Barcamp Belfast 2008

In a reminder that it’s now been more than 1 year since Barcamp Dublin, Barcamp Belfast is on this Saturday, 21st June. Looks like it’s going to be bigger and better than last year’s event.

Barcamp Belfast Logo

Belfast hasn’t moved any further away from Dublin in the last 12 months, so I can safely recycle last year’s plug for the event.

For most people in Dublin , the Belfast Barcamp is nearer than the forthcoming Galway and Tipp events. It’s 2 hours by train from Dublin (with the venue pretty close to both the Central and Botanic rail stations) and about the same by Car , with Motorway for all but 15 miles of the journey.

Denise Fay (Achieve Marketing) – the latest Irish Business Blogger

Denise Fay of Achieve Marketing is finally blogging over at achievemarketing.ie. The guide to Business Blogging in Ireland is a direct result of Denise’s Marketing Session at the Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk, but even so , it’s taken 6 months of intimidation sorry encouragement since the Barcamp Belfast meetup to get Denise to this point (she insists on using her time to look after customers).

A couple of things that I’ve learnt if you want to get people in your business network blogging:

    1. Everybody wants the site traffic, but not everybody can / wants to make the effort. Not everybody is suited to writing stuff (but then again, they’re probably a natural at professional networking). Denise writes press releases already , so not only does she have interesting stories to tell, but she has those stories already written down.
    2. Blogging probably seems natural to you now, but you forget how much you’ve learned. Set aside some time to go through the basics with your victim. 1 hr should be enough if you’ve done the ground work (i.e. have wordpress already setup). Get a blogpost out within the first 10 minutes (to show how easy it is). Then work your way through the other tabs in wordpress. Concepts (like categories, linking , trackbacks, url structure) will naturally flow in the conversation.
    3. I was lucky that Denise had already setup Google Analytics for some of her clients. Even so the latest version of wordpress makes setting up analytics easy , and those charts are so damn addictive!
    4. I found that a combination of having the new blog (Achieve Marketing) and my one (People and Technology) open at the same , and flicking between the the old and new blogs worked well. Some stuff like themes, archived blogposts, spam prevention is easier to understand on a blog that’s been in use for a while.

To set the background, Denise is very knowledgable about her area (Marketing), has people to get the techie stuff done and definitely knows more about the web than she admits, but would in no way be classed as a ‘techie’!

Anybody up for Seedcamp Ireland (Dublin | Belfast | Newry | Dundalk)?

At a recent OpenCoffee Dublin event Brian Cleland of InterTrade Ireland mooted the idea of a Seedcamp Ireland. He’d love to see it be held in Newry or Dundalk (as cross-border networking is really his thing), but is realistic enough to consider other locations.

Seedcamp logo

To quote the main Seedcamp website:

Seedcamp is where Europe’s top young founders can come together in one place.

From securing funding to developing the right network, young entrepreneurs in Europe face challenges in building globally competitive technology businesses. Through the provision of seed capital and a world class network of mentors, we want to provide a catalyst for Europe’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

We might need to use a different name, but would you be interested in an informal meetup of startups and investors? Given the turn in the property market, would investors be ooking to put their money into the startup technology sector? Where would you like to see it held?

Irish Business Networking – Investnet.ie – better than OpenCoffee, Barcamp or BNI?

Derek Organ left me a comment about the new Investnet site. Investnet run the successful (offline, Dublin based) Wireless Wednesday and First Tuesday networking events. In terms of cold financial payback, the latter is the most successful IT-Business networking event(s) that I’ve taken part in. Now all these networks are available online, in a Facebook / LinkedIn style site.

Good to see an Irish Organisation ‘get’ the networking possibilities that Web2.0 brings.

InvestNet Ireland Logo
Also came up in conversation at Barcamp BelfastBusiness Networking International (BNI). Great if you do lots of little sales – e.g. Accountants, Solicitors, IT shops , as the aim is do to cross referrals between close, but not competing , companies.

I’ll (finally) get to OpenCoffee Dublin tomorrow (Thurs 5th July). Will it be better for networking than Investnet, Barcamp or BNI?

BarCamp Belfast – Business Startup – Java – GIS – Semantic – Internet Marketing presentations

Summary of BarCamp Belfast – on the day presentations about Business Startup – Java – GIS and the Semantic web .

Link to slides for our presentation ‘Java Bites Back’ – what’s bad and good about Enterprise Java, e.g. compared to Ruby.
Barcamp Belfast Logo

Grainne Lennon from Intertrade Ireland talked about the Seedcorn Business Startup competition. More details on the competition are here. Probably good to enter to help knock your business plan into shape, rather than expecting to get the Eur100,000 prize.
Matt Keenan- from OpCode solutions (and one of the Barcamp organisers) – Starting your own tech business. Key points:

  • Cash is King.
  • Have a Business Plan – and don’t forget about your cashflow (spot a theme here?) as well as the usual revenue projects.
  • Remember your exit strategy when talking to investors – they will want their money back!
  • Enterprise Centres in Northern Ireland (38 of them)
  • Subcontract rather than Employees – reduces your exposure / liabilities.
  • Professional Contractors Group – free tax audit insurance , advice for members
Con Hennessy from OpenApp.ie – Open Source GIS (Geographic Information Systems), particularly in the Health sector.

  • (Open Source) Technologies used : Mapserver , PostgreSQL (Database), PostGIS , RProject (Statisical Analysis), GRASS , ZOPE (application framework) and Python
  • GIS Data is very expensive
John Breslin – Cloudlands – Presenting on the Semantic Web as part of Web 2.0.

  • What is Web 2.0 (second generation Web Architecture)
  • Users – Content – Tags – Comments
  • Sematic Web – Meta data (describes things on the web) and Ontologies (Dictionaries explaining the meaning of the meta tags)
  • Freebase – open , shared database of the world’s knowledge.
Colin Turner – Spreading Open Source Software via the Education Community.

  • Not everybody understands or agrees what is Open Software
  • Why isn’t free software used more in Education?
  • People reasons (lose budget , free = bad , software is flakey , where’s my supported)
  • Refuted (e.g. Quality, can get support , using software already)
  • Teach students how to work in distributed teams.
Alastair – Logon.ie

  • Blogs and SEO
  • Ezines – use Feedburner to deliver blog content via email
  • SEO Title Tag – manually set titles
  • URL rewriting
  • RedFly Marketing – PHP script – to test landing page options
  • Use subdomains (e.g. http://blog.firstpartners.net)