This year’s Dublin Tech Summit followed much of the themes of previous years – Irish start-ups trying to find their footing, one or two big names giving a talk and a lot of posturing companies attempting to find the next big thing. That’s not to say that it’s a bad event, not at all. Despite some of its shortcomings, Dublin Tech Summit 2019 was an enjoyable experience, although one man, Chris Hadfield, stole the show.
Colonel Chris Hadfield, Canada’s first man in space, is best known for his rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, the first music video to ever be made in space. Hadfield followed it up with an album called “Space Sessions: Songs From a Tin Can”, but the man is more than a musician. Speaking at great length about the difficulties of leadership, his experience in space travel and being the commander of the International Space Station for two years has meant that he has had to undertake a leadership role that, arguably, surpasses the stress levels of basically any other job here on Earth. Not only is he the sole commander of one of the world’s greatest inventions, but that makes him in charge of the world’s greatest collaborative effort as well. His failing could damage relations with other space agencies across the globe, a heavy burden to bear.
And that’s without the risk of death associated with pretty much all aspects of space travel. Hadfield talks in depth about the challenges faced even in take-off. “We burn 12 tonnes of fuel a second during take-off… that’s just stupid, that’s just brute force”, Hadfield says, later pointing out that the process is nowhere near perfect either. “If anything goes wrong, that’s it. It’s sad, maybe they’ll name a school after you”. It’s a morbid look at the lives of these astronauts, yet it does make sense. While we have worked as a species to advance so much in space travel technologies, we haven’t perfected it at all. We face challenges every step of the way, and early success, Hadfield says, is a terrible thing.
This talk was the star of Dublin Tech Summit for myself and Jack Price. I’ve attended a lot of events, but Hadfield’s talk surpasses pretty much any other that I’ve been to. It was absolutely fantastic. He has plenty of talks that he has conducted over the years, so if you’re interested you can go on YouTube and search for them. We’re looking forward to next year’s Dublin Tech Summit!