Irish Software Association: TechBrew for Tech Leaders

This Thursday, at 7pm, at 4 Dame Street, Dublin, another in a series of meetups takes place where leaders and decision-makers from the digital technology sector can get together to network as well as share experiences and ideas.

TechBrew is an initiative run by the Irish Software Association (ISA) whose Chair, Karl Flannery, we spoke to in a recent article.

The organizer of TechBrew is John Caulfield, Solutions Director at Oracle Corporation and a member of the executive council of the ISA.

There are a plethora of networking events and meetups taking place across Ireland as well as across the globe. Despite being able to connect more easily than ever before via online communication platforms these gatherings reflect a real need for people to get together and have face to face conversations.

Against this background of offline, real world, social activity we asked John what he and the ISA were setting out to try and achieve with TechBrew.

“What we are trying to do is create an environment where people can meet the right types of people.

“TechBrew is different from other meet-up events. It focuses on the leadership issues of software companies. We don’t delve into the technicalities of Java versus dot.net or anything like that. We tend to focus on topics that are going to be relevant to the managers of tech companies.

“We are focused on management issues and things that are particularly in the startup area.”

There are two main ideas that lie behind the TechBrew concept:

One is to try and build the community of the software industry in the Ireland. That includes Irish Software Association members and non-members.

The other is to get people talking to each other and realizing who else is out there in the community.

Although everyone is welcome John notes from the event registration details that, “The kind of people who turn up tend to be founders, CEOs, managing directors and so on.”

But TechBrew is designed to be more than just people randomly bumping into other people and hoping sparks of magic might fly. According to John, “It’s really trying to figure out who the kinds of people that you would like to get to know who are at your stage of the company life-cycle and what value the might be able to add in terms of learning.

“Experienced entrepreneurs will tell you that they have a network.

“If they have a commercial issue that they are concerned about or a pricing issue they’ll have two or three guys they can go to and bounce it around with them.”

Every event has it’s own theme and this week’s one is, ‘Partnering.’

John points out the importance of this issue, “Companies have the opportunity to develop their market through partners. There are a lot of pros and cons to that. It’s a big decision to decide to hand a certain amount of control of marketing and sales and even your development to partners.”

In order to keep the event focused and productive there is a clear format to the evening. “The way we have structured it is that we do it on a Thursday evening. We do it at seven o’ clock. We do it when people are on the way home. We do it over a beer. We get three people in who can talk about a particular topic.

“They, quite literally, stand up on a bar stool for five to ten minutes. There are no slides.

“We don’t do any sales pitches. We don’t invite guest speakers from a marketing organization or anything like that.

“It is very much in the community networking style. When they do their five minutes they take questions and answers and typically what happens is that they get surrounded by people afterwards.”

Apart from enjoying the sight of speakers balancing precariously while holding forth from atop a barstool John says there other good reasons why people should attend.

“People who are the leaders in their software companies should come to TechBrew to meet other people who are leaders in theirs. To share their experience and more importantly for them, to learn from other people’s experience.

“Finally, people should come along to build their network and build contacts that are going to be of value to them and who can assist them.”

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