A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

If you want to foster a world culture where everyone can feel at home everywhere, you have to start in house.

One day left. Another day done. What happened to the time?

Today was our second to last day in Dublin. This morning we were met by guest speaker Stephen Dillion, founder of Startups.ie. Startups.ie was created when Dillion had decided to become his own boss and run an Internet cafe. He had never run a business before, so he looked online for help, but found all of the advice to be conflicting. Some of the advice came from the public sector, some came from bankers, but none of it came from entrepreneurs. He built Startups.ie as a blog about this phenomenon but after the outpouring of support and agreement from other entrepreneurs and business professionals, he transformed it into a community focused on helping each other grow. Now it is the biggest tool for growing companies and it has its own award ceremony, which has been named as the leading award for early stage startups. He does all of this on the side though, as his primary passion is in the alcoholic beverage industry. He is launching two new drinks this year, a low calorie beverage and a nonalcoholic gin and tonic flavored drink. He explained that this is to capitalize on the emerging trend towards health and welfare.

This afternoon we visited Airbnb, another one of the tech companies in the docklands. While Croke Park is still my favorite overall experience, today was my favorite company visit. Despite the very modern and casual feel of the office, it maintained a professional feel, something that Google completely failed to do. It does many interesting things to foster a community inside the workforce so that they are able to achieve their goal of building a worldwide community. One such thing is the building of neighborhoods, the teams that do certain sectors of the company. The neighborhoods are set up so that you do not have your own desk, causing you to get to know everyone inside. There are cubbies in which to store your stuff at night and mantles to show off your personalities, but no set place of work. This is a much more interesting approach than Google’s willy nilly throw it at a wall and hope for success strategy in my opinion. I appreciated the customer focus at Airbnb and I feel like it is a company that I could see myself working for in the future.