Ireland’s Edge, the two-day culture and creativity conference, takes places in Dingle, Co.Kerry, Ireland on Dec 1st & 2nd. www.irelandsedge.net
This year’s gathering is entitled Migration Nation and will feature a host of speakers including anthropologist and futurist Genevieve Bell, economist Frances Coppola, Director of Product Design at Intercom Emmet Connolly, Observer editor John Mulholland, Nokia Bell Lab’s Domhnaill Hernon, and many more. The two-day event is free to attend thanks to the investment of sponsor Intel, and with the support of Nokia Bell Labs, Microsoft, IDA Ireland, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and The Department of Culture, Heritage and The Gaeltacht. Tickets are limited and those interested in attending can register at Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/irelands-edge-2017-migration-nation-tickets-39609228268 For those who cannot travel to Dingle, the conference will also be live streamed through Facebook at www.facebook.com/IrelandsEdgeHQ
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
I’m Director of Product Design at Intercom. We’re building a family of products that internet companies can use to communicate with their customers in a more humane, personal way. My job involves helping the designers on my team to grow, learn, and deliver their best work. Before that I spent the guts of a decade designing stuff at Google.
How was the last year for Intercom, what worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?
I’ve been at Intercom for about three years now, and every year has been insanely different, which I suppose is a function of scaling so quickly (we just passed 400 employees, which is almost 10× what we were at when I joined).
So really the only constant is change and you need to consciously take time to reflect on what happened. We get to do some unconventional stuff like putting on a series of speaking events in a dozen cities across the globe, which was fun to be part of. Personally I proud of how we’ve maintained a sense of urgency and energy as we’ve grown, yet still managed to focus on only shipping work we’re genuinely proud of. We set up a dedicated studio space inside our office in St Stephen’s Green where we can do lots of hands-on design collaboration, that’s working really well for us.
On the flip side, it’s always a challenge to keep people aligned and communicating well, and help new people get started at the company, and that’s something I’d like us to get a bit more grown up about.
What are your plans for the future?
Things are very much on track and we’ve got exciting plans to keep growing. The growth is good, but that’s in itself isn’t the end… it’s a means to allowing us to build many more new things. We have lots of ideas for what we’d like to build next, and somewhat surprisingly the most difficult part is just building the right teams and structures that will allow us to go do that.
— Ireland's Edge (@IrelandsEdge) November 18, 2017
What will you be talking about at Ireland’s Edge?
I’ll be doing a fireside chat with Emer Reynolds, director of an amazing documentary called The Farthest about the Voyager space mission. As a fan of both documentaries and space exploration I’m happy to just nerd out about that, but I think we’ll also get to discuss the nature of technology and how it’s changed in the time since that mission more generally.
Who are you looking forward to hearing/meeting at it?
I’ve never attended Ireland’s Edge or indeed the eir Other Voices Festival, so in many ways I’m open to what I’ve heard is a great experience in itself. But I also think the organisers have a good eye for bringing interesting sets of people together, so I’m looking forward to the chats to be had there.
What inspired you to attend it?
I was part of an Ireland’s Edge event with Philip and the crew earlier this year and was just inspired to get to mingle with a bunch of engaged, probing, multidisciplinary people. So much of my actual work involves drawing together a bunch of different disciplines—design, engineering, research, business strategy—and finding some way of weaving it all together. And that’s the fun part for me, learning from all these people who are so much better than me at all sort of interesting topics… what’s not to like!
Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?
I could go deep here. I’ve read and loved blogs for year, I think they are just a wonderful format. Some of my faves are written by Jason Kottke, Tyler Cowen, Ben Thompson. I recently gave up on Twitter after being a daily user for about ten years and I highly recommend it!
How can people find out more about what you are working on?
Philip King had a chat with Marian Finucane on Saturday morning about Ireland's Edge, Other Voices, Bringing It All Back Home and life in the west of Ireland.
You can listen back to the interview here: https://t.co/M3LWJWf7jy
— Ireland's Edge (@IrelandsEdge) November 19, 2017