Galway, The Graveyard of Ambition

A place this beautiful couldn't have such a dark nickname, right?

A place this beautiful couldn’t have such an ominous nickname, right?

The following exchange took place last week between a local shop owner and myself on Quay Street:

Shop owner: “Hey lad, how long you been in town?”

Me: “Just about 6 months.”

Shop owner: “Ah yes, I showed up to Galway for 6 months as well. That was 17 years ago.”

In and of itself the above banter wouldn’t be anything outside the norm, given the various types of characters that line Galway’s main street on any given day. What made me laugh however was the overarching theme that it touches on.

Galway, The Graveyard of Ambition.

I will never forget when I first heard the term. I was maybe 3 days in town, minding my own business at a favorite local pub enjoying a pint. I got to chatting with the bartender as he finished his shift, and after giving my backstory he closed the conversation with, “Best of luck to you lad, and welcome to Galway, the Graveyard of Ambition.” He then proceeded to walk away. My immediate reaction upon hearing this statement was a mixture of confusion, anxiety and amazement. What exactly did he mean? Was this a generally accepted term, or just a case of a local pint puller taking the piss out of a yank? I continued on my night without thinking much of it.

A few days later I met a fellow software industry leader for coffee. In fact, in my first 3 months in town I set more than 20 coffee meetings. Everyone from potential new hires, to various service providers, partner companies, IT leaders, lawyers, and bankers. I wanted to get acclimated to the local business climate as quick as possible. I can’t say enough about how warm of reception I received from everyone I’ve met to date. Everything from offering tips on where to pursue top talent, to where I should be golfing on the weekends, the community has been fantastic. However, nearly every conversation also included reference at some point to this term, “Galway, the graveyard of ambition.” Even more surprising than the consistent use of the term was the apparent understated pride that locals would show when speaking to it.

Most times I would walk back to my apartment after the meeting(s) thinking, wow that was a very nice, helpful person, but what is the deal with this graveyard of ambition talk? Did anyone on my team know this before we selected this town as our new EMEA HQ? How are we going to create and hire 100 jobs in a place with no drive or passion? Surely execs at companies like Cisco, HP, SAP, and Fidelity knew about this before opening their offices here, right? Right?

Like any great Irish term there had to be a story behind it, and I needed to find out quickly or I knew my trip across the pond was to be a short one.

A few weeks passed and I finally got an answer, and some much needed relief. In speaking to the head of one of the Big Four tax firms in town, he explained that the term dates back to the 1950s when describing the career path of a banker in Ireland. Legend has it that an aspiring banker would typically start out in their hometown, and then promotions would mean you get transferred to another location, and then another, and so on. The more cities you were seen moving through was a sign of “climbing the corporate ladder.” So someone might start his or her career in Limerick, move to Cork, then onto Galway, and hopefully someday get called up to HQ and the big city of Dublin.

But a funny thing kept happening: once the employee landed for their stint in Galway, no matter if it was the 2nd or 5th stop on their path, they didn’t want to leave. They loved the town so much that they would actually forego future career potential for the love of the Galway and the culture of the west of Ireland. Yes I’ve only been a “blow in” for 6 months, but count me as one that is officially drinking the local Kool-Aid. Here is a teaser for those who haven’t booked a flight to visit yet:


No we are not Dublin, London, or Amsterdam. We are Galway, and damn happy about it. And if you are reading this and interested in “burying your career” in the rugged west of Ireland, give me a call. We are hiring.


Key traits of a committed sales pro

*editors note*: After an extended summer holiday the crack writing team of is back! The last several weeks has been a fantastic blur of trips to Boston, the Galway Arts Fest, a week of utter mayhem better know as Race Week in Galway, weddings, and ice buckets! I am back to a bit more normal schedule as of late and am committed to updating you on all things Galway and MLK this fall. I hope you’ve had a great summer, wherever you are in the world. The post below is an idea that has been kicking around in my head for sometime. And for more info on getting involved in the push to strike out ALS please check out this link-


1 September 2014

A former CEO of mine was once quoted as saying, “A sign of a committed sales leader is that the last thought on their mind before falling asleep and the first thought on their mind when waking up is where they are in relation to their quarterly/annual target and what they are working on to close the gap / achieve success.” A bit extreme yes, but spend one day with a driven sales leader and you will quickly find that numbers rule the better part of our lives. For fellow sales pros reading, it’s ok, we know the career chose us and not the other way around. For what would life be like without the thrill / potential heartbreak of a quarter end chase?

True to form, this morning I hopped out of bed, shocked that it was actually September 1st, held momentarily in contempt my US colleagues who would no doubt be sleeping in and enjoying their final day of summer (somehow in Ireland we skipped from spring right into fall weather without warning) and immediately started thinking about where we were as a team Quarter to Date against our target and what we needed to do to close the gap for what is always a challenging time of year for our business.

