’s Philosophical Society, he approached his alma mater to see whether it would back his plan and discovered that students were seeking to attract gurus from the tech sector to come and explain how they had achieved success.

The deal with the university means that Lectures Ireland, the company set up by Mr Cosgrave, charges for the event. However, there is free admittance for research students and start-ups involved in the Trinity Enterprise Network.

Previous speakers who have been invited to speak at TCD include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and venture capitalist Tim Draper. Mr Cosgrave aims to hold summits every three months.

Apple’s iPad may be hogging the headlines, but there are plenty of other internet-related technologies to get excited about, according to Ben Hammersley, one of the speakers at the summit.

Speaking to The Irish Times ahead of the event, Hammersley said he believed it was an interesting time in terms of technological advances. “We’re seeing the maturation of a range of technologies which were previously viewed as things which would only be possible in the future,” he said.

“We’ve been talking about the possible implications of things such as mobile technology, location-based applications, ubiquitous connectivity, cloud computing, etc, for years and now they have all suddenly arrived. In addition, other older technologies such as the desktop web have reached a level of maturity where we can be very sophisticated with them, so we’re really at a turning point.”

Hammersley said establishing an environment in which start-ups and individuals are allowed to develop at their own pace and in their own way was vital to encourage innovation. He suggested that this was why places such as California rather than Ireland are home to many of the advancements taking place.