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Dublin Web Summit Wrap Up: Music, Red Sox, And Food For Thought

The Cast Of Cheers
The Cast Of Cheers rocks Dublin.

At 11:54 PM Thursday night, we found ourselves a few minutes away from the close of the Dublin Web Summit. While the event itself was over, the online buzz was not. A quick scan through #WebSummit tag on Twitter showed this conference had made a long-lasting impression.

Here’s my final set of thoughts before jumping on a plane for the long ride home to New Hampshire.

The Summit That Never Sleeps

Web SummitWhile I didn’t attend Thursday’s Night Summit in Meeting House Square due to capacity, I did get to last Wednesday’s Night Summit party, because, well, we threw one of its cornerstone concerts.

Dame Lane was shut down and turned into a block party for the Internet. The smell of technology was pungent and our event was the one to be. According to some, it was even better than Spotify’s event, which was pretty awesome to hear.

We scored two of Ireland’s biggest musicians including Cathy Davey who took the stage and landed herself a new tech fan base as a result of her Joni Mitchell-like style and guitar finesse.

The Cast of Cheers had a tough act to follow, but they stood up to the test and brought it. Man, did they bring it! This four-piece indie rock band had it going on and played like they were at the Staples Center, performing in front of 18,000 screaming fans. We’ll see more of these musicians, for sure.

The night ended with the Boston Red Sox clinching the World Series, and a few diehard fans hunched over a tablet live streaming the game until 3 AM. Sure, it was late, but it was worth it to see our very own John Zahr, who tried out to be the announcer for the team, scream, jump, hug, jump some more, sing ‘Sweet Caroline’, hug a few more times, and shake random people in sheer excitement.

It Keeps Going and Going…

Like the Energizer bunny, the event keeps going. In fact, I’m convinced Dublin suffers from insomnia or there is an anti-sleeping agent in the Guinness. Regardless, the show must go on and that it did. I had the opportunity to sit through a few presentations on Thursday.

The first was Dyn CEO Jeremy Hitchcock’s panel discussion on PRISM and Cloud Security. The panelists each had their own point of view which led to a lively discussion on security versus personal privacy. It was clear this is a topic that warrants more conversation because as Jeremy pointed out, the gray area between the two needs is where there is the greatest divide.

Technology flows around borders and boundaries, and legislature has not been able to keep up. More discussions longer than 25 minutes is needed on this topic. (Editor’s note: we did one that is nearly 60 minutes!)

Scott Harrison speaking about charity:water

The last presentation I attended was Scott Harrison’s charity:water keynote. What an amazing story of one person who went from being the hottest NYC night club promoter to reinventing the charity landscape. Scott’s inspirational story hinges on the power of technology as the catalyst for changing the poor image of charity donation.

By being transparent and showing supporters and donors where there money goes, charity:water has torn down the walls of donation skepticism and allowed people to participate in the program and see where their dollars are going. They do this through programs like GPS tracking devices on drilling rigs which allows donors to see where the rigs are and keep up on their progress, to social campaigns where anyone from celebs to kids “give up their birthdays” and ask for donations in lieu of gifts.

Final Takeaways

Technology is powerful. It can stump government and do good all at once. It can make or break brands and turn the everyday person into a marketer. In fact, it can even self destruct and get taken down by the very people that created it and keep it running.

Technology provides endless opportunities, and it’s up to the visionaries like Scott to figure out how to harness it and use it to their advantage. Wonder what the next chapter in the technology story will be? Guess we’ll find out at the newly-named The Summit in 2014.

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