I had a really great, inspirational day at the Dublin Chamber, Momentum Summit, which was held at the Aviva Stadium last Friday.
This was the second year of this full day event, which featured a really nice mix of speakers, master classes and good, old fashioned networking during the many coffee breaks, lunch and drinks reception.
We had top class panelists from a variety of businesses big and small around topics such as “Differentiation“, “Scaling” and “Online Opportunities“, we had a fantastic speaker Jamil Qureshi who spoke about the importance of your Mindset and your Purpose and lastly we had a “Competitive Edge” sporting panel, which included Paul O’Connell (who incorrectly predicted an Ulster win!), Henry Shefflin and Jack McCaffrey.
This easy and relaxed Friday was superb and as Dublin Chamber of Commerce President, Derry Gray eloquently suggested at the beginning of the day, it was “time for you to think and quietly reflect“, which I certainly did.
The two young entrepreneurs, Elaine Lavery and Hannah O’Reilly who co-founded Improper Butter spoke really well about their exciting start-up journey and I think they gave me and many others cause for reflection!
Privately while I listened to the story of these two young entrepreneurs I wondered about my life, my career and the things that I have achieved along the way. I have worked in fabulous companies, I opened, closed and sold many different businesses and now I am dedicating most of my energy to Fuzion, which I love.
That voice in my head started: “Should I have done more with my career, have I achieved what I wanted to, have I been a success, do I have the same energy that I had when I was the same age as these young entrepreneurs and I am ready for new exciting opportunities when they come along?”
Has it passed me and my generation by, I wondered and is it now up to a new generation to do these new things?
These thoughts were bothering me a little as I ate my lunch and the guy alongside me said loudly what I had been thinking. Some of the others I chatted to during the rest of the day were also saying the same.
While we were so clearly impressed by these young entrepreneurs we were at the same time feeling that our time had come and gone.
I hopped in the car and faced rush hour traffic (Luas strikers adding an extra layer of volume – thank you strikers and SIPTU!) as well as a trip to Cork to get to a long awaited comeback gig by Cork band, Rubyhorse.
Those thoughts about the “Momentum” of youth lingered with me on this longer than usual journey.
Eventually I got home, fed the dog and headed to the White Horse. Brendan my son and his buddy Alan were at the gig as well as Alan’s dad Harry – I was chatting with Harry as we watched our two boys, who are now in their late twenties. Both are part of this younger, carefree generation, both with exciting careers. Brendan is flying as a music and advert director and Alan is a writer who is just back after participating in a documentary project in Columbia of all places!
The boys are about to start work on a short film together based on the storyline from the music video that Brendan did for Gavin James “For You”.
We were chatting about this generation and how different they were to ours – at least that is what we feel. How many fathers and mothers have had this conversation about their children?
Harry told me about a young lad, who was a neighbour of his when he was growing up. This lad packed up school really early. As early as the age of 12 he used head to Croke Park from Cork on the train for big matches selling merchandise. At 17 he bought his first pub.
Harry met him recently and he is now working for someone else, happily punching out a weeks wage – we try things and some of these things fail. If enough things fail we retrench, we lose that will to try again and maybe that entrepreneurial spirit gets knocked out of us.
That question was back in my head – Do we lose that ‘Momentum’ as we get older?
The gig kicked off..
This gig is a really significant part of this blog post as there is a very special story behind it so bear with me just a little bit longer!
These guys came from my school in Cork – they formed a band and dreamed big!
The superb lead singer, Dave Farrell (he was born to be a lead singer!) was once sent home from school for declaring he wanted to be a rock star! It was like that at that time – get a solid job was what we were all encouraged to do.
Dave and his band of merry men followed their dreams and their success came in the United States where a few years of hard work and great songs resulted in them hitting the Top 20 with appearances on the top TV shows such as The Letterman and the Conal O’Brien show.
In an interview with the Irish Emigrant in 2003 Dave spoke about the differences between Ireland and the U.S., which he summed up in one comment “Here, you have loads of freedom and opportunities. America grants you the opportunity to pursue a dream“. Things have changed in Ireland..
Unfortunately through a combination of burnout, geography and young families these special, very talented school friends called it a day on Rubyhorse and settled in to ‘ordinary’ lives in different parts of the world.
Through a quirk of circumstances (a charity reunion last year) these older and wiser guys are now back with a vengeance and a very privileged audience were treated to a proper Rubyhorse gig full of old classics and some sparking new material from a new album that will come later this year. (Well done Dave, Joe and Deccie and a few new faces!)
After a superb gig and a few beers I walked home and thought – We are older, we have experienced the highs and lows that life throws us but we still have it and we are going to “Sparkle” just like this new generation.
It’s all about our Mindset and Purpose!
If we want it …we have Momentum
Check out “Sparkle” the track that broke Rubyhorse in the U.S.