Web Summit - Final Day

Davin O'Dwyer and our tech team report on the finale of the Dublin techfest.

Davin O'Dwyer Thu, Nov 6
LIVE: Web Summit - Final Day

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  • This event has now ended
  • 06:57
    It's day three of the Web Summit - the final stretch of what feels like a marathon. There have been so many speakers and so many startup pitches that the early events of day one are already feeling like a dim and distant memory.
  • 07:16
    The hardy souls who survived the Night Summit in the Dame Lane area last night will be conspicuous by their bleary eyes this morning, but it's definitely the case that many attendees count the evening parties as the highlight of the Web Summit, where much of the most valuable networking takes place. Swapping business cards in the crowded RDS arena is one thing, swapping them over a Guinness outside the Stag's Head something quite different.
  • 07:32
    Be sure to follow our team of technology and business reporters on Twitter as they update throughout the day - Pamela Newenham (@pamirishtimes), Tom Lyons (@tomlyonsbiz), Marie Boran (@marievonboran) and Karlin Lillington (@klillington).
  • 07:46
    Today's line-up is full of potential highlights, but I'm particularly looking forward to David Karp, the unassuming founder of Tumblr, acquired by Yahoo last year for a cool billion dollars. While Tumblr hasn't scaled to the same number of users or wider cultural influence as Twitter, say, it has developed a fanatically loyal userbase of a few hundred million users, largely because it's an utter joy to use. He's talking on the Centre Stage at 1.45pm.
  • 07:56
    Clearly there is room to inspire more females to take part in tech. Cathryn Posey, the founder of Tech by Superwomen, is talking on the Machine stage after lunch on the theme “Women in Tech: It’s About All of Us”. A conversation worth taking part in.
  • 08:25
    The Library Stage has been packed out for the first few days, with talks that often address the more abstract side of technological progress. At 4.30pm, two former hackers, Donncha O Cearbhaill and Darren Martyn of Anonymous and Lulzsec, discuss the rise of Anonymous.
  • 08:29
    And of course there's going to be an appearance by Bono to close things out - if you're playing Web Summit Bingo at home, count on a self-deprecating gag about the iTunes album launch fiasco.
  • 09:30
    It's fair to say that tax plays a big role in the thinking of the tech giants - despite their public pronouncements - so the LuxLeaks coverage in today's paper will be closely followed through the day as more names emerge. Follow our exclusive coverage at www.irishtimes.com/business...
    There may be a few executives at the Summit hoping not to answer their phone to the line: "I, this is Colm Keena from The Irish Times. I wonder if I can have a word with you about your firm's tax policy."
  • 09:44
    Rise of the clones
    Rise of the clones
  • 09:50
    Day three begins with a keenly anticipated session on drones, with Stephen Shankland talking to the founder of SkyCatch - along with a well-choreographed demo. Between Amazon's delivery service and unmanned military bombers, drones have captured the popular imagination, but few new technologies have as many troubling questions hanging over them. As panellist Jay Bregman says, "Let's not talk about it being a killer app, that has negative connotations."
  • 10:02
  • 10:06
  • 10:07
    For those wondering about the wifi situation, you'll be immensely relieved to hear it seems to be working smoothly today *crosses fingers, prays to St Anthony*
  • 10:18
    Cloud-catching on the Enterprise stage
    Cloud-catching on the Enterprise stage
  • 10:21
    It's a cloud-focused morning on the Enterprise stage, with Zach Nelson of Netsuite discussing the history of the cloud, which is longer than you'd think. That beautiful stage, by the way, is by street artist Maser, inspired by the shapes of dolmens. Nice juxtaposition there...
  • 10:48
    Pitching hard in the Village
    Pitching hard in the Village
  • 10:51
    It might be day three, but the exhibitors are fresh and enthusiastic in selling their fledgling companies.
