Get Digital- National Conference on Cloud Computing & Commerce Plenary

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On Tuesday the 14th of April, my fellow DCU Business School students and I had the great pleasure of attending our fourth and final mini-conference which was once again held in the Helix’s Mahony Hall. The conference we attended was the free mini-conference “Get Digital- National Conference on Cloud Computing & Commerce” which featured presentations from a number of experts in the cloud computing field, including Mary Moloney from Coder Dojo Global, Richard Garsthagen, EMEA Director for Cloud Business Development, Shay Garvey from Frontline Ventures and finally John Massey, EMEA Business Development Lead for SAP Ireland. DCU Business School with the DCU Techspectations Initiative held the conference which ran from 16:00 till 18:00.

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 The first speaker of the conference was Seán Baker, chair of the IC4 steering board-The Irish Centre of Cloud Computing & Commerce. Seán started the conference by giving us a brief description of what Cloud Computing is and how we can get involved with IC4 by attending seminars, workshops and clinics (all the info can be located on the IC4 website), by helping to choose projects while attending workshops and maybe even proposing a project yourself, or by sponsoring a chosen project which won’t cost you anything but your time as you help direct work and see the results first hand. These are only some of the options Seán mentioned that are available to begin working with IC4. He also informed us that if we would like to join the Steering Board in the future that we should let him know and he would give us all of the relative information.

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The first official speaker of conference was Mary Moloney, the Global CEO of CoderDojo. Mary began her presentation with informing us what CoderDojo are and where the whole idea of CoderDojo originated.

Mary described CoderDojo as a global volunteer-led community of free programming clubs for young people between 7 and 17. She went on to tell us that CoderDojo was founded in July 2011 by James Whelton & Bill Liao and the first Dojo took place in Cork, Ireland on the 23rd of July.  James and Bill were self-taught programmers and wanted to create a space where young people could learn code in a social environment. Today there are currently more than 650 Dojos spread across 58 countries, and more are being set up every week.

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Mary spoke of CoderDojo as a space for young people where they can focus on creative learning as they’re not restricted to a specific curriculum, allowing them to choose from a variety of projects like creating apps, websites, learning how to code etc. She also informed us that the young people develop their peer learning, monitoring and self-learning skills by the CodorDojo method of “ask 3 before me” which is basically that the young people should hesitate from asking for help straight away and should ask themselves if they really need assistance, if they can find the answer online by googling it or does some other young person in the program know the answer.

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Mary also informed us that CoderDojo only has one rule “Be Cool” which basically means behave be cool and be nice and Mary told us that a child has never had to be disciplined while at CoderDojo, she believes its because they’re given so much responsibility they don’t want to disappoint the mentors at the programme. Mary then brought up the concern people may have about young people sitting in front of computer screens and ensured us that as long as screen time is productive and challenging that its not time wasted.

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Mary then spoke of how CoderDojo run both mixed and separate gender courses, because at the pre-teenager stage young people feel awkward asking for advise on topics with peers and might not use their full potential. Which I believe is a great idea for young people who are a little more shy around the opposite sex at this awkward in-between stage and gives them a chance to develop their skills before being mixed together again in older groups.

Mary also told us CoderDojo is a free programme that gives equal opportunities for young people to learn and even supplies technology like laptops, 3D printers and various other IT equipment for them to use while at CoderDojo. She also shared various achievements and experiences of their ninjasNinjaLaptop1 (the name they use for their young coders). She spoke of many ninja’s, however two in particular stood out for me, firstly the story of Kathleen, the 12 year old itinerant child who was being bullied and came up with the idea of creating an anti bullying quiz, which informed children what to do if they are being bullied and secondly the dyslexic games built by the Curran brothers who wanted to assists young people with dyslexia to learn programming. These two stories summed up the difference children can make when they’re given the proper facilities and knowledge which I believe is extremely powerful and uplifting. CoderDojo is also aiding the monumental shortage of programmers by exposing young people to ICT at a young age, because as it is there are predictions that within the EU alone there will be a shortage of 1 million technical workers by 2015 alone.

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The next speaker to take to the stage was Richard Garsthagen, EMEA director for Cloud Business Development. He began his presentation with informing us with five reasons to love the cloud:

  • It simplifies IT
  • It Re-Engineers the economics of IT spending
  • It accelerates and optimizes your business processes
  • It drives innovation
  • It allows world-class security and compliance

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Then Richard went on to ask the question “what is the Cloud?” and informed us that its nothing to do with the place you store it, but rather a service that is transforming the way in how we use technology and how it is enabling businesses to deliver and consume it as a service, also supporting the transformation of the digital age.

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Richard then went on to discuss the deployment choice that the cloud offers and that no matter whether you want to deploy your application in an on premise private cloud, or in a oracle cloud you have a choice because with oracle technologies you can transparently move workloads, between on premise and oracle cloud. He then explained that if you decide to develop in oracle cloud and later decide to deploy to a private cloud, know that you are sharing the same technology with the same standards using the same oracle products that you are already familiar with which will save you time, effort and money…

Private Cloud: download (4)

  • Self-service provisioning of Oracle Fusion Middleware & Database on Virtual, Clustered or Engineered Systems
  • Programmatic access with APIs & CLI
  • On-demand delivery of resources with policy-based elasticity
  • Load Balancer configuration for HA & throughput
  • Automated Backup, Recovery, Patching & Upgrades
  • Comprehensive dashboards & reports with rich self-service

Oracle Cloud:  download (4)

  • Instant access to full functionality of Oracle Fusion Middleware, Database, Compute, Storage & Network
  • Only Public Cloud offering Fully Managed PaaS with Full VM Access & Control
  • Automated Backup, Recovery, Patching & Upgrades
  • Comprehensive dashboards & reports with Rich self-service

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Richard then spoke of “Digital Disruption” which is basically the change that occurs when new digital technologies, or business models, affect the value proposition of existing goods and services. New companies built on these new business models are not just challenging other companies they are threatening even the most entrenched industries, and that the companies that don’t change will soon disintegrate from the market. Richard spoke of Netflix, UBER and Amazon being perfect examples of exponential companies that have put totally disruptive new ways of doing business into practice. I believe Netflix in particular totally achieved a disruptive competitive advantage when they used service-oriented cloud architecture coupled with their own data to serve their customers better. While competing companies like Blockbuster failed in the market as a result of them resisting change and not taking advantage of new digital technologies. Richard opened my eyes up to the importance of always being technology aware, when it comes to business and that we should “drop the old-school IT thinking” to drive digital business disruption.

