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Weckler's Diary: We learnt a lot in just three days

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One attendee grabs forty winks on a couch at one of the pitching stages as the summit winds down. Photo: Maxwells

One attendee grabs forty winks on a couch at one of the pitching stages as the summit winds down. Photo: Maxwells

Adrian Weckler Chatting with Oisin Hanrahan from Handy.com. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Adrian Weckler Chatting with Oisin Hanrahan from Handy.com. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

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One attendee grabs forty winks on a couch at one of the pitching stages as the summit winds down. Photo: Maxwells

Three days, 22,000 attendees, the obligatory Bono speech. What did we learn at this year's Web Summit?

What do young start-ups hoping to attend next year's Web Summit need to know?

After dozens of interviews, hundreds of stand visits and a walk of several kilometres around the venue, here are a few ground rules that appear to apply in the world of web entrepreneurship.

* The word 'super' precedes everything. "We are super-excited to launch . . . " "The market for wearables is super-interesting right now." "The internet of things is going to be a super hot sector this year."

It may be super annoying, but the word is now de rigeur for young start-ups hoping to promote their services.

*Converse is no longer the new black. While hoodies, jeans and T-shirts still afford start-up entrepreneurs some street credibility, those brightly coloured canvas runners are now the equivalent of putting on a baseball cap sideways: they are largely the preserve of middle-aged men trying too hard to be cool.

*Swapping your Irish accent for a US one helps business. "I admit it, I sold my accent out as soon as the money was in sight," says twenty-something Rathcoole ex-pat Oisin Hanrahan, who moved to the US to run his company Handy.com.

While Hanrahan has his tongue in his cheek, it is a noticeable Americanised cheek now. And it has not done his company any harm, with Handy.com having raised more than $40m in funding over the past year. The company now has 200 employees.

Others, such as Stripe's John Collison, are holding out a little better against the tide of slow 'R's and drawling vowels. But no one should judge too harshly: adopting a US accent merely makes it easier to communicate with investors, most of whom are American.

*"Booth babes" are out. Thankfully, there was very little of the scantily clad lovely girls promotional strategy that dogs US tech conferences, such as CES in Las Vegas.

This is a step in the right direction, so if you're thinking of organising a stand next year, do yourself a favour and avoid this tactic.

Irish Independent