Two Editors Talk: The Story of Dublin Tech

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Your favourite Dublin tech publication has a new editor in the house. Irina moved to Dublin a year and a half ago, has much more hair than the former editor (but like him does not use a comb), and her surname means “horse thief”. On a sunny evening in Dublin, former and new editor chatted about Dublin tech, the stories to tell, and the people and companies to celebrate in Dublin.

Irina: How would you describe your time in Dublin Globe?
Derek: I like telling people’s stories, and Dublin tech is a great story to tell. My job was to find good people, get them to talk and tell their story. That is one thing that Dubliners are superb at – talking. The aim always was to help readers understand how Dublin works and show that that something important is happening right now.

Who unbundled Dublin Tech for you?
We were always very lucky to have a core of people who were interested in Dublin Globe, primarily because they were interested in Dublin tech. There was a genuine desire and goodwill to work together to make a better Dublin. People like Tom Lyons, Fionnuala HealyConor Stanley, Johanna MoranDeclan Ryan, Ann O’DeaPaul Quigley, and Leonora O’Brien who all saw the potential in the city and its story. We couldn’t have done it without them or our sponsors: Dublin City Council, IDA IrelandVodafone, DCU Ryan Academy, Noone Casey, Cpl Recruitment, and Beauchamps.

What did you enjoy most?
I think the engine that drove everything on the site was the Tech Humans of Dublin section. Dublin joins up, one person at a time. I loved hearing each story for all the wisdom that was within it. Stories filled with tenacity, toughness, and brains.

Which ones in particular?
One of my favourite interviews on the website is the one with Bobby Healy from Cartrawler. He is a straight shooter. He talks about how to be smart about your business and your brand. Another favourite is Jules Coleman from Hassle. Beyond that, I love the interviews with people who laid the foundations of tech in Ireland, such as Eamonn Leonard, Joe Hogan, and Liam Casey. The people who did not give up. They built the first companies, organised the first events, went to the first meetups. The history of Dublin Tech comes from each of those stories, it’s not a straightforward narrative. I also saw Dublin through the unique perspective of great journalists such as Adrian Weckler, Pamela Newenham, and Emmet Ryan.  

What about stories beyond individual people?
I love the fact Intercom now resides in the same building as the former Anglo Irish Bank. It’s a statement of intent, as to how things were and how they are now. Tech companies are the new establishment, driving what’s happening in this town. Another example is Brown Bag, who are not necessarily seen as a tech company, but are leading the industry with their tech and their creativity.

What do you like about them?
They are both global companies, yet their creative heart is right here in Dublin. There are many other uniquely Irish companies, many of whom are also true makers and changers. The likes of MooCall, Love and Robots, FoodCloud, ChangeX, Restored Hearing, CoderDojo. They are full of good people, who do things for all the right reasons.

What are you most proud of?
Beyond telling the individual stories, we made sense of trends. By naming companies in the various verticals where Dublin is very good, we identified emerging phenomena, such as TravelTech.

Yes, we are just about to publish a High Fliers Volume 2 list. We now have 60 TravelTech companies in it.
That is brilliant. But there is also a lot of substance in the SaaS, FinTech, MedTech, and Digital Health verticals. We also discovered fantastic things happening in the research centres, as well as the tech hubs in universities like DCU, Trinity, and UCD. They are all doing great work.

What are the things we should be writing about next?
Exciting things are happening in gaming, AV/VR, GreenTech, and AgTech, for starters. The latter is probably the one I am most excited about because it goes to the roots of Ireland as an agricultural country, helping its farmers.

How does your personal story continue?
In the past year, I have been part of the launch of two online titles, Dublin Globe and Dublin.ie, both amazing experiences. The next challenge is amidst the green pastures of RTE, rebuilding RTE.ie. It’s really exciting.

Bon voyage Derek!

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