In this piece, Hubert Grealish, lead start-up and consulting partner for MPERA Consulting, shares his stories from Summit 2013 from a uniquely start-up viewpoint. Follow him too @hubertgrealish to see more detail and insights to what he has to share for start-ups.
Collision was the Summit team’s first major US event, in Downtown Vegas last week. Follow the hashtag #CollisionConf to see the Collide startups’s offerings and ideas, as well as their rich and different means of sharing them.
There’s a lot of well deserved attention towards The Summit’s 4th installment, which again broke records. In terms of calibre and content, it was second to none. At the top end were the legends of Elon Musk and many of the technorati all-stars. As one person said from the fair, you know you’re at a geek event when Elon Musk gets more attention than Bono. And yes, Bono was there too. Though as the ultimate tech event coup, Paddy and the lads (Irish Premier included) opened the NASDAQ exchange from the Summit, one of many notable firsts that week.
What’s really interesting is that real news is coming out since too, with investment conversations coming to fruition, such as Spark of Genius Award winner SmartThings winning another $12M in investment, after getting 3$M last year too.
Why’s the Summit Useful?
Paul McDonnell (@Paul_Austin), aka ‘Start-up Guy’ for The Summit and his team, sifted through 6,500 applications, yet ‘…everyone’s treated like a rock star…’ as Robert Scobles aptly said.
Connecting Irish style
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny himself was on hand and not for just the photo shoot. He was around on and off over the two conference day, spotted walking the floors. Testament to the organizing team and the Irish Government’s inward investment agencies Enterprise Ireland, the Industrial Development Authority. Also in active mode was the new novel new entity, Connect Ireland, which rewards citizens with cash bonuses for each new job they help create in Ireland.
Add to that a buzzing party schedule. Rob Farhat – The Summit’s first artistic director – put together a brilliant Night Summit programme aimed unashamedly at topping Austin’s SXSW legendary series of nights, with a distinctly Irish flavour. There was an amazing – included in fee – Food Summit offsite next door also, with literally the best chefs in Ireland presenting most likely the best on-site catering at any tech conference, ever. Huge success.
There was even a great and oversubscribed surfing and kite-surfing trip to Achill Island off Mayo, timed for just after The Summit and whilst the parrallel F.ounders invite-only event was in full swing back near Dublin.
Execution More Important Than Ever
Of all the speakers, there was one that sent a few ripples of nods throughout the group and set tongues wagging for a while amidst the fair. So it’s good to mention here too. The ever popular Gary Veynerchuk (@GaryVee) cut to the chase, saying we’re all marketing ‘like it’s 2009’… holding back no punches when he said we don’t need any more f*cking data… that in the world much technology execution and work ethic and consistency will be the new differentiator.
So in the space four short years, we’ve seen The Summit burst onto the tech scene as a formidable tech conference. Certainly punching above it’s weight when considered against the more established TechCrunch, Pioneer and LeWeb events, with even more plans ahead for 2014. And with the rebrand from Web Summit to The Summit, it’s clear the team have their sights on a more inclusive, agnostic type of tech summit, transcending all the sectors and uniting a bigger world of ideas and innovations, all around the web.
On a final thought, I wanted to relay Paul’s great point about personalities and start-ups to running a business of any size or type: That just about everyone has to learn to overcome their fears or shynesses. The one thing they’ve learned is to overcome their nerves, to learn to sell their business and their product wares. So that’s the secret of The Summit’s success too. To not be too sure of yourself and to let your personality out to play once in a while as well. For the human game of tech will always rely on it.
Applications for ALPHA at The Summit 2014 have just opened, a great opportunity for startups taking their next development step. As the heartbeat of events like The Summit and more recently Collision too in the US, startups are the emerging heartbeat of business, as what a large proportion of conference attendees come to see. You can apply for ALPHA here.