Living the European Dream – in Dublin and beyond

When the opportunity came up to move my career from Malaga to Dublin, I knew I had to take it. It was a difficult decision in some respects – I had a job that I enjoyed in Malaga, and I did make a few jokes about moving from “Spain to the rain”. However, I also knew, as everyone else working in technology in Europe knows, that Dublin is where things happen.

This city is the technology hub for our region. Around this corner, there’s Facebook; go around another and there’s Google; up that street is Twitter; up that one there’s Airbnb. And then, of course, there’s LinkedIn. I knew that I’d be taking my life in exciting new directions when I moved to Dublin. But it was only when I connected with an opportunity at LinkedIn that I realised just how transformative the experience would become.

Busting the Dublin myths

By then, I’d already bust the myths that I had in my head about Dublin as a location. For a start – the rain. Okay, it’s not quite as dry as the south of Spain, but it’s certainly doesn’t feel any wetter than where I grew up in Germany. It’s certainly not stopped me cycling to work pretty much every day for the last three and a half years.

I had expected to find different types of people in Dublin – but the extent of the difference really surprised me. The presence of all of those companies in a city that still feels like a community is a very special combination. It makes me feel like I’m living in a true global village. It’s diverse and dynamic but hugely warm and welcoming as well.

That came home to me when I decided to run my first marathon shortly after arriving in the city. It was a way of showing my commitment to my new home and getting to know the city a little more as well. I’ll never forget the feeling of people lining the street to support myself and the other runners. When we went through the suburbs, there were people offering us bowls of fruits and sweets on their doorsteps. It reflects the attitude of people here – and also how extremely fanatical they are about sport.

How LinkedIn took my Dublin experience to the next level

In no time at all then, I’d started to feel pretty settled in my new city – and very happy with my life working in Europe’s technology hub. I was what we at LinkedIn Talent Solutions call a ‘passive candidate’. I wasn’t actively looking for a new job; I wasn’t frustrated in my current role or desperate for a new challenge. However, when the right opportunity came up I could see immediately why I needed to take it – and that opportunity was LinkedIn.

In some respects, LinkedIn was on my radar already. I knew that it was an exciting business – and one of the reasons for Dublin being such an exciting place for a tech career. However, I hadn’t fully grasped the mission and sense of purpose it had until a recruiter from LinkedIn reached out to me and I began the interview process.

A mission that matters

I’ve always had an interest in the purpose of what I’m doing. I’ve been interested in politics for the last 20 years – and a lot of my passion for social media comes from the way it can be used to get a message out and further a cause. That’s why LinkedIn’s mission to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce really resonated with me. There was an aspect of coming here that felt like taking on a role with an NGO – and that really appealed.

That wasn’t the only LinkedIn difference that I found inspiring. Reid Hoffman’s principle of the ‘Tour of Duty’ was another idea that really resonated with me: it’s the idea of there being a contract between yourself and LinkedIn whereby you both aim to transform each other for the better during your time here; you may not be here for ever, but if you do leave here for another role, you’ll definitely be leaving better equipped than when you arrived.

Transformation with a difference

Transformation is a really important part of LinkedIn’s values – and the focus of that transformation culture is really unique. At other businesses, you’re often encouraged to think about your weaknesses and ways you could improve them; here the focus is firmly on your strengths and how you can leverage them more effectively for both you and the business. It’s very empowering.

I’ve been able to apply the principle of transformation to my approach to leadership. The result I’m most focused on as a manager is being able to develop people for their next play – that’s what really makes me proud. It’s part of how my team motivates me every day. When I come into the office and see people already at their desks, making calls, working at their laptops – the buzz that gives me is very powerful indeed.

My transformation journey at LinkedIn is now bringing my ‘Tour of Duty’ in Dublin to an end. I’m making the move to manage one of our enterprise teams in LinkedIn’s Munich office. I was right in thinking that moving to Dublin would take my career to places I hadn’t imagined – and how, thanks to LinkedIn, it’s led me to a new city, a new stage of development in my career – and more new experiences. To me, being able to open up new horizons like this is part of the European dream – and LinkedIn and Dublin both embody that dream.

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The Garden Cottage

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Having had the pleasure to live about 2 years at the picturesque Courtyard in Clonsilla, it is time to reflect and being grateful. Renting and living is not just about having a bed, freezer and a sofa for your disposal. It is about feeling where your heart is. The Courtyard is a nice location and hidden gem, where you can forget from one minute to the next about all the rush of Dublin city centre and relax. Still it is perfectly located to public transport as Clonsilla train station is just 500 m away.

It is a marvellous and mesmerizing place and I enjoyed every day I have lived there. It is not one of those boring bunkers without any soul or character. It is a special place for special people. Thanks Ethna for having us. It was a pleasure.

Dublin – meine Perle

Wenn Du Dir einen Gefallen in Deinem Leben tun willst, komm nach Dublin.

Dublin, Irland. Es ist kompliziert. Es war nicht immer einfach mit Dir. Besonders nicht, wenn sich der Weg zu meinem Haus mal wieder in einen See verwandelte – als Folge des wochenlangen Regens im November. Nein, wir hatten keinen einfachen Start und es lag sicher nicht an Dir. Ich kehrte der Leichtigkeit und dem Licht Andalusiens den Rücken und fuhr direkt in Deine grauen Arme. Natürlich links – im Kreisverkehr durch das runtergekommene Rosslaire.