This got me thinking about what other key numbers as sales leaders we are maniacally focused on, as well as unique personality traits of top performers. Through the years at SmartBear I’ve found the best reps showcase the following:

-At any given point in their day they can be stopped and asked, “How’s it going?” (Irish versions being “How ya keeping?” / “How ya getting on?” / “What’s the craic?”) and the first response is an update on where they are in relation to their given monthly/quarterly/year quota. Personal life answers to the question are secondary.

-They know exactly how many deals it will take for them to achieve and exceed their monthly/quarterly/yearly target.

-They immediately know their average sales price and are actively trying different ways to more effectively increase by upsell and cross sell.

-They always have at least 2-3 deals they are working on “in the background” that they won’t bring up publicly yet to avoid the potential jinx of a monster sized deal.

-They immediately can rattle off who their top 3 customers are and can effectively package up their success stories when speaking to prospects in similar industries.

-They know who their 3 key competitors are and can effectively speak to our competitive advantages.

These are the six that came to mind recently. I would love to hear from other sales leaders what key figures / traits they see in their teams on a daily basis. And if you are reading this in the west of Ireland and share similar commitment to software sales success, we’ve recently completed our first round of recruiting and are already staffing for expansion into 2015. Shoot me an email to discuss – miles

Until next time.


Street party with the Booka Brass Band as part of the Arts Festival.

Street party with the Booka Brass Band as part of the Arts Festival.


P.S – it has been a while since I’ve plugged any music; currently can’t stop listening to Ryan Adams latest –



3,000 miles from Newport Folk

28 July 2014


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.


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

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 –

Until next time.



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-,+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 –

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!


Copenhagen to Zurich, and back

Of the approximately 4,356 different amazing perks to living and working in Ireland, the proximity and ease of travel across the rest of Europe has to be near the top. I was able to check off a fair amount of must see places back in 2005 while studying in Madrid and am excited to see even more of the continent on this go-around.

As my 90-day Visitor Visa was set to expire in mid June, I technically needed to exit the country in order to re-enter through immigration in Ireland with my new official Work Visa paperwork. Forced to take a quick jaunt into mainland Europe? Sure, twist my arm. In order to accomplish this while also getting some work done I created an agenda that accomplished the following:

-Conducted interviews in Dublin for our new growing sales team.

-Visited a long time SmartBear partner who handles a majority of our business in the Nordic region, based in Copenhagen.

-Met with an engineering firm based in Zurich who is interested in outfitting their clients with SmartBear’s award winning software testing tools all across Switzerland.

-Spent time with two old friends from the States who coincidently both happen to be living and working in Copenhagen at the moment.

-Explored both Copenhagen and Zurich, two incredible cities I had never seen before.

-Drank Vodka’s until dawn with a group of math geniuses based in Copenhagen.

-Toured the streets of Zurich in a brand new Tesla; I swore it felt like being in a James Bond movie.

-Experienced a “Free City” within a city in Copenhagen.

-Watched The Netherlands achieve sweet revenge against Spain in the first round of the World Cup with a bunch of Dutch guys who are studying at the University of Copenhagen.

-And for a fresh dose of reality on my return leg to Ireland, I experienced once again that connecting through London’s Heathrow Airport is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. I survived my first ever 10+ minute full on sprint through the airport, with two carry on’s in a full suit to arrive at the boarding gate, dripping sweat and out of breath, with moments to spare. I owe my friends at Aer Lingus for moving through their check in process extra judiciously.


Here are some pics from the trip; I had a blast on the road and can’t wait for the next adventure to begin!

With Klaus and Ole from Nordic Software, SmartBear's long time partner in Copenhagen.

With Klaus and Ole from Nordic Software, SmartBear’s long time partner in Copenhagen.

Fun to reunite with Chris Davis, fellow Stillwater MN native and current Math Genius in residence at the University of CPH

Fun to reunite with Chris Davis, fellow Stillwater MN native and current Math Genius in residence at the University of CPH

Copenhagen is gorgeous.

Copenhagen is gorgeous.

So many bikes in Copenhagen. It's truly amazing.

So many bikes in Copenhagen. It’s truly amazing.

Just as many bikes as cars on the roads. Very unique. I haven't felt this out of shape in quite a while.

Just as many bikes as cars on the roads. Very unique. I haven’t felt this out of shape in quite a while.

Davis gave me a tour of his school. I snapped this from his office. Straight out of Good Will Hunting.

Davis gave me a tour of his school. I snapped this from his office. Straight out of Good Will Hunting.

Davis yuckin it up with a local volleyballer.

Davis yuckin it up with a local volleyballer.

Sneaking in a few equations before dinner. The man is a legend.

Sneaking in a few equations before dinner. The man is a legend.

