Jupiter Sparks: Childrens Book by a new Irish Author

As I’ve said previously I know quite a few writers who are working on novels. One of those has just released their first novel on the kindle. “Jupiter Sparks” is the story of, well, Jupiter Sparks, a detective sent in search of a special code and of Joey and Cherry who end up being central in helping him.

The novel was written for the Author, E.C. Quigley’s son, who is now 12 (Full disclosure: He’s also my son). And fits a genre of children’s adventure books that have become quite popular recently. I’ll blush and admit I quite enjoyed it too.

Jupiter Sparks is available as an eBook from Amazon and will shortly be available as a hardback.

Jupiter Sparks Childrens BookHere’s the blurb:

You vanished once before, ran away instead of facing your demons. Cowardly actions, Mr Sparks, not the actions one would expect of a great detective.’

Jupiter Sparks is in trouble. Bound and imprisoned. His captor hunts a powerful memory code that, if unearthed, could have devastating consequences. Can Jupiter conquer the ghosts of his past and escape?

Jupiter needs help.

Step in: Joey Hopper and Cherry Chalk. 11 year old, accidental adventurers.

But are they up to the challenge?

read more

Glenties and The Gathering of Leprechauns 2013

Some of you may already know this some may not but I am from an absolutely fantastic and picturesque village of Glenties in Co. Donegal in the North West of Ireland. It is a truly beautiful place with incredibly friendly and hospitable people.

Leprechaun World Record Attempt

With the Gathering going on in 2013, they intend on breaking a world record they just missed out on last year. They intend to have The Gathering of Leprechauns and have 2013 leprechauns on the main street of Glenties on St. Patricks day 2013. Doesn’t sound like many does it? But the thing is my little town of Glenties only has a population of 869, so they are going to need your HELP.

If you don’t already have your plans made yet or you’re the kind of person who likes to go on adventure at the last minute then I couldn’t recommend it more.

There are big plans for the day

A family fun filled day is planned this year with live music and refreshments being served in the waiting area and live entertainment on the street. we are also planning our own GLENTIES BOOK OF RECORDS which will take place on the day.

Help my home town get into the Guinness World Record books

We are going to try to get the record this year, but for that we need your HELP. If you have your costume from last year then you are all set to take part just register that you want to take part, if you want to take part and are looking for a costume you can contact us on our new facebook page which has been set up especially for the event, you can email: carmeldoherty10@gmail.com or tel: Carmel on +353 (0)87 9307423

Go register and see a bit of South West Donegal while you’re there. It’s the most beautiful place in the world.


read more

Halley Suitt is writing a book…

I know lots of writers and lots of people who want to be writers. I know several people working on novels right now, some are published authors and some are talented beginners. Whether the end product is great or not I think it’s at least a worthy exercise on the part of the individual. And even terrible writing can be successful, look at “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

So I was delighted when I heard my friend Halley Suitt-Tucker, who has been writing in lots of ways for quite a long time is writing a book about entrepreneurship and startups. (Paddy’s Valley alumni might remember her as one of the bloggers who came and met us at the Buena Vista Café with Robert Scoble and Loic LeMeur.) It’s not a self-help guide or a tell-all though, it’s a fiction book set in a startup accelerator. Having been in the accelerator environment, as has Halley herself, I find the idea intriguing as a setting for a novel.

She has setup a Kickstarter campaign to help fund different parts of the production of the book so if it sounds like it’s something you’d like to read why not contribute a little to funding “Founders Less that Three”.

Halley has revealed a little about some of her characters on the kickstarter page too. My favourite is certainly the idea of a Venture Capitalist who regularly consults a Magic 8-Ball while making funding decisions. Not that I would ever think VC’s make such arbitrary decisions… 😉

I think it might be worth a few bucks just to see what she comes up with.


read more

No Silicon Valley in Ireland… Basic policy is wrong to create a hub here.

The talk of having a Smart Economy or a “Silicon Valley” in Ireland is reaching fever pitch as the government tries to talk up recovery in hope of winning support for some of it’s programs. (Programs that will be massively damaging to the economy in my opinion.)

So I was delighted to see an entrepreneur I have a great deal of respect for, Pat Phelan, speak his mind using a simple example of why we are in dreamland about how we support startups here. I’m not sure that specific government supports are what will help though, when a whole policy revision is required. While talking about wanting to create a “Silicon Valley” here, the government has never really sought to create it at all.

What’s involved

There are a few vital ingredients to the Silicon Valley mix. Paul Graham of Ycombinator has a great article explaining it in broad terms from an American perspective.

