Posts Tagged ‘Life after MBA’
Last Autumn we covered the success of MBA Alumn Cathal Brady. Here’s another win for Cathal…
“A break-through contract for Dublin start-up Ultan Technologies will see the company work with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to help public authorities around the country manage their energy use.
Ultan’s founder, Cathal Brady (MBA 2004), valued the three-year deal at €300,000 or more to supply a version of the web based technology it has developed to monitor and manage utility devices and sensors,.
“This is huge for us” he said. “It has been in the pipeline for a number of months now and we have just signed the contract in the last few weeks. It is a three year contract with the probability of it being renewed. Over time, it could be worth maybe €300,000 to €400,000. It is going to open up bigger customers to us. We sell to a lot of water companies in Ireland, but this is a different type of market and it is a great validation of the platform and the company.”
A software developer by trade, Brady established Ultan Technologies in early 2011 in Dublin’s Docklands Innovation Park. The idea behind the company’s web-based software is to allow utility companies to bill and manage their customers more easily and efficiently. “We develop products that work with any device, meter or sensor to take readings from them and put them up on the cloud, allowing people to monitor usage, set alerts or manage the device, report on the various readings and compare them to historical or external readings,” said Brady.
The software can be used by energy, water and gas providers. “We can take in readings from meters and generate bills, but the software could also be used by other device manufacturers ,” said Brady. “For example, you might have a guy making devices to monitor diesel tanks or bins to see when they’re full. They can monitor their device to be uploaded on to the web and to manage them and control them from there.”
Ultan Technologies employs four people in Dublin and eight sub-contractors in Ukraine. Brady said the company was preparing to ramp up sales to the British and US markets in the coming months and would create ten further jobs in Dublin this year and next. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Brady recently scooped the Association of MBA’s 2012 Entrepreneurial Venture Award. Ultan Technologies also topped the best investment proposal category at last year’s Bolton Trust Docklands Innovation Park Awards.“
- Michael McDonnell
I have recently started a job with a small company called one2edit . We are using the methods described by Personal Kanban, and the tools at LeankitKanban.com in order to organise our tasks and time. It is part of the “agile” workflow used by so many software organisations.I am finding it to be incredibly useful on many levels.
For starters, a core concept of Kanban is that there should be “information radiators”, meaning that there should be an easy way to see what is going on at any moment, without the need to go digging for any information. A Kanban board will do this by default. At a glance, it is possible to see what a person is doing at any time, what is on hold, why it is on hold, what still needs to be done, and what is important. Yes, a Kanban board can look quite full of sticky notes, but the organisation of those notes has meaning, which users can interpret quickly and easily. As a user, I can use this radiation of information to show both my co-workers and my bosses exactly what it is that I’m doing at any given point. It also allows them to check if the next item they wish to add to my “to-do list” is more or less important than what I am working on right now. If it is less important, then they will not mind if I don’t get working on it right away. In other words, it makes it far easier for me to say, “I have to put that on hold right now, but I will get to it” because they see that I have a system in place – a system that will allow me to tackle every task without forgetting any.
This concept is, to quote Jim and Tonianne’s (very informative and well-written) book, “limiting your work in progress” (WIP). This limitation of the number of tasks that one is working on at any given moment is critical to working effectively. John Medina’s book, “Brain Rules”, also mentions how the human brain physically cannot multitask effectively. Multitasking is an inherently inefficient way of working. Kanban seeks to rectify this by allowing a person to concentrate on fewer tasks at a time, unlike the “to-do list”, which just throws every task into the “doing” pile at once. The Kanban board then allows all others to see what is one one’s plate at any time, demonstrating that one is not slacking off.
Beyond this information radiation, it is both mentally and physically satisfying to see one’s tasks go from the backlog, to “ready”, to “in process” and then to “done”. Each time a task is moved to “done”, the brain releases a bit of reward, which is motivation for doing more. Furthermore, even the number of tasks doesn’t seem so overwhelming when there’s a system in place and one can see the tasks getting done.
Finally, as a recent MBA graduate who was job-hunting for a few months, every interview I did asked about previous achievements. A CV should also have these achievements listed in order to attract employers. In other words, I should have been taking note of all my measurable achievements over my working life in order to use them in the future. Moreover, it is vital when filling out an annual review form to have a list one’s achievements for the year.
Kanban can help with this.
Everything in the “done” column of a Kanban board is something that can be pointed to along with the phrase, “I did this”. It is not necessary for one to create a special document and remember to update it regularly, if the collation of completed tasks is already part of one’s daily process. Of course, some of the tasks will be small and not relevant or worth mentioning on a CV. But even these small tasks usually serve as reminders of the larger project upon which we worked.
This is also a reason why I am using an online tool for my Kanban board alongside my office whiteboard – I won’t have to trawl through physical post-it notes in order to see my achievements.
- Jamie O’Connell, FT MBA 2010-11
Best of luck to fledgling company Buzzoo who take on the best in Europe at the Europas on 22nd Jan. 2013. Buzzoo are made up of FT MBA 2012 alumns - Dave Byrne, Vishal Balasubramaniam, and David Pierce.
The Europas have been deemed the premier European awards for early, mid-, and late-stage technology start-ups, by leading investors and media. The Europas seek out the “hottest new start-ups in Europe, Middle East and Africa” and have previously recognised such household names as SoundCloud, Mind Candy, Spotify and Betfair.
Buzzoo made the shortlist for the forthcoming Europas start-up awards in Berlin on 22 January from more than 1,000 nominees that were put through the judging process. The nominees were judged by venture capitalists from firms like Kleiner Perkins, Accel and Google Ventures, as well as founders like Bebo’s Michael Birch, Cloudflare’s Matthew Prince and YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, not to mention journalists from various tech news sites across Europe.
- Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager
Congratulations to Lynne O’Donnell, MBA 2012, who came second in the final of the entrepreneurship accelerator programme, LaunchPad, run by the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC). Lynn is founder and CEO of the start-up company, Tempity, which took second place at yesterday’s final granting access to an investment fund of €20,000.
Tempity is a cloud-based platform, which allows Recruitment agencies to easily monitor the availability of temporary candidates and match their clients with temps in real-time, based on skills match and location. Tempity dynamically tracks candidate availability so recruitment consultants will only see temps who are available for work now. On the other side, Temps can actively manage their availability, location & accept jobs directly from their smart phone.
Lynn was in good company yesterday with a second UCD Smurfit MBA start-up company also competing on the day – Buzzoo. Three graduates from the Fulltime MBA 2012 are part of the management team – Founders Dave Byrne and Vishal Balasubramaniam and Business Development manager – David Pierce. Buzzoo is social music software for businesses that play music. It allows people at a premises to control the music by using their smartphone to view and influence the music playlist for the venue. It’s like moving the jukebox onto the smartphone and turning the smartphone into a remote control for the music so that the crowd becomes the DJ. Buzzoo also represented UCD Smurfit in the inaugural ‘Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition’ last June.
NDRC LaunchPad is Ireland’s first digital accelerator, ranked 1st in Ireland and 6th in Europe, supporting the next generation of digital entrepreneurs to accelerate good ideas to sound startups. This innovative programme is managed by another UCD Smurfit MBA graduate – Gary Leyden, who has worked with over 80 digital ventures to date on LaunchPad.
- Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager