Author Archive

Fund It – Self funding for the arts, lessons learned (Part 1)

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

When Fund It was announced ages back along with other grant announcements like 180k on a hologram about Irish Coffee, I was slightly cynical. Sure it was just a clone of Kickstarter. And it was and is.

Fund It though is localised and with it, it has a vibrant community of people in the arts, trying to build creative or crazy projects with the help of the general public. I’ve been impressed with the way people are taking to it both as those soliciting funds and those contributing 5 euros, 10 euros or 500 euros. I’ve asked three people who have used Fund It for projects to share their thoughts on using Fund It. To note: I started writing this post in August and have finally had time to put it all together now.

I interviewed Philly McMahon from ThisIsPopBaby about Year of Magical Wanking, Eamonn Brett for his Wires project and Fiona Kearney from Lewis Glucksman Gallery about Mixtapes. I got very detailed answers back from everyone so I’m splitting this into three parts. First up is Philly, tomorrow will be Ebby and the next day will be Fiona.

Year of Magical Wanking and Fundit

You’ve used Fund It for Year of Magical Wanking, anything else?

I lead the Year Of Magical Wanking campaign, and have advised the Late Fragments as well as some smaller advice to Paper Dolls.

Why use the Fund It route? What would you have done previous to this?

For theatre, some other options are:

  • Apply to the Arts Council for a grant.
  • Don’t do the show.
  • Do the show with everyone working for free as well as beg borrowing and stealing equipment, props etc.

Fund It allows a project to reward people who wish to pledge money to their campaign. If the rewards are good enough, then it becomes less about charity and more of an exchange. For emerging companies or for projects that are unlikely to be eligible for public funding, Fund It offers an opportunity to raise all or part of the money needed to get a project off the ground. I guess it’s the modern equivalent of a Pub Quiz fundraiser – only now you don’t have to go to a boring quiz, and you might actually ‘win’ something you want.

Is there much work involved in running a Fund It drive? Setting up seems ok. There seems to be a lot of work in doing frequent updates/reminders about a campaign, did you have a plan of action for this?

There is a lot of work involved in creating your project. It’s good to make a video specific to your campaign – writing clear copy for your homepage and working on rewards that are worth pledging cash for but are also achievable (while not burning a giant hole in the total you’ve raised – there’s no point in raising 3k and spending half of it issuing rewards). Once the campaign is created, I would advise making a plan of how to roll out your campaign – how to keep it fresh and afloat for the time period you’ve chosen. We had a full plan of how, who and when we were updating social media sites, direct mails, mailshots etc etc. You have to constantly drive the campaign.

What were the main lessons learned from using Fund It, would you have advice for those thinking of using Fund It themselves for the first time?

I’m not entirely sure about lessons learned. there’s very little that I wouldn’t do again. my main advice is to choose a realistic target – ask yourself who is going to pledge money to your campaign and why. I’d advise people to have a really good campaign video – really clear copy (be economic with words – no waffle). Identify who is rolling out your project – there may be ten people involved but only four might be web savvy, so who is gonna drive the thing? I would advise people to question their social media networks – do they have enough friends, fans and followers to warrant sufficient interest in the project? And also to use Fund It as a way of giving friends and family an outlet to support their work. After that – my advice is to sit on the project until the very last day. it can be hard work – but no-one gets thousands of euros easily. Thank people, acknowledge people and be grateful. People are parting with hard earned cash – it’s incredible.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

I think Fund It has some other plusses. For theatre, I believe it’s a way of cultivating an audience. Before a show opens you already have X amount of ambassadors who will not only buy a ticket, but they’ll bring friends. They’ll tell people about this project they’ve invested in and they’ll talk about it. I also think it’s interesting to invite people to take a closer look at the artistic process – let them know how much things cost and how things are made. It can make the art form seem far less elite, and certainly for me that’s important.

Fluffy Links – Saturday November 19th 2011

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

The annual IrissCon security conference and HackEire, the ethical hacking event are on this year on November 23rd. Taking place in D4 Berkeley Court, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4,

Laughing Lion Tees has been born. All the t-shirts are illustrated by Jennifer Farley. Might make nice Christmas gifts.

Sarah blogged her experiences of Hard Working Class Heroes. Nice coverage.