I’m not going to go through the details of the funding issues in Ireland which are well discussed elsewhere. Most succinctly by Joe Drumgoole in his commentary on this article on Web 2 Ireland although I would contest his idea that the weather has anything to do with it. I will say though that I’m not sure the issue of cash availability is as much of a barrier as Joe believes. I believe that if more fundamental issues are addressed then the funding problems will be more easily solvable.

Getting Real

Ireland can never be or have within it a Startup Hub similar to Silicon Valley as long as it continues to have a nationalistic startup support policy.

Paul Grahams article is fantastic but as I said gives a VERY American perspective. The priority with technology hubs is the people. He speaks of 2 kinds of people, the money people and the nerds. He is of course 100% correct. What he fails to mention though, probably because it’s part of the American culture, is who the Nerd group are.

America is centred around entrepreneurialism and being the best. The idea of the American dream is a fundamental part of the fabric of society and it let’s that dream expand beyond it’s borders. This can be seen in the influx of basketball players to the NBA from China, Africa and Eastern Europe and similarly in Ice Hockey and even Baseball. No-one questions whether these guys are American only whether they are the best guys for the job.

Similarly in the entrepreneur space, VC’s in Silicon Valley don’t care where you’re from, only if you can deliver. An extension of this is the recent call for a Founders Visa to help fascilitate smoother movement of the worlds most talented startup founders into the valley. Again no one is crying about how they aren’t Americans because America loves the best, but not only that, they recognise that it’s fundamentally more important to have American companies than American executives.

The massive population of the US does mean that the preponderance of entrepreneurs will continue to be American, it’s purely a numbers game, 300 million people from an entrepreneurial culture what else could be expected.

I have as much national pride as the next guy, but do we think that the best entrepreneurs picked from around 4 million people will ever add up to the same number and quality as the best entrepreneurs picked from the US, Canada, India, Israel and other parts of Europe? Are we so deluded that we think this is realistic? I’m not saying we won’t have a few amazing home run entrepreneurs, of course we will, but nothing worth basing a consistent economic policy on.

We could have all the money in the world but as long as we are only finding, funding and encouraging Irish entrepreneurs instead of just entrepreneurs, we have as much chance of becoming Silicon Valley or any kind of hub at all as our soccer team has of becoming as consistent a performer in the World Cup as Brazil are at the moment.

I’ve suggested this to several people and the only reason given why we shouldn’t do this is fear that foreign entrepreneurs might repatriate their companies at some point along with the benefits they might have gained here. This I say is ridiculous, the cost of moving a company that has had significant growth or investment would negate any benefits to doing so. Not only that, companies tend to stick close geographically to where their investors are if we create a good investment environment for startups there shouldn’t be worries about them “leaving with all our gold”. If A Czech, Ukrainian or Indian entrepreneur has a better idea than me or can execute better than me, give him funding or a grant and let him create jobs here. As an entrepreneur I might not personally like it, but overall Ireland being a good place to start a business is a much better thing than being a good place to start a business if you’re Irish, and will lead to far better economic outcomes. We should be on a talent hunt, marketing Ireland to the world as a place to come and START your business if you are a creative entrepreneur. Not as a tax haven for large corporates with no long term interest in the country.

One social disadvantage we now have over America is the fact that we changed our Laws in 2004 so that there is no automatic right to nationality of children born here. Some might say this makes no difference, however, if I were a entrepreneur weighing my options my concern would likely not just be for myself and my current project but also for my families future. Our change away from the “Law of the land” favoured by the US means that any Non-EU entrepreneur who came here to start a business (and there are plenty of them in the States) their children would not have an automatic right to be Irish and stay here. At one stroke we fundamentally undermined ourselves as a place to start your business if you are not from an EU country. Not only that but the fact that families will not be citizens here makes it far more likely that these entrepreneurs WILL repatriate their companies at some point if they ever do come here. They are far less likely to become Irish as so many people who come here do, blending into our community and becoming part of the furniture, as Irish or even more Irish than we ourselves.

It’s not EI’s fault

Importantly I don’t blame Enterprise Ireland for any of the problems we have in our startup community. They are, in the end, only Civil Servants working within a set framework, largely with tied hands. Shouting at Enterprise Ireland DAs about how startups aren’t supported properly is about as useful as shouting at a staff member in Starbucks on College Green about the quality of the coffee or the colour of the signage.

So what could be done?

Ireland needs to implement policies at government level to attract encourage and support the needs of the best entrepreneurs in the world and if they’re not Irish at the moment then so be it. Will we need cash? Yes! but it’s useless without the fundamental principals and policies in place. Tax breaks to encourage investors in export oriented Tech startups make a damn site more sense than for investors in property companies. Companies create real growth and returns while property investment relies on bubbles for serious returns and we all now know where that leads.