  • 10:53
    Mark Zuckerberg has arrived in town, according to the buzz on the streets of Dublin. Can't confirm as yet but it's hardly a coincidence given the line-up of speakers for tonight's closing event at the Web Summit. A Facebook finale is on the cards perhaps?
  • 10:56
    Tim O'Reilly in the frame
    Tim O'Reilly in the frame
  • 10:59
    Right now, though, the Centre Stage is hosting a fascinating conversation with technology publisher Tim O'Reilly and Irish entrepreneur Liam Casey discussing wearables, which has been one of the recurring themes of the Summit. O'Reilly is one of the sharpest guys in the tech scene, and he's got some interesting insights into the way things are going - his big takeway: technology is going to become ubiquitous.
  • 11:31
    Colin Hodge gets Down
    Colin Hodge gets Down
  • 11:38
    Remember Bang with Friends, the Facebook-based dating app? Now it's called Down, and Colin Hodge has a stand to get the word out that Tinder is not the only dating app in town
  • 11:54
    Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave is taking questions at the moment, and yep, someone is asking about the wifi. He's putting the ball firmly in the court of the RDS, saying they refused to allow Cisco to set up a network. He even goes so far as to say RDS chief Michael Duffy will determine if the Web Summit can stay in Ireland
  • 11:57
    For those keeping up with #luxleaks, we will be publishing a story in a few minutes on UK Media Group Northern and Shell and how they used an office at the Red Cow businesspark in Dublin to cut a sizeable chunk off their tax bill. www.irishtimes.com/business...
  • 12:35
    The Press Village, a home from home for hardy hacks
    The Press Village, a home from home for hardy hacks
  • 12:38
    The Media Village has become a veritable second home for most of the journalists covering the Summit - I'm convinced there are some hacks here who have barely got out the door of the place. And why would they - the coffee is excellent!
  • 12:55
    Matt Mullenweg and Tony Conrad talk work
    Matt Mullenweg and Tony Conrad talk work
  • 13:01
    Wordpress not only powers a huge chunk of the sites on the web, but the parent company, Automattic, is breaking new ground in how it operates - it basically doesn't have any central offices, with its few hundred staff working from home with a lot of flexibility. Founder Matt Mullenweg on the Centre Stage discussed the philosophy, pointing out that autonomy is the thing workers value most of all, more than office-place perks or free haircuts. Web development is probably in a rare position to make that work, but it's great to see someone put it into practice. Mullenweg also announced the acquisition of UK development agency Code for the People.
  • 13:40
    Document management doesn't need to be boring
    Document management doesn't need to be boring
  • 13:44
    Julian from Odessa is here with Readdle, a very well-established firm that has a range of excellent document management apps for mobile. Readdle are a lot bigger than most of the exhibitors here, and interestingly aren't looking for investment. Instead, Julia and her team are looking to connect with potential clients for their new B2B document management service. Which basically means she doesn't have to pester passers-by for attention!
  • 13:45
    Tumblr goes large
    Tumblr goes large
  • 13:57
    Eva Longoria isn't the only attractive TV star appearing at the Web Summit
    Eva Longoria isn't the only attractive TV star appearing at the Web Summit
  • 14:08
    It's time for the daily dose of glamour and celebrity on the Centre Stage right now, with Jimmy Chamberlin, legendary drummer with the Smashing Pumpkins; Adrian Grenier, handsome star of Entourage; and Chris Kaskie, a predicably bearded, hipsterish Pitchforker.
    The disussion is all about the disruption of the music industry, which has been going on for almost as long as the glory days of the music industry. Grenier, it turns out, is not just a TV star, but also the founder of Shft.com, a site that 'explores the cultural shift towards sustainability', and also started Wreckroom Records, a small indie label.
    It's not all cocaine and private jets anymore, says Grenier, with a hint of nostalgia for the myths of the past. Chamberlin does a poker face, but jokes that the Pumpkins also had a private jet.
