Recently I was at the inspiring IGNITE UCC graduate innovation programme launch event whereby this years participants were introduced to the attendees.
One after the other. each of the enthusiastic new entrepreneurs stood up and very quickly pitched their business idea to the audience.
“Hi, my name is Greg and I am developing an APP that records receipts for valuable things you purchase just in case they need to be returned at a later date” (not a bad idea..huh!! )
The simple routine was, ‘My name is ..and my idea is..‘.
We heard one good idea after another and then it came to Eileen Weadick’s turn.
“Hi, my name is Eileen Weadick, I’m from Dublin and I hope you don’t hold that against me!” She went on to tell us about her company, eXtensicon that offers a technical content service for companies mainly in the Information Communications Technology sector.
Eileen was one of the only people to mention where she was from.
I chatted to her after and asked her why she felt she had to mention where she was from in such a way – no one else did. Even though she has been living in Cape Clear for years she explained to me that she still gets stick from some people for being a ‘Dub‘ or a ‘Jackeen‘.
Often it is harmless but sometimes there is a little bit of an edge to it she further explained.
While it seems odd and makes no sense that anyone would feel negatively disposed towards her there is a clear and real ‘truth‘ in what she was saying.
In Cork being very honest we do have an issue with the ‘Dubs‘ and the normal, friendly welcome that we are well known and much loved for, can be put firmly to one side if we hear the wrong accent.
What is that all about?
Do we think they feel superior to us and do we feel inferior to them?
Do we feel they get the breaks that we never get?
Do we feel they think we are all from the ‘country‘?
Is it so engrained in our history that these feelings are automatically passed down to us?
Maybe we feel they might know more then we do and it is our automatic defence mechanism?
I spoke to a guy from Dublin last week about the whole Cork/Dublin dynamic and he said he spent three years trying to ‘crack’ Cork but he never succeeded – he reckoned being from Dublin was the reason for his lack of success.
When we worked on the Cork Marketing project we found there was no reason to compete with Dublin – we are a modern European city with plenty to offer in our own right. If truth be told and we were to compare we have the distinct advantage of having a more relaxed and better quality of life.
When I worked with Guinness in Dublin I was surprised how enjoyable the whole experience was and how the anti-Cork feeling that I was expecting before I joined never, ever materialised.
We work a few days a week in Dublin and I do find myself stressing to anyone we meet that we have a real office there and often I wonder if my Cork accent is a disadvantage to doing business.
Based on my experience I genuinely don’t feel there is a similar prejudice against Corkonians but they do want to know that you are physically there and that you are up to the job in a larger market. Once you convince them of that you get business on merit.
While local knowledge is valuable and priceless, so too is a fresh perspective.
Why not enjoy both equally and have the best of both worlds?