Bono fights poverty, ex-Harvard head takes on Winklevoss twins at tech talk

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Ciara O'Brien, Irish Times

SOME OF the world's top technology entrepreneurs mixed with well-known names in Dublin's Mansion House yesterday as the F.ounders conference began.

Bono addressed the gathering as the co-founder of charity One International, an organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease. He compared aid for struggling economies to start-up funding, and said One wants to be the NRA [National Rifle Assocation] of the world's poor. "It's much feared but well organised," he said.

Bono appeared on stage with One executive director Jamie Drummond to discuss the campaign and how technology has helped empower people. "The 21st century began last year in Tahrir Square, where the model of power over the millennia - the pyramid - was inverted. You have this incredible thing that technologists have known for years: the network effect," he said. "Received wisdom is not going over very well. Everything has changed ... The more of it that is available, the easier our job."

Transparency is the "vaccine" for the "biggest killer disease of them all", Bono said.

The F.ounders conference is an invite-only event limited to 200 of the most influential tech leaders, and a few special guests. Director Barry Sonnenfeld and former US treasury secretary Larry Summers joined YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, Flipboard's Mike McCue, and Yandex's Arkady Volozh for the two-day event. Topics for discussion included the future of the web, technology and the economy, and politics and revolution.

The conference has been called "Davos for Geeks" because of the opportunities for networking that it provides. The "fireside chats" revealed some interesting titbits.

Summers took on the topics of how technology had impacted ON the economy, and redressing the gender balance in the industry.

"I think there's a great deal One can do that is both pro-diversity and pro-meritocracy by giving everybody more of a chance," he said.

"There's a great deal that smart employers are increasingly doing to widen the sets of talent that they are able to recruit, and to recruit more women. I think the world is making progress, but . . . I'd like to see it making more progress."

The former president of Harvard was asked about his dismissive remarks on the Winkelvoss twins, who sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their social network idea.

" You learn some things as a university president. One of the things you learn is that if undergraduates are wearing a suit and tie at 4 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, there are two possibilities. One is that they've got a job interview; the other is that there's something a bit off about them. The Winklevosses did not have a job interview that afternoon."

F.ounders continues today.

© 2012

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on October 20, 2012 5:10 AM.

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