David Coallier is a tech entrepreneur who founded Barricade IO and Orchestraio. He is currently Director of Engineering at Cyber Security Sophos and will be speaking at the Atlantic Digital Startup Academy (ADSA) launch on 30 October at the Republic Work, South Mall, Cork city at 17.30.

1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
I’m now director of engineering for security analytics at Sophos. It has been two years since Barricade has been acquired by Sophos and we are now building similar technologies we were before at a much larger scale, for millions of users.

How was the last year, what worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

An acquisition is always tricky, when you move from an eight people startup to a mid-size company with over 3,000 people, there are adjustments in terms of expectations and larger dynamics. In the last year, we’ve found it very interesting and challenging at times to navigate the corporate machine, but the executives at Sophos are extremely efficient and more importantly very supportive in making sure the acquired companies thrive in a very healthy environment.

What are your plans for the future?
I have no real plans yet, I’m focusing on what I’m doing with Sophos whilst pursuing my attempt at becoming a professional big mountain snowboarder. As a side-hobby, Im’ also training to become a high-alpine mountain guide
as I truly love spending time in the mountains, away from internet connectivity and where my focus needs to be 100% on the present moment.


What will you be talking about at this event? (brief taster)

I’d like to talk about the struggles when starting a business and how deceptive it can be. Some in the media might paint an inaccurate portrait of lavish lifestyles enjoyed by entrepreneurs, but in reality, you sacrifice a lot, your social life, your health (physical and mental), and your personal life more often than not and this comes at a cost.

Once you’ve figuring out that your business will be successful, what do you do then? How do you raise money? How do you sell, and what do you sell? Sure, you have a product but what are the triggers that will make your customers pay for your product? In theory everyone has an amazing product but figuring out your target customer is not
easy and I do like to talk about some of the approaches we’ve taken testing, and what we’ve failed at, how we recovered, etc.

Furthermore how do you know it’s time to start a business? Is it even for you because honestly starting a business is not for everyone. How do you know you have a good idea and what do you do next? Ideas are worth a dime a dozen… how do you execute on this? Why is your solution different than any other solution? And finally a last thing I really enjoy discussing about is cognitive biases and how they affect your choices in business.

What inspired you to attend it?
I really enjoy sharing my stories with people, especially when it comes to startups and business mixed with high tech. It’s tricky out there for someone to start, and I meet too many people who “want to be entrepreneurs” until they realise just how much work it really is and how delusional you must be in order to be successful. I especially like sharing with my local cohort.

Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?
I try to keep the amount of information about ‘latest developments’ to a very strict minimum nowadays as I find it to be mostly noise and distracting and creates an imaginary ‘stress’ that I just don’t care for, or need. I keep an eye on hackernews and datatau for tech news, arxiv for scientific papers, Financial Times for various economics topics, but that would be at most once a month.

About a year ago, I decided to leave Facebook and Twitter as it is just too distracting, I turned off notifications on my phone, and I try to interact with real humans instead. As someone who spends so much time in front of a screen controlling my little world (software), engaging with other people, as exhausting as it can be, is vastly more rewarding to me. Whilst I miss on the ‘latest scoops’, I find that most of the news I hear through traditional sources are nothing more than gossip. It’s the same reason I don’t watch television anymore or engage in group discussions about religion or politics.

How can people find out more about what you are working on?
They can talk to me 🙂 I’m usually pretty approachable and my email is [email protected] I no longer use Twitter or Facebook but if they need anything I’m happy to answer anyone, either in person over coffee, by email, on a quick Skype call, any way to interact in the real world works much better for me.

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