    Like so many of the panels at the Summit covering industries in the throes of tech-induced disruption, the chat hovers around the many unanswerable questions about what the future will hold. Sensibly, Grenier admits that "There is so much change, it's hard to say where the industry is going, because we've only just begun."
  • 14:25
  • 14:32
    All the way from India
    All the way from India
  • 14:39
    Radika and Rahul are here from Delhi with their online education platform Edcited.com. Having come so far, it's interesting to hear what they've got from the Summit - as Radika put it, it's like 'live Facebook', a tremendous networking opportunity. Rahul acknowledges, however, that it's probably not the ideal environment for finding investors. The real proof of their satisfaction, however, is that they're already planning next year's visit.
  • 14:54
    The pitching pays off
    The pitching pays off
  • 15:13
    After three days of long, long queues and great word of mouth, I've finally made it to the Library Stage in the Main Arena. 
If the Summit is Electric Picnic, the Library Stage is the Mindfields area, a space for more in-depth, cerebral examinations of tech-related fields. 
Right now we have one of the most keenly anticipated panels of the Summit, a Guardian Sessions panel on how to restore faith in intelligence agencies in a post-Snowden world.
Guardian journalist James Ball, who worked on the original Snowden revelations, is moderating a strong panel, including former MI5 agent and whistleblower Annie Machon. 
Good discussion on one of the most urgent issues facing the technology industry, and society at large.
    After three days of long, long queues and great word of mouth, I've finally made it to the Library Stage in the Main Arena. If the Summit is Electric Picnic, the Library Stage is the Mindfields area, a space for more in-depth, cerebral examinations of tech-related fields. Right now we have one of the most keenly anticipated panels of the Summit, a Guardian Sessions panel on how to restore faith in intelligence agencies in a post-Snowden world. Guardian journalist James Ball, who worked on the original Snowden revelations, is moderating a strong panel, including former MI5 agent and whistleblower Annie Machon. Good discussion on one of the most urgent issues facing the technology industry, and society at large.
  • 15:26
    There is an understandably UK focus to this discussion, but the lessons are rather universal - the surveillance over-reach is more of a political problem than a technological one, as panellists Machon, Bella Shankey and Jamie Bartlett are at pains to point out. It's a corrosive political culture that takes advantage of the technological possibilities, rather than the political culture being shaped by the technology. Important distinction.
  • 15:26
  • 15:31
    No Zuckerberg then, despite the rumour mill being in overdrive earlier today. Thiel is still a big ticket item for a closing ceremony though. If you want a taster of his new book then have a look at the extract we ran last week.
  • 15:34
  • 15:43
    Death of an ad salesman
    Death of an ad salesman
  • 15:47
    The Marketing stage has featured a much wider range of topics than the name would suggest, but this afternoon features a strong advertising focus. Right now, James Cooper of Betaworks and Ben Palmer of Barbarian Group are discussing how the traditional ad agency is being radically altered in recent years. It might not be obvious to the rest of us, but the Mad Men-style ad agency of yore is being seriously disrupted by the rise of new advertising channels.
  • 16:01
    Travel guides done right
    Travel guides done right
  • 16:13
    Among the exhibitors are a bewildering number of social networks, messaging apps and plain old silly ideas that are just never gonna work. But others are genuinely polished, such as iClio's city guide app Jitt, or Just In Time Travel. Karl Smyth is the Irish creative officer for the Portuguese firm, and explains how the guide content is written by the founders, who are historians by training - proof, if needed, of the huge range of entrepreneurs who come to the Summit.
  • 16:30
  • 16:31
  • 16:32
    The Centre Stage auditorium is already full for the final few speakers, with Peter Thiel and Bono yet to come. Right now, though, serial entrepreneur Mark Pincus of Zynga fame is chatting away, exuding the sort of bouncy self-confidence common to so many successful founders.
    "I was basically unemployable in my 20s," he says, giving encouragement to career-less twentysomethings everywhere.
