This article was originally published on portershed.com and has been republished here with permission.
Rory Timlin is from Galway and works in the PorterShed. Like his Bowling Green peers, Rory hasn’t always done things the way most other people do. In fact, for a period of around eight years, he became a professional online poker player before ultimately going on to become a business analyst and financial controller.
This followed a period of time over a decade ago, in the wake of the most recent recession, where Rory backpacked and lived abroad for a time following his studies. Today, Rory works for a company in Galway, and it was his decision to push for a remote-working role there which would allow him to say in his hometown of the city of Tribes
“I love Galway and I’m not a major fan of living in Dublin for a number of reasons, like the rent – and I’ve got a beautiful girlfriend living in Galway as well,” he says.
The co-working and open innovation culture of the PorterShed suits Rory down to the ground, and Rory adds that the PorterShed is certainly a big part of what keeps him in Galway – especially the open and humble atmosphere.
“That’s one of the things I love about the PorterShed is that when you walk in the door, you don’t really know who’s this big-shot important guy. You know they’re there, but unless you really get chatting to people…and there’s nobody going around bragging to people about how great they are or anything like that.”
To go from a poker player to a professional analyst/wearer-of-many-hats with a company headquartered in Dublin called Meltdown is not your average career path, for sure, but it has certainly been one that has stood Rory in great stead. After all, it has allowed him to learn things most people wouldn’t, put himself in extraordinary situations, and figure things out in quick and innovative ways.
Rory, in fact, managed to earn enough money over the course of his poker career that was the equivalent to quite a decent wage year after year.
“I wanted something more steady, but also something that I could progress at. With poker it’s always going to be a struggle, there’s no natural progression – there’s no going to someone for a raise or ‘look at everything I did in the past’. There’s no obvious progression aside from: get better, get lucky, see what happens.”
So, Rory decided to go ahead and put his poker skills to a different use: taking the pragmatic, clinical perspective of strategies and analyses to help a business understand the hows, the whys, and the what nexts.
And Rory explains that numbers, statistics, and data are what keeps him motivated, and it’s what he’s best at.
“I love numbers, I’m good with numbers. I could happily stare at stats all day and be happy. I like taking stats and making them into something that people who don’t like stats would happily look at and understand,” Rory says.
“For example, when I take a deep-dive into what sells best in one of our cafés. I might talk to the manager or the owner of the shop, and they’ll all have an opinion on what sells best or better, but they won’t actually know, but when you show them the facts, they might be surprised because people’s perceptions of what’s happening don’t always marry up with what’s actually happening. So, for me the stats tell the real stories, and that’s how you make better, informed decisions.”
In today’s world where industries and individual companies are over-saturated with misconceptions and misreadings, it’s people like Rory who are able to scythe through the noise and create an impact that’s felt on a number of levels. And that all comes with his varied career which covers a number of disciplines – and Rory explains that this is part of what he identifies with.
“One thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that there is no normal career path for most people, especially the people who are very successful. They just take their opportunities and see what happens.
“I was reading the other day somebody’s advice that if you’re reviewing a job description and you meet all the criteria, then you’re over-qualified – you shouldn’t be going into something you’re comfortable in, it should be outside your comfort zone.”
Rory has certainly proved that it’s best to test yourself, and even though some moves might seem like a gamble, the winnings are there to be won if you play your hand right.
Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit in the Portershed, Rory is now offering his services to growing companies in financial systems setup and business analysis. You can find him in the Portershed, on LinkedIn, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.