What I learned at the Web Summit (Day 2)

If you were put in a cell measuring three feet by six feet, you’d have a cause for complaint with Amnesty International, but that’s just about all the space you’ll get as a ‘free’ exhibitor at the Web Summit. And when I say ‘free’, I obviously don’t mean it.

No, ‘free’ in this context runs anywhere from €1,900 to €2,500 – possibly more, but that was all the research I managed to get done today. For that, you get a hard-backed poster with your name and brand on it, and the afore-mentioned space. Except, that’s public space, so if someone decides to stand in it blocking anyone from coming near you, well, we’re developing and app for that.

A regular attendee, with no stand, pays a mere €500. I am definitely in the wrong business.

The ‘stand’ itself is pretty impressive – made of the finest chipboard (particle board) it comes with a luxury locker, though you have to bring your own padlock.

Anyhoo, the E-Skoot went down pretty well with the tech crowd, but then again it always does. Tech people are, by definition, early adopters, and they have no problem adapting to the new transport paradigm.

I also picked up the new and advanced I-Phone from IBM (remember them?).


This is a fascinating new piece of technology. For starters, you can see how stylish the case is, and though relatively thick, it has a huge memory capacity. And also, one of the best things is that you don’t have to tap tap in every letter. Get this! You can actually write it in. Here’s a picture of the memory capacity.


You can keep thousands of contacts, write yourself notes and do complicated sums you can’t do in your head. Fantastic! Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?

I haven’t managed to make a call on it yet, but then you know the Wi-Fi situation at the Web Summit is awful, so I suspect it’s that. Either way I predict this is going to huge.

The best thing I saw today was in the ‘Content’ Summit and that was The Guardian’s ‘Orphan’ system.

It’s software that tracks how the 400-500 pieces of writing – published by The Guardian each day on their website – do in terms of readership. It can tell them how many readers it got, where they are, and lots more besides. They weren’t demonstrating their own software to a bunch of techies but there was enough there to see how it works.

When a post doesn’t do well, they analyse it in terms of picture support, SEO in the headline, relevance to audience etc. and can then re-do it to maximise its web potential. This is the modern equivalent of being able to turn a story into its 1950s equivalent “Honey, come in here and look at this.”




That was the benchmark of a good story, according to my old journalism professor. He maintained that when he was growing up, the husband came home from work and watched the news, while his wife made the dinner. But occasionally, he would utter those words, and when he did, well, that was a good story.

Now, The Guardian is capable of re-doing the story until it reaches that point where people want to share it.

That’s about it for today folks. I’m tired and need my rest.

However, tomorrow night I’m playing a gig with my friends, Luke Coffey and Niall Hughes, at the Blue Light Pub in the Dublin Mountains, near Sandyford. You can follow us on Twitter here or on Facebook here. It’s a fun night out by the fire, a terrific view of Dublin, and acoustic music with no amplification.

I’d love to see you there and anyone who mentions this blog gets a prize.

You can’t do better than that.




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