Saturday 25 January 2020

Invasion of the techies: your essential guide to surviving Web Summit

All this week, there are 10,000 technology and web executives floating around Dublin. Many have flown in from Silicon Valley for the occasion. But how can we communicate with them? And what do they need to know to thrive in our city? Here is the Adrian Weckler Web Summit Survival Guide for founders and locals alike

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Don't be fooled by casual attire

In Ireland, jeans and runners signify spendthrift students. In Silicon Valley, they signify a minimum net worth of $80m. This is valuable cultural intelligence, particularly for pub doormen. And especially for pub doormen in Dawson Street establishments.


To immediately put technology executives at ease in conversation, simply filter in the word 'super' as often as possible. (This is currently the only acceptable maximising descriptor in Silicon Valley.)

For example, if you are asked a routine question about the likelihood of rain, the correct response is: "Some rain is due, but we're not expecting it to be super-heavy."

How to feed them

Local restaurateurs seeking to realise a culinary dividend from migrating web summit attendees should ensure the guaranteed availability of two core food items: pizza and beer.

This goes especially for eateries seeking business around the summit's more technical sessions. In Popeye terms, pizza and beer represent the spinach of the web development community.


American tech executives like to start sentences in the middle, especially using the word 'so'. For example, the answer to the question: "would you like more coffee, sir?" will typically be: "so I'm going to go ahead and get the cheque."

It's okay – you didn't miss any beginning to that sentence. (And you don't really need to produce a cheque.)

Fright flight

This morning, citizens of Dublin 2, 4 and 6 will have seen a very scary thing, with hundreds of bespectacled, skinny men and women running down streets in neon-coloured garments and odd-looking wrist devices. But it's not a Hallowe'en stunt.

This is called jogging. In California, employees of technology firms are required to complete 3.5 hours of jogging per week, routes and metrics of which must be recorded via smartwatches and GPS-powered headbands.


In Dublin, soliciting a ride after 10pm has a slightly different impact than doing so in San Jose. However, once correctly understood, you will find it easy to acquire a ride anywhere in the Harcourt Street area after 10pm on most evenings.

In general, it is teachers, nurses and off-duty police officers who are considered most generous in facilitating rides at this time.


You'll also hear a lot about crack (spelled 'craic'). The general advice is that it is considered rude not to partake.

While it usually comes in liquid form, there are some dangerous cocktails available too. For example, don't look for crack in Talbot Street.


If you were hoping to keep in touch with the latest 'Homeland' or 'Game Of Thrones' episodes via your Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or YouTube premium accounts, there's bad news. While content streaming has reached Ireland, it's limited to early 1980s episodes of 'Cagney & Lacey' and Christopher Lambert B-movies.

Film studios, which restrict most decent content from being licensed in Ireland, prefer us locals to download illegally instead.


The good news is that if you do want to watch 'Cagney & Lacey' on your laptop or tablet, you can do so in ultra-high definition. Thanks to recent improvements in broadband infrastructure, Dublin boasts one of the fastest internet speed areas in Europe.

There are also two new 4G networks in Dublin, both currently delivering around 20-megabits per second. You might be thankful for it when your conference or hotel WiFi stutters.


There is only one correct stout in Ireland. It is called Guinness. Seeking to confuse tourists, some pubs offer alternatives.

All are biologically safe to imbibe, but may disappoint. Similarly, Jameson and Powers are the correct qualifying whiskeys in Dublin. Hoteliers offering 'Paddy', 'Mick' or 'Seamus' whiskey are laughing at you behind your back.

Irish Independent

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