The next speaker to take to the stage was Shay Garvey from Frontline Ventures. Shay’s talk was based on the cloud and its implications for raising and investing venture capital – and for society. He began his talk be stating that, In the last 10 years there was a dramatic productivity gain in the technology ecosystem. Shay then went on to give us some general tips in presenting to venture capitalists which I believe are  extremely interesting-

  • Make initial contact early. “Ask for advice, get money. Ask for money, get advice” 8iG6jy5jT
  • In the first 3 mins of the meeting outline the Situation, Problem, Opportunity download (26)
  • The Content: Answer the following questions
  1. What is your unfair advantage? fair !
  2. What size company do you want to build (realistically) images (12)
  3. Can you easily demonstrate market size/opportunity? Graph_01

4.  How much do you need to raise now, and longer term? What valuation milestones can you achieve on      this round? milestone-26251226

  • Turn “no” into honest feedback, not “yes”. If you haven’t gotten a call within 3 days, it’s a “no” no

Shay then went on to talk about “A Cambrian Moment”, which is basically a period where digital start-ups are bubbling up in society, and are ultimately changing them by exploding corporations.

  • Finance Departments being replaced by venture capital firms,
  • legal ones by law firms,
  • research by universities,
  • communications by PR Agencies and so on

Shay is basically explaining how the above support network for start-ups are no longer housed under development teams but are loosely knitted.

Shay also spoke of the changes that are occurring and used a quote from Shervin Pishever– who is a serial entrepreneur, leading venture capitalist, and angel investor to perfectly define how the future of IT in business will no longer come from individuals within organisations but from the youth of today.

“The signal for what the future will look like won’t come from the established platforms of today. They will echo out of the dorms of today and tomorrow.”

He went on to discuss the types of jobs that are at risk/disappearing and stated that routine jobs were more at risk than variable ones with jobs like telemarketers, accountants/auditors and retail salespersons being the most likely to be replaced by computers in the next two decades.

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Shay then ended his talk by presenting us with some polices to antidote/counterbalance the “winner takes all” – earnings driven by relative performance economic inequality concern by:

  • A Grand bargain: Higher teacher salaries and teach the children well
  • Supporting scientists/creative artists
  • Upgrading infrastructure
  • Welcoming the world’s talent
  • Since we must tax, tax wisely. Use measurements to generate data that can allow a tax on economic or human activity that have recognisably bad side effects/consequences. Example is Congestion pricing/pollution pricing. (Pigovian Taxes)
  • We should reward employment instead of taxing it. Revisit the basic income. Better than basic income, the negative income tax “Work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.” Voltaire
  • Tax economic rents. e.g taxing land will not reduce its supply. Tax oil and gas leases. Also high earnings of superstars are also rents
  • Promote collaborative consumption/barter economy

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The final speaker of the Get Digital- National Conference on Cloud Computing & Commerce was John Massey, Business Development Director EMEA for SAP Ireland. SAP’s Dublin organisation focuses on the provision of global support, research and development, inside sales, and IT shared services and its mission is to make every business a best-run business.

John based his talk on the impact the cloud has on businesses- day to day and how businesses are now challenged with the difficulty of “how to stand out in a Cloud”. John spoke of how the cloud has enabled businesses to have instant response time compared to responses days late and that transition to the cloud can’t happen overnight, that business must provide adequate training to their employees to ensure the cloud can be used to its full potential. John also spoke of how important it is to transform your business and keep it relevant like LinkedIn  download (23) for example, in how so that opportunity to join up with an academic/skills development organisation so that if or when their members want to better their skill sets they have the option to do so without having to research it themselves, which I believe was a fantastic idea as 50% of recruitment nowadays is done through LinkedIn.

From the “Get Digital- National Conference on Cloud Computing & Commerce” conference I have learnt that there is a major shortage of IT experts in Europe at the minute however organisations like CoderDojo are trying to aid the scarcity. I also learnt that the Cloud is more than just a storage space but but rather a service that is transforming the way in which we use technology and how it is enabling businesses to deliver and consume it as a service and support the transformation to the digital age, coupled with this I learnt that the Cloud has many advantages i.e. it simplifies IT, it re-engineers the economics of IT spending, it accelerates and optimizes your business processes, it drives innovation and it also allows world-class security and compliance. I also discovered that the Cloud is a factor in digital-disruption and how businesses need to keep up-to-date with technologies to ensure new companies don’t enter the market wiping them out. I also discovered that jobs like telemarketing, accountancy and sale realism may be completely replaced by computers in the next two decades which is a mind baffling thought.

