Canon, Canon EOS760D, Digital Photography, Lake Isle Innisfree, Photography, Sligo, Surf Summit

Sligo SUP at Surf Summit, splashing around Innisfree

By @SimonCocking

Trialing the Canon EOS 760D, having fun with it. Lots of different light here to deal with, grey cloudy skies, and then golden hour sunlight. Interesting, and doing well at picking out the vibrant colours when it gets the chance.


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Barry Mottorshead, Canon, Canon PowerShot, Kayaking, Photography, Surf Summit, Web Summit 2014

Sligo Kayaking at Surf Summit, trialing the Canon PowerShot D30

By @SimonCocking images taken using Canon PowerShot D30, UX notes at end.

Thanks to Barry Mottorshead from Sligo Kayaking for taking us out.






IMG_0076First time using Canon PowerShot D30. It’s a waterproof camera. Some of the shots came out great, with others the images looked a little bleached out. We tried to get some detail shots of the moss on the trees, a sign of the air cleanliness. It was sometimes hit and miss in terms of which shots worked well. It is small and compact which is good. The camera is ideal for snaps on the beach, a little trickier for use on a kayak. That said so far we are happy with the images taken above and will keep trialing it to see how it performs. Next up we plan to try it out in some sea caves to see how the flash works.

Belfast, Dug Song, EnterConf, Photography, Skateboard, Web Summit

Dug Song rocks the gaff, final action from EnterConf, Belfast Web Summit

By @SimonCocking

Here are the final events of the Belfast Web Summits. Dug Song @dugsong of Duo Security has some fun on the inhouse halfpipe. Images taken with Canon 700EOSD.

After a long day on the couch discussing “a shift from identity management to identity access security”. 


Dug Song, Duosec saw this …


and decided to find a skateboard, the results weren’t too shabby.

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Entrepreneur, Innovation, Interview, Ultimate & Innovation, Web Summit 2014

451 Degrees, a Californian take on Dublin Web Summit, (and zebra donkeys)




Had great fun meeting and subsequently interviewing Patrick Giblin and Jake Jacoby from 451 degrees for this article, oh and their CTO is a keen Ultimate player too, just saying…


How did the Summit go for you?

The Summit was a great experience.  It was difficult for us to measure expectations going in because it was such a young event but the growth that it has shown and the few people I knew that had gone were what tipped us to go.  Its reputation precedes it.  The quality of former attendees is very strong making it an easier leap.  We had the chance to establish a global footprint with those that attended as well as find some interesting strategic partners from San Francisco.  We learned a lot as well

Did it match your expectations?

It exceeded expectations.  The event has really unique and good nuances.  It is unlike any conference I have attended and haven’t we all attended too many of these things…it does a great job with keeping it fresh and giving the companies a fair and equal playing field.  It allows companies that are chosen an opportunity to experience the conference from the other side of the floor.  That is brilliant!  We spent days walking around seeing and meeting other companies of interest and could do so because our booth presence was just one day.  The presentation of every company in the simple form and the stand given is great.  A quick look of the overview of what they do and we knew, “Move along” or “Hmm, let’s chat a bit”.

Not much room for wasted conversations and being a company trying to generate interest with flair.  It just worked perfectly.  Then you add in the Night Summit events and the value got even stronger. Creating locations for people to meet without the pretentious “invites” to THE only cool party is great.  There were things for everyone to do.  A chance to meet many different people.

It seemed as if every door was open when it should be and for it should be.  I am sure we were not invited to some rooms that we would have wanted to be in but we were so busy and gaining relationships that it did not matter.

If you were to do it differently what would you have done?

If I was to do something differently I would create better communication with the companies coming in and while at the event.  A knowledgeable point person at each hotel would be useful. Much of this was a mystery to us and we did not know what to expect.  I heard this from many of my fellow START companies as well as Alpha and Beta companies too.  We all felt unprepared with expectations.  Perhaps that is with intent but it was a bit disheveling.  I also think that the understanding of what dinners we were to go to could have been better scripted.  We never were really sure on how to RSVP to “invited” events as a START company?

There was not a point person for Q&A on these things for the companies there.  Lots of the volunteers were just unaware and said “I was just hired yesterday, I really don’t know?   I think in today’s day and age having a brief video tutorial of “What to Expect?” and “This is a Day…” would be REALLY useful to the companies coming 1st time and most are coming for the 1st time.  I also think more Q&A speakers and having some of the Alpha, Beta and Start companies take the stage would have been great.  We need to see and hear from each other more than we need to hear another speech from an established ‘Giant’ trying to promote their product offering today?


