It's not easy building a professional community from the ground up, but Noelle O'Reilly has managed just that: her inaugural Dublin Tech Summit hosted over 10,000 attendees on February 15th and 16th, 2017.
Here's how O'Reilly has made it all happen:
Where your network meets is crucial. If you're spending time in an area that's run down or hard to get to, you're going to find it almost impossible to get quality professionals interested in your events. O'Reilly credits the creation of a vibrant tech community in Dublin to the development of a dedicated area (Silicon Docks) that "has incorporated residential and social elements," creating a "hub for those working within the tech community" and allowing networking opportunities "in places like local bars." As a result, it's fairly easy to bump into a colleague on a night out at the pub -- a much more casual atmosphere than your usual networking event.
The success of Dublin's tech community comes down to the fact that everyone and everything -- companies, employees, residential buildings -- are in the same area, making even a trip to the grocery store a networking opportunity. While this is a feature that not many places have, the key is to keep things accessible for the majority of your potential participants.
"There's no need to taxi or train to or from work to socialize," adds O' Reilly. "It's truly an urban neighborhood for the tech community."
According to O'Reilly, one thing that leaders often forget to do when they're attempting to create an engaged community is to lead by example. "If you're trying to build a tech community, be that a community of staff or of customers," she says, "you need to live and breathe tech and everything that it stands for." Your dedication and expertise will inspire others to speak up and participate.
Dublin is a place that's been able to create a vibrant tech community in part because of its culture.