Irish Free State of Mind

Technology has reversed centuries of emigration for the island. Consider the Silicon Docks, a reflective row of progress down the river Liffey. To paraphrase what Jane McDaid of Thinkhouse said in her AdWorld interview, perhaps Ireland was just at the right place (the European Union) at the right time (the Information Age). The country’s ability to transform itself into a tech haven was due in part to its destitution in the centuries prior. A dramatic slash in tax rate may have seemed absurd to a less desperate government. 

I knew little about the Irish business landscape before traveling, but perhaps it was closer to the states than I expected. (What do I know about business anywhere at all?) The presence of the English language, alone in nearly every circumstance, went quite far to reduce the “exoticness” of the place, for lack of a better word. I almost wanted to hear the same thing twice, ENG and IRL. 

It helps to meet your client in-person, but it still seems like an excess in our COVID world. To see the mural in the Thinkhouse meeting room, for instance, clearly conveyed a lot about how this company goes about accomplishing its objectives of Fame, Transformation, and Planet. Yet… much of the staff remains remote. 

My wardrobe of business-friendly shirts, replete with buttons, grew handily as a result of this trip. I understood a bit more about how business people act in business situations; friendly and businessly, it seems, especially as we had no responsibility to them business-wise besides to show up. 

I enjoy traveling more than I thought. Inaccurate plans that require constant revision are a refreshing change of pace from the wholly improvised and uneventful rest of May that I experienced back in Pittsburgh. We accomplished nearly all that we set out to do on the Emerald Isle, ultimately. I developed an appreciation, though not an addiction, for Guiness beverages.  

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