The Web Summit, happening today and tomorrow in Dublin, has grown in significance since it’s beginning four years ago. It has ridden the ever increasing wave of start up and founder culture, bleeding ceaselessly from Palo Alto into the rest of the western world. I’m a software engineer working in Dublin, and this is what I think of it.

Hundreds of people from all over the world doing their level best to make you into a product.

They are doing great things in ‘analytics’ amazing things in ‘user connections’ they are improving companies ‘reach’.

It is a culture of hope, keeping people locked in , alone, staring into a glowing screen, telling you you’re being ‘social’, monetizing your loneliness. If you are not looking at a screen you are not generating revenue.

‘We are in the business of creating Social Experience’, as he pointed me toward a stand advertising an online betting platform.

I just received an email from this site, it is from yourfriends@medium.com.

My friends?

Creating social anxiety, tagging people you used to know in pictures enjoying themselves in places you used to go to. Helping people connect by slowly cutting you off from them. Creating a whole new social consciousness, judging status updates, judging status, judging.

Robbing children of the ability to develop empathy. Hampering development, designing cool, destroying the alternative.

Ensuring that a deeper reading is impossible, in Ruby, written in Five days! Only 140 characters! Brevity is the soul of misinformation.

VC’s and executives walking around filling smaller companies with hope while just robbing features for their own proprietary products. Glorifying being obsessed with work, talking about drive and ambition, getting young companies into debt. Saying ‘Guys’ a lot, saying ‘Sharing’ a lot. The Camembert quartet. IPO, monetize strategy, get rich quick.

They still listen to The Fall.

Why? Why is the RDS full of people, why are tickets €995? Money, because money is cool. Making a lot of it really quickly by building hopelessly trivial applications on technology with the power to change the world, is cool.

The Taoiseach just opened the NASDAQ on the main stage.

It’s not money we’re interested in, you fool! It’s innovation!

The Taoiseach just opened the NASDAQ on the main stage.

Squandering the greatest technological achievements of our age by perpetuating the creation of superfluous applications built only to farm your data and sell it to advertisers. De-humanizing you. You are now consumer and product in a weird circular process eating itself, perpetuating itself, achieving nothing.

We used to show newsreels before movies, now we let the audience know they still have time to buy a Coke.

Our hospitals don’t work, has anyone seen the Irish PAS system? Our schools are underfunded and overcrowded, has anyone seen the e-portal rolled out to schools this year? Society needs technologists, because technology can improve people’s lives. Technologists are selling people’s lives. Your tastes, your economic status, your commute, it’s all our commodity. Google Glass. Nothing that matters is getting better, it’s just getting worse.

Waiting lists, illiteracy rates, obesity.

Share that. Have a conference on that.


One day you will sit in the pub with your friends and instead of making observations on life, listening to others, talking about that movie you loved or recommending a book or just listening to someone’s problems, instead of helping someone by just fucking sitting there and listening to them, you’ll be talking about your companies second quarter performance. If you think that’s hyperbole, visit Palo Alto.