What did people think of your product?

The reception to our product seemed very strong and there has already been follow up to confirm this.  Our SaaS technology is the next generation of Big Data and Ad Technology.  Two subjects that are very hot right now.  We had a lot of visitors and interested parties that we approached.  The tide is rising towards our product. So excitement was there.

People were able to quickly grab the value our product creates.  As Comments become more relevant and definitive to Content everywhere we show more value to the owners of Content. Because our SaaS interprets all Comments using Artificial Intelligence and Machined Learning to create relevant SEO and Ad Delivery it is a natural fit for people.  It was easy for us to tell people that we listen to and make sense of all that “noise” around your content and then make you money from it…people like that message and we have proof that it works so they follow up.

Did you get any useful feedback from people here?

We did.  It is always important to listen closely to the objections and the doubts around your value.  We were quickly reminded that we have a gap in the adoption by the leading Ad Delivery Networks.  At this time, they are not all interested in working with us in a ‘dynamic’ environment.  That can create some friction within our adoption.

We have to find ways through those objections and ways to entice these Ad Delivery Networks to see the gains we can reach for them. So when there was feedback that we cannot be of full use because we do not work yet with their ADN we see a need to cure the problem.

Will you be changing or pivoting your project based on what happened at the summit?

We will not be pivoting or changing the product just building on it and focusing on expanding the API’s that will allow it to create good use cases for all parties.

How did you find Dublin?

Dublin was GREAT!  The people are fine people, kind and welcoming.  Helpful as well.  The city is SO supportive of all of these technology companies and the desire to solve our issues.   Questions about “Why do business in Dublin?” were handled effectively and efficiently.

This is not just about tax breaks and the “Double Irish” it is about support and COMMUNITY.  This city is committed to doing the right things to get things moving forward.  They work together.  City Officials, Banks, Building Owners and People.  They all are giving the same message.  In short, “Come here and stay a while, if not forever, because we like you and want you…we are here to help”  and they all did.  The Summit also gives you a chance to see some of the social side of Dublin.  That was great too.  Nice to see some of the food and spirits that Dublin is known for.  Seeing the history of Trinity College was fantastic!  Guinness Brewery and its meaning and history was great as well.  Just a wonderful city opening themselves up for the good of all of us.

Which had more use for you the day summit or the night one? Why?

Day Summit.  Just easier to get to conversations quickly.  Easy to identify the synergy with whom you were approaching.  Get to the business and move along.  The Night Summit is a great addition and gives social a chance to build relationship that can lead to business for sure.  The let down was in the hype around the Venture Capitalists, Investors and Market leaders being a part of the Night Summit but in reality they were hard to find if there at all.  Most of the Night Summit was meeting of other companies.  It was useful but less precise.  They both are great ideas and Night Summit is a very cool part of what makes this conference unique. But there are no Donkeys painted like Zebras?  Only in TJ… (Tijuana).


Over here we only have zebra mussels, donkeys, or zebras, no donkey zebra fusion yet!



Dublin, Ireland, Photography, Web Summit 2014

Web Summit 4, we came, we saw, we loved it, and some tips for next time

@SimonCocking more here.

It was an event and a half. We loved it, we had a great time.


Festival vibe

It was a festival vibe. We asked the organiser,@paddycosgrave if this was the Irish Glastonbury. He said that the average age of the organisers was around 27, and that many of these guys had been to plenty of great Irish music festivals, Picnic, Oxygen etc. The music festival was a vibe they were accustomed to. It is clear, with the more informal atmosphere, and quicker turn around of speakers at Web Summit, it feels more like a music festival. Participants, even investors from California said they preferred this atmosphere, akin to the BurningMan festival. Rather than say South by South West, or some other conferences with a more formal manner. The fact that Paddy’s comments, made at yesterday’s press briefing, were not mentioned by the mainstream Irish press, suggests not (m)any of them go to music festivals. Fortunately this didn’t get in the way of a fantastic event being delivered.

Poor wifi! Maybe not actually the end of the world?

This was actually less of a story than the media made it out to be. Internet connection not working, heavens above, perhaps you actually have to speak to the people around you, rather than merely tweeting a picture of Bono to both of your followers? Yes it can be tricky to demonstrate an app without the wifi, but there was so much more to the Summit than just that. As it was many people spent their time looking down at their screens, so the odd gap in the wifi wasn’t actually that disastrous.