Want landscape advice or it done for you? Gorgeous Gardens is around for that. They’re currently doing a “Recession Special” Christmas Voucher.

Steve’s Job. Stephen Cleary is looking for a job.

Startup advice in 13 sentences.

Welcome to the future. A full dual-core computer in a USB stick. Very James Bond.

Sports Stars and Social Media is going to be huge soon enough, even in Ireland.

BBC documentary on perfume. Part 1 of episode 1:

Service – Lessons from Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

I was lucky enough to have lunch in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud a few weeks back. €48 a pop for a three course lunch with the usual teas and coffees and Petits Fours included too. Speaking of which:

Patrick Guilbaud Petits fours

The food was stunning, as it would be from a two star Michelin restaurant. What really marks it out for me is the service. The service in restaurants that know they’re special is non-intrusive, warm and not at all pretentious. I’ve been to restaurants where the staff think they and their workplace are special and have a snotty attitude towards everyone. Normally this gives them validation to have sloppy service, serving up variations of chicken currys. They’re the “it” place for a blip in time and love the attention of the fickle public. Guilbaud’s, Chapter One, Thornton’s, Cliffhouse Hotel and other Michelin-like restaurants almost seem timeless inside their doors. They’ll keep doing what they do to an amazing standard no matter the weather or economic climate outside their doors.

All the staff in Guilbaud’s appear to be French and it seems obvious they are drilled as if they were in the military. With their black tux like uniforms you sometimes see the room flowing with black and white as they go about their work. Dishes are served with panache, on silver trays, covered with silver covers that are removed at the exact same time for everyone. Nice flair. No clapping allowed! Well, we didn’t. In between courses someone with a silver crumber in the shape of a razor fish comes along to wipe the crumbs off the table. If you leave the table, someone is over to reposition your chair and refold your napkin. Tempting to do a Homer Simpson “lights go on, lights go off” type situation with getting up every few minutes.

I think any business that works in the service industry (and I think anyone that works with the public is such a company) would learn a lot about providing good customer care from dining at this restaurant. Everything seems to flow easily but you know tradition, training and thought have gone into everything. Every detail has been considered and whether you think this makes everything artificial or not, it still makes you appreciative. I was reminded of the Steve Jobs biography and how obsessive he was about everything. Not that I have read it but every second paragraph from it appears to have been quoted online already.

So yes, food, here’s a surprise starter and the main course of veal. Surprise starter, starter, main course, desert, petitis fours and espresso came to €48 which for the food alone was worth it but the service we received will stay with me and inspire me to try and be that good with my own business. From communications, to product, to presentation of the product to (the hardest bit) making all of this seamless. Thanks Guildbaud’s.

Guilbaud Surprise starter

Guilbaud Veal

On that, the Restaurant Patrick Guildbaud has a book celebrating the first 30 years and it retails at €50. Profits will go to The Irish Hospice Foundation. Available at Avoca stores, Brown Thomas, Dubray Books, Fallon & Byrne, House of Frasier, The Irish Hospice Foundation and the restaurant itself at 21 Upper Merrion Street. The book is quite beautiful.

What didn’t happen at the Web Awards

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Being a Mulley type awards gig, we try and make it as informal and fun as we can. Or childish. Sometimes this is the same thing.

I had an idea for the Web Awards that we could start handing goodies in the form of sweets out to people in the audience. Then when I fleshed this out I thought a fun way to do this is to package the sweets in airline trays and hand them out row by row. And to make it more fun again I envisaged drag queens (it is my objective to have drag queens be involved in some way in a Mulley gig in the next while just to intimidate and amuse some straightlaced hetero males) dressed up as trolley dollys handing out the trays to rows of people. A combination of the High Life and Willy Wonka.


Sourcing the trays was the issue though. Drag queens are a plenty. I think I would have had to buy at least 100,000 units in order to get the trays. Did my best to find local sources but nobody seemed to get access to a supplier. Ah well, another time.

Still, we did have Pushcakes from Curious Cupcakes. Cupcakes done like pushpop lollipops.

Photo by The Sociable.