Get Started

On Tuesday the 17th of February, my fellow DCU Business School students and I had the great pleasure of attending our third mini-conference which was once again held in the Helix’s Mahony Hall. The conference we attended was the free mini-conference “Get Started” which featured presentations from a number of successful entrepreneurs, including Kealan Lennon from Cleverbug, David McKernan from Java Republic and Paul Kerley, formerly of Norkom Technologies who shared their own personal experiences of starting their business’s and also gave us brutally honest advise about what it takes to become an entrepreneur. DCU Business School with the DCU Techspectations Initiative held the conference which ran from 14:00 till 18:00. I know that sounds like an awfully long time to be sitting in one spot, but when you read down through my blog you’ll understand how time flew as we listened to the extremely different experiences each of the six speakers encountered throughout their journeys and continued journeys of entrepreneur-hood.

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The first speaker at the conference was Niamh Bushnell. Niamh was recently appointed Dublin’s first Commissioner for Startups. As Commissioner for Startups, Niamh is responsible for spearheading the development of the city as a global hub for innovative companies.

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Niamh began her presentation with informing of us of her first leap into entrepreneurship. Niamh and her brother co-founded the company, Pan Research back in 1996. Niamh described Pan Research as being five years before its time as it allowed companies and businesses to buy from each other over the internet. Niamh continued on her presentation with enlightening us of the varies career changes she’s undertaken to present date which enabled her to have the qualifications to become Dublins first ever Commissioner for Startups. In 1998 Niamh became Enterprise Irelands VP of software in their New York offices, here Niamhs main focus was assisting Irish technology companies entering the US east coast market. In 2004 Niamh then decided to move back into the private sector and became VP of Accounts management for Orbiscom, a Dublin-based payments technology companys that has since been acquires by Mastercard.

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Niamh then continued on with her talk informing us that she has been involved in numerous start-up companies and that she is also an angel investor and advisor. Niamh then spoke of her becoming a founder and co-founder once again of the companies TechResources and IDIRUS while in America. She informed us that TechResources was created to assist international tech companies entering the US market and that IDIRUS was developed with the aim of being a mentor matching tool for diverse and global organizations where their clients can use IDIRUS to optimize their internal talents by being paired up with other members and employees to train, coach and mentor each other.

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Niamh then continued on by speaking about the difficulties she encountered when she became a founder. She stressed that believe in herself was her biggest problem and that a founder MUST have passion, belief and the ability to bite the silver bullet. I found the fact that Niamh Bushnell, a well-established business woman who helps mentor and support massive internal companies had difficulties with belief in herself while finding her own companies, fascinating and extremely interesting. Its most definitely one of my many thoughts I will be taking away from the Get Started conference.

Niamh then went on to talk about her job as Dublin first ever Commissioner for Startups. She spoke about how it’s her job to promote Dublin as good innovation area for startups and how she wants to put Dublin on the map along with major startup cities like Berlin, New York and the Silicone Valley (which technically isn’t a city but I think you get my drift).

Niamh stressed how Dublin has so much potential it just lacks collaboration and a common message/mission. She described being an entrepreneur as being a fundamental learning experience and advised us to put ourselves out there as we’ve little to lose while we’re young, that we’ll develop diversity in our experience and that finding new ways to help the world is fun and exciting.

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My favourite presentation from the Get Started conference had to from David Mckernan, David founded Java Republic in 1999, which is one of Irelands most successful brands and one of Europe’s leading coffee companies. Within a few minutes of David beginning to speak I believe it was clear enough to grasp that he is a persistent, passionate and high-spirited entrepreneur, who has the ability to inspire and drive the people around him. Before founding Java Republic (which is one of Irelands most successful brands and one of Irelands leading coffee companies) David had a comfortable and steady job in the successful company Bewleys however David stated that he had just wanted to achieve more and even put his house on the line as recourse* for the chance to achieve his goal!

David then went on to explain that Java Republic only worked because he had-

  • A never ending drive images (6)
  • A love for coffee heart
  • A product that people wanted  download (21)
  • And finally because he surrounded himself with great people (2 of them) Good-People

David explained how Java Republic is second to Bewley’s yet he still isn’t satisfied and wants a bigger company which I believe perfectly captures his perseverance and drive as a true entrepreneur.

David then presented us with the following advice-

  • That partnerships DO NOT WORK HZ180A1
  • That VC’s (venture capital) will SCREW you for everything you’ve got tools-clip-art-screw
  • DON’T take money from family but if you have to be very carefully.. danger-symbol-with-skull-hp
  • SPEND MONEY on “legals”depositphotos_14098422-money-bag-with-dollar-sign.-hand-drawing-sketch-vector-illustration

David then talked about the future prospects of Java Republic,

  • Keep innovating
  • Stay relevant
  • And GROW LIKE HELL!

David then brought up the topic of what it takes to be a great entrepreneur and the controversial subject of nature verses nurture. David talked about characteristics research declares a successful entrepreneur should have

  • Hustlers- Enthusiastic,action orientated & conscientious like Zig Ziglar
  • Innovators- Adventurous, forward thinking & unconventional in business like Richard Branson
  • Machines- Strong sense of duty & an aptitude for problem solving like Bill Gates
  • Prodigies- Run on instinct, trust their natural intellect & social skills to succeed like Elon Musk
  • Strategists- Rely on intellect to develop business models & never lose their cool like Steve Jobs
  • Visionaries- See the big picture & constantly try to push their companies to new heights like Oprah Winfrey

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(Pictures are in order to bullet points)

However according to David the traits of a great entrepreneur are

  • Trust
  • Be humble
  • Personality
  • Hard work
  • A great storyteller
  • Learn to delegate
  • Confident decision maker
  • Fitness-look after yourself

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David then concluded his talk with the most important trait of all the ability to keep getting back up no matter how many times you’ve been kicked down…. repeatedly!!!

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The next presentation came from Richard Stokes, Richard is the Director of Innovation at DCU. He is also the CEO of Invent DCU Ltd, the technology transfer and incubation centre at Dublin City University.

