Month: July 2014

3,000 miles from Newport Folk

28 July 2014

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19 weeks. That’s how long it took since moving to Galway to have a genuine “I miss the good ol USA” moment. Of course since moving to Ireland I’ve missed friends and family, but with how connected we are to technology for the most part I don’t feel that far away. No, it took this past weekend’s Newport Folk Fest to really supply my first true #FOMO moment since picking up and moving across the pond this past spring.

For the last several years I’ve travelled down to Newport, RI with friends on the last weekend of July to the little festival by the sea to join 10,000 other likeminded music lovers in a one of a kind festival. Through the years I’ve been able to witness incredible sets from Wilco, Alabama Shakes, My Morning Jacket, Dawes and so many more. And I didn’t even mention my favorite all time set (Middle Brother 2011) or the legendary Deer Tick after party shows. As great as Galway is this time of year with the collision of the renowned Arts Festival and raucous Race week festivities beginning today, there is one thing Galway was not last weekend: Newport, Rhode Island.

For those who’ve never experienced Newport Folk it’s tough to describe or compare to any other music fest. Thanks to producer Jay Sweet’s never-ending commitment towards one upping himself, year over year the line-up just keeps getting better and better. I laugh when friends make the comment that the fest must be pretty boring if it’s “banjos and hippies strummin’ folk music all weekend.” Tell that to Gary Clark Jr, Jack White or Trombone Shorty. It’s a music lover’s heaven with one-of-a-kind collaborations that take place all across Fort Adams.

The last few years I’ve had the good fortune of running into Newport’s producer Jay Sweet at different shows throughout New England. Our brief conversations usually involve me thanking him immensely for the job he does year in and year out, I end up sounding like a teenage super-fan meeting One Direction and we both go on our separate ways. Here is a great recent interview Jay did where he discusses all things Newport leading up to last weekend- Jay Sweet talks Newport Folk

By all accounts it appears the 2014 edition was one of the best weekends yet in the storied Newport history. Mavis Staples popping up all over the place for her 75th birthday celebrations, Tweedy’s solo project, and yes, more Deer Tick after parties. Mitch Miskified’s Instagram feed says it all: Mitch’s Insta Feed. Thankfully for those off who missed out this year our friends at NPR have a few of the shows available to stream online; this Ryan Adams set sounds pretty damn good!

Ryan Adams Newport Folk Fest 2014

Thank you Newport Folk for reminding me how beautiful the red, white and blue really is. Here’s hoping schedules and stars align and I will be right back where I belong next July, front row with the Folk Family.

Until next time.

MLK

p.s – a few memorable shots from previous years, found while stalking various #newportfolk feeds over the weekend:

Jim James soundcheck 2012

Jim James soundcheck 2012

Wilco 2012

Wilco 2012

Matt Vasquez and Taylor Goldsmith from Middle Brother, 2011.

Matt Vasquez and Taylor Goldsmith, Middle Brother 2011.

Deer Tick after party, 2013

Deer Tick after party, 2013

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Recruiting Sales Talent in Galway

27 July 2014

Ask any software sales leader what their biggest challenge is and it’s fair to say recruiting top talent is at or near the top of the list. We are all constantly seeking to find and retain the next great sales rock star. A few years ago I read a post from Mark Roberge @ Hubspot that nicely boils down the top 3 characteristics to look for that has helped immensely during the interview process:

1) Coachable: no matter if you were a 10X President’s Club award winner at Oracle or fresh out of B School, every company has it’s own process and way of doing things to ensure the best chance at success. Yes bringing bits and pieces from your background that translate is great however showing up day one with an “I got this” mentality is a near guaranteed death sentence. Check your ego at the door and take time to learn from your peers, whether they are in the business two years or 20. The investment will return itself back several times over.

2) Curious: any new sales job can be daunting with how much info the new hire needs to soak in immediately. Product info, market research, competition, customer pain points, the list goes on. You need individuals who have an insatiable interest in continued learning. A new hire of mine just last week brought in a stack of books from his previous gig to share with the new team. New hires that commit to consistent prolonged learning have a distinct advantage on future success over their peers.

