When Irish spleens are venting

Normally this is the time for peace on earth and good will to all people. But not over at the blog belonging to Segala, a Dublin-based company offering “Web accessibility and Mobile Web standards compliance.” Its CEO Paul Walsh (who describes himself as an “Irish Opportunist” on his Twitter page) is a prominent networker in the London and Irish Internet scene, and an often controversial blogger. His latest target is the launch of a new Irish networking group called TechLudd, which was inspired by a recent trip to Silicon Valley by some Irish startups, an initiative dubbed Paddy’s Valley.

There are way many sides to this story, but these are the basics: TechLudd plans to run a regular, possibly monthly meetup. But Walsh argues in a post titled “Why TechLudd should stop before it starts” that another networking group is going to fragment the growing Irish startup and internet sector too much (he calls the idea “half-baked”). He and others (53 comments and counting) argue that Web2Ireland should be the place where the industry hangs out, online and off. However, various voices are either objecting or assenting to being brought into this argument, depending on their perspective.

I don’t have a strong view either way on this fight. But to me an “eco-system” which supports startups usually benefits from diversity and heterogeneity. A homogeneous environment, where there is only one place to network, one event to go to etc, does not seem quite as healthy. On the other hand, if you are in a relatively smaller market like Ireland (in comparison to, say, Silicon Valley), is it too confusing and fragmenting to have lots many organisations trying to run initiatives? And how many is too many? Can only 15 people decide this, as Walsh now proposes? This story appears set to run and run…