Tag Archives: ireland

The Land of R&D.

Greetings from Dublin!

We’re opening a new office here; not sure how many that makes now. The office will only be concentrating on the development of technologies and product components; no sales, marketing or finance are planned as yet (all that’s done from London). It’s a new R&D office in what I would call the land of R&D :) I’ve already written a few times about the special attention Ireland gives to IT companies, so I won’t repeat myself. The office is still quite small, intended for about 30 people. It occupies half a floor in this building near the Grand Canal.

dublin_1

Read on: inside and outside the office…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Irish towns: Water, water, everywhere.

En route to the Cliffs of Moher in the north of Ireland, we stopped over in Sligo, the principal town of County Sligo (incidentally, where W.B. Yeats spent much of his youth. But, you poetry buffs, can you name the poet who wrote the words in the title of this post after the colon?:).

What struck me most here – and in other Irish towns we drove through or strolled around – was the prominence of water. I mean natural water sources – rivers and, if it’s nearby, the sea.

There seems to be a river or stream running right through the middle of just about every town in Ireland. Of course, rivers and streams run through most towns in most countries, but it seemed to me that in Ireland they’re all big and in-your-face – and often very fast flowing and choppy (and making a heck of a din).

In Moscow, for example, rivers seems to be deliberately put out of sight, as if they get in the way. The man-made riverside walls there are always really high, so you can often be forgiven for not noticing rivers there. In Ireland they’re central to the character and spirit of towns, prominently visible and taking pride of place.

Like the river Garavogue running through Sligo. Look at the pics and you’ll see what I mean. Incidentally, Garavogue means ‘little rough one’. I can see why…

Just looking at the little rough one’s rapids flowing through the center of town got me salivating for water-tourism. Those arches under that bridge really need canoeing through, followed by a quick turn to avoid the stone wall just after it. Oh how I miss canoe-catamaran-rafting adrenalin…

Sligo, Western Ireland

Read on: Sligo rapids…

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Atom Heart Moher.

When folks who’ve been to Ireland get asked what its best ‘must-see’ or ‘must-do’ bits are (besides Guinness), most reply with the Cliffs of Moher, and understandably so. The Internet even says these cliffs recently became one of the top must-sees, not just of the whole of Ireland, but the whole of Europe! Bold reckonings. But they might just be right…

This part of Ireland is stunningly beautiful.

200-meter high sheer cliffs facing out across ‘the pond‘, aka – the Atlantic Ocean. Monumentally magnificent. And the waves way down below – like 50 floors of a skyscraper down below – can still be heard up here at the top crashing against the rocks. Them some powerful waves.

Western Ireland, Cliffs of Moher

Read on: Raining cats and dogs…

Startups and sheep.

Ireland does IT real well – it both understands it and supports it. But it doesn’t just attract and help out ‘adult’ tech businesses, it also does its bit with IT-incubators and supporting  IT startups. But I waxed lyrical about all that a year ago.

// Ireland’s also seriously into pharmaceuticals, but I won’t be discussing that today. Pharmaceticals to me are like a parallel universe (and the term ‘pharma’ mostly reminds me of the illegal drugs trade on the Internet.

So here I was at the Web Summit exhibition-conference in Dublin, November 2014.

Among other things, Web Summit is a yearly gathering for all sorts of different IT-startups, which come here in search of partners and investors. It really is the place to come if you’re a budding IT ‘infant’-company with loads of ideas and plans and dreams but no money. IT-infants (plus investors and large business) come here from all over the world.

Here’s what it looks like:

Web Summit 2014, Dublin, IrelandNano-stands :)

Read on: I see pink sheeps!!…

Silicon Island.

From time to time I tend to share some geo-politico-economic observations from my travels. Here’s one of those times…

There’s this island in the Atlantic – an island called Ireland. There aren’t a lot of useful things to extract out of the ground there, the climate’s nothing to write home about, and its location is quite a bit out of the way – let’s say… Euro-peripheral. And every now and again it suffers from a serious alien financial crisis.

So what’s a country with hardly the best physique in the gym to do? Think – that’s what!

And that’s just what they did…

They thought about – and followed through with – making the country as attractive as possible to foreign investors and companies by creating the most comfortable business environment possible. They even created a special governmental agency for this purpose – IDA Ireland, made up of an army of enthusiastic civil servants whose sole task is to promote their country. And they’ve done rather well so far: there are around a thousand foreign companies located here, and that includes many IT ones. Google’s here, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, and many others. In fact everyone’s here! Now Facebook too – lured here by Bono (just don’t mention ‘philanthropy’ and ‘offshore tax residency’ in the same sentence:).

The keen-as-mustard Ireland promotion agency reminds me of a similar agency in Singapore, which has helped enormously the country’s strategy of industrialization and modernization to develop the economy. Btw, Ireland’s Ryanair is the second largest airline in Europe (after Lufthansa) – just another example of this country’s low-key powerhouse status. There’s more to Ireland than long-pour Guinness meets the eye.

So what was I doing in Ireland? I was here for a local IT posse get-together – this time an exhibition-conference called Web Summit: more than 600 (!) startups of varying caliber and nationality, all in a small and tightly packed exhibition center. The startups show themselves off and get acquainted with neighbors and investors, while big companies have a gander at all the fresh innovative ideas. All good, exciting, interesting, worthwhile and proper!

Web Summit 2013

Read more: more silicon island…