In May 1954, English runner Roger Bannister broke the seemingly impenetrable barrier of the sub-four-minute mile, a month after his rival John Landy proclaimed it to be impossible.
With a renewed sense of possibility, Landy followed suit just six weeks later.
The message from Twitter executive Adam Bain, who regaled the masses with the tale on the second day of the Web Summit, was clear: Impossible is nothing, believe in yourselves.
As the company’s president of global revenue, Bain’s weighty message clearly struck a chord.
In the continuing absence of reliable wifi within the RDS, word of mouth was back in vogue as aspiring tech titans, industry professionals, investors, and spectators mingled looking to strike the deal or shake the hand that could set them on the path to their own little slice of success.
A sense of possibility permeated the Web Summit Village as the theme of greatness continued to poke its head above the parapet throughout the day.
If Bain invoking the spirit of Bannister wasn’t sufficient to sustain the message, the announcement that I Am Ali – the forthcoming documentary on Muhammad Ali — was to be screened in the summit’s mobile cinema was a timely reminder.
Such was the continued success of the event you could almost picture its founder Paddy Cosgrave practising his Ali impression: “I’m the greatest; I shook up the world!”
Such was the size of the crowd in attendance, it was difficult to begrudge the Trinity College Dublin graduate his due recognition.
Now in its fourth year, the summit has undoubtedly given the tech landscape here and abroad a good shaking and helped position Ireland at the centre of a boom that shows no signs of abating.
Looking ahead to next year’s event, however, Cosgrave could do worse than have a chat with not only the operators of the RDS, whom he repeatedly berated from the main stage on the opening day, but Bain too.
When the Twitter heavyweight warned as he departed the stage that, often, the only enemy is within, he could easily have been addressing the summit’s founder directly.
Where oh where Paddy, is the wifi?
Today at the Summit: Bono and Bitcoin
There’s no let-up in the steady stream of A-list celebrities and tech gurus on show today as the summit enters its final stages and Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist, Gavin Anderson is joined by co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel on the main stage.
The Irish are well represented on the same stage later in the day with U2 frontman Bono and victorious Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, pictured, also addressing the gathering.
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