Dice 2014 Get Started Mini Conference.

Get Started 2014

On the 17th of February I attended a mini conference called Get Started in the Helix in Dublin City University. After a brief introduction about the mini conference Niamh Bushnell was the first up.

Speaker 1 : Niamh Bushnell

Niamh Bushnell- Dublin Commisioner for Start Ups.

First speaker of the day was Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Start Ups. Niamh talked about her experience of start ups while she worked abroad in New York. One of the companies she helped found was Orbiscom. She then migrated to another company called TechResources.Logo of Orbiscom Ltd.

In her present role of Commissioner of Start Ups, Niamh’s ambition is to get Dublin recognised as a place for excellent opportunities for start up companies. Dublin has an ambitious attitude when it comes to doing business and everyone is looking out for each other. I found Niamh’s presentation one of the most difficult to keep up with as there was no power point to accompany her presentation. Although I found the end of her speech very interesting. She gave us some advice on how to start up a business. One such thing was that if you start up a business before the product is fully finished, you will be more reconsigned and have less chance of failing with your business.

Speaker 2: David McKernan

The new up market branding of Java Republic. Launched in January 2015

David Mckernan is the founder and CEO of one of Ireland’s most successful coffee company. Personally I found this talk the most interesting. I was thoroughly infatuated with his story about his company Java Republic. As a keen entrepreneur I felt I could relate to what he was saying. Java Republic is a fully Irish owned and run company set up sixteen years ago in Cellbridge. Mckernan gave some insights into what he felt made his business so successful. One such thing was a never ending drive to succed. David McKernan told his audiences that although he does have a successful company it is not successful enough for him. He wants his profits to grow and grow every year. I to feel like I have this crazy drive to succeed in everything I do. With every assignment or exam I want to improve every time. He also surround yourself with great people and greater people than yourself. He said this as it will motivate oneself to be as good as the others if not bother, thus you are getting maximum production from yourself. He also gave some insights into the different type of funding available to companies. Java Republic got a new look in January. Gone is the yellow and now a more sleek and upmarket look. David finished his story by telling us what the different traits of an entrepreneur are!

  1. One must be a hustler
  2. One must be an innovator
  3. One must be a vision

Speaker 3:Panel consisting of Richard Stokes, Eoghan Stack and Ronan Furlong

Richard Stokes- Director of Innovation at DCU

First up was Richard Stokes Director of Innovation at DCU. Stokes argues that it is much easier for companies to start up a business now. This is due to the fact that there is much more advice and opportunities for start ups now. One such opportunity is Invent in DCU. This is very beneficial to start up companies as Invent as it works with external organisations and researchers to promote entrepreneurship within our society. This is a great asset to all the companies on the programme as they can share research and development cost, thus the start up costs are significantly reduced. Invent provides excellent facilities to the start ups.

Facilities at the Invent Incubation centre include.

  1. Purpose built office space.
  2. High speed networking.
  3. Boardrooms, meeting rooms and video conferencing facilities.
  4. High end computing.
  5. Data analytic.
  6. Software engineering.

DCU Innovation Campus

Next up from the panel was Ronan Furlong from the DCU Innovation Campus. Located close to the main university campus since May 2014, the innovation campus acts as a national centre for innovation in the cleantech sector. It is home to many different companies, some start-ups, some multinational companies and some individuals. This initiative allows these companies to collaborate with the other companies while still allowing them to look at the moves of their competitors. By allowing the competitors to collaborate, the companies will produce a much more efficient product.

In quick succession was Eoghan Stack of DCU’s Ryan Academy. The DCU Ryan Academy is a partnership between DCU and the Ryan family and aims to bridge the gap between academia and entrepreneurial practice. The Ryan has three different programmes aimed at different markets. It has Ustart for students of DCU to start up their own business, Propeller is aimed at start ups of all nature and the Female High Flyers programme aimed at women run start ups. I was really interested listening to Stack speaking about Ustart as it is something I feel I could partake in while completing my studies. I am a keen entrepreneur and could benefit greatly from this scheme. Eoghan Stack left us with a question at the end of his presentation which caused much argument with both the audience and other speakers of the day. Is an entrepreneur nature or nurture?


