I fell in love with computers and set up a software company while studying for a PhD in Plant Science in 1991. I have since worked for a number of companies at Group IT Manager and CTO level.I am a highly visible blogger on all things IT and my PodLeader podcast (Thought Leaders podcast) has become very successful. In March 2006, I won the Best Technology Blog prize at the Irish Blog Awards.In 2004 I decided to set up a consultancy specializing in Internet strategies - particularly focusing on social software. However, the aspects of running a consultancy business (accounts, payroll, etc.) appeal to me far less than podcasting and blogging so I am currently looking for a job where I can use my blogging and podcasting skills to best advantage.
The main players in the Tech sector in Ireland are all the familiar names - Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, EMC, Google, HP, Amazon, EBay, IBM, etc. - some of those have been here 10+ years (Microsoft, Apple, Intel) whereas the newer tech players (Amazon, EBay and Google) have only arrived here in the last couple of years. There are a number of reasons they come to Ireland - we have a skewed demographic in Ireland with a disproportionately young population. We have a good education system. We speak English natively and are the only English speaking country in the Eurozone. Having said all that, the main reason foreign companies invest in Ireland is because of our low corporate tax rate. Corporate tax in Ireland is charged at 12%.Apart from the US firms coming into Ireland, there are some quite well known indigenous Irish tech companies - Salesforce, Iona, Riverdeep, Qumas, and Stockbyte, for example.The tech companies are mostly concentrated around Dublin and Cork with one or two notable exceptions - Dell is based outside Limerick, for example.
technology? Is there a new generation evolving that is more tech-hip than adults are today?
The schools are under-resourced when it comes to ICT - the universities, not so. The younger generation are certainly a lot more tech savvy than my generation were. They all have mobiles and text heavily. They use Bebo (similar to myspace) and IM to communicate and they nearly all have mp3 players!
4. How prevalent is broadband? Is it growing?
Broadband adoption in Ireland has been very slow to take off - it is at 6% at the moment and growing slowly. This is primarily because the former state-owned telco - Eircom has been overcharging and resisting letting go of its monopoly at every turn. There's a couple of books in that alone!
5. Are people spinning of from large tech enterprises and starting their own companies? Are any of them Web 2.0? What percentage? Is it growing?
Yes, people are leaving the large companies to setup on their own regularly - very few of them in the Web 2.0 sphere though. pxn8.com developer Walter Higgins, for example is developing his Web 2.0 app in the evenings and weekends while still working for EMC by day. The people who leave large companies to set up on their own are not typically the ones who would set up a Web 2.0 company, in my experience unless they are frustrated developers.
Ireland is definitely becoming more connected with the rest of the world. Blogging has made online networking and communications so much easier to do - for instance, within a week of my posting that I was looking for a job on my blog, I had 3 offers from US-based companies alone. This couldn't have happened if we weren't so well connected.The Internet isn't playing a large part in politics here just yet but we are going to have an election here in 2007 and blogging will play a large part in it, I think. Between now and then, politicians will be looking for any advantage when it comes to getting votes and when they see how blogs punch far above their weight in terms of influence, they will jump all over them.
7. How is the Flat World phenomenon changing Ireland today? What do you
see the impact being 5 or 10 years from today?
Frankly, I have no idea. Things are going to change seismically in the coming years. The way we consume media is altering radically. It hasn't hit home here yet but when it does, the changes will sweep a lot of the old guard away.Having said that, we'll all still be getting up in the morning, having our coffee and breakfast. The grass will still need to be cut every week and the dishes washed. So maybe the seismic changes will appear seismic to us who are involved in the affected industries --others may not even notice!
8. What should I have asked you that I failed to ask you?
How is the mobile phone sector in Ireland?Very strong - we have over 100% mobile phone penetration here. Lots of use is being made of voice and text but there aren't any operators offering flat rate data plans yet so mobile data has yet to take off.
Are you still looking for a job?I'm talking to a couple of people but nothing has been signed yet
What is your skillset?
- Blogger – full understanding of content generation with excellent web communication skills
- Blog technologist – powerful grasp of blogs and their optimization (setup, plugins, pretty permalinks, SEO, spam avoidance, trackbacks, etc.)
- Podcaster – researches, produces and hosts the high profile podcast podleaders.com and blog.itcork.ie
- Social software maven – expert knowledge of how to utilize social software to raise the online profile of a company, product or service as well as how it can be employed to improve a company’s internal and external communications
- Communicator – highly skilled communicator experienced presenting to large audiences and in online media
- Strategic thinker - with a background in science and technology
- Accomplished networker - with an impressive local and global network
- Proven abilities in online marketing and search engine optimization
- Experienced project manager