Raising capital in start ups

This column piece was published on 27th June 2016.

Sometimes things do not quite work out as planned.

In September 2012, the then Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton announced a €90M microfinance scheme which was expected to benefit 7,700 businesses over the following 10 years. Up to €25,000 worth of credit would be offered to sole traders, and businesses employing up to 10 people, with turnovers less than €2M, and whose commercially viable loan applications had nevertheless been refused by the main street banks. Significantly, start-ups would be eligible to apply for these loans.

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Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn

I was asked to write a short commentary on the purchase of LinkedIn by Mircosoft by the Irish Times.  This was separate from my usual column,  and was published on the 14th June 2016.

In a daring move yesterday, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella announced his intention to acquire the professional relationship site LinkedIn for $28.2 billion, less the $2 billion which LinkedIn already holds in cash.

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Big Data

I wrote this piece as a perspective on the emergence of Big Data.  It was published on 6th June 2016.

Francis Beaufort from Navan invented the scale of wind strength now named after him, in 1805. He had been shipwrecked at the age of fifteen, and devoted his career to the development of maritime charts for safe navigation.

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Secret Sauce and Tasty Temptation

I wrote this piece when contemplating the interplay between barriers to entry (against competition) and barriers to adoption (by customers and the market).  It was published today in the Irish Times.   I had spoken on the same topic way back in 2012 and more recently at a breakfast event for Invesco on ‘managing risk’..

After the investors have patiently listened to you explaining your product and underlying technology, you just know they will ask: what is to stop a well funded competitor reinventing your product and capturing the market from you, particularly once you have some customer wins and so have proven that a market actually exists for your product?

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Why Chatbots threaten disruption

This piece was published in the Irish Times on April 18th last.

Do you care which one ? Sometimes, a pizza is just a pizza, isn’t it ? A taxi is just a taxi, as long as it turns up and gets you there? A paper, maybe like this Irish Times, is just a newspaper, right? With our busy lives, frequently we just want to get things done and not think too much about it.

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Can Machines Think? DeepMind

This piece appeared in the Irish Times on March 28th last.

Can machines think?

Well, what does it mean ‘to think’? Thinking about thought is a journey into philosophy. Instead Alan Turing asked a different question in 1950: can machines do what humans (who are thinking entities) do ? Continue reading

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Engineering appreciation

I wrote this piece because I feel that we are too often we taught narrow paths,  by teachers who themselves have a limited perspective.   There is beauty in most things,  if we can calm ourselves to look;   and there are parallels in most creations,  if we can stand back and extrapolate.

Published in the Irish Times on 29th February last….

The dispute between Apple and the FBI over unlocking the encrypted iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook in the San Bernadino (California) shootings last December is being followed with concern by the technology industry, regulatory authorities and the security services in the US and elsewhere. A recent article in the UK Guardian newspaper on the 22nd February caught my attention when it described the cultural challenges within the Apple security software engineering team in being asked to deliberately break their own software code. Continue reading

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