Well there goes another Web Summit – the biggest yet with over 20,000 people attending. For me the 2014 Web Summit was less about the speakers, spectacle and start-ups and more about the people I met through the #DigiWomen stand.

Me and Shona #SheDIDit!
Me and Shona #SheDIDit!

The Web Summit was crazy big this year. There was a LOT going on with two main areas (a 10 min walk apart) and a lot of stages – Centre Stage (all Web’s big wigs), Marketing Stage, Builders Stage, Machine Stage, Enterprise Stage, at least 3 start-ups stages, and the Library. There were probably more that I’ve forgotten. There was various other “summits”, most of which I ignored except for the Food Summit – the food summit was excellent and kind of amazing really – they were feeding upwards of 20,000 people a day – and every morsel on my plate was gorgeous. That’s some feat! All in all though I think it was too big; physically you couldn’t get around to even 20% of what was there and out of 500+ speakers I saw about 10. My vote is for quality not quantity in 2015.

I got free tickets as part of my role on the Web Summit’s Live Team that basically entails tweeting a lot with the Web Summit. For the most part I went a little AWOL and spent a lot of time hanging out with the #DigiWomen. Together with Pauline, Roseanne Smith and many other volunteers we handed out surveys, took pics of women and the super cool #sheDIDit sign and listened to plenty of stories from women in a vast array roles across the tech.

Pauline Sargent #SheDIDit

One of my live team buddies @ShinyShona shot this video of me interviewing Pauline at the #DigiWomen stand. Pauline is the powerhouse behind #DigiWomen – an Irish network supporting women in technology through networking, workshops and events – encouraging us all to stand up be counted. Check out the website and Facebook for news on upcoming events.

It’s a bit noisy but hopefully you can get the gist of it!

And just in case you wonder why we might need #DigiWomen in 2014 – think about this: out of 500 or more speakers at the Web Summit only 96 were women. Of these 96 many were journalists who were not really speaking but facilitating discussions. It’s a pitiful number but it’s an improvement on last years’s Web Summit which saw only 11% female speakers.It seems that female attendance is up though – helped along by Web Summit literally giving away loads and loads of tickets to women in tech. And they have written a very nice piece that outlines their good intentions outline the formation of “an internal cross-functional working-group of employees who are collaborating on ensuring all our events from 2015 onwards have a more diverse line-up of speakers and participants”. 

Here’s hoping all their hard work pays off and we see a bit more diversity in the line up next year. For a bit more depth check out Una Mullally’s Irish Time’s piece on the lack of women at Web Summit 13 – it’s a year old but  still right on the mark.

P.S.

In the #DigiWomen spirit of being loud and proud – I did the #DigiWomen website revamp and the bright and colourful new logo. Both of which are works in progress… Watch that space!