  • 16:34
    Portuguese company Codacy won the BETA award at the Pitch competition for their start-up which operates a platform of code patterns designed to complement unit tests, seeking to make software development more efficient by living in the code reality.
    BaseStone, from the UK, won the ALPHA Award for their company, which aims to streamline communication and speed up the design review process.
    The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 200 finalists after three days of intense pitching in front of thousands of people. Judges included John O’Farrell of Andreessen Horowitz and Alfred Lin of Sequoia.
    This year the competition saw over 1,500 entries, 200 of which were shortlisted from over 30 countries.
  • 16:38
    Zynga games founder Mark Pincus has told the Summit he registered the domain name smstaxi.com back in 2002. He felt there was huge potential to order a taxi by text. he said his idea wasn't as good as Uber though.
  • 16:45
    It's Peter Thiel on the big stage
    It's Peter Thiel on the big stage
  • 16:46
    Peter Thiel says everyone should be doing more to fight against ageing. "Almost every disease in the world is linked to ageing," he said.
    He also says the challenges facing the flying car are political not technological.
  • 16:52
    Thiel is one of the foremost thinkers in Silicon Valley and he's showing why right now - from artificial intelligence to the fight against ageing. He is a man of considered definite opinions.There's an admirably Spock-like rigour to his logic that's actually pretty winning.
  • 16:58
    Now Thiel is asked by interviewer Caroline Daniel about his opinions on Europe - he recently described Europe as a lazy slacker. the question gets a round of applause form the hard-driving entrepreneur-minded audience. Thiel, who was born in Germany, says he often ponders how he might have developed if he didn't move to the US when he was just a baby of one year-old. But there's a reason Thiel is recognised as one of tech's most strident libertarians.
  • 17:08
    In the last panel of Web Summit 2014 the crowd goes wild for David Carr of the New York Times. And maybe a few whistles for the panellists, including a token Irish man, Bono.
    The topic is the future of music, once again. What will Bono have to say about digital distribution I wonder?
  • 17:12
    Carr gets straight to the point, asking about he iTunes fiasco. "You gave your music away for free, and you were the worst person on the internet for three days," he says.
    By way of explanation Bono delivers the response: "We had a lot of people who have no relationship with U2 to be mad at U2, and I would call that an improvement in the relationship."
  • 17:18
    Bono is on a roll now. "Musicians used to be troubadours, that had to sing for their supper. But I prefer it when musicians are in charge of our own destiny. I'd like to see a situation when tech companies cross-fertilise with cultural companies. What makes me nervous about the present moment is that musicians are losing that power. It's better when we don't have to pay for the lord of the manor.
  • 17:20
    @pamirishtimes reporting that not everyone is enamoured with the panel line-up. A significant number of those in the tiered seating at the back have left.
  • 17:22
    Also on stage is Dana Brunetti, the producer of house of Cards and Eric Wahlforss, co-founder of SoundCloud. And there's another guy who hasn't said much so far, maybe he's there for symmetry. but the eclectic nature of the panel is making for a rather unfocused discussion which Carr is trying to put some shape on...
  • 17:28
    The disruption the panel are discussing can't match the disruption at the back of the room where lots of people are filing out already. In fairness it has been a long few days but it's probably a fair reflection of the conversation up on stage.
  • 17:38
    The discussion is working best when Bono hogs the limelight. Addressing the audience, he draws a parallel with the music business: "You remind me of being in a band, that thrill of making shit up. Even Jony Ive looks like someone I'd be in a band with, like a big Edge."
  • 17:49
    And that's that. Bono's one liner closing the show. The odd bunch take their leave and the big room empties out - Web Summit 2014 comes to an end. This year's edition has at times appeared too big, too unwieldy and too sprawling. But it is an undoubted phenomenon, the results of boundless imagination and effort. At this point, with this many attendees, it's important to the perception of Dublin as a major tech hub can't be overstated. Check out the rest of our coverage online and in tomorrow's paper. Thanks for reading...