Speaker 4: Sean Ahern

ThankFrank- a company set up by Sean Ahern to allow consumers share information between each other.

Next up was Sean Ahern founder and ceo of ThankFrank.com. ThankFrank is a revolutionary way of sharing information on-line. ThankFrank is a way of sharing information with other users on-line while gaining rewards while you do it.Although I find the concept a little difficult to understand, I feel it will be very beneficial to the mass market. Everyone understands the frustration when you are shopping on-line and you occidentally close the tab. It is very difficult to find what you were looking for again. But by using ThankFrank other people on the site can help you find it. Please you have the added reward of earning discounts etc. if people find your shared information helpful. Ahern had many inspirational quotes dotted around his presentation which I found very motivating. When something doesn’t go right the first time, try again! My favourite of the day by far was from Henry Forde.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Speaker 5: Kealan Lennan

Kealann Leannan Founder and Ceo of Cleverbug

The penultimate speaker of the day was Kealan Leannan ceo and founder of Cleverbug. Cleverbug is company which allows people to remember and send personalised cards for all occasions. With personalised cards from €3.49 anyone can use this service. To avail of this service one must download the app and sign up using their Facebook account or email account. Using the free promotion they were doing for the audience I used the app and was amazed at how simple it was to use. Although all my Facebook friends I was able to select the most important ones and organise them into different categories. I was astonished at the apps ability to know the age of the person in question as well their name and pictures as well. Lennnan says his success is down to many factors but one such one is that Amazon doesn’t know when peoples birthdays are!

Speaker 6: Paul Kerley

Paul Kerley

The final speaker of the day was Paul Kerley Ceo of Norkam Technologies. Paul has had a tough ride with Norkam Technologies. Kerley’s company aims to detect and combat financial crime. Although he explained how it works that part of the talk went over my head. As it was the last talk I found my concentration levels began to deteriorate and again without the aid of power point slides, it was extremely difficult to follow the talk.

Overall I enjoyed myself at this mini conference and gained invaluable insights into what it is like to set up and run your own business. I feel I can apply my findings from this conference to my own business to expand and grow it.

Until the next conference!


Dice 2014 Get Mobile mini conference

Get mobile 2014

On the 11th of November I attended a mini conference called Get Mobile in the Helix in Dublin City University.

Speaker 1: Dr Theo Lynn

The conference opened with a video although I felt the video was hard to understand and few people knew that the video had even started! Once the video ended we were greeted by Dr Theo Lynn, who was the opening speaker on the day. Dr Theo Lynn of Dublin City University gave some interesting facts about #GetMobile. Did you know 96% of Irish eighteen to thirty-fiver year olds own a smart phone with 60% of that owning an iPhone! Another astonishing fact was that the age of which you own a phone is decreasing! Researchers believe that children as young as ten will have their own smart phone in just two years!

60% of Irish teens have one of these phones. Myself included!

I found Dr Lynn’s facts very interesting and they gave me an insight into how exhilarating the conference was going to be!

Speaker 2: Dr Mark Hughes

Following Dr Lynn was Dr Mark Hughes of Digifeye. Digifeye analyses the visual content in real-time.  Digifeye created an app called ‘Style-Eyes’. This app allows you to take a picture of some piece of clothing and the app will try to find a match!’Digifeye revolutionizes the personal shopper experience’.Style eyes has had 100,000 downloads in just the few short months it has been available. I really enjoyed this speaker as I consider myself a small fashionista. I will definitely consider downloading this app and recommending it to my friends. Below is a video explaining more about the app.

Speaker 3: Dr Cathal Gurrin

In quick succession was Dr Cathal Gurrin of Dcu. Gurrin was wearing the up and coming Google glasses. This is Google’s first journey into wearable technology. Dr Catha Gurrin believes that Gooogle glass is the next up and coming thing! Although I myself cannot see myself wearing them.Google glass is a small piece a glass/ screen which covers the eyeball. It allows people who wear them do amazing things such as take photos when they ask the glasses to and look up stuff on the internet! The technology used in Google glass is simply astonishing although they have a bit to go with look I feel.

