Tech and Techno…..

Guest Blog from courtesy of Joanne Dowds ( chartered Physiotherapist and eHealth enthusiast)

‘Why are you going to the web summit?, I was lucky to get access to the Web Summit this year through a work colleague, but most found my Christmas morning level of excitement, befuddling. My answer, ‘why not the Web Summit?’.  Why would anyone not want to go to a hive of experience, skills, innovation with good design, bright lights, all set to a throbbing techno beat?  I like learning and I like interesting people, an event with the two combined, I’m there with bells on. I ignored all the naysayers and went with high expectations. And it met every single one. It was massive, sprawling over the entire RDS campus, people huddled everywhere. As I have only my time to invest, I spent very little time at the start up stalls, but the list of speakers, well I don’t know how they managed it. These are some of the nuggets that I gleaned.

Web summit 1Fitness tracking apps work. Observing behaviours, change behaviours,(scientific name -Hawthorne effect) so it is probably more accurate to say honestly observing, record and reflecting on your behaviours (fitness or otherwise), can have a massive impact on what you achieve.  However you need to keep doing it. Most of the issue with health apps is the same as with gym membership, people are enthused initially but the novelty wears off when real life kicks in, so it has to be consistent. The crucial time point is 7 days, once over this time point, tracking has become part of your routine and from there you will start to accrue health benefits. Also if you cook your own food you are much more likely to lose weight than if you buy convenience food or pre packed meals, as a consequence many apps are starting to incorporate recipes and storage of receipes within their format.


The most successful poker players are health conscious. In order to successfully concentrate for long periods of time they need to be physically fit, mindful, many have holistic practices like meditation  or yoga and careful of what they consume. The other useful tip from this session is their definition of success. They don’t set out to win every hand, every time.  Not the battle, but the war echoes for me in fitness. This definition implies learning to cope with setbacks, success isn’t defined by not falling, but by being able to pick yourself back up and keep on moving forwards. It is never failing, it is about consistency.

And finally my new intellectual crush David Eagleman. This guy is coming to a television near you soon. He has recently starred in a show in the states called “The Brain” which is airing in BBC at some stage in the very near future- I will be DVRing it. He was dropping quoteable gems all over the place. Your reality is entirely your perception. We are social animals and social media enforces our desire to be approved off, its like human catnip. On a separate note he looks a bit like Michael Keaton from about 20yrs ago.

Other speakers of note Jefferson Hack (intellectual crush no2), Padraig Harrington- that guy has a serious work ethic and Rileywebsummit photo 2 Ennis who looked about 18 but is CEO of a company that are developing a simple blood test for cancer DNA. They already know they can do this; they just need to make their processes more accurate. This is coming down the line. It is astonishing.

Yes, I am a nerd.

I loved every minute, felt inspired to be in such progressive company and privileged to have gotten the opportunity. So my learning is, don’t let others force you into a box with their narrow beliefs that limits your options. Stay curious.

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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