Okay so we could possibly do with destroying the last 2000 years but hey, we have to start somewhere. If you know me in any way, you’ve probably had a pint with me and been subjected to lenghty and lofty rants theories about culture change and how it’s bloody important to tear down the attitudes of old school Northern Ireland and start anew, especially with the high tech renaissance in full swing all around us.
If you’ve been listening to the majority of our politicians in the run up to the election then you know that draconian views and limited thinking is still rife in our less than moderate little part of the world and it can drag you down. I’ve said it before, it’s not easy being a young person in Northern Ireland, many of the cultures and outlooks that are ingrained in the place are at best restrictive and at worst destructive. Especially to those who are creatively minded and entreprenurial. Too often trying to get your voice heard and your ideas across feels like wading through quick-sand. If you’re not careful, your motivation and belief can get sucked down into a gabbling abyss and be lost forever.
In the past six months I’ve been going through a loop of validation, finding interested and interesting people who think our business ideas, like AirPOS, can be big noises not just in our own backyard but on the world stage. On the one hand this is a wonderful experience that makes the world seem brighter and everything seem possible. On the other hand it makes you lament the years you spent in Belfast’s wilderness giving time, energy and ideas to projects and people who either didn’t know how to, or didn’t want to, recipricate. I’ve fought my last battle with the attitudes of old. In answer to the question “Do you want to win or do you want to be right?” I’ve decided that I want to win, come what may.
And I’m learning new ways of winning. If your ideas are strong enough and your will to carry them through is equally strong then there are a thousand ways of progressing with the one constant being levels of risk. There’s an ingrained need in many for the security of the day job, the regular wage that takes the sting out of the mortgage, the child support payments, the school fees, to keep the pension pot ticking or any number of reasons. I can appreciate that attitude, but I can’t subscribe to it. If your idea is strong enough and your will to succeed equally strong I believe there will be a way to meet those commitments and also to follow the path that opened up to you when you had the eureka moment. You may fail but if you do there will be options. You and the people you love will survive, and be stronger for it.
If the alternative is mortgaging your dreams and robbing the world of your creations then that risk is mitigated surely? It’s got to be worth a try.
At the end of May VI (that means six BTW) companies from various different sets of circumstances will be building their own incubator in Belfast City Centre to start the first steps of this journey. We’re still young enough and in need of learning enough to be one of them. AirPOS will be VI of VI. The others will be announced in due course.
They’ll be sharing experiences, being mentored, seeking investment, helping each other and generally supporting each other as they seek to have grown enough in VI months to stand alone and try to take their ideas to the next levels. Surrounding them will be people who have volunteered their time and resources to help from lawyers to accountants, designers to joiners, investors to civil servants and every spectrum in between. The BBC will be documenting this process, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
These people, like me, have decided that they want to win and that there’s generally little value in being right.
You can boke at the sentiment if you like, and growl at the sheer lack of hipster-knowing-wink in the following statement but what you can’t do is deny the thruth behind it.
You may say that we’re dreamers, but we’re not the only ones…
Post inspired by Phil Wilson an entreprenuer, salesman and part-time comedian who, incidentally, is winning.Permalink