Socially, my definition of being Irish isn’t so closed that I wouldn’t welcome someone coming here from India or the Ukraine to build things and create jobs and add to the richness of Irish society with their families.

I’m the son of Irish emigrant families returned home, and for me the dream of what Ireland is and can be is sharp edged, ground to a point on the millstone of several generations struggle in foreign countries, trying to get home to realise that dream.

I believe that Ireland is truly a great place to do business with great people that has lost it’s way a little. Our natural entrepreneurialism matched to our notions of freedom and opportunity, the primacy of the people and rejection of class systems can be the foundation of greatness and foster the re-birth of Ireland as an entrepreneurial hub and an economic power in it’s own right.

In order to do that though we’ll need a few politicians with the will to do what’s best for Ireland in the long term instead of what’s best for themselves. We have a real shortage of them at the moment, any volunteers?

read more

Bloggity, Blog, Blogger.

So I unfortunately had to miss the end of the IWTC and the Blog Awards AND the WebCamp on Social Network Portability and I can’t go to Blogtalk.

I was feeling a bit annoyed about all that so I decided I’d head on down and catch up with a few people at the Bloggers Dinner last night. What a thoroughly lovely evening it was. Relaxed and  sociable with conversation ranging from finance to social network portability to the future of RSS to weddings and of course the inevitable twitter/jaiku conversation (isn’t it a bit like that whole Blur/Oasis thing in the 90s?).

Organised by Tom Raftery via Damien Mulley and Alexia Golez it was a lovely evening with some great people. See who was there on the wiki here. It was good to meet Salim Ismail again as well, always a pleasure, and had a chat about the Israeli Web Tour who went over recently. He’s keeping shtum about what he’s up to over the next while but I suppose he probably has a few options eh?

read more

Ireland Web and Tech coming alive: So many events, so little time…

I’m in a bit of a mood right now about all the events that are coming up. While I absolutely delighted at the sheer volume of events that are going on I have to say that I’m frustrated by the fact everything is on at the same time and I can’t go to them all. OK enough whining here’s the lowdown on the next bunch of crazy days.

Tuesday 26th

IWTC conference Launch Cost: €245 (€189 online) | 7:oopm til late | CineWorld complex, Parnell St., Dublin

Wednesday 27th

Xcellerate 2008 Dublin Event Cost: €100| 8:30 to 12:45 | Ballsbridge Court Hotel, Dublin

IWTC conference Day 2 9:15 to 16:45 : CineWorld complex, Parnell St., Dublin

Drive Project conference Cost: €0 | 9:30 to 16:00 | Malton Hotel, Killarney, Co. Kerry – Opened by Michael Ahern, TD Irish Minister for Innovation Policy

Girl Geek Dinner Cost: €? | 19:00 til late | Odessa Club, 14 Dame Court, Dublin 2

Thursday 28th

ISA Conference Cost: €300 (€200 Incubator, €250 member/xcellerator) | 8:30 to 1:10 | O’Reilly Hall, UCD Campus, Dublin 4.

IWTC conference Day 3 | 9:15 to 16:45 | CineWorld complex, Parnell St., Dublin

Friday 29th

Xcellerate 2008 Belfast Event Cost: €100 | 8:30 to 12:45 | Malone House, Belfast

IWTC conference Day 4 | 9:15 to 16:45 | CineWorld complex, Parnell St., Dublin

Saturday 1st

Irish Blog Awards Cost: €10 | 19:30 til late | Alexander Hotel, Dublin

Sunday 2nd

WebCamp: Social Network Portability Cost: €60 | 9:15 to 18:00 | Kingsley Hotel, Victoria Cross, Cork

Bloggers Dinner Cost: € | 21:00 til late | Rossini’s Restaurant, Princes Street, Cork

Monday 3rd

BlogTalk Conference Day 1 Cost: €120 | 9:15 to 18:00 | Kingsley Hotel, Victoria Cross, Cork

BlogTalk Conference Dinner | 20:00 til late | Kingsley Hotel, Victoria Cross, Cork

Tuesday 4th

BlogTalk Conference Day 2 | 9:15 to 17:30 | Kingsley Hotel, Victoria Cross, Cork

Private equity Conference 2008 Cost: €270 | 8:30 to 16:10 | Waterfront Hall , Belfast

Wedneday 5th to Friday 7th

Nothing theres nothing on, take a break. :)

Saturday 8th

CreativeCamp Kilkenny Cost: €0 | 10:00 to 17:00 | The Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny

Now if that little lot doesn’t keep you occupied for the next while I don’t know what will.

read more