I first became aware of Startup Grind back in 2012, when I drifted along to one of the monthly events in Dublin. Truth be told, I can't remember the first interview I saw there but I was hooked from the start: I loved the intensity and the intimacy of the format - a million miles away from the standard 15 minutes of banal positivity and fluff you get from founders at typical tech conferences. Even more than that, I loved the crowd that gathered together - an audience that lived and breathed the core Startup Grind values: make friends, not contacts. Give, don't take. Help others before helping yourself.
Fast-forward to February 2013, and I found myself in Silicon Valley, representing the Irish Government as a sponsor of the Startup Grind Conference. It was my first trip to the US West Coast, and I was dazzled: by Derek and the incredible organization he had created around him, by the global Chapter Directors making room in their busy lives to share and learn from their fellow community leaders; by the speakers; and by the crowd assembled in the Computer History Museum.
These were special people: authentic and genuine, open to challenges and new ways of thinking. Derek may well have sprinkled fairy dust around that day, because atmosphere was electric. I wasn't just hooked: I started to become positively evangelical. I became a missionary: when I returned to the Global Conference as sponsor in 2014, Derek had an award ready for me to mark my attendance at Startup Grind events on three continents - Europe (Dublin), Asia (Dubai), and North America (Palo Alto). It's a bit out of date: I've since added Tel Aviv and London to the list.
Time passes, and people move on: Darren Mulvihill, the original Dublin Chapter Director, relocated to London to pursue new career opportunities, and the Dublin events series ground to a halt. It has been almost a year since Darren hosted Ray Nolan as his final guest, and I'm excited and honored to announce that I'll now be heading up the reactivated Dublin Chapter, and we'll be hosting our first event at the end of August. My first guest will be Alan Coleman, founder and CEO of Brite:Bill, one of Ireland's leading scale-up tech companies. It's going to be a fantastic evening, and tickets are on sale now.
This is a big deal for me. The people I've met and the conversations I've continued to have over the last three years have played an influential role in my life, professionally and personally. I hope that the opportunity I had to learn at previous events under Darren's stewardship will be available to others as we work to build up the events series over the coming months. I know that I'm excited about the speakers we'll be continuing to announce, and the Dublin startup ecosystem can become an active participant once again in the world's largest entrepreneur community.
Looking forward to seeing you there.