Bizcamp Dublin

I had in plan to go to Bizcamp Dublin ever since I heard it was going to happen. On the very morning I felt dead tired and didn’t want to get out of bed, but in the end I managed. And wasn’t sorry: the day was great value! It was worth it spending 7h on the bus just to be there!

Kudos to Keith Bohanna, Alan O’Rourke, Keith ShirleyCampbell Scott and all the others who were involved in the organisation. They’ve done an excellent job, and we have learned a lot from them for the coming Bizcamp Limerick!

They decided to have a fixed schedule for the day, which was available for download before the event. Usually at barcamps we have a board with post-its that can be shuffled and re-shuffled many times during the day, but I was so grateful the bizcamp Dublin organisers gave us a printed schedule to serve us as a guide during the day!

I was late in the morning, so I missed Aileen Hannan ‘s talk“Practical Finances for Entrepreneurs”. Even if I had the chance to listen to her at Barcamp Cork and I’m reading her blog, I still regretted it.

I went to the Dan Barry talk “Legal issues facing start-up businesses“ – I found it excellent, to the point, full of very practical advice.

I hesitated between Niall Harbison‘s talk “Marketing and Growing Your Start-Up” (I am a real fan of Niall and a great admirer of the way he uses social media!)  and Yanky Fachler‘s “Using chutzpah (balls, brass neck) to get through closed doors”. I must confess the subtitle  “The emotional transition from employee to self employed” made me go to Yanky’s talk- the talk was nice and entertaining, but it didn’t do anything for me. He didn’t speak specifically about this transition,  but rather shared anecdotes about how some of today’s success people started.

It was the first time I had the chance to listen to Emily Tully in person (I visited her blog though!) – her talk on “Self Promotion/ how to use PR and the media to your advantage” was excellent. She spoke about things such as having different press releases for old and new media, being honest and thinking about your audience.

During lunch everybody had the chance to meet old acquaintances and make new ones. I’ve done a brief survey regarding the interest in having a 3Dcamp at UL in June (looks like we should do it!) and interviewed this young fellow who didn’t seem at ease among so many adults. He told me all he’d like to see at Bizcamp Limerick – I hope we can live up his expectations!

The afternoon started with a panel discussion moderated impetuously by Patricia O’Sullivan : Successful Fundraising. 5 people shared their experience in obtaining funds for their start-ups: Caelen King from, Niall Harbison –,  Campbell Scott from IGOPeople, Keith Bohanna – dbTwang, and Ciaran Crean – MicksGarage. They were joined by two advisors from Enterprise Ireland. I wish the panel would have been given a bit more time – they all had interesting things to say, and the room was buzzing with energy.

I was tempted to join the Battle of the Biz session  run by Robin Blandford after that, but I decided it’d be better to learn something about branding. Gerard Tannam‘s session “Branding Your Start-Up From The Get-Go” was probably the highlight of the whole Bizcamp for me: straight to the point, informative, practical and stimulating. I had several “eureka” moments during that talk – it was really worth it! The interesting thing was that the room was completely packed – either people have developed a nose for quality sessions, or they deserted the Battle of the Biz after it was explained to them.

I returned to the big room just in time to catch a presentation by one of the competing teams and couldn’t make much sense of the presence on stage of 5 young ladies who seemed to have been got there by accident!

Next,John Whelan from Trinity College and Stephen Kinsella from the University of Limerick spoke about the existing opportunities for start-ups to take advantage of the existing academic expertise in the country: Create Ireland,the EI Innovation Vouchers, the CampusRock initiative, the NDRC – Media Lab 2, focusing on translational research, other Enterprise Ireland programmes.

I wanted to listen to Chris Byrne, but he didn’t make it up from Cork. The final session I say in was run by Jane Hogan and Sean Kirwan . Both of them spoke about how to increase your sales – a lot of enthusiasm, but to my taste they sounded a bit like the network marketing talks I used to listen to in the late 90s. If you take away the enthusiasm, there’s not much substance left!

It’s amazing how the span of attention is almost unlimited during such events! I’ve never got bored at any unconference type event – there are so many interesting people to talk to and speakers to listen to, that it is difficult to divide your time. Could we do something similar in academia? Have one day a month when anybody can volunteer to give a talk, and allow the students to go wherever they want…

March 14 2009 | Events and unconferences | 1 Comment »

Planning for a DellCamp in UL

A post on How to turn a bad thing around on the OpenCoffeeClub Limerick blog got a lot of attention – and after that Evert Bopp, one of the fellow organisers of the LOCC, was interviewed on Today FM and on the Ryan Tubridy show.

This created a lot of buzz and the idea of organising a BarCamp focusing on entrepreneurship and start-ups

Then, I came across Stephen Kinsella’s post and listened to the podcast- he was talking about a University initiative group. It occurred to me that we should join forces, so I drew his attention to the LOCC idea.

Twitter did the rest. Other people jumped in, so on January 23, we met in UL for the first time to discuss how, when, where, who. Why was obvious: trying to turn a bad thing around… The discussion started with Stephen Kinsella, Hughie Tiernan, Bernie Goldbach and myself around the table. David Quaid, Evert Bopp, Ger Hartnett and Shane McAllister joined us shortly. We were all buzzing with great ideas about speakers, sessions, advertising and so on. The only problem we had was with the date: Stephen had already made a provisory booking of the lecture hall and break-out rooms in the Kemmy Business School. And the date was March 7. Bernie told us he just spoke to Keith Bohanna and that was the date they had picked up for Bizcamp Dublin. A short conversation with Keith on the phone, a tentative of bringing the Dublin Bizcamp to Limerick alltogether, the frightening spectrum of having two competing events on the same day, a check of the rugby calendar, and we agreed to move the event to March 21. Dellcamp became Bizcamp Limerick!

We went to see the facilities and everybody was impressed by the new KBS building.

Kemmy Business School The lecture hall

Stephen Kinsella has the whole story in this  blogpost.

January 23 2009 | Events and unconferences | No Comments »