Web Summit: Glitches irrelevant in grand scheme of things

The Web Summit is a slick but not a seamless affair — a bit like Paddy Cosgrave’s woolly jumper, writes Joyce Fegan

Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave speaks at the opening of the summit in Dublin yesterday. Picture: Stephen Collins

Some events, say like a Formula One Grand Prix race, promote barriers for exclusivity’s sake, others like to keep it humble.

The Web Summit and its CEO Paddy Cosgrave like to keep it humble. On the event’s opening day he turned himself out on centre stage, wearing an itchy-looking Aran jumper, which he informed the thronged room of thousands, had been knitted for him by his fiancée.

His fiancée is supermodel and Harvard student Faye Dinsmore.

Mr Cosgrave hung around the wings during the various speakers’ talks as if he was just the lowly stage manager busily checking the screens and monitors.

David Wegener and Sohail Bhatti check out some virtual reality along at the event in the RDS which attracted over 40,000 people. Picture: Julien Behal

He could also be seen casually strolling around the RDS, and even wearing a little red backpack towards the end of the day.

It’s this accessibility that has made the Web Summit go from local to global in just five years.

However, yesterday was not without its faults. Broadband was a continuous bone of contention with some attendees abandoning the #websummit wifi for their own 3G instead.

Ironically, Facebook’s head of technology Mike Schroepfer, while obviously oblivious to the wifi struggles for some attendees, said: “Connectivity for people in this room is something we take for granted, we give out when our 4G drops down to 3G.” Little did ‘The Schroep’ know.

Delegates at the opening day of the Web Summit in Dublin yesterday. Picture: Stephen Collins Picture: Julien Behal

Something the tech big-wig did struggle with was his own audio though. When Mr Schroepfer was demonstrating Facebook’s latest technology on centre stage — his video demo needed sound for full effect — the audio failed to work. He went for it a second time, but still no luck.

Another technological glitch at this tech event involved Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham. His chat with Newstalk’s Orla Barry seemed to be going on far longer than scheduled, but what harm as both of them were enjoying their exchange as was the audience.

Instead of the countdown monitor showing the time reducing by the second, it was in fact increasing.

Cork Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary and his Dublin counterpart Críona Ní Dhálaigh present a heritages scroll to William Clay Ford Jr, chairman of

Ford Motor Company and great-grandson of founder Henry Ford. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke

“It appears we’re stuck in a digital wormhole,” said the actor.

However, all these little glitches around the seams were really irrelevant in the grand scheme of this slick global affair.

Michael Dell at day one of the Web Summit. Picture: Stephen Collins

Mr Cosgrave and his woolly jumper did after all, pull in a crowd of 42,000 people yesterday and not just any 42,000 people but influencers, inventors and major investors. Among these, not a Government minister was there to be seen, instead just professional football managers, Tour de France winners and CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world (many of whom have headquarters here.)

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