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The Briefcase: Web Summit, Luxleaks and the most infamous letter in Ireland

This was the week in business.

Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THERE’S NO DENYING this year’s Dublin Web Summit was a big one.

We had the Taoiseach there to ring the Nasdaq bell, Bono to ring Apple’s and Eva Longoria there for no readily-apparent reason, but she’s beautiful and famous so who cares, right?

And even though there were a few glitches at the event dubbed “Davos for geeks” (itself a deeply geeky reference to the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos), few could begrudge the success of a conference estimated to have pulled some €100 million into the local economy.

So here’s everything we learned from this year’s Web Summit… and a few other bits of news that washed up during week:

Need to know

The Web Summit is really big… but still really Irish

Paddy Cosgrave has undeniably pulled off an impressive coup with the Web Summit. In only five years it has swelled from a small get-together for 500-odd attendees to Europe’s premier tech love-in.

This year over 20,000 people descended on the RDS for the three-day conference where, for an eye-watering €1525 per ticket (or €649 for an early bird), you could hear luminaries from mega firms like Google, Apple and Amazon share their wisdom.

Meanwhile startups from around the world got the chance to rub shoulders with industry heavyweights and make their pitch at the big time, even if some complained the event was heavy on the geekery and light on actual investors.

But quickly the main talking point become the event’s WiFi glitches rather than the pearls of wisdom being spun at the summit, leading one Twitter wag to remark that it was the “most Irish thing ever” for the internet to go down at such a major event.

Who would have thought 20,000-or-so techies would be interested in using the interwebs?

Cosgrave pointed the finger at the RDS for failing to deliver proper broadband, adding a threat that the event “won’t be in this country very much longer” if the problems weren’t sorted out.

But he appeared to have cooled off a bit later as he thanked the RDS for helping pull together a Web Summit that was “the best yet”.

In turn, RDS boss Michael Duffy pitched in to say the venue would fix the problems by “whatever means required” ahead of next year’s event.

So enough about the WiFi, here are a few other notables from the Web Summit:

Dublin Web Technology Summits Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Nice to know

Belgium EU Commission Source: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/Press Association Images

Now you know

Rugby Union - Donnacha O'Callaghan Filer Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

One for the road

We’ve already given it a nod, but it was impossible to resist a repeat of the cringeworthy exchange between the IDA’s Shanahan and Kernan on US television.

It starts off well enough, but just watch and wait as the car crash starts unfolding in slow motion… “You have euros in Ireland? Why do you have euros in Ireland?”

Source: John Scally/YouTube

No, dig up stupid!

Originally published 2.08pm

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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