"Not Enough"

Yesterday at the CEO Forum  I heard two themes. One was echoed by many, the other was just loud and really compelling.

CEOs talked a lot about the misfit between third level education and the needs of businesses today. Students need more hands on, practical experience and universities need to do more to make this happen. I’ve heard similar in other venues and want to keep listening to get a better perspective from the POV of tech companies and tech graduates.

Michael O’ Leary (Ryan Air)  was loud and entertaining of course but he also kept returning to one message for the CEOs in the room:  Your success to date is not enough. You’ve got to be bolder, you’ve got to think bigger. Ireland is not enough, Europe is not enough, the US is not enough. We’ve got to keep pushing to build bigger, global businesses out of Ireland.

A battle cry of raw ambition alright and it’s great to hear him shouting about it. And it’s not just our CEOs that need to embody it, so too do our VCs, Accelerators, Government and the rest of us. We’re shooting for BILLION Dollar valuations here my friends and, as O’ Leary says, if a couple of guys based in Swords can build the world’s largest airline there’s no reason why we can’t achieve them.

The Role of "The Commish"

I now have almost 60 days under my belt as the Dublin Commissioner for Startups. I’ve met a lot of great people these last two months and many of you are asking me the same questions. The Commissioner role is pretty unique and since I’ve been given a blank canvas to work with, it’s also still evolving, but here are some elements that are already set in stone:

My office is completely independent and my position is privately funded. We will leverage private and public funding and resources to operate.

Enterprise Ireland and Dublin City Council are key supporters and enablers of my mission to promote Dublin as a great city to start and scale a business.

Our work will mainly focus on tech companies in Dublin but that doesn’t mean we’ll ignore everyone and everywhere else. We hope and want our work to benefit the country as a whole.

I have 2 years in this role (through October 2016) and have an office in the Docklands and at DCC in Woodquay.

My approach is collaborative from start to finish. My office will shine a light and help to strengthen great initiatives, events and organizations already working in Dublin such as DublinBeta, DubStarts and Startup Ireland. We’ll also partner with organizations and individuals across the ecosystem to deliver new and needed projects like the Dublin Data Project soon to be announced.

I took this job because I believe deep down in entrepreneurship, the ability of startups to change the world for the better and the potential of Dublin to be a great startup capital that’s innately Irish in its character and worldclass in its execution.

I hope you’ll all join me on this big and exciting adventure!

A Personal Joy and Professional Honor

The last few months have been a wonderful whirlwind for me. I was offered the Commissioner job in late July, we packed up our lives in Jersey City by mid August and landed in Dublin just before the start of the new school year on September 1st. While my role didn’t officially commence until October 1st, I was anxious to hit the ground running, and I’ve been running ever since!

Back in those warm lazy days of late August I tweeted that getting this role was a personal joy and professional honor for me. I had no idea even then how true this would be.

I’m hoping to share my observations and ideas about the Dublin tech scene through this website and blog, advocate for great new initiatives, and celebrate the people and companies that are leading the way forward. This truly is a special time for Dublin. We have arrived as a great tech city, lets continue to build on this momentum and invite the rest of the world to come to Dublin and be a part of it.

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