Talent for Tech: When the hopeful meet the passionate

Hope. When was the last time you were intoxicated by it?

Were you alone, in a crowd, or walking towards a destination sought. Was it a phrase, a surrounding evoked or a thread of logic that resonated with you on some level? Did the hope ignite passion? Did it drive a conversation, emote support, take part in an action or at the very least lend a digital ‘like’ and even a softly worded comment?

In my mind ‘hope’ is talent. Hope is supporting those that deserve that lending hand, a supporting voice or connection sharing. We help those that help themselves and this is why we run our year-long program of the 100Y to shine a spotlight on those talented young Innovators in Ireland and the United Kingdom who need that hand to bring them to the next level. We bring our experience and our Tech partners to help us drive the program and continue supporting those that are making an impact in their ecosystem.

Tech Companies need to be part of the first wave for encouraging and enabling more talent. The cycle of replenishment for tech ecosystems needs to be constantly fed into. We should never stop enabling more talent and early-stage Startups. If the bug for entrepreneurship is there, working in passionate companies will help this blossom and maybe develop into something much more. The often undervalued Startup Weekends are a testament to this as that’s where I picked up the bug some 8 years ago.

Don’t Feed the Unicorns

Tech Unicorns drive attention and praise from institutions, investors and other companies. They grow fast, they make money and they absorb as much talent from their ecosystem as they can. So much attention is paid to European Unicorns such as Booking.com, Spotify, Klarna, King, Adyen and rightly so. But one of the main reasons these kinds of companies achieve success is having access to the right resources at the right time which powers acceleration. They thrive because they deserve to.

The Responsibility of the Government to foster new companies

In the last few years, the tally of European Governments who have chosen to focus their resources on later stage Startups and Unicorns to define their Startup ecosystems has risen. It is clear why this would be a driving tactic. These Unicorn companies are stable, growing fast and can be the poster boys for ‘successful’ Startup Ecosystems. This becomes dangerous if resources are diverted to promoting the success cases rather than into engendering more early-stage Startups.

More ideation and freer access to seed capital with less of a tight reign of immediate profitability should offer more aspirational companies who have a plan for profitability. Governments are in a position to do this. European Investors are in general bouncing back to becoming more and more risk-averse. You can see why alternative funding methods like ICOs and crowdfunding are proving more and more popular.

You need alot of coal to create even a few diamonds

In the case of Governments, there needs to resources and initiatives driven into enabling entry points for Graduates, Returning to work professionals and employees moving from the tech giants into entrepreneurship and involvement.

‘The UK is the number one destination to find work but it has lost some of that share to Germany and France over the last 12 months. 21.5% of international migrants, working in tech, went to the UK followed by Germany (13.8%) and France (9.1%). The UK saw 3.2% growth in tech jobs overall’

The detail is taken from Atomico’s State of Europe report:

Ireland and the UK need to step up in this arena. The talent here needs to be given more opportunity. Converse with the tech brands, the financial institutions and the media. Talent should be a tool to effect change and evolution. We can never stand still and we must always aim to re-right ourselves in today’s economic turbulence. New blood and the willingness to allow it’s an infusion is more vital than ever before since no entity has the comfort to stand still in these new times.

The Philosophy of Recruitment needs to evolve

Having job platforms and holding Talent focused tech festivals in Europe for now 7 editions we have long since adopted the approach that with the right attitude and aptitude roles can be blended to the employee. Experience is not the sole driver of employability anymore. The revolution in recruitment is that tech talent doesn’t fit into the old models so we need to stop forcing round pegs into square holes. Attitude can’t be learnt, skills can be.

Talent is drawn to passionate people making a great product.

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” The ever-wise Morpheus from The Matrix. Stating that your company culture is fantastic and your product is ‘bleed edge’ doesn’t really translate in the digital formats. There is no better way to communicate this than IRL.

Putting Companies directly in contact with talent and partners, even investors shorten the communication pathways dramatically. When Startups say they are ‘too old’ for exhibiting their product I have to say they need to have a look at their priorities. It’s too easy to get lost in the product and lose sight of the customer, the market and the talent you will need. Maybe it’s not the right time for your company to exhibit but always keep an ear to the ground for talent and always keep broadcasting your ideals (you never know who is listening).

If your company is not focusing on Recruitment, Investment or Sales then your company has died and nobody has let you know yet.

People get excited listening to people who are excited. It’s a basic premise but if you are passionate about your product and your approach then people will be infected by your enthusiasm. This is what makes the frequency of young companies so utterly vibrant. They radiate possibility and aren’t encumbered by the systems, habits and routines we all weave around ourselves in the day to day business arena. The freedom is intoxicating and the hope, powerful.

The hope is to see what happens when passionate companies meet hopeful talent.