Our bud Tomas from Warsaw teaching us about his favorite Polish vodkas. These unfortunately were not on the top of his list.

Our bud Tomas from Warsaw teaching us about his favorite Polish vodkas. These unfortunately were not on the top of his list.

Great to catch up with my old friend Jill, a fellow Cactus Club alumni who married a Dane and now lives in Copenhagen.

Great to catch up with my old friend Jill, a fellow Cactus Club alumni who married a Dane and now lives in Copenhagen.

Was able to catch some Danish rock on Saturday. Couldn't understand a single lyric but the boys rocked.

Was able to catch some Danish rock on Saturday. Couldn’t understand a single lyric but the boys rocked.

The free city of Christiania, a fascinating place where no pix are allowed. I was able to sneak just one.

The free city of Christiania, a fascinating place where no pix are allowed. I was able to sneak just one.

The wealth and affluent culture of Switzerland is palpable upon arriving at the airport in Zurich.

The wealth and affluent culture of Switzerland is palpable upon arriving at the airport in Zurich.

View of the city from a great restaurant in Zurich. A beautiful view to say the least.

View of the city from a great restaurant in Zurich. A beautiful view to say the least.

Everyone should be able to drive the streets of Zurich in a new Tesla at some point in their lives. Nothing like it.

Everyone should be able to drive the streets of Zurich in a new Tesla at some point in their lives. Nothing like it.


Welcome to Ireland, SmartBear

**We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this special announcement**


Hello friends,

Today is a very exciting day. For those beginning to wonder if my trip across the pond was strictly a ploy to document the lives of the talented Galway street musicians (it’s crossed my mind more than once), I’ve got news for you: Earlier this morning the IDA sent out their press release welcoming SmartBear Software to Ireland. A little more than two years since we started internal discussions around international expansion, SmartBear Ireland is officially live to the world. The IDA is the Irish government authority that attracts and advises on foreign inward investment from multinational companies that are interested in opening an office in Ireland. We’ve partnered closely with the IDA for the last six months and they have been a tremendous help. Everything from advising on strategic financial decisions all the way to recommending a decent place to find a meal when I landed in town back in March, they have been there for us. Without the IDA’s help we wouldn’t have made nearly the amount of progress in such a short amount of time. Most companies take over a year to accomplish what we have in the last few months. I can’t thank all involved enough for all their help along the way. It’s been quite a ride. Here you can find the link to the official release, and I’ve also included the full text below. Exciting day for SmartBear Ireland!

SmartBear Software Establishes European Headquarters in Galway

Leading Software Application Quality and Performance Management Company to Create 100 Jobs over 5 Years in Galway Region

GALWAY June 12, 2014 – Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD today announced that SmartBear Software, the choice of more than two million software professionals for building and delivering the world’s best applications, is expected to create up to 100 jobs over five years at its new European Headquarters in Galway. The investment is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland.

Headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, SmartBear develops software that other software developers use to ensure their applications provide a superior user experience. Anyone using some of the world’s most popular online applications have benefited from SmartBear’s technology as it may have been used to develop, test or monitor the operation of these applications. SmartBear has customers in over 90 countries and additional offices in the United States, Sweden, Spain and Russia.

Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said, “ICT is a key sector which we have targeted in our Action Plan for Jobs, and over recent years, we have seen substantial growth in this area. Today’s announcement that SmartBear, a leading U.S. software application quality and performance management company, is establishing its European Headquarters in Galway and expected to create a hundred jobs is a great boost. This builds on the significant progress we have seen in the job market in the past two years, and I wish them every success with this project.”

“We are excited about opening our European Headquarters in Ireland,” said Doug McNary, CEO, SmartBear Software. “We were impressed by Galway’s vibrant ICT cluster, pro-business environment and attractive lifestyle. This coupled with the support of IDA Ireland makes Galway the perfect choice for SmartBear.”

Welcoming the announcement, Barry O’Leary, CEO, IDA Ireland speaking from Galway, where he will address the Galway Chamber, said “SmartBear’s decision to set up its European headquarters in Galway bolsters the city’s reputation as a location of choice for leading international technology companies. The Irish centre is strategically important to SmartBear as it will drive international growth for the company.”

The new office will create roles in Inside Sales, Marketing, Customer Support, Operations, Finance and Software Development.

