Paddy Ryan B.E.
I graduated from UCD in 1986 with a degree in Electronic Engineering, as joint winner of the Hewlett Packard Award for Innovation - for a final year project in the Biomedical electronics field - and with an extremely well developed interest in software and systems engineering. I was one of the few graduates from my own class who didn't immediately emigrate, and found myself working for Quaestor Analytic, a small, innovative Irish company, based in the IDA centre in Pearse St. I commenced working on a project in the area of Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) for our client, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), and within two months the Senior Engineer on the project left the company, leaving me truly "in at the deep end." I quickly learned to swim!
Within 6 months, I became involved with a startup company named Tensor Technologies, founded by my then manager, Lonan Byrne. Tensor operated in the areas of manufacturing automation, manufacturing information systems and laboratory information systems. During my many years, with Tensor I worked on - and headed up - projects across a range of companies as diverse as Guinness, IFI, Rhone Poulenc, Baxter Healthcare, Dairygold and many more. I was exposed to a vast range of technologies and business situations, and the only way to function effectively on such a permanently steep learning curve was through economy of effort and a thorough understanding of the business issues. Tensor eventually split into three seperate companies, Aspera (ERP), Orbis (MIS) and Ellipsis (Data Acquisition) and I moved on to work for a then fast-developing company called Reflex, as a Senior Analyst.
During my time with Reflex I worked primarily on systems for the motor business, i.e. vehicle sales, parts, stock, accounts etc. This broadened my understanding of business systems considerably. My mind, by this time, had begun to drift towards the possibilities of the emerging World Wide Web. At that time, this was not an area of interest to my employer, so I decided to go it alone as an IT Consultant. I had (and still have) many friends who work in the creative industries of advertising, marketing and design and through them I was introduced to two guys who were starting a new company (Adnet) with a plan to develop an online advertising business. I was early 1995 and the possibilities of the fusion of technology and design in this wonderful new environment was a heady prospect. Adnet went through many incarnations, evolving before long into a web development company, and I became the Managing Director.
Over the last 15 years with Adnet, there have been many innovations, developments, clients and projects. In 1995, we developed the first ever Irish eCommerce website, for Fred Hannas Bookstore. We developed the first Irish content management systems for the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, in 1996. We developed online business strategies and provided implementation services for organisations as diverse as the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), Eason's Books, and Horseware Ireland. Some more recent projects include StudentFinance.ie on behalf of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Budda Bag Online, an international eCommerce franchise.
Throughout, I have always maintained a perspective on technology as a means to an end; often asking how is it improving our business - and our life? The danger, for many technologists, is to get too caught up in the details. There have been many technological cul-de-sacs, and numerous failed eBusinesses. Having worked as technologist, sales person and administrator, I find I have a unique perspective that enables me to understand the needs and concerns of business owners, while also having the breadth and depth of technological expertise to steer you in the right direction. Perhaps my greatest failing has always been impatience and racing ahead too quickly, without fully developing mutual consensus and common understanding. This trait however, has definitely mellowed with age, and through the life-altering process of being a father.
Fergal is my long term colleague, business partner, and friend. There is nobody in Ireland with a greater depth, breadth, understanding and grasp of web-based technologies. Fergal has seen and done it all technically, from the very earliest days of the World Wide Web. I rely on his expertise and advice in matters of serious technical detail. We have been known to disagree - at great length - on matters of approach and implementation. We use this tension to establish better ways to get things done.
Alan graduated from the Dun Laoighaire College of Art and Design in 1987, and spent the first phase of his career in the advertising industry. An early visionary and convert to the World Wide Web, Alan has worked with us as a graphic designer, client service officer and marketing director. Alan's great strength is that of being a "people person" which ultimately led him to his current area of expertise and endeavour as a Referral Marketer. Alan owns and operates the Referrals Institute franchise for South Leinster and is an Assistant Director within the BNI organisation. When I need to put the right people together, Alan is my go-to guy.
A true polymath, Dermot is a creative writer, visual designer, musician and performer. Another early stage pioneer of the World Wide Web, Dermot is extremely technically knowledgeable and highly skilled in the area of multimedia. When it comes to the construction and communication of a powerful message, and an understanding of how the media operates, Dermot is my first point of reference.