Oct.31 - Dublin's F.ounders conference has been dubbed the 'Davos for Geeks'. Matt Cowan reports
Last year, the co-founder of YouTube made big news when he was here. This year, the lead singer of U2 dropped in to chat with the co-founder of Skype. And that was just before things really picked up. Dublin's Founders conference may be an intimate, invite-only affair but in its short two year history it's already established itself as one of the premier networking events on the European tech calendar. Even Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny showed up to press the flesh. NAT SOUND In a speech, he conceded he's not much of a geek but there's one thing he does understand about technology. SOUNDBITE: Enda Kenny, Irish Prime Minister saying (English) "There's a really fundemental part in the development of Ireland's economy resting on the shoulders of the tech sector and we want to support that in every way we can." With its low 12.5 percent rate of corporate tax, Ireland has already wooed many technology heavyweights to establish a presence in the country. It's not alone in talking up the transformative potential of the tech sector...but few countries do hospitality like the Irish. From a reception hosted by the outgoing Irish President, to a special performance of the Riverdance at the top of the Guinness Factory: this was Ireland strutting its stuff. Organizer and curator Paddy Cosgrave. SOUNDBITE: Paddy Cosgrave, F.ounders Organizer saying (English) "So in the case of Ireland right now, there are huge questions in terms of how are we going to turn our economy around and the part of our economy that's already turned around is the tech sector and it's the tech sector that will continue to lead this country out of the situation that it finds itself (in) at the present moment and bringing the founders of some of the fastest growing tech companies to Ireland is a huge opportunity for the country." Serial entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky says he believes small businesses can make a big difference in spurring much needed growth across Europe. SOUNDBITE: Martin Varsavky, FON founder saying (English) "When I look at my own history and the amount of job creation I've managed in my life, maybe something like 3,000 jobs in the 5 companies I've started in the last 20 years. I also think the tech sector is also the sector that pays the most." Robert Stephens is the founder of the Geek Squad and Chief Technology Officer at Best Buy. SOUNDBITE: Robert Stephens, Best Buy CTO says (English): "Just about every city in the world wants to be an incubator for high tech and call themselves a Silicon Valley. It's not going to happen because Silicon Valley came from a specific set of circumstances - cold war, defence spending, research, semiconductors. But we're moving past the age of silicon into data and cloud computing and the good news is that's not physical so it's not as reliant on those specific set of circumstances." That, he says, is what makes face to face communications so important even in the age of teleconferencing. And, it must be noted, the Irish had a certain reputation for being socialable long before Facebook turned social connections into a multibillion dollar business. Matt Cowan, Reuters.