Notes From The Commish: Hype And Substance

There’s been some recent discussion in the Irish media about startups and whether the government should be run like one.

Governments are not businesses and probably shouldn’t be run like a business. That said, it excites me to read about citizens being treated more like customers, and how lean methodologies could be used to guide the development of the products, services and delivery mechanisms the government employs. Business is always trying new approaches to get ahead and the government should be too.

What concerns me though is how startups and the startup industry are sometimes characterized in the Irish media.

Startups are not a rarified animal, a passing fad, or a hyperbole with no substance. They’re simply businesses that employ technology to deliver products and services. Try to think of any public (or private) service or product that’s not currently being impacted, in small or large ways, by the use of technology. Maybe your smartphone can help you with the research…

There can be a lot of hype and nonsense within the startup industry. Believe me, I get it.

I sometimes worry that like other international cities, we’re building a startup industrial complex in Dublin, where a never-ending stream of networking events and competitions get priority over solid supports focused on customers and revenue. Then again, it’s early days in the new digital economy and every one of us in business has something to learn from the wantapreneurs, crazy ideas and fake-it-till-you-make-it philosophies.

It’s much easier to hear the hype than the substance in the Irish startup industry but rest assured people, the substance is here. Every month in this country we have a dozen more Irish companies delivering true innovation to the market, making real money and creating well-paid jobs.
And the sooner we as a government, and a community of industries realize the potential of our startup industry, the quicker we’ll become a successful digital economy with our own global players, instead of a small island market dominated by international ones.

Irish startups are Irish businesses. Support them, and spread the word.

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