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Web Summit is Dead! Long live Web Summit!

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by Startacus Admin

Web Summit ReflectionAs we reflect on the journey of Web Summit over the past five years, and the unfortunate circumstances which have unfolded in recent times, we find ourselves disproportionately troubled.

Some will think it is fanciful to lament something so trivial as the movement of an event from one country to another, as though our lives will be hugely impacted… but we are not apologetic to say it troubles us… very very much.

It strikes a particular chord at Startacus HQ because Web Summit, and the history of its growth and development sharply encapsulates the spirit and ethos upon which our community is founded; reject the naysayers, aim for the stars, work hard and there is no limit to the success that can be attained.

Ireland itself is testament to the power this mantra. A tiny island at the furthest reaches of Europe, whose influence, culture, traditions, and spirit have spread to every corner of the world in a way that has perhaps never been seen before. An emerald in the ocean, that shows the world that although you may be small, there is nothing beyond your reach.

It is this indelible spirit that the founders and team at Web Summit have so completely demonstrated over the past 5 years. From a small local technology event at Chartered Accountants House in Dublin, attracting just a few hundred attendees, to the tens of thousands of attendees, speakers, media, and startups from every single corner of the globe, we saw last week. No one who has attended Web Summit in recent times, could fail to appreciate that they were witness to something truly remarkable.

It is surely the very epitome of enterprising spirit, entrepreneurialism, and gutsy determination, that has brought them to this point; all qualities which are so encouraged by every quarter as a means to create an economy robust enough to survive in the 21st century.

Yet in the face of such overwhelming achievement, a dark cloud has hung over Web Summit this year. How regrettable it is that on an island which has inspired the biggest of things, success so often breeds mistrust and suspicion; the sense that if you ‘make it’ there is an automatic resentment which needs to be meted out.

Many of you will not have witnessed the media circus that surrounded Web Summit and its founders in the year leading up to the event. As dubious reports of disquiet amongst government officials, and declining interrelations surfaced, there were few that could ignore something was going very seriously wrong.

In a bittersweet homage to Ireland’s emigrant past Web Summit itself is now leaving the island; the sunny shores of Portugal offering a more promising environment in which it can grow.

Wifi issues and overpriced burgers aside, this is truly a sad day for Ireland; to all but lose an event which for 3 days a year placed the country squarely in the centre of the technology world’s view will surely be a great loss and a particularly bitter pill to swallow.

But the world moves on quickly, and it wouldn’t be right to end this meandering lament without turning attention to next year’s Web Summit in Lisbon. If past events are any indication, the event will continue to go from strength to strength, and be even more successful, more energetic, and more determined in its new home.

An enormous congratualtions to Web Summit founders Paddy Cosgrave and Daire Hickey, aswell as all of the team on another truly spectacular event.

Web Summit is dead! Long live Web Summit!

Web Summit 2016

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Published on: 9th November 2015

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