3) Competitive: it’s sales. If the recruit doesn’t give off an overwhelming desire to compete during the phone screen how will that person adapt once they are live on the phones? Ask for specific numbers from their previous roles as well to document prior achievement. I’m always shocked when I find a candidate with several years of supposed great success that struggles to tell me what their previous quarterly number was.

Since moving to Galway this spring a majority of my time has been focused on recruiting SmartBear’s first international based sales team. Coupled with finding talented reps who meet the above 3 C’s criteria I’ve also fielded the following question quite often: “How are you attracting top inside sales talent in Galway, isn’t the concentration of candidates in Dublin?” On paper it is true that larger major cities like Dublin, London or Amsterdam hold the advantage of having larger populations to pull talent from. For the last several years a lot of the major tech players (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Hubspot) have chosen Dublin as a preferred choice for their European HQ, which has created a tremendous talent pool. It has also created one that is extremely competitive, where it seems like every week a new hot Silicon Valley company lands in town boasting of millions in recent VC funding and outrageous perks to entice people to join.

We chose to set up shop in Galway for precisely that reason, to be the next great alternative to Dublin. With companies like Cisco, HP and SAP there is already a great tech cluster in town as John Breslin describes in this article- Galway Is The San Francisco To Dublin

In addition, Galway boasts the unique position of having arguably the best quality of life all across Ireland. Seriously, I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t say that Galway is his or her favorite place in Ireland. It hasn’t happened. Take a quick look at my Instagram feed and you will see I’ve been drinking the Galway Kool-Aid since day one.

Because of this dynamic there are plenty of native Galwegians living in Dublin at the moment who were career driven and quick to get some great experience on their CV’s and now would love nothing more than to move back west (to my US peeps, convincing someone to move across the country in Ireland is much easier when it’s only a two-hour drive coast to coast).

SmartBear is here to capitalize on this migration and we are thrilled to be creating a new exciting ecosystem of inside sales talent in Galway. If you fit the 3 C’s criteria, are a Galway native and currently slinging software for a major tech firm in Dublin, let’s talk. We have some exciting things planned on the west coast – miles.kane@smartbear.com

Until next time.

MLK

 

Oversized meals, obnoxious heat and Boston accents

Highlights from SB IRE’s trip to Boston

Sunday afternoon back in Galway. July 20. Nearly August. Where has 2014 gone? Does anyone else feel like this year is flying by at an incredible rate? Having spent the last two weeks in Boston it’s been a nice relaxing weekend back “home,” kicking the jetlag and getting ready to get into a semi normal routine this week.

Two weeks ago today, myself along with our initial class of hires flew to Boston for a two-week training and on boarding program to get everyone up to speed on what it takes to be successful working for SmartBear. The team had a blast and learned a ton. It was great to have them spend time with their US colleagues so now there is a face behind the name as we get started working together from the Galway office this summer.

Founding members of SmartBear Ireland!

Founding members of SmartBear Ireland!

Throughout the trip I was continually fascinated by viewing Boston through the eyes of a van full of Irish who for the most part had never been to the city before. Yes, I proudly carted the team around in a white Dodge Minivan from start to finish, much to the delight of my former team in the States. We spent most the trip between the office and our hotel on Boston’s North Shore (where one teammate remarked the beds were so comfortable that the pillows felt like sleeping on melted cheese) but we also had a chance to get into the city over the weekend where we hopped on a Duck Boar tour and visited a few of my favorite Beacon Hill watering holes. The accents, cultural norms and climate were just a few of the talking points throughout the trip. One disappointment was my failure to convince the team that Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee is a daily requirement for success. Oh well, highlights included:

-The food: the team was blown away by portion sizes. There was nonstop banter on American food habits the entire trip, leading up to our trip to the Cheesecake Factory for our penultimate meal in the States before heading home. To say the team was overwhelmed by the choices and plates would be a massive understatement. And then the dessert menu arrived. “Dear god I’ve never eaten so much” was a phrase tossed around daily.

