Q. YOUR BIGGEst business INFLUENCE has been?

Padraig's Answer:

"Similar to our design philosophy, our business outlook has been shaped by so many different factors that it's kinda hard to specifically pinpoint what our biggest influence is. So in some sort of chronological order, I'll highlight a few that immediately spring to mind!

Our self-employed parents were, for example, very obvious professional role models to us. Right up to the point Fergal and I finished secondary school, we were not only always observing how they went about their business (to this day, I remain quite envious of my father's sales negotiation skills, not to mention my mother's dynamism!) but trialing their methods on our own mini-ventures, mini-ventures that were always warmly supported. One of the most vivid examples I can remember of such was an 11 year old Fergal somehow sealing a distribution agreement with Santa Claus for a GAA board game he was after designing!

In college, I studied Business (Majoring in Marketing & Management) at Undergrad level, and Entrepreneurship at Masters level. The "Best Practice" material my classmates and I were continuously presented with over the course of those 6 eye-opening years certainly provided much food for thought. Believing that a pretty keen appreciation of the nuances of human behaviour is arguably the most important facet of Marketing though, I feel I actually learned as much about the subject area outside of the lecture hall as I did inside it, during what was a really fun, liberating time in my life. I found U.L such a great environment in this regard; gauging the reaction to my temporary use of an empty Corn Flake box as a school-bag was, for example, one small experiment in branding from that period, which I learned a lot from!

Fergal pictured with Mr. John Ryan, Founder of the unicorn, Macrovision.

Since our roller-coaster ride in business began nigh on a decade and a half ago, I can however say with confidence that whatever I learned whilst in college has paled in comparison to what industry participation has taught me. Getting to see how different "World Authorities" (such as John Burd, founder of the $13 Billion-valued firm, DexCom) operate, has maybe been the most educational, enlightening aspect of all.

Being in the presence of such luminaries definitely rekindled a fire within Fergal and I to further investigate how other high achievers go about their work. During the intervening years, Fergal has read a huge volume of books in the area - some of the stuff I've recently "borrowed" from him with regard to such includes the work of Malcolm Gladwell, James Kerr and Anders Ericsson. Considering those authors, you probably won't find it much of a surprise to hear that my Kindle e-reader is not short on the type of non-fiction that can help to spark new business-related ideas. For instance, I recently sank my teeth into Matthew Syed's Black Box Thinking, which I found quite thought-provoking from a medtech point of view.

As for business magazines and websites that capture and hold my attention, Harvard Business Review is definitely my first port of call, though I would always keep an eye on the likes of Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and Marketing Profs too. Regarding online lectures, there's seldom a time when a few TED Talk tabs are not open on my laptop, waiting to be watched when the opportunity arises! The same can also be said of podcasts such as Stuff To Blow Your Mind on my phone!

Each night, often on the couch, I'd spend a number of hours consuming this kind of material, trying to uncover links between it and my various life experiences. All of such is obviously completed with an end-goal of developing and delivering solutions that are new, useful, interesting, and of a standard Fergal and I deem high. Going on these pretty spellbinding adventures towards a heightened consciousness is probably my favourite part of the job. I just find the associated process so intrinsically rewarding, regularly experiencing something similar to a "Runner's High", and I'm absolutely blessed to have an incredibly understanding support network who selflessly free me up to do it.

To honestly and openly answer the asked question, I cannot omit the impact that sport has had upon us though. So much so that I feel it deserves its own post."