Brexit, online shopping in Ireland – and will Amazon pivot into an even bigger opportunity?…

I wrote this, in speculation about what Amazon might just do next…  It appeared in the Irish Times on 4th September last:

There are just over 100 shopping days left until Christmas.

Ireland has consistently had a high proportion of retail spend online. Last year, an Ipsos analysis on behalf of PayPal noted that Irish consumers are more likely than those in other countries to shop from international websites, with just 16 per cent of online purchasing being domestic. Continue reading

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Rethinking Irish Tax Policy for the SME sector

The Irish Times published my piece below on 31st July last:

“The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward,” asserted John Maynard Keynes, one of the most influential economists in the last century.

The obvious burden of tax is the money that individuals and companies must remit to the State. However a further burden is the sheer administration in making those payments – time that could have been more fruitfully spent elsewhere, along with the unproductive associated costs and any professional fees involved. And then there is what some economists have called the “excess burden of taxation”. This is the cost incurred and opportunity forgone because when a tax system changes relative prices and financial returns, the behaviours of individuals and companies are influenced. All things being equal, when we make purchases and choose investments, we are price conscious and consider the net return after tax. If after-tax prices and returns change, then so does both corporate and citizen behaviour. Continue reading

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The Irish Space Technology Industry

I wrote this piece on the developing Irish space technology industry in the Irish Times on 27th June.

The new film Apollo 11 about the first spaceflight to the moon is due for release in Ireland this coming weekend. It consists solely of high-quality archival footage, without narration nor interviews. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon on July 21st, 1969, and so we are just a few weeks away from the 50th anniversary. The film trailer shows in particular the intensity of the crew as they “suit-up” to prepare for the launch. The immensity of the challenge ahead is written all over their expressions. Continue reading

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How can the tech giants grow any further? And here’s how they can be disrupted..

I wrote this as a follow up to my previous piece on e-waste,  in the Irish Times on 6th June last

Growth is the investment thesis of the worldwide technology industry. Steady, predictable growth of both top-line revenues and bottom-line profits keeps shareholders content and attracts new investors. As a direct consequence, start-ups are frequently seen as full of enormous risk and challenge not just for entrepreneurs, but for the investors who support them. Continue reading

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e-waste: how much of that brand new {iPhone, Android tablet, laptop..} is made from recycled materials?…

I wrote this in the Irish Times on 25th April last…

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl, started her solo strike from school for climate activism outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm just last August. On March 15th last an estimated 1.4 million schoolchildren in 112 countries, including here in Ireland, joined her in striking from school on behalf of climate change. A follow-up global event will occur next month. Continue reading

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5G Disruption: When? Perhaps?

The killer-app(s) to justify 5G investment have yet to emerge. This was published by the Irish Times on April 4th 2019.

I recall my heated debate more than 20 years ago with a well-known CEO of a State-owned telecoms operator, on the likely future demand for broadband services. At that time, one of the biggest web applications was ticket purchase – particularly for flights, and concerts. His strongly held view was that even if e-commerce increased, there would be little justification in further capital investment in broadband infrastructure, since these applications would never require substantial bandwidth. We agreed to disagree.

Now we are at the cusp of a further evolution of broadband services, with the advent of “5th Generation” or 5G networks.
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How Do You Get Noticed at a Trade Show?…

Trade show season is upon us. My piece here was published by the Irish Times on 14th March 2019.

What is the best way to get noticed?

Spring is a prime time for trade conferences. Among many others, Mobile World Congress has just been held in Barcelona, SXSW just finished in Austin, Texas, the O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence conference will be in New York in April, and the ACM International Conference on Big Data and Computing in May in Guangzhou.

If you and your company are exhibiting at a major international trade show, how on Earth can you get noticed among the myriad booths from your competitors and others? For a young company, it can be intimidating to be surrounded by the extraordinarily lavish and enormous stands of major corporations, which are always flush with eager marketing staff grabbing the attention of passers-by.
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