I have something I need to share with my readers. Even my mother is not aware of this, and I’m sorry she had to find out this way. You see, I’ve been holding it in for way too long and I desperately need to let it out. So here it is. This year, I was not on the press list for F.ounders in Dublin.
I was going to write a post about how unhelpful it is to be drawing a velvet rope around some of the most influential people in the industry. But, truthfully, it isn’t: it’s brilliant, and the inaugural F.ounders was one of the best events I’d been to all year. Indeed, I said so on the three occasions I wrote about it in the Telegraph.
Wait, sorry, no. Four times.
And I was tempted to write an outraged piece about how classless and ungrateful it was for a conference I’d put together a UK guest list for, made numerous introductions on behalf of, spent two and a half days of valuable consulting time giving strategic advice to and endlessly plugging, to cut me off because I’d decided to go freelance and they couldn’t boast about a specific publication next to my name on their guest list. (At least I know not to waste my New York Times commission this month on a conference review.)
But I won’t do that. I’ll simply say this. It was a shame they knowingly misled me, failing to correct my excitement and anticipation after they knew I’d booked my flights to Dublin and stringing me along for months discussing with me whom I might interview on stage, before abruptly sending me a generic email explaining that “demand had been extremely high”. Guys, I know: I’m part of the reason.
While I wish them all the best for the future, I don’t much feel like attending another F.ounders or Dublin Web Summit event right now, and I won’t for the time being feel able to vouch for those events or any of the people behind them.
I’m sure Paddy and the team will pull off another great weekend. Though, having seen this year’s guest list, which is a mixture of impressive Americans and… well, Europe’s quite small isn’t it? I hope they find someone new to help them separate the European wheat from the chaff. Because the real character of this conference is still very much in flux, and you have to wonder what the value is for the Silicon Valley guests.
For a drink-soaked hack, it’s a brilliant boondoggle, but what, besides a hangover, are people really getting for the three days away from their companies that we don’t already from DLD and Founders’ Forum? My concern is that unless F.ounders filters more effectively and consistently, this event will become just another utterly missable European schmoozefest for US CEOs with something to flog over here.
Then again, maybe not inviting me was their first step on that process…