Sex, drugs (well, coffee) and big data at the Dublin Tech Summit

Attendees told that disruption is no longer restricted to techies based in Silicon Valley

There has never been more venture capital chasing bad ideas than at present, attendees at the inaugural Dublin Tech Summit were told on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, Donal Byrne, chief executive of real-time analytics company Corvil, said we are living at an exciting time in which advances in technology are driving progress.

“We’ve never seen an evolution in technology like that which is coming along in the next 25 years and the most amazing thing is that if you have a good idea you can cause disruption from any place on the planet,” he said.

Speaking at a panel on big data, Mr Byrne said it was once the case that you had to be in Silicon Valley to find success but this is no longer the case.


“It is the most fascinating time ever. I remember going to Silicon Valley in 1994 before the whole internet thing took off and at the time, for a young engineering student from Dublin, it seemed like the only place where one could succeed but things have completely changed since then,” he said.

Mr Byrne was one of more than 200 speakers at the two-day event, which is being held in the Convention Centre in Dublin.

Other speakers include tech guru Gary Vaynerchuk; Twitter EMEA vice-president Bruce Daisley; Movidius founder and chief technology officer David Moloney; "sex tech" entrepreneur Cindy Gallop; MongoDB chief marketing officer Meagen Eisenberg; and the Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who is involved in start-ups and digital media.

The event organisers were hoping to attract up to 10,000 attendees to the event, but while there were queues to get in early in the morning, visitor numbers seemed to be somewhat below expectations on the first day.

Dublin Tech Summit is hosting eight different session streams, or stages, including the Internet of Things (IoT); fintech; big data; fashion; and medtech. It also has the features you’d typically expect at such events, including robots, beanbags, industrial strength coffee and the ubiquitous start-up pitch competition.

Gig economy

Also speaking at the event on Wednesday was Diarmuid Russell, head of Glassdoor International, an online platform that has been described as a "TripAdvisor for the workplace".

The company, which opened a Dublin office in February 2016 with plans to create 100 jobs, allows employees to post anonymous reviews of their companies, covering everything from salary details and workplace culture to what kind of questions to expect in interviews.

Speaking to The Irish Times, ahead of his appearance, Mr Russell said research carried out by the company showed the so-called "gig economy," in which individuals work as independent contractors for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo, has plateaued.

“It’s never going to play a major part in the future of work as employees have come to see its limitations,” said Mr Russell.

The Dublin Tech Summit, which promises technology for everyone, rather than just so-called “tech bros,” continues on Thursday with panels on everything from the rise of robots and the future of global money transfer to trends in analytics, IoT threats, growth hacking and blockchain.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist