Many of you have completed our recent survey (and there’s still time – it remains open until 5pm today) where we picked your brains on what kind of events, formats and prices you would like to see in our events calendar in 2010. Our events manager, Irene Dehaene, in particular would like to thank you very much. She and I would also like to remind you that there’s not only still time but also a chance that you might win two tickets for the 2010 IIA Congress & Net Visionary Awards taking place next May.
Speaking of which we would also love to do a bit of online brainstorming with you, our resourceful readers, here on our blog. What themes would you like to see addressed at next year’s Congress? What are the biggest opportunities for online business that you would like to hear more about? What are the biggest pitfalls that you need more information to avoid? What have you been reading, watching, hearing about that you think more businesses here need to know about? Have you had a revelatory experience using a new technology that you think would make an awesome case study? Have you heard an inspiring speaker that you think all Irish online business people should have an opportunity to hear? What other questions could I possibly ask to get your brainstorming buds a-tingling?
Don’t worry about what themes we addressed in previous Congresses, don’t worry about whether you’ve attended before or not, just speak (write) your mind.
I have a ticket for next year’s Congress for the best comment below so please stick your oar in!
I know many of you have attended far more IIA Congresses than I have. In fact you could probably describe it better than I ever could.
So I thought, “Hey why not share those descriptions with a wider audience?” Tell us in a blog post about your experiences at a previous Congress and link back to this post (so I know about your post and can read it!) We will award a pair of tickets for the two day event to the best blog post on this topic.
Your post can be about benefits you or your company got from attending a previous Congress, interesting/ inspiring people you met at Congress, something funny that happened on the way to, from or at Congress, photographs (with HIlar-i-ous captions of course 🙂 ), video, audio, or video mash-up indeed. Whatever you fancy!
The competition is open until May 13th and the winner will be announced on May 15th.
I also have another competition coming up tomorrow that might be more to your taste so please stay tuned (or better still subscribe to the blog feed.)
I’m a little bit tardy in letting you know – it’s been a busy week – but we’ve extended the early bird tickets for the IIA Congress and Net Visionary Awards until NEXT FRIDAY 01 May 2009. There will be no further extensions so please book now or regret it later.
Listen you’d be giving out later if I didn’t remind you 🙂 !
And while I have you, you only have until next Friday also to vote in the Net Visionary Awards so get over there and cast your votes and get your warm fuzzy feeling on a cold damp Friday.
Have a great weekend!
I hope you have seen yesterday’s news that the speakers for the plenary sessions at IIA Congress 2009 on May 21st – 22nd in the Crowne Plaza in Santry, Dublin have been announced.
In the morning we have speakers from Facebook, Realex Payments, DotMobi and Google sharing their expert perspective on Better Business Online in a Tough Economy: Money, Marketing, Monitoring & Mobile sponsored by Realex Payments. The afternoon will lead on with breakout sessions organised by the IIA Working Groups and focusing the theme within their particular areas of expertise. Delegates will also be able to book one-to-one web strategy clinics to help them work out some of their gnarlier online business issues. These were really popular last year so we are expanding them this year.
That evening will see the announcement of the 2009 Net Visionary Award winners and if that’s not enough I will be organising our inaugural Meetball* – a demonstration and networking breakfast on May 22nd.
I hope this announcement has piqued your interest and I want to make sure you get there at the best price possible.
Currently we are offering Early Bird tickets for Congress to members and non-members until 17th April (2 more weeks). These tickets are as low as EUR195.00 for members to attend Congress only. This can be combined with a ticket for the Net Visionary awards for as low as EUR325.00 for members purchasing an Early Bird ticket. All the information is available on our Congress subsite.
But I can go one better. Please use this code blong09 to get 20% off the price of your ticket for Congress 2009 in whichever combination suits you. Book here and book now (or at least before 17th April to get the best price going.)
(This is getting cheesy but) Not cheap enough for you? If you would like a free ticket then take a bite of our referral scheme. Contact me, Roseanne, at email@example.com for your unique referral code that will give your contacts 20% off. Pimp it out anywhere you like: on your blog, in your email signature, on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, IGOPeople, wherever. If five tickets of any kind are sold using your discount code we’ll give you a free ticket of your choosing.
*Meetball: why is it called Meetball? Ball is the Irish for member 🙂
Nominations are now open for the 10th Annual Net Visionary Awards. These awards celebrate exemplary uses of the internet in Ireland. Nominations are welcomed from the public in 15 categories as varied as Best Business Blogger, Web Developer Excellence, and Innovation Award. A new category this year is Online Tourism Award sponsored by Fáilte Ireland which hopes to encourage Tourism SMEs to strive for excellence in their online business.
The process to become a Net Visionary is three fold: firstly nominations are welcomed from the public until 27th March 2009. Then five judges review all entries to create shortlists of four contenders in each category. Finally, from 13 April until 1st May 2009 the public are invited to vote for the shortlisted individual they think should be the Net Visionary in each category.
Fans of the Net Visionary Awards will note that the Awards are taking place earlier this year and are coinciding with the IIA Annual Congress, the premier national conference focusing on doing business online in Ireland. Irene Dehaene, IIA Events Manager, explains why the IIA have decided to bring these two key events together, "As a business association, we felt an event that celebrates online excellence but which includes plenary sessions, workshop style breakout sessions and web clinics reflected the association’s mission and goals. Including the Net Visionary Awards will allow delegates to celebrate the best in Irish business online while learning and networking as well."
Fergal O’Byrne, IIA CEO, encourages everyone to nominate the internet businesses that most impressed them in the last year, saying, "TThe internet offers all businesses in Ireland, regardless of size or sector, opportunities to cut costs, increase effectiveness, communicate clearly and, in some cases, to reach beyond these shores. Reviewing last year’s winners we see that much of their success is a result of having social media and its multiplier effect at their core of their business models. However we also see winners and runners up who are focused on internationalizing their business and who know there is no better way to do this than via the web. Many of our members report that they will continue with their internationalization plans regardless of the economic climate. No doubt we will see many of them nominated in this year’s Net Visionary Awards."
Nominations are now open at www.netvisionary.ie
The Irish Internet Association’s Annual Congress will take place on 21-22 May, 2009 in the Crowne Plaza Conference Hotel, Dublin. The annual Net Visionary Awards will also be held on the first night of the conference. This premier event will be attended by over 400 industry professionals.
The audience last year comprised senior managers, decision makers and key industry personnel and the event was a complete sell-out. 38% of delegates at last year’s Congress in Croke Park were C- or Director level. (Watch a video review of last year’s event)
The IIA Congress is unique in that it provides excellent content in an educational and networking environment. Previous keynote speakers come from companies such as Bebo, eBay, Microsoft, Dell, Google, Yahoo, Aer Lingus and Jupiter Research. The format of this 2-day event includes plenary sessions, breakout sessions, clinics and ample networking opportunities.
Fergal O’Byrne, IIA CEO, speaking about this year’s theme, commented, "The IIA holds a strong conviction that when times are tough, the internet offers solutions for a broad variety of enterprises. The focus this year will be the potential of the internet to allow businesses to market their products and services, protect and profit from their resources and leverage the latest internet innovations to maximise the opportunities available."
Nominations for this year’s Net Visionary Awards will open mid-February followed by the creation of shortlists created by judges chosen from the Irish Internet sector and culminating in a public online vote. Last year’s awards saw the largest number of nominations and votes than any year previously and the IIA hope that running the two events at the same time will facilitate more companies attending both of these events.
The IIA is currently seeking expressions of interest from amongst its members for the many speaker and sponsorship opportunities that an event like this affords.
More information and updates: www.iia.ie/congress09/
In today’s Irish Independent’s Digital Ireland supplement Marie Boran and John Kennedy take a different angle on social networking in an article entitled Bubble 2.0. (not yet available online – go on, go mad and spend €1.80 on a copy of the Indo!)
Edited 15:56: “Bubble 2.0: Are we about to witness another technology crash?” now online.
Those interviewed make some really good points. Conor O’Neill of LouderVoice points out that “historically bubbles are when all the great ideas and grand plans are hatched and tried”. I’m always reminded about my art history classes in school when I read comments about that: (early, classical and) high period wouldn’t have the same je ne sais quoi as bubble, would it? However technological innovations in painting, sculpture and architecture are plain to see as they are the cultural artefacts that are preserved in galleries, museums and cityscapes around the world. Which Web 2.0 app will be the Sistine Chapel of the future?
Our own Fergal O’Byrne comments that many Irish businesses that were established before March 2000 are still thriving. It is this very global success that attracts all sorts of visitors to Ireland to learn about how we do this so successfully.
Pat Phelan and Tom Raftery also talk sense. Pat refers to Facebook’s finances and wonders what your local bank manager, looking at a “negative cash flow of US$150m”, would think if you said “I have an estimated value of US$15bn just like Facebook!” Tom (who currently has posted a presentation about Web 2.0 toolset for business for those of you who just can’t get enough – looking forward to video of same) insightfully suggests that Microsoft’s purchase of Facebook was strategic: “The only logic to paying US$240m [for a 1.6% share] was to get Facebook valued beyond anyone else’s reach”. Mmm liking the taste of the wine from that poisoned chalice, Facebook?
Also interviewed in the article are three others who spoke at our recent Congress: Philip Macartney and Mark Charkin from Bebo with the last word going to Barry Meehan from Worldwide Cycles, living proof that blogging can make you money.
One thing that surprised me in all of this talk (and a delegate at the Congress also mentioned this to me) is the focus on advertising and marketing while there is scant talk about the collaborative power of web 2.0. The IIA recently set up a Social Media Working Group who specifically mentioned that, in order to undertake their work as a group they will be using Basecamp from 37Signals.com. I’d love to hear more about how companies are using online collaboration and wikis for their work. I would be particularly interested in hearing the experience of those who aren’t neccessarily tech companies like GPs or retail managers or those in tourism or to paraphrase the young people, “Whoever!”
I spent Friday morning listening to and uploading the podcasts of the plenary and question & answer sessions of the IIA Congress. I finally feel I know what you are all talking about! You can download them and subscribe to the podcast here: http://www.iia.ie/resources/podcast/
The podcasts were kindly and appropriately sponsored by the straight-talking online bank RaboDirect.
These are available to all. The accompanying presentations are available to members and delegates only.
John Kennedy writes in SiliconRepublic about last week’s Congress, “Bartley O’Connor, associate director of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Ireland, said there is a digital divide emerging between businesses that have broadband and those that don’t.” He quotes Bartley as saying ““This is affecting business start-ups, not just end users. There could be hundreds more businesses in the country if not for the lack of broadband. People are losing out.”
We’re acutely aware of this in the IIA. A search of our online member database using the keyword Donegal, for example, shows exactly how few companies in Donegal are members. (Yeeessss ROADTRIP!!) Joking aside the IIA is seeking to address this and other issues by bringing together industry experts, interested parties and stakeholders in Working Groups. In relation to this issue the Infrastructure Working Group are already busy and we expect to see a position paper from them in the near future.
Regardless of the broadband situation, the IIA is a countrywide organisation and the 4th of June will see us not quite in Donegal but in Derry running a course entitled “Making your Web Strategy pay”. This event is sold out but you can catch it again in Belfast on the 5th June.
John Kennedy also writes about how his meeting with Bebo’s Head of Sales Mark Charkin and their new Head of Sales in Ireland Philip Macartney at the IIA Congress. John describes how this pair told him about how they are “forging alliances with major media firms including the BBC, MTV and CBS to drive its monetisation strategy.”
Bruno Sardo made a presentation at last week’s IIA Congress about Dell’s social networking. He mentioned in particular their very proactive IdeaStorm which is a simple but brilliant use of Web 2.0 technologies. If something is bugging you about your Dell product, they want you to come online and tell them about it. I know it’s very à la mode to swear at the moment (thank you Biffo) but if you write coherently about your idea for improving your Dell product, other users can vote whether they also think this is a good idea. At the time of writing there was a suggestion that all power cables should be standardized. I reckon this is a great idea so I am choosing to promote this idea. Click click click and it’s done. So simple.
In his blog post about his experience at our Congress last week, Bruno writes, “The overwhelming feedback I received directly and indirectly was that people got by far the most out of the case studies and hearing from businesses who are learning by doing.” He then goes on to write about Barry Meehan’s presentation about his WorldwideCycles blog, “Barry shared some people will drive all the way from Dublin to buy their bike or supplies from his shop, and now that their store is eCommerce enabled they get orders from all kinds of places. An online order was placed last week from Italy for a €3,000 bicycle. When Barry posted a video on the blog showing how to clean your bike after a race, he saw sales of the cleaning product he used in the video quadruple almost overnight!”
In the comments to Barry’s post I notice that Aedan from Puddleducks is planning to start a blog. I am thrilled to read this on both a professional and personal level. Professionally because I know Aedan took a positive experience and inspiration (and indeed a raffle prize!) away with him last Thursday. On a personal level, I know two nippers who are off to the zoo today in their “fireman suits” purchased from Puddleducks and I look forward to reading more from PuddleDucks. (No pressure Aedan, I swear!)