Richard told us that he’s been in business for thirty years working with multinationals and start-up companies, has co-founded four start-up companies and has also been CEO to two successful companies in the ICT sector. Richard informed us that he is responsible for providing support to spin-out and spin-in companies in DCU. He told us about the DCU Innovation Campus which is only about 500 metre from the university as the crow flies and that in the centre there are a cluster of like-minded, collaborative, innovative companies that get to network with each other. He explained how big health care companies get to talk to big ICT companies and described it as a community that creates links over a cup of coffeePaperCoffeeCup which I believe as a business student is a fantastic idea.

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The next speaker to take to the stage at the Get started mini-conference was Kealan Lennon. Kealan Lennon is the founder and CEO of Cleverbug. Cleverbug is a company which enables customers to create truly personalized, one-of-a-kind greeting cards for their family and friends simply and conveniently by allowing its customers to connect with the social networking platform Facebook or with their email (but really who doesn’t have a facebook page in this day and age) to enable you to quickly and conveniently track down photos of your loved ones which I believe is very clever indeed!

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Cleverbug also is available for download in the appstore so even when you’re on the run you can simply design a beautiful thoughtful card and arrange for it to be delivered in a matter of minutes with cleverbugs wide range of 75 printing stations located around the world.

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Cleverbug also has the added bonus of sending you reminders of friends birthdays once you’ve connect with Facebook so you never have to feel the embarrassment of forgetting a loved ones birthday again and will even become the thoughtful one of the group! Kealan gave everyone at the conference a promo code to use on the site so we could all try out the service. I’m delighted to announce that I loved the process of creating a unique and thoughtful birthday card for my friend, it was also super easy to do with the site directing me to pictures of the two of us on Facebook so I didn’t even have to search or download pictures.

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I believe Cleverbug is a brilliant example of an outdated service being rejuvenated and brought back to life with adding ICT technology and becoming a brand new service.

Kealan was once again using his entrepreneurial skills when he saw the opportunity to send some sample cards to the presenter of the Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda a selection of their cards which ended up getting viewed by millions of Americans helping publicise his company in the states.

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The next entrepreneur to take to the stage was Sean Ahern. Sean is a tech entrepreneur who is currently in the thick of getting his socially conscuious startup ThankFrank off the ground. Sean is another example of a budding entrepreneur who left a comfortable job and risked it all in the pursuit of following his passion.

Sean then began telling us how ThankFrank works and the idea behind the business. ThankFrank is basically a browser extension and app that allows you to take part in our good will thanks Economy. It allows you to quickly “Frank” any webpage with a “Thanks” button and for every person that ticks “Thanks” you get a credit. The goal is to collect as much thanks as possible so you can then trade the credit in for shopping vouchers for yourself or others or even donate your credit to charity.

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I believe ThankFrank is brilliant idea as it eliminates big brands paying celebrities and bloggers to write and speak highly of their products but instead leaves the real consumers to rate and advise people on the products honestly and fairly and will even give them rewards measured on the number of people who say “Thanks”.

Sean then continued on with his presentation with giving us some advice on entrepreneur-hood

  • He informed us that our ideas are not worth anything as anyone of us could have a billion dollar idea but without the execution the idea is worthless.
  • That we should become fascinated with failure as it’s the only time we will truly learn and when you do screw up make sure to learn from it.
  • Surround yourself with a team of fantastic people- find the best people possible for the job and develop your work management tools as they are VITAL for defining success.
  • That you have to be persistent and keep going, celebrate the little victories because there will bad times ahead.

Sean then told us something that stuck in my head- that every successful person will say I was going to give up but “I don’t know how I hung in there”

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Sean then presented us with the graces of being an entrepreneur

  • The feeling of working towards something, doing something bigger than work gives you happiness
  • That the people you will meet as an entrepreneur are the most amazing, smart and energetic people you’ll ever encounter. That they understand your pain and frustration and will try support you as much as they can.
  • That you undergo a journey of personal development that gives you pride and energy that drives you

Sean then signed off his talk with a few more points- that we need to believe in yourselves, that we’re going to get there, that life is about choices and that we should talk to people in business because they care.

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 The final speaker of the Get Started mini conference was Paul Kerley. Paul is an entrepreneur and investor. He is a graduate of Dublin City University and currently serves on the boards of a number of technology companies including Chairman of Fenergo, Non-Executive Chairman of SmartBin and Non-Executive Director of MindConnex Learning. Prior to all this Paul was the CEO of Norkom Technologies, a global financial crime and compliance solution provider. Norkom was ranked on the Global FinTech 100 listing of the worlds top financial technology firms and won critical acclaim from global analysts and industry publications. It has since been acquired by BAE systems for €217 million in 2011.

Back in 2000 Paul was named Ernest & Young’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2009 Paul was named the Technology Person of the Year by the Irish Software Association (ISA). Paul has had many highs and lows in his life as an entrepreneur, however I believe these lows I’m going to talk about truly show the drive and passion an entrepreneur needs to have to keep on going. Paul spoke of having to let 120 people go  from Norkom in the year 2000  as being one of the most difficult processes he’s had to encounter as an entrepreneur. He also spoke of the telecom shock that occurred on a Friday afternoon in June that caused his ownership in the company to drop from 30% down to 3%that following Monday morning so he could save Northcom.

From the Get Started conference I learned that being an entrepreneur is not just all fun and games that there are hard times when you just WANT to crawl under a rock and give up BUT that’s when you need to pull up your socks and work even harder, no matter how many times you fall. I learnt that persistence is the key to success, well along with believe, drive, motivation and everything else that the six speakers mentioned above. I also learnt that being an entrepreneur will make you feel like you’re doing something bigger than just work, that you’ll meet some amazing and inspirational people on your way and that you’ll undergo a journey of personal development that energises and drives you. As a business student I was always aware that my career could take the entrepreneur path however after the conference I believe I’d be perfectly suited for the role and will definitely try and peruse it in the next few years because like Niamh Bushnell said while I’m young I’ve nothing much to lose.

