Meet the woman behind Dublin's newest tech conference

"We want to grow better, not bigger"

Meet the woman behind Dublin's newest tech conference

Noelle O'Reilly

Dublin's Convention Centre played host to the first annual Dublin Tech Summit. Organisers say 9,800 attended the conference across two days, which featured speakers such as Cindy Gallop and Gary Vaynerchuck. 

Speaking to Newstalk.com on Thursday afternoon as the conference came to a close, CEO Noelle O'Reilly said she is delighted with how the event has gone. 

"I'm completely overwhelmed. It’s not going settle in just yet. The feedback has been great - not just from speakers and investors, but also from attendees. People have been coming up to us to say they're really enjoying it."

Prior to establishing this event, O'Reilly had done her research, attending conferences such as CES and SXSW to see what a tech conference should feel like. While she worked at Web Summit for a short period of time, O'Reilly said it didn't overly influence her as she set up this event. 

"You take things from every job you go to. I don’t think it was in mind when we were building this as much as it could have been."

"Better, not bigger"

It's hard to discuss the Dublin Tech Summit without drawing some form of comparison between it and Paddy Cosgrave's Web Summit. One notable difference, however, was the scale of DTS versus Web Summit. As we all know, Web Summit moved to Lisbon in November last year, but the final event in Dublin had an attendance of around 42,000. The final attendance figure for DTS, according to O'Reilly was 9,800. When discussing the scale of the event, O'Reilly believes a capacity of 10,000 feels right for a conference of this nature.

"I think 10,000 is the right number. I think between 8 and 10,000 is a beautiful number. That’s what I wanted at events I went to. I wanted to do business, not just gather brochures I could maybe read in a couple of months. Convention Centre Dublin is a great venue for us as it gives a bit more of a corporate feel, without making you feel like you need to wear a business suit. Our number one goal is to grow better, not bigger."

The Convention Centre, based in Dublin's docklands, has a maximum capacity of 8,000 people spread across its many floors. Dublin Tech Summit had 8 stages, consistent Wifi and a decent food offering. O'Reilly was happy with how the location serviced the conference. 

"It was intimate, comfortable and definitely the right venue for us."

When asked if we can expect a DTS 2018 in the same location, O'Reilly says she's happy with CCD, but would be open to other venues. 

Jobs

O'Reilly is in no doubt that DTS will return next year and is adamant that she had her team will implement learnings from this year.

"We've all put a lot into it. It's been a real passion project and it means a huge amount to us. All attendees will receive a survey once the event is done because I want to know the little things that we can improve upon. Already I know that I want to open more registration desks as there was reports of queues. The app was a bit slow, so we'll tweak that."

Dublin Tech Summit was put together by a team of 10 people. Anyone who went along to the conference would have noticed a swarm of volunteers in blue t-shirts. O'Reilly says they will be rewarded for their work.

"I am 100% going to offer jobs to some of the volunteers. You don't volunteer because you have nothing else to do. We gave them tickets, but we'll follow up with them about upcoming opportunities. It's important tor remember if someone gives up their time for you."

While they are content with the size, there will be no stopping the team behind Dublin Tech Summit who say they want to expand their team and host smaller events throughout the year.