-Cultural norms: the Irish tend to not socialize right away at a new job, leaning more towards keeping their head down and trying to avoid making any early headlines, so they were very happy to see how warm and welcoming the entire Boston office was upon their arrival. As one team member put it, “We Irish tend to not socialize much the first year at a job, then the Christmas party happens where we all make fools of ourselves and hide away again at work until the following year.” Looking forward to our inaugural holiday festivities this year!

-Annual Scavenger Hunt through Beverly and Salem: to further integrate our new team members with the company we hosted the annual scavenger hunt across the North Shore a week ago Friday, splitting up each member on a different team to allow them to meet as many new colleagues as possible. The day was a hit as we all raced around town going after the various clues and challenges, with one of our Irish teammates jumping in the ocean with our CEO, and yours truly being filmed at least a dozen times over singing the opening verse to Born In The USA. Can’t wait to see those videos resurface over the coming weeks. Thanks again for that, Gerry.

With the Arts Fest in full swing and Race Week right around the corner, it is good to be back in Galway. Here’s a cool clip of the #redballproject currently taking place around town as part of the Galway International Arts Festival:

As a friend put it recently, between July and August there is no place in the world you would rather be.

I tend to agree.

 

 

SB IRE’s New Digs! plus 2 more

2 July 2014

McCambridge’s. Pascal’s. Costa’s. The lobby at the Hotel Meyrick. The King’s Head. These are just a few of my favorite local haunts I’ve called home over the last four months to get some work done while our office space was getting sorted out (watching the legal process drag on and on the last few weeks made me feel that much better about not going to law school, apologies Uncle Yo). All amazing places with very friendly staff, however with our first batch of new hires starting this week I am thrilled to announce that we crossed off another big win for our expansion plans: signing a lease for our new office. Right in the heart of Galway City, SmartBear Ireland will be located in the Dockgate Building on Merchants Road-

https://www.google.ie/maps/place/12,+Dockgate/@53.271127,-9.0515268,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x485b96e4da03954f:0x2562eccea7ea1aee.

A great modern office building just steps to all the city has to offer, I can’t wait to finish off the build out and get our new furniture assembled in the next few weeks. Current floor plan has room for about 20 new hires, with an adjacent space right next door that I can see us expanding into as we continue to grow. Here are a few pics to give a sense of the building and recent progress.

Entrance to the new SmartBear Ireland office at night.

Entrance to the new SmartBear Ireland office at night.

During the day.

During the day.

Our bldg are the glass windows in the background. Currently working to befriend the local sailboat owners for future team building activities.

The Dockgate bldg is the glass windows in the background. Currently working to befriend the local boating community for future team building activities.

Future home of the SB IRE sales floor!

Future home of the SB IRE sales floor, during construction last month.

Ready for a fresh batch of sales rockstars to take over.

Now ready for a fresh batch of sales rockstars to take over.

New break out room, currently in break out phase.

New break out room, during it’s break out phase.

Breakout room completed. Currently taking suggestions for naming the 2 new conference rooms. Thinking of "Springsteen" and "Tweedy", feel free to add suggestions below.

Breakout room completed. Currently fielding ideas for naming our 2 new conference rooms. Maybe Springsteen and Tweedy? – feel free to add your own suggestions below.

Conference room / kitchenette in the making.

Conference room / kitchenette  during construction.

View from across the floor. Next up, furniture, computers and people to keep me company!

View from across the floor. Next up, furniture, computers and people to keep me company!

In addition to the exciting office news, here are two more pieces of interest to share this week:

1) I had a chance to chat with the Galway Independent last month about our Ireland plans. The interview went out this week and can be found here –

http://galwayindependent.com/20140625/business/opportunity-knocks-S40162.html

2) and last, but certainly not least, dig this clip of Paul Rudd on Letterman recently talking about a stag party he went to in Donegal. God bless the Irish.

Until next time – Boston I am heading your way this weekend with a fresh batch of SmartBear recruits, hope to see as many beautiful people as I can while we are in town!

MLK