Picnic tables, coffee and wooden boxes @WebSummit

IMG_1915Above – Bill Ford being interviewed on the main stage on the first day of WebSummit.

Isn’t it amazing how a cup of coffee can sometimes relax you?

I’m sitting at what can only be described as a picnic table in the main RDS hall at the end of the first day of WebSummit.

I hadn’t planned on so much walking today! We had arranged to meet one startup at the coffee shop to the left of the main entrance. Unfortunately, we were in one hall – and they were in another. That’s a problem.

These days it’s all about fixing the problem so we had to rush over to the RDS, and thankfully the interview went ahead.

Back at the picnic table, marketing flyers and paraphanelia is strewn all over the place, along with a half eaten packet of crisps, and the remnants of a muffin.

Ahead of me are literally thousands of startups. Here, each startup has their own patch of turf consisting of wooden box like structure. The emotion I am feeling here is one of slight bewilderment mixed in with excitement, and I can feel I’m not alone with those combined emotions. It’s like “how the…”…”what the…”…?

As I write this, a “startie” opens up the front of his team’s box, and takes out his backpack. He heads off. (Now that is a handy feature). Above the box like structure there a strip of metal which encapsulates two structures. Attached to this, are the large ‘card’ with the name, logo, category and id of the startup. So you have FinTech, eCommerce etc. IDs are in the format T204. Two guy “starties” smile and beckon to a photographer on the balcony which circles the hall.

Beside the coffee area where I am, techies relax and tap on multicoloured plasticky seats. Groups of two or three walk through slowly, observing the startup stands. A group of four huddle around one stand, with half the group demonstrating eagerly to the other. A man in an anorak walks through carrying a metal ladder.

A techie guy walks by, exhaling a large breath. He then rotates his neck. There’s a constant sound – literally a hum – throughout the hall.

On the talks, we did manage to sneak a bit of the chat with Bill Ford (yes connected to ‘The’ Mr. Ford), and that was awesome. The row between WebSummit and the Irish Government rumbles on, and cool heads – on both sides – are now required to get WebSummit back to Dublin.

And that’s a few thoughts at the end of the first day of WebSummit, I wish you happy reading, building, designing and naming!