Irish Tech News received several tickets for the Web Summit to give to female founders. Here is social entrepreneur and founder of Sober Sessions, Aine Rynne’s take on the Web Summit. Words by Aine Rynne founder of @sobersessions20 and lover of live music. Freelance in publicity and event management. Main image by Brendan O Se @Fotopunctuation .

I have admired the tech start up industry from a far – all this clever, innovative brainstorming and developing apps for a more convenient life. My first day at the web summit was a bit like a deer caught in a headlights, aimlessly wandering around, scouring the stands to see if there might be something with the same synergy as my own start up. I soon realized that I needed to plan the rest of my time there – given the speed in which things happen; short, snappy talks and a flurry of activity – it was enough to take one’s breath away!

One thing I felt was lacking was the lack of social enterprise technology (or perhaps I just didn’t find any – it was like looking for a needle in a hay stack sometimes!). I did find an area for philanthropic inititatives but there was sadly only about four or five of these. However, I was at the main stage during an enlightened talk about drone mapping in Nepal and how together with the local community they set about rebuilding the devestated areas hit by the earthquake. This was using technology for the good and I really appreciated the fact that the local people were very much part of the whole process.

I decided to go to a talk about Facebook marketing and wanted to learn more about they as a company operate. The discussion was very much geared towards user trust and how Facebook genuinely cares about engaging with issues around user safety. The most important aspect of all – according to the head of Facebook marketing in Europe – is that we are all in control of our data. Not sure how many people were reassured by that but anyway. I went to another talk about app discovery and how there will be a disruption in the next 10 years where app stores will eventually go away. I think this would be an excellent development – less noise/more intelligent searches. I also went to hear some of the pitches and was delighted to be there for the Irish start up – Foodcloud – an excellent social enterprise solution to food waste.

Day three of the web summit was for me the most beneficial – Music Summit – included very lively discussions about technology trends in the sector and how the role of musicians in the tech world is changing rapidly. It was interesting to me how open industry professionals are to streaming with one describing it as “telling a story through technology” and “streaming is evolution”. Of course they are speaking in relation to the big names – the ones that make enough money touring so for the emerging artist this doesn’t apply. I had thought that this was across the board a big no-no so it was fascinating to hear. Artists, according to Bruce Flior, are becoming too accesible via social media, however he admires Adele for keeping that mystique by having a more low key approach.

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Interestingly and refreshingly, radio is still as relevant today then ever and still hugely important for artists to break into. I soaked all of this up and tried to apply some of what I learned to a smaller scale venture like my own and how with the right set of tools and access to the right technology, perhaps I can utilise these for the betterment and development of Sober Sessions. It’s something I rarely consider – adapting technology to the organisation, which could strengthen and solidify the vision and crucially widen the audience and build a community. Food for thought! Thanks to Irish Tech News for giving me this opportunity to relish in all the possibilities of the Web Summit – it was a privilege to be there!


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