Tech Humans Of Dublin # 11: Ciarán O’Gaora, Zero G

Ciaran Ogaora

Mapping Dublin’s tech ecosystem, one human at a time.

This is an exciting time in Dublin, but then every time is exciting: it was interesting in the eighties, interesting in the ninties, the naughties were a little bit bananas… but now is a good time. If there’s a positive fallout from (the banking crisis of) 2008, it’s that people have become a lot more entrepeneurial, where you have to get out there and do it yourself. The recession shook a lot of glossy crap out of the creative environment, which is always a good thing.

There’s a great quote from Tibor Kalman which says ‘Good clients are smarter than you, bad clients are dumber that you.’ We like to engage with clients who are smart, who are passionate, who understand their field – then what we bring to that is a different perspective. As designers, people come to us because they want to change how something looks – we engage with a process which changes how they look at themselves. That changes how they look at the opportunity, and once they start to look at themselves differently, creative possibilities begin to emerge. So on one hand we’re an outsider, on the other a very close partner.

I was always very interested in projects that are about engaging with identity and sense of purpose, whether at a national or local level. I worked in Holland for years, and was offered the opportunity to go to New York, but came back here instead. The reason is that in Holland things felt very easy, which is nice, but I missed the hair-splitting and social tensions you get in Dublin. New York is driven by scale – in Dublin, there’s a certain reality.  I feel grounded here. The conversations that I have here feel real to me. The criticism that I receive here is something I know I should reflect on. The encouragement that I get supports me. That’s important.

We work with clients in America and the UK and India, and we do it all from here. What’s nice about Dublin is that it’s six hours ahead of Omaha, five hours ahead of New York – so when I start on a Monday morning, I know my clients are asleep. That’s always good to know (laughs).

Ciarán O’Gaora is a designer and the founder of Zero G, a Dublin-based brand design company.

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