By Kevin Kline
With 10,000 people at the Dublin Tech Summit this week, two-thirds don’t call Ireland home. Organizers say having so many people come to Dublin from around the world will help solidify the city as the “European Tech Capital.”But for North Americans making the trek, the Dublin Tech Summit provides more than a chance to network and hear the same talks from American conferences. #DTS brought together a variety of voices from both sides of the Atlantic giving Americans new perspective to bring home.North Americans at the Dublin Tech Summit say being on the ground in Europe pays off as they try to grow in Europe. Here are the perspectives of four North Americans: two based in Ireland and two visiting.
1. Culture Matters
“I would strongly encourage people from the U.S. to travel to conferences like this outside of the States,” say Patricia DuChene, the director of international sales for Silicon Valley-based Wrike.
Wrike provides project management applications that DuChene says help break down silos in businesses. As DuChene expands the business oversea, she understands different cultures will view those “silos” differently. Events like the Dublin Tech Summit helps Americans understand and appreciate the unique cultures of their customers.
“Culture does matter,” says DuChene. “As much as we love to ‘cookie cutter’ it from the States, you can’t.”
2. Americans Need To Listen
Paul Knittle moved from Boston to County Clare just four months ago, launching the European presence for Massachusetts-based Wireless Analytics.
In that time, Knittle noticed European subsidiaries of American companies dislike it when corporate officials in America make a decision that everyone has to follow.
The attitudes change, Knittle says, when it’s clear the Americans simply listened before making the choice.
“The thing I would take back is American companies, if they want to be more successful, they need to listen more.”
3. Community And Business Must Work Together
North Americans also come to Dublin Tech Summit specifically to learn about business in Ireland. Mlanden Ryhard, chief designer for Profit Data Pros. in Alberta, Canada, opted to spend a full week in Dublin to see how companies use artificial intelligence and data analytics.
Alberta’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and natural gas, which have suffered in recent years. However, there’s been an effort to build an ecosystem of data science and technology.
Ryhard says Dublin’s data science community feeds the businesses and the businesses feed the community. He says conferences like the Dublin Tech Summit are essential.
“There is so much happening in so many areas, you could subscribe to 100 magazines and not get that global perspective,” says Ryhard.
4. Hubs Work Best When They’re Close
— Sasha Horne (@SashaHorne) February 15, 2017
Sasha Horne, a former television news reporter from America who now blogs about technology in Hollywood, says the Dublin technology scene impressed here in her first visit to Ireland. She compares Dublin to the “Silicon Beach” in Los Angeles.
Horne says she loves how so many Dublin technology companies are located in the Docklands area. That helps bring the whole community together. She says L.A. has multiple hubs spread out over the sprawling city. Hollywood and Cal Tech, for example, are an hour’s drive at rush hour.
“[Los Angeles’ tech scene] feels like it is about to happen but hasn’t quite happened yet,” says Horne. “But [in Dublin], you get the sense that you have arrived.”
Horne points out one misconception many outside the United States have about technology: there’s much more than Silicon Valley.
Across America, regional technology hubs including Des Moines, Austin, and even Los Angeles are growing, but they don’t get the same amount of attention. Horne noticed talking with the startups at the Dublin Tech Summit showcase, most wanted to expand into the United States.
“They were only thinking of Silicon Valley. I feel like an ambassador for [Silicon Beach],” Horne explains.
She continues, “Hey, come down south. Six hours south, there’s this booming tech scene that you can be apart of.”
For thousands of visitors in Dublin for the Tech Summit, the biggest takeaway is that connections formed here are universal.
DuChene from Wrike says, “The problems [companies] face here are the same as the problems companies face in the U.S.”
“It’s all about humans. It’s all about emotions. It’s all about personalities. It’s all about listening,” says Knittle.
Despite governing differences to cultural disconnections, North Americans at the Dublin Tech Summit argue America and Europe’s similarities are growing stronger.