How did Sketch Labs happen?
I started working in sales in Dublin when I came back here from the Canaries where I was doing hospitality work.
It was while I was working there that I discovered design. I’m a very visual person, and I immediately found it fascinating that a designer can show the plan for a new product, or an app/website etc. I told my boss that I wanted to work solely in design. They let me do it to a certain extent.
It didn’t fit with their recruitment model at the time, and my way of recruiting was different. So, I felt ready to leave the company, and at that point I had enough skills and experience that I wasn’t worried about it being a terrible decision and ruining everything. So I just went for it.
How valuable is it that startups use a design approach to building their business?
Design led businesses are out performing others. If you can design something and test it before creating it, its more likely to be profitable.
How instrumental is social media to a startup’s ability to build its community?
I think a lot of people misunderstand social media. For me it’s a long term play. Twitter is massively important to me because I’m able to get involved in discussions and interact with people – but that all came from offline relationships. It’s so important to mix the two. You can’t just post a link to a job with no thought put into how to communicate it. If I know a designer in real life, I can get involved with their discussions online and their clients will see that I’m a real person, I’m trustworthy. But that takes a long time to build.
Explain your approach to becoming part of the design tribe
I can say I’m now part of the design community, that I’m not a recruiter anymore. But that meant I had to make connections, which meant meeting people in the design community, becoming one of them, so going to these events was very important. I sponsored in an event called Diffuse, which enabled me to start conversations with people, and get introduced to people. A lot of people go to events hoping to get something out of it, but I go with a give, give mentality. I’m genuinely interested in this and immersing myself was important.
Define a great life?
Being able to do what you enjoy everyday…but without the stress of running a company. How to do that is the magic question! Also, being able to make my own decisions, and working towards a goal.