Web Summit begins long goodbye

It’s to be a Web Summit of two halves. On one hand, the capital will be celebrating a tech conference that, in just five years, has gone from attracting 1,500 people to more than 30,000 people.
Web Summit begins long goodbye

On the other hand, it’ll be a three-day long goodbye as the Web Summit decamps to Lisbon in 2016.

While we can still call it our own — let’s have a look at the Web Summit week ahead in figures and figureheads.

Dell founder Michael Dell takes centre stage this morning, talking the 30,000-plus attendees through his corporation’s evolution. In total this year, there will be 1,000 A-list speakers, from the world of investment to invention.

Another A-list speaker today is Slack chief executive Stewart Butterfield. Slack is the messaging platform that’s more than likely going to replace your email. Butterfield also co-founded the photo-sharing website Flickr. It’s been two years since Slack’s launch and the platform is now valued at $2.8bn.

Following Dell and Butterfield on stage, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger will wrap up day one of Web Summit on centre stage at 4pm.

Also speaking this week in the RDS will be author Dan Brown, golfer Padraig Harrington, and Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios.

Where these big names will rest their heads is another thing. Most hotel beds within a 5km radius of the city centre have no room at the inn. The Croke Park Hotel, the Shelbourne, and the Westbury are all booked out. The latter two establishments were retailing rooms at €385 a night.

The big hope is that the Web Summit will run a little smoother than last year, especially after the broadband outage at the international tech fest in 2014.

Getting things off to an efficient and edgy start is the fact that it’s not just flights you’ll be able to check-in for at Dublin Airport today. For any of the 30,000 or so attendees landing on the capital’s runways, they’ll be able to check-in for the conference on arrival at Terminals 1 and 2.

In terms of numbers this will be the biggest Web Summit so far. In its inaugural year, 2011, founder Paddy Cosgrove pulled in 1,494 people. By 2014, he’d brought this number to 22,158 and now it’s exceeded 30,000.

On top of the 30,000 attendees and 1,000 speakers, more than 100 countries will be represented at the conference over the next three days, 1,500 journalists will be in attendance, and it is estimated that the Web Summit will make several million impressions on social media platforms.

It’s had Bono, Arianna Huffington, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings in the past but it’s wide open as to which international celebrities will show up this week. One thing is for certain though, Taoiseach Enda Kenny won’t be among the 30,000 attendees — he caught his invite too late.

The sold-out Web Summit runs until Thursday.

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