Get Mobile

On Tuesday the 11th of November, my fellow DCU Business School students and I had the great pleasure of attending our second mini-conference held in the Helix’s Mahony Hall. The conference we attended was the annual free mobile marketing conference “Get Mobile” which featured presentations on current issues in mobile technologies and marketing. DCU Business School with the DCU Techspectations Initiative held the conference which ran from 14:00 till 18:00. I know that sounds like an awfully long time to be sitting in one spot, but when you read down through my blog you’ll understand how time flew as we listened to the different topics each of the six speakers discussed about mobile marketing.

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The first speaker at the conference was Dr. Theo Lynn. Dr. Lynn is the Business Innovation Platform Director at Dublin City University and he is also a Senior Lecturer in the DCU Business School. Dr. Lynn began his presentation with stating how our phone is our “constant companion” and used a little cartoon sketch to convey how the younger (millennium) generation use their phones and tablets to do work nowadays, and wouldn’t dare use an actual computer (imagine the horror).

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Theo then went on to supply us with some facts from the Irish Mobile Youth Report 2014, conducted by THINKHOUSE (if you’re not familiar with THINKHOUSE or even if you are I urge you to read and watch some of the brilliant videos THINKHOUSE have created, which are on my last blog post, I promise you won’t be disappointed) THINKHOUSE stated that:

  • 96% of Irish 18-35 year olds own a smart phone
  • 60% of smartphone users own an iPhone
  • 36% of smartphone users own an Android phone, 3% own a BlackBerry

THINKHOUSE also presented the fact that ownership of the ‘first mobile phone’ is getting younger with reports suggesting that within the next two years the average age will shockingly drop to as young as 10 years old …!

Theo then went on to present facts that our mobile phone really is our constant companion with facts such as:

  • 90% check phone when they wake up
  • 87% using phone on public transport
  • 84% using phone while watching TV
  • 18% using phone while in the cinema
  • 18% using phone while on a date (Dr. Lynn recommended never to do)
  • 57% use the phone while on the toilet (with most of them surprisingly being women)

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This has created such an opportunity for mobile marketing in recent years, resulting in it becoming crucial for the “rethink marketing” concept as mobile search is always on!  It’s happening whether you’re on the go, at home or at work. With 77% of searches occurring either at home or at work and 17% of searches taking place on the go. This is resulting in follow up action with 3 out of 4 mobile searchers, triggering on average of two of the following actions:

  • Further research
  • Store visit
  • A phone call
  • A purchase
  • Word of mouth sharing

Mobile searches also trigger the follow up action to happen very quickly, with 55% of the conversions I mentioned above happening within an hour! This has serial benefits for businesses that have mobile accessible sites online. Dr. Lynn then went on to talk about new technologies such as Google Glass and the connected car which is projected to be a 150 billion euro market in a few years’ time.  Dr. Lynn suggested the possibility that the technology in the connected car could even have the function of recording the drivers safety precautions while driving, and then sell the information to insurance companies which sounds futuristically insane!

Dr. Lynns presentation came to the conclusion that technology will be constantly updating and changing, therefore it is essential for businesses to be able to keep up with mobile marketing and whatever other technology comes along in the future. Therefore businesses of today’s world must ensure they’ve developed a mobile accessible online site of their business. It has become essential that customers can browse and buy goods on mobile assessable sites because as Dr. Lynn stressed our phone is our “constant companion”.

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My favourite presentation of the Get Mobile mini-conference had to be from Dr. Mark Hughes, the Chief Technical Officer at Digifeye. Digifeye is a discovery and sales platform which integrates with some of the world’s leading publishing house (i.e. Vogue, GRAZIA, COSMO the list goes on) and retailers (i.e. Karen Millen, Topshop, River Island, L.K. Bennett London) Digifeye focuses on merging  computer vision and machine learning technology to convert visual content into shoppable content. In other words Digifeye scans a picture of let’s say Kim Kardashian in a magazine, Digifeye’s technology then recognises that she is holding let’s say a handbag (could be that she is wearing a dress etc.) and then scans its connected retailers for a similar handbag at different price ranges. I believe this is an absolutely fabulous use of modern technology because we get to keep stylish without the expensive high street price tag.

Digifeye’s technology has improved so much so that it has even started to recognise what type of jeans should be worn with specific types of tops, so when you’re searching ‘jeans’ a selection of tops will appear at the site of the page. It has also developed so much so that when you’re on a website and a dress you want is out of stock the same website will bring up a selection of similar dresses to the one you wanted, trying to prevent losing you as a customer. Digifeye’s amazing breakthrough in recognition technology has enabled customers to have a personal shopping experience online! I believe this is just incredible and from my first-hand experience of shopping online, believe me Digifies technology really does lead you to impulse buying.

The next presentation came from Dr. Cathal Gurrin. Dr. Gurrin is a lecturer at Dublin City University and an investigator in the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. He is a leading researcher in the field of “Lifelogging” and is actively developing search and organization technologies for big-data archives of personal sensor data. He stressed that as new technologies are developed they get cheap and more powerful with the astonishing fact that the iPhone 5 has 60,000 times more powerful than the computer that guided Apollo 2 astronauts to the moon!

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Dr. Gurrin then went on to describe how far technology has come, with smartphones now able to understand what we’re looking at when taking a photos and that your phones knows where we are and even knows if we’re sitting or standing. Want to be completely blown away by your smartphone? Google search “find my photos of (for example a specific event)” and see what happens….

