“What’s meant to be, is meant to be”… That is the fateful cliché that was floating around in my head, as I sat patiently in a meeting room in Facebook’s European Head Office in Dublin. Funny how fate always takes you on a journey, and you can only ever look back in hindsight and say “If that had not have happened…this would not have happened!” Seven weeks ago, I was boxing files as our office closed down and now I was waiting for the entrance of Colm Long, Facebook’s Director of Operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Three weeks prior to this, we had arranged to meet with Mark Nagurski, Derry’s Digital Champion http://digitalderry.org/ who has been tasked with developing and supporting the digital content sector in the Derry area. From our initial introductory email to Mark, to then meeting him, and him subsequently inviting us to Dublin to meet with Facebook and various technology related start-ups, this journey had taken less than a month. Within 7 weeks of being made redundant, we found ourselves at opencoffeedublin.com – an informal meetup for web and business people with an interest in startups and technology ; we met and chatted with some great web designers and developers at pubstandards.ie and of course we had a great meeting at Facebook’s European HQ. Don’t get me wrong, we are far from being seasoned IT professionals, but the journey from redundancy has been swift, and can show you where a little bit of tenacity, luck and passion can take you.
Talking of passion, one of the meetings Mark had set up for us was with another Colm – this time Colm Lyon, Founder and Managing Director of Realex Payments – one of Europe’s leading eCommerce businesses. Check out http://www.realexpayments.com/about-realex/directors to find out about Colm and his business interests.
Within five minutes of meeting Colm Lyon, he had the room transfixed. There were eight of us in the room listening to Colm and his business advice. He was full of passion, heart and soul, and what struck me the most, was not the fact that he was now a very successful Millionaire, but instead the enthusiasm and passion with which he spoke. It seemed to me that he would have spoken with the same passion, irrespective of his monetary success, and he touched on it himself, when he suggested that not one of us should sell out on our ideas or our ideals for a quick buck. If only all Directors, Politicians, guest speakers, spoke with such drive and belief.
He described his journey from Banking and Finance, through to the startup of his own business; the highs and the lows and his eventual success. He spoke with the same amount of enthusiasm as a guest speaker I had heard a few years previously, who had described her personal journey to the top of Mount Everest and back again. Colm Lyon’s mountain was setting up his, now very successful business, and you understood that his success in reaching the top, was because of the hard work, strength of character, passion and drive that he so clearly demonstrated. A fundamental point he wanted to drive home was that in order to set up a success business, you first had to have a clear business model that worked. What is the current problem that exists? What is your business solution? Is it a better and more efficient solution than already exists?
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