Web2Ireland – almost Mainstream

Been reading the various posts by bloggers on the recent Web2Ireland event organised by Enterprise Ireland.

(Photo of Marc Canter Speaking , by Dermod)

Prize for one of the better (and concise) definitions of Web 2.0 goes to Kevin Sherry of Enterprise Ireland:

Web 2.0 is the Second Wave of Internet Business Activity.

Having said that , my view is Web 2.0 is almost , but not quite , going mainstream (in Ireland at least). Judging by the people I met (more below) and the dress standards I would judge the audience as 1/3rd Business-VC (suit and tie) 1/3rd Techie (Jeans and T-Shirt) and 1/3rd Professional Technologist (Suit but no tie). This contrasts with the last Web 2.0 event , where the audience was almost exclusively techie, despite dual business and technology marketing.

You can judge for yourself from the agenda at the Web2Ireland site, but my only gripe is that I’m not sure if Enterprise Ireland got the balance right. Aside from Marc Canter (who managed to successfuly quote Joyce in a techie presentation!) the main speakers – Judy Gibbons from Accel and Jeff Clavier (Software Only) – were either VC or Angel investors. That’s not to say that they didn’t have a lot of good, interesting and relevant things to say (more below), it just meant that you had to bear in mind their angle on things (we want to lend you money). Given the success of all the people mentioned  this paragraph, I think they are well worth listening to. Adam Green , who despite being on a blogging break, hosted a very good lunchtime session (summary: ‘everything is XML’).

The key things I learned from the above speakers were (these are paraphrased , so excuse me if the quotes get lost in translation):

  • Web 1.0 is dialup , Web 2.0 is broadband.
  • Web 2.0 is part of a virteous circle, where each technology builds on the expectations – e.g. consumers now expect to find information online , so more information becomes available.
  • Web 2.0 is still incomplete , so need to navigate around what is possible and what is not. (e.g Netflix , started with posting out DVD’s , but will stream video as that becomes widespread).
  • Content is not scalable, but user generated content is.
  • ‘The customer is only one click away from never using you again.’
  • A valid business model is (still) seeing what has worked well in the US, then implementing it in Europe before the Americans can.
  • Only exit strategy is to be bought – forget about IPO’s.
  • Innovation comes from small companies.
  • Make your website / service addictive.
  • Leverage the power of community.
  • Enterprise Web 2.0 is not there yet , but it will be.

This last point is of particular interest, given that the stuff that FirstPartners build is increasingly Web 2.0 techniques and technologies applied to the problems of the Enterprise. That’s probably worth another , separate blog post.

There a lot of good people that I met on the day, but a lot of people that I either missed, or didn’t have enough time to complete our conversations. By way of an apology , I’ll use the power of WordPress to trackback to them. Their blogs are well worth reading for further information / angles on the event.

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  1. Hi Paul

    Thanks for the detailed write-up. I had hoped to meet up at the event – networking was good, but good be better

    Look forward to chatting soon – once i get back from Boston 🙂


  2. Paul,

    Glad to read your comment on the O’Reilly OnJava blog. We like to hear the good and the bad and that’s why I’m writing. It would be good to get a push in the right direction regarding who, exactly, you would like to see in future conferences and what kind of mix you think would be suitable to creating a good atmosphere to help entrepreneurs get involved. This conference was organised to respond to the criticism that companies don’t understand what funding options and exit routes are available and are not able to get face time with non-Irish angels/VCs. The next conference will be guided by the larger community that particpated at this conference and I value your input.


  3. Ben,

    Thanks for the comment (and the earlier email) – you’re never going to keep everybody happy at a conference like this , but I thought it was one of the better one’s I’ve attended.

    I’ll repeat some of the remarks I made to your EI colleagues on why I was impressed with the event

    1) I didn’t expect to see any mainstream organisation running anything to do with Web 2.0 for at least another 6 months.

    2) I was surprised / impressed by the quality of the particular speakers choosen / who agreed to speak. Given that EI deals with the Oracles / Microsofts /Dells the easy route would have been just to get somebody from that direction. Instead, time was taken to dig out people with good and relevant things to say.


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