Sunday, October 30th, 2011

The Dublin Web Summit was on last week and a huge amount of people went to see it. A great networking event from what I’ve heard. I’ve heard complaints too from those that do conferences in the tech scene that the conference somehow steals the lunch of other organisations. When is time, not effort, a right to maintain a monopoly? Jack Murray from Media Contact has started running social media conferences and digital conferences in the past while. “Pivoting” an existing business that was about a printed database being posted to people twice a year into using that database to bring people together and extracting more value from it. If it wasn’t for the Dublin Web Summit and the various Media Contact conferences in the past few years we’d just have the same ole same ole with pretty much the same Irish speakers on rotation. New blood, new talent, new takes on things. It’s good to see conferences becoming more competitive and new conferences taking over. In time they too will be usurped.

The Journal won at the Web Awards last week. I saw one person asking was it the “Best Copy and Paste” Award they won at the Webs. Humour that has truth to it is a great weapon. The Journal is about a year old and is the most disruptive thing in the Irish Web right now. Have a look on Google Trends for a rough idea how they are dominating breaking news. It’s fascinating how this product launched with momentum and is still gaining it. There are plenty of critics of it and plenty of internal chatter from organisations with even legal people consulted about the way they work. The Journal though is a web service run by a new generation, totally immersed in web culture and the new way information moves. The stature of the Irish Times, RTÉ and other media organisations in a way is their detriment and I can’t see how they can successfully react to this without first pretty much destroying their own organisations. What The Journal will do though is get these organisations to either take risks or do really silly things which will do more harm. Such is the cycle of things though.

Enterprise Ireland announced a fund this week to encourage startups to move to Ireland and people were complaining about the money not being spent nurturing local talent. There are plenty of social welfare for startup funds out there if people looked though. Bringing startups in to Ireland is a very good idea once they are a benefit locally. Experience and even philosophies being brought in to disrupt an existing industry is a very good thing. Dublin Web Summits bring wisdom to people for a few hours, this EI fund will bring new ideas for a much longer time. It might bring enough people that a creative hub establishes which will bring more people along too. The gravity from these centre of talents isn’t strong enough just yet. I think Malcolm Gladwell pointed out that when Tiger came along, the game of golf adapted and everyone got better to match him. Maybe we’ll get the same with this fund?

Eugene from Tweekaboo (a client) went off to Silicon Valley and got inspired. I met up with him this week and a short visit over there left an impact. It made me think of when we organised Paddy’s Valley and of course vowing to never do it again. Myself and others kept telling Eugene he needs to get over there and see how the tech and investment world works there. Getting talent to inspire you locally is good, bringing long-term talent to Ireland is also a very good thing, bringing new blood into a stagnant industry is a good thing but also going to where there’s an ocean of talent (and money) is an important thing. There are some tech tours (UK Centric) that go over to the Valley now and then and it’s worth sending people over once they meet and greet and don’t shy away from networking and feeding on the brains of wonderful tech people. Though Zuckerberg seems to think Boston is it.

And cross-pollination is great and is important but a worry is that you are still only learning from a subset of clever and engaging people. Why not leave art and culture inspire you too? Cross training in sport works. I recall my idea of trying to intern in some companies before to gain experience. Maybe some of those tech hubs should have artists around too to hang around with.

Fluffy Links – Friday October 28th 2011 (MDH day)

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Lots of free books for your Kindle, you know.

Can Ireland become the biggest social and games hub? Thoughts from Dylan Collins, the guy that is working to get startups to move to Ireland as of this week btw.

In case you were wondering, you can use this service from O2 to block texts from people

A set of podcasts from the University of Oxford on reasoning, critical thinking and argumentation.

Bit Google overselly but the Zero Moment of Truth should be read by anyone selling online.

How To… Create a Basic KPI Dashboard in Excel 2010

Audiofu Clinic next Tuesday in Crane Lane at 8pm.

How Our Social Circles Influence What We Do, Where We Go, and How We Decide.

Mark Cuban on the Occupy Wallstreet movement. Good advice that can be used elsewhere.

The 1%

From a marketing message, the Hello Divorce, Bye Bye Daddy posters were brilliant.

Prime numbers are lovely, right?

Feynman on curiosity.

Trade – A review

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Trade – another ThisIsPopBaby production. I left this as a Tripadvisor review, the screenshot and text is below. Currently the review is pending in Tripadvisor.


Trade – Written by Mark O’Halloran

Perhaps this review makes it through, perhaps not but I figured that this site-specific play set in a B&B could just as easily be reviewed on Tripadvisor.

