Guest post by Shane Brett first appeared in LinkedIn . Gecko were featured in Irish Tech News in September

This week we were privileged to be invited to a small breakfast roundtable with Michael Dell – just before his appearance on the Centre Stage at the Web Summit.

Our friends at Dell brought together a small number of High Potential Start Ups from throughout EMEA (including fellow Dundalkians STATSports, BeanBag Sports, Element 78, TickerFit – and ourselves GECKO) for an intimate breakfast with Michael and Rob Mee (CEO from Pivotal Labs) on the topic of entrepreneurialism.

Dell is doing fantastic work with the entrepreneur community in Ireland and throughout the world as part of their Centre for Entrepreneurs. Partnering with Dell has been a key piece of our global expansion strategy.

Breakfast Insights

Meeting Michael was a fantastic experience.

We had an opportunity to pitch details of our business and get his thoughts. For over an hour we had a very relaxed, informal and wide-ranging discussion covering current trends in the technology space and the role of the entrepreneur, drawing on Michael’s huge wealth of lifelong experience.

Some highlights from our breakfast:-

  •  The transition to a Digital world will impact and change everything. No industry or market segment will be spared in the years ahead. This needs to be a central part of every company’s growth strategy.
  •  Security will become an even larger issue in the future, particularly as we move to an “Internet of Things” environment. Billions of interconnected devices will bring their own security challenges and the barriers to entry in cyber- crime is low.
  •  The road to expansion for Start-Ups has changed significantly. Back in 1988 when Dell first went public there was no other way to raise large amounts of capital, than go directly to the public markets – despite Dell already having had a compounded growth rate of 80% for 6 years (which incredibly remained at 60% for another 6 years!)
  •  As we’ve Bootstrapped GECKO to date we were interested in Michael’s view on the role of Venture Capitalists. He felt VC’s can have a valid place in a company’s expansion but that it paid to choose wisely. Too much capital can actually be bad for a company’s expansion, if it is not utilised properly.

  •  Don’t be afraid of taking risks. You have to take risks to grow.
  •  One way of managing risk is to partner with other great firms. Not only does a successful partnership mean you don’t have to do everything yourself but it can act as a validation of your business. This is particularly important for Start-Ups keen to prove they are a credible global partner.
  • Companies need to learn to recruit for potential. Rob from Pivotal felt it was key for companies to design a recruitment process that selected people based on their potential – not just what know now. Pivotal are expanding quickly in Dublin and Cork.
  • Both Michael and Rob felt a key management skill as a company grows islearning to effectively delegate. You can’t have the keys for the Coke Machine when there are hundreds of people working at the company!
  •  Michael said the most important advice he had ever received was to “fix problems immediately”. This needs to be part of the companies DNA from top to bottom, right from the outset.

Anyone who has met Michael Dell will know he is an absolute gentleman. Thoughtful and highly articulate, I was particularly struck by his palpable optimism for the future of Dell and the role entrepreneurs can play in the world.

We left the breakfast feeling hugely motivated and excited – just the shot in the arm you need when slogging day in and day out building your start-up.

……..And 20 minutes later Michael was on Centre Stage at Web Summit in front of thousands of people!

Super inspiring stuff.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or @SimonCocking

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