Dr. Gurrin then moved onto talk about technologies such as Google glass, Google goggles and  the one year lifelog. He described the Google glass as being able to interact on a whole new level with it being actively aware, socially aware and location aware. This is leading to our technological devises knowing us better than we know ourselves.

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Imagine a world where you’d never have an issue of let’s say forgetting somebodies name ever again. Well now you don’t have to with Google glasses! Google glasses take about 2000 pictures a day and then save all your experiences into your private memory which you can access when needed to.

Dr. Gurrin then went onto describe the one year lifelog as a wearable camera which takes about 2 million images a day creating a private lifelog. This lifelog then creates a personal search engine which Dr. Gurrin referred to as an  “Internet of me” which stores, collects and analysis data such as personal health and greatest times of productivity in the day to name a few which allows us to understand our own life experience better. However Dr. Gurrin did highlight the challenges of the lifelog such as if somebody accessed your lifelog, it would be disastrous as then they’d have pictures of passcodes, personal information, etc. I bet you’re also wondering if it’s not a privacy issue to go around taking pictures of people but not to worry the lifelog will blur out the faces of the bystanders you don’t know.

The next speaker to make a presentation was Eoin Cruise, Eoin is currently the head of Microsoft Mobile Devices in Ireland. Eoin had been with Nokia prior to the acquisition by Microsoft for the last 10 years. Eoin began his talk with highlighting  the progress Nokia Microsoft have made.

  • 2011: There was the renewal stage with WP shares as low as 0.5% in November
  • 2012: There was the revitalisation stage with the ad campaign “Everyone loves a comeback”
  • 2013: There was the momentum stage where WP shares reaching 11.6%
  • 2014: Is the Consolidate stage as they reassure and surprise with gems for growth such as free maps, Microsoft office, xbox and tones more apps available

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Eoin stated that Nokia Microsoft have decided that they’re not going to release their new phone till it’s properly ready to be released, unlike other phone brands. He declared that phone companies “stop releasing things that don’t work!” I completely agree with Nokia Microsofts point of view, nothing is worse than a new phone that bends… for example (I think we all know the culprits here)

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Nokia Microsoft have made serious changes to their portfolio, in a way that they first want to create and deliver First (Series 30+) phones really well, that they want greatly improve the ‘Affordable smartphone’ range and then finally they can win in the high-end Smartphone range. I believe this approach to reinventing the Nokia Microsoft phone is the best possible way because realistically who in their right mind is going to spend €500-€600 on a smartphone, when the brand you’re buying off can’t even develop a good affordable smartphone… not me that’s for sure! After Eoins presentation I now can’t wait till the new Nokia Microsoft phone comes out, so I can see if it’ll live up to its expectations as being a phone that’ll work first release.

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The next presentation was from Paul Davey. Paul is the mobile leader for IBM in Ireland and he is also currently leading the IBM/Apple collaboration initiative from an Irish perspective. Paul began his presentation with stating that IBM have played a major role in the development of technology that we’re not even aware of… Paul stated by even flying to England for example, you’ll use numerous IBM technologies such as booking your flight on the website, printing your ticket, air traffic control use IBM technologies, by booking a taxi when you arrive in England and even using your ATM swipe card you’ll use IBM technologies. IBM also take credit for creating the first smartphone which sent emails and functioned as a pager as well.

Paul then went on to talk about the amazing break through IBM have had with cancer research, which I found fascinating. The IBM technology could analysis what caused the patents cancer in matter of 17 seconds! It then suggested three treatments for the cancer and gave a percentage rate of beating the cancer. This incredible the IBM Watson technology will hopefully be ready to treat patents by the end of the year, which is just amazing!

Paul then presented us with two pictures of Saint Peter square in Rome, one was taken in 2005 and the other in 2013. From the picture it is clear how the world has changed with the influence of technology…

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Paul then discussed the importance of producing an app for your business that meets the needs and expectations of customers. Paul brought up the Aer Lingus app and how it was rated as “rubbish” and years behind other airlines apps. He stressed this as a serious problem as customers won’t put up with inferior apps, when they can just use a different airlines app. He then went on to discuss that creating a truly engaging Mobile experience involves far more than just building great Mobile apps, that it involves making sure all of the following are provided:

  • Building Mobile apps that support a range of devices, are easy to use and look really cool
  • Increasing speed to market to deploy capabilities
  • Rapidly innovating to keep enhancing experience
  • Protecting Mobile access to enterprise data
  • Scaling elastically to deliver responsiveness
  • Integrating Mobile activities with rest of business

Paul then spoke of the joining of IBM with Apple. He describes IBM as doing the extra things people don’t recognise, however Apple has recognised IBM’s incredible work. Paul then went on to state that “they bring the devises, and we bring the knowledge” which I thought was quiet a fitting, as IBM and Apple are working on the enterprise solutions for IOS.

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The final speaker of the conference was Alex Meisl. Alex has been Chair of the Mobile Marketing Association for four years and is on the board of the Institute of Promotional Marketing, and is a lecturer at UCL. As a day job, he is Chair of mobile agency Sponge, and Retail Technology Marketing Company WiForia. Alex began his presentation with presenting us with some humorous facts:

  • 1/3 of all UK people interviewed would rather give up sex than their smartphone
  • 2/3 of all UK people interviewed would rather give up alcohol than their smartphone
  • More five year olds know how to use a smartphone than tie their shoes… Which is a tad worrying if you ask me
  • There are more smartphones in the world than toothbrushes… Just think about that one.. EWWWW

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Alex then enlightened us that there is not just a phone and a tablet but a phablet! (yes I know it’s a strange and a slightly stupid name) A phablet is between 5 and 5.3 inches while a phone is 3.2 and 4.3 inches and a tablet is 7-10.1 inches… There’s a little pointless information for you but, hey you never know might be a table quiz question some time.

