I’ve heard that being a part of any startup is inherently filled with excitement, but being here at Udemy has taken that to a whole new level. Working with great people at a company that is constantly evolving leads to a lot of new opportunities and chances to learn - such as moving 5,000 miles across the world (!) to be part of a new office. Here are a few things I’ve learned from doing business in the lovely city of Dublin:
Network: One of the most important things I’ve learned thus far is the power of the Dublin network. If you are considering establishing a presence here as a company, you’ll quickly realize that there are hundreds of others that have made your exact move (in our case from California’s Bay Area to Dublin) and are willing to share what they’ve learned to make your experience more seamless. Even before we arrived, there were several folks from different businesses who had “earned their stripes” in Dublin and were happy to share their great advice with us (special shout out to the IDA, which was very helpful in facilitating these conversations). There is a saying that “if you want to do something well, you should follow the examples of those who have done it successfully,” and in Dublin, there are numerous great examples from which to learn.
Talent: Another positive aspect of Dublin I’ve learned is the vast amount of talent here. Since the city is home to several successful tech companies, it attracts Europe’s brightest, most ambitious and creative people, which makes it very easy to grow a team. This was clear at the CareerZoo Career Fair we participated in last month, which had more than 10,000 attendees. In addition to European talent, there is also a great amount of local talent in Dublin. With the large number of quality universities in the city, including Dublin City University and Trinity College, there’s tons of young potential, many of whom will hopefully become the Udemy employees of the future as we continue to expand our footprint in Dublin.
Connectedness: People often talk about the six degrees of separation. I’ve found that when doing business in Dublin, you can pretty much cut that six in half. Very early on you’ll realize that the people you know in the city are well connected to others that you’ll likely do business with or have some form of professional relationship with in the future. Part of this comes with the fact that Dublin is a small city (another learning: it’s very easy to walk around the city), but it does help ease the transition as you get plugged into the community pretty quickly.
Reach: A really cool thing happens when you expand to an international office – you also learn firsthand how far your business reaches. For Udemy, statistics like 60 percent of our student base is outside the United States are great, but when a person from France sees you wearing a Udemy backpack in the middle of O’Connell Street and stops you to say how they love the great courses you have on your platform, well that’s truly remarkable. We’ve definitely got a long way to go in reaching the globe, but coming to Dublin enables us to do that and connect with the rest of the world in a more direct, meaningful and tangible way.
The Value of an Umbrella: Only kidding, the weather isn’t too terrible out here!
About the Author
Udemy Account Manager Linos Owusu-Asare has experienced a lot of company growth since starting as an intern in the summer of 2012. In two and half short years, Udemy has grown from a small 15 person group sharing office space in San Francisco, to a team of 130 employees across three countries. Part of this expansion included Udemy’s arrival in Dublin late in 2014. Linos was a part of the original team that helped set up shop, and here he shares his learnings from the early days in Ireland, building and growing the Udemy Dublin office.
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