Business Should Learn from Sport and Look on Failure as Motivator to Come Back Stronger…John Herlihy

Pictured (from left): John Herlihy, VP and head of Google Ireland; Helen Downes, Shannon Chamber; Professor John Fahy, UL; Kevin Thompstone, president, Shannon Chamber; Lavinia Ryan and Gearoid Gilley, VHI Ireland, event sponsors. Photo Eamon Ward.

Technology is but a tool which any company can use but the key to success is to use premier technology not fourth division technology as that’s where increased competition exists.  That was one of the many nuggets of information which John Herlihy, VP and head of Google Ireland imparted in an insightful interview with John Fahy, professor of marketing at the University of Limerick in Dromoland Castle Hotel today (Wednesday 15 April 2015).

The on-stage interview, organised by Shannon Chamber in association with VHI Healthcare, involved a discussion on themes as diverse as technology trends, the criticality of mobile, failure as a barometer of risk, technology education deficits and the role of customer in new product development.

Recommending that companies leverage data, get out to customers and collaborate to a greater degree than ever before, Mr Herlihy stated that the old model of waiting for the perfect product is a redundant model.

“Technology-driven companies tend to release products that are fifty per cent ready and use customer feedback to perfect and release later and more prefect versions. The user is now part of the design process,” he added.

Referring to failure, Herlihy added: “Failure should be celebrated. Companies that are not failing in some part of their process are not taking enough risk. They have not set high enough targets. They need to establish a framework to always reach for new heights and take the knowledge they gain from any failure to bring out the best. It’s better to fail and fail quickly than fail slowly and die,“ he told his enthralled audience.

Citing many examples of great Irish companies, products and people that have placed Ireland on the world business map, Herlihy pointed to an increasing dearth of technology and language skills in Ireland which, he said cannot be ignored.

“The market is going to prevail and there will no excuse in five years’ time if we cannot change our educational systems to the changing digital landscape and produce the type of skills we need to retain and attract technology business to Ireland.”

When asked about the future for regions such as the Shannon region, Mr Herlihy pointed to opportunities in the land and a future linked to agri healthcare.

“There are huge health issues related to bad diet and Ireland is well placed to play a key role in this area,” he added.

Commenting on the event, which was one of the highlights of Shannon Chamber calendar of events, CEO Helen Downes said: “We have been trying to get John Herlihy to address our members for well over a year and we are so glad we persevered; his address was well worth the wait. We were honoured to have a leading strategist and teacher,  Profession Fahy, and a world-renowned practitioner such as John Herlihy on stage together.”