For recruitment opportunities, email


Disconnecting on a rainy Sunday

8 June 2014

bookstore entrance

Probably the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make since moving to Ireland is the idea of being digitally connected nearly 24/7. During the workweek with my connections now to Europe as well as my team back in the US, it is typical that I am fielding emails and calls from 8am to midnight at least a few nights a week. I knew full well of this challenge when signing up for the opportunity, and I wouldn’t change it for the world, however by most Friday nights I am mentally exhausted.

great selection in Charlie Byrne's

great selection in Charlie Byrne’s

For this reason I welcomed the rain of this past weekend with open arms. Nothing on the schedule, just relaxing and refueling for what will be an exciting next few months ahead. Today with the rain continuing (god bless the Irish summer) I unplugged and walked down to Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Middle Street. No Wi-Fi, no cell service, just a great old school independent bookstore where you could get lost for hours. I spent an hour reading an actual physical copy of Irish short stories, something I hadn’t done in far too long. Stories of a retiree setting off on his new picture taking hobby in the Irish midlands, and teenagers trying to craft the perfect pop song. More importantly, not one word about slingin’ software, tech support, or quarter end deals. I left feeling more refreshed than expected. And when I returned home a few hours later, my inbox was unchanged and my Facebook feed remained dominated by a stream of newborns and wedding photos (I love you all I swear!).

life lessons from the local legends

life lessons from the local legends

So my quick lesson for the week is to not be afraid of disconnecting from the digital world. Even if only for a few hours, it will do wonders I promise. And the rest of your life will be patiently waiting for your return.

For a shot of Irish culture this week I loved this write up from Travel + Leisure on Galway and the west coast –

Until next time.


no idea who this lad is, but he's been keeping an eye on me as I write tonight at Garavan's across the street from my house.

no idea who this lad is, but he’s been keeping an eye on me as I write and have a quiet pint to finish the weekend at Garavan’s across the street from my house.

Waxing nostalgic on the streets of Galway City

Earlier tonight I was catching up with my Mom in sunny Manhattan Beach when I told her that for the first time in a few months I was struggling on ideas to write about. The inevitable “writers block” as they say. She recommended I go for a walk to clear my head, so I dutifully followed orders. She also happened to mention that Steve Nash is going to be her new next-door neighbor, which is by far the coolest thing I’ve heard in quite some time.

Former NBA MVP to be future wine buddy with EK on the beaches of LA.

Former NBA MVP to be future wine buddy with EK on the beaches of LA.

While walking the streets of Galway it dawned on me that tomorrow is the first Monday of June, which happens to mark my six-year anniversary at SmartBear. Unrelated but noteworthy I also passed by at least five Hen parties, several lads out on a Stag and hundreds more in the streets sharing a laugh and a few pints on this Bank Holiday weekend. Good thing the majority of Ireland is shut down tomorrow to recover. To say this town comes alive in the summer is a massive understatement.

But back to my SmartBear nostalgia: I will never forget how it all came to be. Spring ’08 I was bartending back at the Cactus Club, fresh off an incredible backpacking trip to Australia, and flat broke. My close friend Jim McD (better known as The Swaine) had recently joined a little startup company on Boston’s North Shore and mentioned he might be able to get me an interview. Being 23 years old and claiming to have it all figured out, I politely declined, citing my lack of technology background (or any real professional background for that matter) and lack of being able to locate Beverly MA on a map. Thankfully, I believe The Swaine’s response was something along the lines of, “Shut your mouth, put your resume together, I have an interview lined up for you with the CEO next week.” When The Swaine speaks, you listen. The rest as they say, is history.

MLK and Swaine in Chicago last summer for the Stanley Cup.

MLK and The Swaine in Chicago last summer for the Stanley Cup.

Since joining what was known as AutomatedQA Corp in June of 2008 I’ve been able to serve our expanding customer base in several different roles, help grow company revenues 12X, and experience the following key highlights through the years:

-2009, acquisition of Pragmatic Software

-2010, rebranded 3 existing businesses under what is now known as SmartBear

-2011, acquisitions of Eviware and AlertSite, further strengthening our brand in the software quality market

-2012, began discussions with senior leadership around international expansion, focusing on the EMEA market

-2013, acquisition of Lucierna out of Barcelona to bolster our APM offering

-2014, official decision to launch a new EMEA HQ in Galway, Ireland. Relocated in the spring to open office and build out new team of rock stars

Intense limbo contest on the SmartBear boat cruise, summer 2013.

Intense limbo contest on the SmartBear boat cruise, summer 2013.

The moral of the story is this: listen to your mother. She’s a treasure trove of good ideas. Oh and listen to The Swaine too, the man is a legend.

Thank you to all the SmartBear’s past and present I’ve been able to work with and learn from through the years. It’s been one helluva ride and I’m excited to see what the future holds for all of us.

For those reading this in Galway, or greater Ireland / mainland Europe and are interested in moving to the beautiful and rugged west of Ireland: I’m actively recruiting the next team of sales rock stars to join me as founding members of the SmartBear Galway office. If you are interested or know of anyone email me @


PS – for your dose of weekly Irish culture, MN export Josh Hartnett compares Dublin to Sin City, and the POTUS has a motorway service station named after him in Moneygall, home to his great-great-great grandfather.

Have a great week everyone, wherever you are in the world.