After Gurrin talked about Google glass he moved onto a by-product called lifelog. Personal lifelogging is using a mobile device to automatically record everything you do, hear and see! It creates a compute and accurate picture of an individual which can be viewed at a later stage. Lifelogging enables the concept of a surrogate memory. Gurrin believes that soon there will be a company who will know everything about everything. To me this is a very scary thought! I like to have my privacy and think this may intrude on that.

Dr Cathal Gurrin wearing the next big thing! Google glasses

Speaker 4: Eoin Cruise

Next was Eoin Cruise, market lead in Microsoft mobile devices. The most shocking thing he said was that after Christmas all Nokia phones will become Microsoft phones. I felt a small tear when he said this as I always had a Nokia phone and feel a bit sentimental at this fact. Cruise explained how Microsoft have been fizzing out Nokia.

A thing of the past.

  • In 2012 revitalise- Nokia made a comeback. This proved to be a success.
  • In 2013 momentum- Nokia had 11.6% of the smartphone market. This is a high percentage as there is so many types and brands on the market. They released their first device within eight months and their next within twelve months.
  • 2014 consolidation- Nokia and Microsoft will become unified. They believe this will increase the use and awareness of Microsoft products.

In 2014 Microsoft hope to realise a whole new range of smartphones with a good range of prices. They plan on having a phone available for as low as €60! I think this is a good business move as this will be a much cheaper option than an Apple iPhone and may persuade consumers to purchase this phone. It is also smart as some people cannot afford a current phone but with a phone for as low as sixty euro, people can’t afford not to have a smartphone. A big point Eoin Cruise made was that before Microsoft introduce a new product they are going to update their old models.

Speaker 5: Paul Davey

The next speaker was  Paul Davey of IBM. IBM has been in Ireland for the last fifty years and has four thousand employees in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Davey informed us that IBM developed the first smartphone in 1994. Although the price was out of most peoples pocket. To buy and access the phone would have cost $3900! However they have now moved away from the technology side and work at the business side of these products.

IBM Simon. The worlds first smartphone.

One astounding technology they did create was ‘Watson’. Watson technology gets computers to think like humans with an accuracy of eighty-five percent or greater. Watson is now being used in America to help treat cancer patients. This is simply amazing technology and is put to great use. This just reinforces to me how fast our world is evolving and how much technology has developed in such a short time.

Speaker 6: Alex Meisl

 Meisl opened his talk with some startling facts such as one out of there U.K adults would rather give up sex than lose their smartphone! Or more five year olds know how to use a smartphone than tie their shoelaces! When I was five I barely knew what a phone was let alone use a smartphone. Another disturbing fact is that there is more smartphones in the world than there is toothbrushes! This  is both disgusting and astonishing.

Alex Meisl

Meisl is the co-founder of Sponge and has being working in digital for over twenty-five years. Sponge is a mobile agency working across Europe and the Middle East. Alex Meisl explained that;

  • Sms is not dead. On average 6.5 texts are sent per day per person in the UK
  • Mobile advertising is not trivial. In fact it is a bigger market than print.
  • Retailers are not screwed. As long as they come up with new and innovative to market their brands.
  • Mobile apps are NOT the future. eighty percent of apps get less than one thousand downloads.

Meisl went on to explain the reason why so many apps get so little downloads is because the company creates an app just for creating an app and doesn’t really put much content into it. For me I know when I download an app and the content is bad I will just delete the app. It would also differ me from downloading a future app off of them. Walmart has good app content and even better consumer engagement. I feel that this app shows great consumer awareness and gives Walmart that competitive edge over its competitors.

The key points that Alex Meisl wanted us to take away from his talk was that went creating an app don’t forget standard business principal.Content is key when making an app. Mobile makes anything a digital gateway and last but not least old technology is most definitely not dead! Below is the video of Meisl’s talk.

Overall I enjoyed the mini-conference and gained valuable insights into using mobile devices.                                                                                                           Thank you taking the time to read my blog. Our next mini conference won’t be until the 17th of February. So until then I wish you a Merry Christmas.