With so much on in this; the busiest conf season on record in my book; the space for startups heating up is expanding. We are at the beginning of a mega startup boom and a gold rush.
The Websummit growth has been a phenomenal success, the hosting venue and the city of Dublin saw itself saturated as 23.000 delegates flocked and filled it to the brim.
The officials and cultural attaches are taking notice; the embassies beginning to entertain startups; and investors holding receptions at consulate level. The UK has become a role model for governmental support at the highest level, recognising startup culture as both the engine oil and the fuel of the economic growth for decades to come. More importantly, tech is creating employment faster than any other sectors. Trade tours organized by No 10 now include entrepreneurs and startups along with the PM and Ministers on board the same flight.
The angel investors and VCs are slowly learning the ropes, now a healthy competition between global investors, leading by the US and China who are looking into investing in technology in the UK and Europe as attractive propositions.
With that rosy picture we also a need to promote a culture of inclusiveness. The reality is the higher up you go on the ladder the level of inclusiveness and diversity drops. The diversity in boardrooms still an issue as is the imbalance in the circles of power with women and minorities under represented.
Above at Noah Conference after party with Cabaret and Acrobatic acts
When we look at the societies afflicted with exclusivity, chauvinism, gender, and religious apartheid (see image on the right) as you can see the more repressive, undemocratic the more corrupt the state apparatus increases in par with human rights abuses and other ugly innuendoes.
These tendencies naturally feed into an economic and cultural decline where the climate is not conducive to progress and startups participation in the economic growth in general.
It has been reported that there are no gender pay gaps in tech particularly at the middle tier level, salaries are pretty much equal based on the candidate abilities, employers are not concerned about the gender differences as such. (ref: http://qz.com/182977/there-is-no-gender-gap-in-tech-salaries/)
However, we are not producing enough women in tech through the education system, some of the greatest role models are forgotten, pioneers such as Ada Lovelace are not championed enough at schools. The discrepancy with presentation of women and minorities at board levels is a global problem that needs to be addressed on its own accord. (ref:http://www.businessinsider.comsheryl-sandberg-women-in-tech-2014-8?IR=T)
The 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work promoting equal educational opportunities regardless of gender as basic human rights for everyone.
At two of the best of the seasons, the Websummit commanding the biggest turnouts in Europe, for an event of its kind and Noah Conference with its creme de la crème of investors in attendance. Nevertheless when you look at the top levels of both conferences the inclusiveness begins to fade out to lighter tones of gray.
On a lighter note, when it comes to party the tech’s the best. These are social networking events accompanied with cabaret, acrobatics, musicals, poetry, and arty performances, as time goes on, these are becoming artistic outlets for many involved in the arts, as a race for each afterparty to out do the others. Noah stands supreme as party organizers. I have been to some wicked parties like Badoo to name but one, however the Connect party at the Websummit was something else.
Websummit claims their phenomenal growth as much in employing data-scientists in matchmaking delegates for the Pub-Crawls they organize where they band together delegates in groups to tour the pubs of Dublins and mingle with others enroute, these encounters are as important as the serious talks and investment pitches attendees sit through during the day. That said, attending breakfast meetings at 8.30 in the morning, after couples of hours keep, from a night of heavy partying is not something for the faint hearted. I usually turn up in Dublin a few days earlier to get Guinness acclimatised.
It is however, the place for everyone to let their hair down and celebrate the coming age of the startups, there is so much going to define the 21st century and for it to be remembered with a bang.
I will be speaking at BCCH-Brisish Business Centre Startup Lab Budapest – 28th Nov and
LT-Accelerate Speaker – Brussels – 4th Dec