While Vancouver was hosting the 2010 Olympic Games and celebrating the magic of a gold medal hockey win, the city of Dublin was in the midst of an incredible technology-led economic transformation.
In the heart of an abysmal recession, Web Summit ran their first gathering that same year with 500 attendees at the newly built Chartered Accountants House, located in the heart of their rapidly modernizing city centre.
Once the butt of PIG (Portugal, Ireland, Greece) jokes in economic circles, Dublin is now home to the preeminent global tech conference, positioning the unlikely Irish city as a dynamic centre for enterprise tech. Last year, Web Summit drew 22,000 participants from over 109 countries, representing the best, brightest, wealthiest and most influential minds advancing the new economy. Think Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Shane Smith, Wael Ghonim, Arkady Volozh and Niklas Zennström. Vancouver has much to learn from what sparked a shift that gave rise to the “Celtic Phoenix.”
Like Vancouver, Dublin benefits from a globally competitive tax regime, access to major continental markets and significant talent pools. They have some of the lowest corporate taxes in the world, while we marry a comprehensive combination of low corporate tax with R&D and talent credits that lead the G8. Where the Irish see themselves as the ideal launchpad for Europe, we see the same for both Asia and the US. And finally, Vancouver’s engineering, creative and customer facing talent pools are second to none while Dublin prides itself on loyalty, grit and an emerging technical prowess.
What sets our cities apart though, are that their housing and financial sectors crashed in a dramatic fashion necessitating aggressive economic development action and a hungry entrepreneurial culture that needs innovation for their future. The Irish, and especially Dubliners, appear to have fully bought in. Enter Web Summit.
Last year’s Summit featured teeming exhibition floors that, highlighted many of the world’s up-and-coming startups. Nine fully-programmed concurrent stages showcased industry luminaries discussing the most pressing issues, opportunities and technologies of our time. Mini Summit’s, which were built into the program, dove deep into tech enabling machines, enterprise, marketing, sport and music. The two-day Food Summit showcased gourmet Irish dishes provided by leading local food purveyors.
In 2014, Vancouver was well represented, with Clio CEO Jack Newton and UrthecastCEO Scott Larson invited onto the mainstage. ePact Network participated in the Enterprise Summit showcase and geo-verified citizen engagement platform PlaceSpeak won a slot on the People’s Choice Stage to share their growth story. Following their presentation, PlaceSpeakCEO Colleen Hardwick
, traveled to Northern Ireland and landed a deal with the South Belfast Partnership board.
Now scaling globally, the team behind Web Summit has rolled out side-events in Belfast, Hong Kong and Las Vegas. Collision Conference, earlier this month in Vegas, was their latest incarnation, attracting Slack’s Stewart Butterfield and Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes as keynotes and Bazinga, Perch, Wantoo and Marketing.AI as featured Vancouver startups.
Web Summit returns to Dublin this year from November 3 to 5. The first round of keynotes include Vancouver’s Stewart Butterfield, Stripe Founder John Collision, Github CEO Chris Wanstrath, and Pixar founder Ed Catmull – not to mention Nas.