This is a play about a client and his rentboy, set in a room in a B&B and going over the thoughts, backgrounds and motivations of the two characters. A slow uncomfortable build up with mostly the “client” moving this play forward and squeezing out the backstory of both characters. Hang your comfort levels with your coat in the hall before coming in while inside you’ll become completely sucked in by this play.

Directed by Tom Creed, Designed by Ciarán O’Melia and Produced by Phillip McMahon, something worth experiencing if you are lucky enough to get tickets

Fluffy Links – Wednesday 12th October 2011

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Tiny Telephone Exchange. New band. Check our their soundcloud.

Internet Privacy and the Right to be Forgotten a talk by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor, Oxford. Tuesday 25 October at 12.45p.m. (Warning Deputy Dawg type droopy sad face after link)

A talk on emotion being a key part of marketing. I dunno. Not sure if this fully works. Also, you’re adopted.

A nice campaign from UNHCR. It’s called ‘do 1 thing’. You can support refugees and asylum seekers with the campaign by donating, campaigning or just learning a single fact and share what you’ve done. I like the fact that they really don’t push for donations. Other orgs in the charity space have been on record as saying they want donations and nothing more. Refreshing. The campaign runs until Monday 24 October. is an online store where you can buy eco-friendly products. Good name is that. Also they share tips for a more green halloween. Nothing to do with dressing up as the Hulk.

Lovely post by JP about Steve Jobs and how you can like his work and that of Apple even if you’re an open source supporter. And also reminded me to read this old Playboy interview that’s a fascinating insight into the man.

Agnes Obel. Cork. December. Woo.


Fluffy Links – Monday October 3rd 2011

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Tweekaboo gets nice coverage in the Business Post. (Disclosure: they’re a client)

Simon Geraghty is blogging about starting his own business and pine martins. Looking forward to more posts.

And on that. Giant giant list of apps/tools/resources for startups.

Netflix got into trouble from a lot of people for pretty much getting rid of renting physical DVDs but still paying the same for the service and then bringing it back as a sister business. One of the founders, now no longer there gives his take. He supports the idea and gives great insight into the history of the company. 95% of revenue was from selling DVDs not renting in year one and then they killed it off. Ballsy.

Nice post about the resurrection and plummet of Nixon both done via TV. Never heard of the Checkers speech before.

Nice post by Ian Power on how converts Facebook fans into paying fans.

Facebook and photos. Holy crap, every photo online appears to reside there now.

Cork Opera House, Corcadorca present The Winter’s Tale:

No more Guinness Jazz Festival or Absolut Fringe after sponsor ban?

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

The Business Post reports that a Government sponsored group, the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group is looking at suggesting the banning of drink sponsorship of Arts and Culture events. There’s been talk for a long while too about banning drinks brands sponsoring sports events. So no more Jameson Film Festival, Absolut Fringe, Corona Cork Film Festival and the Guinness Jazz Festival?

Arts and Culture organisations will be even more moany if another source of funding is shut down. Government grants aren’t what they used to be. We’re in a recession so it’s harder, for some at least, to get corporate sponsors. Of course one can donate to an arts project without having to publicly be listed as a headline sponsor/sponsor. I’m sure many drinks companies will instead do this, given how they care so deeply about Irish culture. So says the press releases. Bit of Dáil discussion on it too.

You have to wonder about Arthur’s day too then. Will this artificially created calendar event get killed off too? It’s not “Guinness day” but is associated with it. No coincidence it was created just as worldwide drinks companies started seeing traditional marketing routes denied to them. Funds for social entrepreneurship, like sponsoring arts and culture events are another route to keep your name around if you’re a drinks company. I wonder will these be classed as sponsorship too. It’s nice that a fraction of revenue from a single day out of a year is spent to keep these projects sustained for a while.

There’s some great lessons to be learned from the arms race between the tobacco industry and various Governments over the decades. Now it’s happening with alcohol. I’m sure fatty foods will be next. For those that haven’t issues working for tobacco companies or drinks companies then there is serious money in change and disruption. Think of the euro changeover or the Y2K bug. Fortunes were made from it. Helping these companies find newer routes to market their products will get you that mansion sooner.

And of course with tobacco TV ads banned we get this instead, now if they ban drink and fatty food ads…