Sunday 25 August 2019

Web Summit not the only show in town as Kilkenomics kicks off

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

Colm Kelpie

There's been much talk about the switch from Dublin to Lisbon for the Web Summit, but we've one more yet to go before the capital bids it farewell.

The three-day event kicks off tomorrow, with a huge range of speakers from the tech and civic society worlds as diverse as William Clay Ford Jr, the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company; Mike Krieger, co founder of Instagram; John Collison of Stripe; former Ireland rugby star Brian O'Driscoll; and European ombudsman Emily O'Reilly.

It emerged on Friday that the WiFi at the RDS has been beefed up for the global event, much, I'm sure, to the relief of attendees. The Dublin 4 venue has enabled Vodafone to enhance its "superfast" 4G services at the site.

Much has been, and indeed, will be written about the gathering over the coming days, but there's also another interesting, albeit smaller, event taking place later in the week.

The annual Kilkenomics festival kicks off on Thursday in Kilkenny, with the much- anticipated opening involving former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

Mr Varoufakis will be in conversation with economist David McWilliams in the impressive surroundings of the medieval St Canice's Cathedral on Thursday night, and, as expected, he's already managed to draw quite a crowd. So much so that all the tickets have been snapped up.

The event will kick-off this year's festival, and it's being billed as the opportunity to hear how the colourful politician came to be at the helm of Greece's economy, as well as his recollections of dealing with his fellow finance ministers, and what he believes could be in store for the next small EU country that finds itself in trouble.

Elsewhere, domestic US economic indicators could dominate markets as all are watching for signs of strength that could clear the way for the Federal Reserve's first rate cut in years - or weakness that could move that rate hike off the table for 2015. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee on Federal Reserve actions and plans for bank regulation and supervision.

Also on Wednesday, Facebook is expected to report third-quarter profit above analysts' average estimate. Last quarter, the social media company said it would increase investments in areas such as Messenger.

Irish Independent

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