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Alex then went on to inform us that SMS is dead, with only 145bn SMS sent in UK in 2013 which averages at 6.5 SMS’s per head per day, (when I think about it, that fact isn’t that mind blowing as I’m using the app ‘WhatsApp’ more often than texting lately). Alex then informed us that in the UK mobile advertising will take over newspaper adverting in 2014, $3.53bn (15.1%) vs $3.23bn (13.8%). He stressed that Apps are the future, however less than 80% of branded Apps get less than 1,000 downloads. He told us that brands must learn to “get it right” if they want to succeed, because 4 out of 10 retailers will shut in the next 5 years as customers turn away from traditional stores in favour of online shopping. Walmart is a perfect example of a brand who’s got it right and states that “We found most importantly, those who have our app are making twice as many trips to Walmart, and their spending 40% more” Which I believe perfectly shows the power of the app in mobile marketing.

Alex then stated that apart from the television, mobile use is the highest major media outlet in today’s world, with the average time spent by US adults being 2 hours and 51 minutes, which once again emphasise the need for businesses to become mobile accessible online through apps and websites. Also speaking from a generation ‘Y’ perspective we have higher expectations and if they’re not met we’ll simply move to another site (harsh but true).

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Alex then brought up Google maps, and stated that every business should be on Google maps unless they want to deliberately sabotage their business, as it’s free and will get you seen on search engine websites. He then brought up the topic that 1/3 of Googles top 100 clients do NOT have mobile optimised! (Which even I a teenager know is bad business)

Alex then presented us with the very true facts that truly enhanced our understanding of the importance of good quality mobile accessible apps and online sites.That 61% of people will quickly move to another mobile site if they can’t find what they’re looking for straight away:

  • That last year 48% of emails opened occurred on a mobile phone or tablet
  • Another survey from Nielsen found that 68% of UK consumers had used their mobiles to check emails in the previous 30 days
  • 2% of people will delete a mobile email that doesn’t look good
  • On average, the time difference between first search and purchase is one month on the web and one hour on mobile (which is a crazy difference)

Alex spoke of numerous marketing techniques, but the one I thought was definitely the most creative and fun was the in-store engagement in GUATEMALA!

Another mobile marketing technique which I thought was utter brilliance, was the EMART SUNNY SALE. This mobile marketing technique works by only allowing people to scan a QR code between 12 and 1 each day to receive a special 25%discount which can be redeemed in store or on their ecommerce site.

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From the Get Mobile conference I learned that technology is forever changing in today’s world and that if traditional businesses/stores want to keep up with online businesses they have to ensure they’ve made a mobile accessible site, they’ve registered to Google maps and that they’ve developed a great App because “Apps are the future”. I also learned that if business us fresh and creative marketing ideas like Meat Pack using the Hijack approach they’ll increase their sales while getting FREE ADVERTISING at the same time ! The next mini-conference I’ll get the pleasure of attending will be “Get Started” conference and it’ll be held on the 17th of February 2015. I completely urge you to get a ticket because if it’s anything like the last conference it’ll be an interesting, intellectual and extremely informative afternoon.

Let’s Get Social

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Let’s get social

On Tuesday the 14th of October, my fellow DCU Business School  students and I had the great pleasure and opportunity of attending the free social media and social media marketing mini-conference, Get Social. The mini Conference was held in The Helix’s Mahony Hall, DCU and ran from 14:00 till 18:00. At the conference there was a range of seven speakers from completely different companies and organisations discussing separate topics and elements however the distinct theme of social media in today’s modern world ran throughout the entire conference.

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The first speaker at the conference was Dr. Theo Lynn. Dr. Lynn is the Business Innovation Platform Director at Dublin City University and he is also a Senior Lecturer in the DCU Business School. Dr. Theo Lynn posed many interesting and thought provoking questions during his talk which included some of the following, why do academics use twitter? , what do people talk about on twitter and why?  And who is influential on twitter and why? From Dr. Lynn’s talk it started to become clear to my peers and I that the real reason academics use twitter is simply to escape boredom whether it’s in a seminar, boring meetings or just to legitimize their web surfing which everyone thought was quiet humorous. The answer wasn’t earth shatteringly shocking or anything as academics are people too but you’d still imagine, well I did anyway that academics would have better things to do with their time than procrastinating on twitter like the average teenager. Dr. Lynn then went on to ask us, the youthful technology generation a simple question of who we thought generated more Twitter buzz when they died the Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker  or the World wide respected Nelson Mandela ? I found the answer that the death of Paul Walker created more twitter buzz than the death of one of the world’s greatest leaders Nelson Mandela utterly shocking and damn right disgraceful. They’re deaths were only a mere three days apart yet the actors death created a sickeningly higher number of tweets the day he died. Dr. Lynn then asked the audience who they thought was more influential on twitter a fictional meerkat Aleksandr Orlov or our national Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The fact that the audience got the answer correct that the cartoon character had more influence on the social networking site not so much as surprising but extremely humorous and interesting in the fact that people have more interest in what a cartoon character has to say on Twitter than one of our national Leader. All of the following questions brought Dr. Lynn presentation to the conclusion that what society wants and what they’re interested in is extremely important to digital marketing as what society wants is constantly changing therefore it is essential for digital marketers to be able to predict future trends in social media so they can adapt and develop information to create new social media networks in the future.

