> On Wed, Feb 07, 2007 at 12:28:08AM +0000, James McCarthy wrote:
> > I was wondering what the opinion of the list members would be on I.T. hubs
> > outside Dublin, such as Cork or Galway?
> > Taking into account the area graduates (how good are the courses, and how
> > many students for Cork I.T. & UCC?).
> > Dublin's at the heart of things here but it's not cheap, is there sufficient
> > talent outside the capital to make the lower costs worth it?
> > Opinions, recommendations all welcomed.
>> Interesting questions - though, like Robert, I think you need to
> clarify what you had in mind by "I.T. Hub". The following takes
> the point of view of a small tech startup:
>> One of the significant advantages that modern technology startups
> have over large IT companies is mobility. We simply don't have the
> staffing requirements or the need for infrastructure that the likes
> of PayPal, Google, Amazon, etc, have. As a result we can set up almost
> anywhere - so long as it's cheap. Aside from needing talent, good
> ideas, and a lot of determination, a tech startup's requirements
> basically boil down to:
>> . A selection of broadband options
> . Low cost of living
> . A lack of inconveniences and time-sinks (eg traffic)
. available, skilled staff
that's a big issue outside of Silicon Valley; over there, it's easier to
track down smart people who are interested in working for startups, when
you need to expand -- but in many parts of Ireland the population isn't
there to do this easily, so you either get (a) the wrong people (b) no
people or (c) expensive people.
At the recent Barcamp SE startups session, this was raised as a serious
issue -- one of the startups there tried to hire a Rails developer in
Ireland, and were asked for ridiculous money for not very much. Instead
they found a US-based developer, who implemented it at a fraction of the
cost. Outsourcing to the US, who ever heard of such a thing ;)
I think the increase in teleworking makes up for it a bit, though; it's
easier nowadays to hire people to work, if they can do so remotely.
There's a bigger pool if you look at Ireland as a whole, rather than
just people in commuting range of your offices.
> And in our opinion, startups can really benefit from having
> communication with other like-minded companies, but I'll get to
> that in a minute.
>> When we (jinsky) headed off down the startup trail a couple of
> months ago, we didn't even consider moving to Cork, Galway or
> Limerick. Rather, we took a look around at some of the Irish
> companies that we respect, and followed their lead. Although we
> never made communication with them at the time, Blacknight Solutions
> really stood out as the role model we'd like to follow. Here is a
> company, based in Carlow, that runs their services from Dublin and
> Amsterdam. Yeah, that's the way you do it! After scouting around
> for a bit in Kilkenny, Carlow, and the surrounds, we opted for a
> short lease on a place in Athy. So, I guess Aine Douglas is right
> after all: Kildare is the center of all things IT in Ireland... ;-)
>> Mobility, however, is not just about being able to move somewhere
> that's cheap. Although this is essential in the early stages of a
> startup, what is equally important is knowing that you are not moving
> somewhere forever. Honestly, as great as Athy is, we wouldn't have
> moved here if we had thought that we were going to have to spend
> the next 10, or even 5, years of our life here. Unless sushi-bars
> start popping up on street corners, there's a pretty good chance that
> we'll move somewhere else if we find some measure of success. Also,
> the aim of many tech startups is to be consumed by the big tech
> companies. These public companies have a need to feed on small
> innovative businesses so that they can prove to shareholders
> and analysts that they are have ample market share in the latest
> breaking technologies. I'm guessing that mobile tech startups look
> a lot tastier than immobile ones.
>> So, I guess the gist of what I'm saying is that geographical location
> has become much less of a big deal - for startups at least. This
> isn't to say that we wouldn't move to a town somewhere if a bunch
> of other startups decided to set up there. We would definitely
> consider it. Ultimately though, it's much more important for
> startups to be in communication with one another than for them to
> be co-located. What would be a whole lot more appealing to us than
> some IT Hub, would be an online forum where Irish tech startups could
> throw each other work from time to time, pool expertise, and arrange
> to collaborate on projects.
>> If there was such a forum, it might even attract people from other
> professions who have complimentary skills: fund-raising, marketing,
> etc. Indeed, the most significant problem that we faced when deciding
> to do a startup, was coming up with an idea. Sure, we had loads of
> tech skills, but coming up with an the idea for an application was
> exceedingly difficult. On the flip side, I have no problem imagining
> that there are loads of enterprising people in Ireland, with streams
> of great ideas and a complete lack of ability to implement them - let
> alone implement them on a shoe-string. Some sort of focal point
> for us all meet would be most welcome.
>> If anyone knows of such a forum, please post the details of it!
>> Incidentally, we highly recommend the essays by Paul Graham to anyone
> thinking of doing a tech startup:
>>http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html>> In particular, "How to Start a Startup" is a good jumping off point:
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