The Alpha and Beta startups pitched, and pitched, and pitched. Tiring, but if you want to get out there, you have to hustle.


Pitching advice


Having inadvertently received about 50 pitches on Tuesday alone, I’d say the following:

Keep it short. If I want more I’ll ask.

Keep it simple. If I want more detail, yep, I’ll ask.

Be prepared, do the devil’s advocate questions before hand.

Be able and keen to hear feedback. Almost everyone here is happy to help, so take it when it’s offered.

Don’t be shy, this is your time.


The food was great

It was, thanks a million!


Bring your bike! Let’s have several Dublin bikes stations at all the venues next year 

I didn’t see many people moving between all three sites on a bike, but It was a great asset, fun and saved a lot of time.


Have a plan, mix it up and have fun

Listen to a few talks, pitch to people, take breaks too, go to the night events and enjoy yourself too.

It was a great event and we look forward to covering even more of it next year.



Interview, Microsoft, Web Summit 2014

My horse and hounds moment with the Vice President of Microsoft, Ultimate was the winner

By @SimonCocking

With half an hours notice I was asked if I’d like to interview Steve Guggenheimer, Chief Evangelist and VP of Microsoft. With little time to prepare I quickly googled him, looked at his LinkedIN profile, and then, for inspiration, watched this


Here’s how it went.


Steve on the sofa at Odessa (I used to deliver bread to there, but figured maybe best not to mention that gem)

Irish Tech News were given an opportunity to hear whether Microsoft were managing to stay innovative and ahead of their competitors. As everyone knows Microsoft were caught cold on a few initiatives in their recent past. Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft Vice President and Chief Evangelist had come over from Seattle, via Chicago, to visit the Irish operations. Guggenheimer was wearing a British and Ireland Lions jersey as he had just come from watching Team USA play the All Blacks rugby team in Chicago. He is a big rugby fan, and had delayed his trip to Ireland in order to see the match.

This perhaps inevitably lead to a discussion about whether Rugby fostered innovation and startups, especially in comparison to one other sport in particular … It was agreed to disagree, though I know that I’d rather have the creators of Google, Paypal, Whatsapp, Pebble, and a few others in my corner versus Brian O Driscoll’s app which even seems to be named after the opposition and Jamie Heaslip’s putative tech investments.


Sensing that the interview had perhaps taken a tricky turn, it seemed to make sense to discuss the companies strategy to innovate and remain on the cutting edge of new technologies. It was tentatively suggested large companies like Microsoft had become a bit monolithic. This was clearly not quite the right choice of word to use. It prompted a spirited and wide ranging discussion about all the areas in which Microsoft are both innovating and also continuing to remain in the business of earning large revenues also. Microsoft have clearly taken previous criticisms on board and have embarked on a rigorous and wide ranging strategy to anticipate future trends and position themselves in the right place to deal with them. They are currently and aggressively moving their products to the cloud.


Naturally you might expect the Chief Evangelist, to be, well, evangelical about this. However a number of other people in the Irish part of the company have also said that it is a dynamic atmosphere, where change has been embraced and welcomed. Clare Dillon for example, Developer Lead for Microsoft Ireland, had recently given a talk at UCD about the use of Yammer within the company to enable staff to identify useful conversation threads taking place outside of their own particular section. This had enabled her to quickly identify relevant initiatives that had already been developed in-house.


Guggenheimer did a good job of conveying the range of initiatives taking place, from students, to community groups, to startups, and how Microsoft was actively engaging with them. It seems too simplistic a story to simply describe Microsoft as a company that are out of touch with changing trends. Instead, like IBM, who they initially overtook and eclipsed, it seems highly likely that Microsoft are in the process of reinventing and redefining who they are are, and what they do. Perhaps I had just been evangalised by the evangelist?

Afterwards, as part of his community outreach program he then left to be a judge at a joint Microsoft / NDRC open mike night for tech startups.


Below is Microsoft’s description of their strategy.

·        Startups are revolutionizing the way we work with smart, powerful and connected productivity solutions.

·        To help ignite this new wave of services, the next Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle will focus on IoT in the enterprise.

·        We will help startups foster exciting new ideas by providing mentorship, technology, access to capital and expertise to build global companies.

·        Startups interested in applying to the program can sign up at

·        Provide a strong call to action for startups to apply for the Microsoft Ventures accelerators.

·        Microsoft is fostering innovative startups in the IOT space at home and in the workplace.