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The next speaker to make a presentation was Dr. Deirdre Hogan. Dr Hogan is working on Gajo, a spin-out company from DCU which provides advertisers and marketers with a unique audience targeting capability based on social media. Dr. Hogan began her presentation with a quote from John Wanamaker, who once said, “Half of what I spend on advertising is wasted, the problem is, I don’t know which half” Dr. Hogan went on to describe how Gajo partakes in audience targeting and how she believes Gajo provides a solution to inefficient and “mistargeted” advertising. She described how Gajo uses its engines to filter through posts, tweets etc on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to automatically find a company’s target market. This will then allow companies to direct specific adverts at their target market. Which I thought was a super clever idea of using secondary information (already available information)  to create a target market and I think we can all agree it would be great to not be bombarded with adverts that have no appeal to you while scrolling through various social networking sites. Dr. Hogan described Gajo as “filtering the noise” which I believe perfectly describes the company.

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My Favourite presentation of the get social mini conference had to be from Jane McDaid,the co-founder of Thinkhouse. Jane described how ThinkHouse specialises in youth communications and its aim is to connect older brands with the youthful age group of 18-35yr olds. Jane highlighted how the company uses Brand Strategists, Digital Natives, Social Animals, Publicity Seekers, Movie Stars, Party Throwers and Guerrillas  to attract the youth of today to appeal to the brands they represent including Heineken Ireland, Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever, European Tour, Coca-Cola, innocent, Three, eBay.ie, Movember and more. Jane’s presentation consisted of numerous video clips of advertisements that Thinkhouse has created which I believed brought the presentation to life and most definitely appealed to the 18-35 year old age group in which my business peers and I are in. Jane also had some really interesting facts and figures about how one third of Irish people spend the same time on YouTube as watching TV and that 50% of Irish people take action after watching a video. This information has meant that advertising companies like Thinkhouse have had to adapt to this growing trend of communicate with the younger generation. Jane also spoke about the “7 sins of Killer content” (“sins are good things by the way “) which Thinkhouse believe, at least one of the 7 sins should be included in advertisements to catch the public’s attention which included humour, the epic wow factor, emotive, the wtf factor, Zeitgeist, NSFW (risky moves) and of course be informative. Perhaps this is why Thinkhouse is so successful in the advertising sector with adverts like theses…

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The next speaker to take the stage was Lucy Campbell, the marketing director of RTE Digital . Lucy’s presentation was based on expressing the reinforce leadership of RTÉs Digital Products and Services. Throughout the last decade technology has changed drastically therefore RTE has had to adapt itself to achieve and deliver the audiences wants and needs. Nowadays people are switching to watching their favourite shows online, resulting in Ireland having the second fasting growing online audience in Europe. This has made reaching the audience more complex for traditional broadcasters like RTE. The average household in Ireland has 4 Potential Portable Online Devices in their homes and this figure then rises to 6 with people aged between 15-34 years of age. RTE Digital have used these statistics to create various outlets such as RTE player, the RTE news app, GAA app, RTE radio app etc which allows RTE to stay connected with the younger generations technology needs. Lucy also presented a shocking but sadly realistic fact that 53% of 16-30 year olds would rather lose their sense of smell than give up the technology that keeps them socially connected! Which I think we can all agree perfectly sums up RTE’s need to change with the times and create not only laptop and desktop sites but also mobile accessible sites.

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The next presentation was from Alan Coleman, founder of Wolfgang Digital. Coleman described how his company create and manage high performance digital marketing campaigns and also run a sex shop on the side (yeah you read right a sex shop). Coleman then spoke of Thursday the 16th of August 2013, the day/night (depending where in the world you were located) Google went black for 4 minutes. The experimental blackout showed the world the true power of Google and Coleman himself described Google as making the web world go round. He went on to describe the greatest Medium in today’s world… Facebook and how it has the capability of reaching an astonishing 2 million people every day in Ireland. Alan went on to inform us that his company have worked for Brown Thomas, Facebook and Littlewoods and that some of their work has even been used by Google which is pretty damn impressive if you ask me. Alan then spoke of digital marketing strategies such as Facebook’s transition of moving its advertisements to the centre news feed instead of the side bar and how this small and simple move had a massive effect on users’ response rates to advertisements.

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The next speaker to take to the stage was Nicolas Cappiello, Nicolas is the EMEA Sales Director at LinkedIn . It’s up to Nicolas to design and build strategies for addressing mid-market opportunities across EMEA for LinkedIn.  Throughout Nicolas talk about LinkedIn he stressed how “It’s all about the content” and that excellent content is essential for the site. I was intrigued in how he described LinkedIn as a site where people go to invest their time so they can get better professionally and that LinkedIn was designed to help its members get more informed and inspired. Since Nicolas talk I have since created a  LinkedIn account and I recommended you to also join the content orientated, professional site this minute if you’re not already a member.

The last speaker I’m going to talk about is Eric Weaver, a veteran marketer. Eric began his talk describing a marketer as a “cheerleader and ambassador” who helps build awareness, revenue and loyalty for brands they represent and throughout his presentation he kept referring to ‘The great 2014 social media crisis of faith.’ The media crisis in which Eric referred to was the disillusion and disinterest people have been experiencing in social media because it’s basically become quiet predictable and boring. Social media doesn’t have the same buzz any more and this is resulting in a fall in the amount of advertisements being watched. Eric stressed the issue that ‘It’s all about content’ and that the more money you put into paid boosting and advertising the more money you get out of it which can be perfectly seen with the 100 year anniversary ad campaign for Oreo which generated an enormous amount of social media interest with an impressive 280% increase in Facebook shares, 231 million media impressions, 433 million views on Facebook resulting it has the highest brand buzz increase of 2012.

From the Get Social conference I learned that technology and social media fads and fades are forever changing in today’s world and what’s classed as cool today is yesterday’s news. Therefore everyone working in the marketing, media or the digital world must be constantly on their toes and constantly looking for the new “big thing”. I believe Jane out of Thinkhouse put in perfectly that if Thinkhouse aren’t one of the first to do it there’s no point in doing it at all…