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Dann wurde es ein wenig besser als kurz die Sonne herauskam und den Ginster links und rechts des Weges so hell erschienen ließ, als wären es eigene Lichtquellen. Vorbei an den Wicklow Mountains direkt ins Zentrum. Die Logik Deines Personen Nahverkehrs erschliesst sich mir bis heute nicht. Es gibt gefühlt so viele Buslininien wie Insekten auf diesem Planeten. Sie schwärmen in regelmäßigen Abständen aus, doch dann sind sie wie vom Erdboden verschluckt und kommen später in Gruppen zurück. Luas und DART kommen hinzu, doch es scheint als wären sie so unterschiedlich und breit gestreut, wie die unablässige Touristenschar auf der O`Connel Bridge. Und irgendeiner streikt sowieso gerade wieder, denn Deine Gewerkschaften sind traditionell stark, sagen große Banner am Liberty Hall building.

Dann eben Taxi und das Herz geht auf. Kein Stadtführer und kein Tripadvisor kann ersetzen, was Du von diesen Unikaten erfährst – solltest Du mit Deinem Oxford Schulenglisch diesen Dialekt verstehen. Wir haben uns arrangiert und angenähert. Vorsichtig hast Du mir Deinen Charme gezeigt als ich entlang der Locks vom Grand Canal ging vorbei an Portobello und seinen Schwänen. Ich habe mehr von Deinen Menschen gesprochen und war überrascht. Diese Lebendigkeit, diese Vielfalt, diese Kreativität. Du bist wie ein Album dass man zum ersten mal hört und dann nach dem 2. Song abschaltet. Dann hört man später wieder rein, skippt ein wenig durch und findet Gefallen. Und dann lässt es einen nicht mehr los. So ging es mir mit Dir. Howth, Bull Island, Malahide atemberaubend schön. Harcourt Street, Grafton Street, Henry Street – ein Hauch von weltstädtischem Flair. Gleich daneben Rathmines, Ranelagh oder Bray – angenehm dörflich und verträumt.

Ich habe Bands auf der Straße spielen sehen, die ich 2 Monate später in den englischen und irischen Charts fand. Weltstars spontan Konzerte im Whelans geben sehen. Du hast Sportarten, von denen ich vorher im Leben noch nie gehört habe, doch sie locken 60000 Menschen in blauen Jerseys ins Croke Park Stadium. Für all Deine Pubs und Clubs brauche ich ein extra Leben und die Dichte Deiner Silicon Valley Headquarter auf Europäischem Boden, ist so aufregend wie die Sammlung der Apps auf meinem Smartphone. Du bist erstaunlich und undurchschaubar, nicht planbar mit Geschichte und Stolz an jeder Ecke. Deine Menschen lieben alle Plätze an Dir, von Phoenix Park bis Docklands – und jedes mal wenn sie von Dir erzählen, siehst Du ein Leuchten in ihren Augen mit einem Hauch von Melancholie.

Dublin, Du merkst, Du hast mich – und nun muss ich gehen. Schon immer ist man hier ausgewandert in alle Teile der Welt. Das gehört zu Deiner Geschichte. Nun bin ich Teil von ihr und es ist, als verließe ich eine Heimat. Danke. Dein Northsider.

Food

Great food to kill your #newyearsresolution at once.
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Get shi**t done – a review

Get Sh*t Done!: From Spare Room To Boardroom In 1,000 DaysGet Sh*t Done!: From Spare Room To Boardroom In 1,000 Days by Niall Harbison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After finishing this book I am not quite sure what I have read. Is it a guide for future entrepreneurs or will I be promoted to the boards room within 1000 days (like the title is promising?) Certainly not. My intention was to rate a 2 stars instead of 3 because of that. But the fact, that the editor comes up pretty straight forward and mostly honest, (he confessed that even the title is more about marketing then waterproofed content), I give it another star.
The book is more a biography then a reliable source of information. In some stages the editor makes dangerous assumptions according to education, science and arts and is missing a prove of concept in most of his theories apart from his own ones.
Because it is written in a kind of way you would have a chat with your lads about it, makes it a way of entertaining.
Is there any innovational fact or wisdom behind? I would say no. Read Dave Carnegie, Seth Godwin, Ken Blanchard and Keith Ferrazzi and you will probably have a better insight about how to get sh**t done.
Read it while you commute with Dublin Busses, Dart or Luas. You will be quickly done.

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Songwriting in Dublin

Recently my friend and bandmate Frank Zapple stayed for some days in my house in Dublin. He proposed to write a song about the overdose of using hashtags in todays social media life. It took me a night and half a bottle of redwine to write the lyrics. We used my 5 years old macbook, garage band and a Harley Benton acoustic guitar to do a first draft. Frank is back home now but we are fine tuning the song now via sound fragments uploaded at dropbox. Our next song produced in the cloud. Here is the making of.

hashtag-making.of from Fjuz Band-Kiel on Vimeo.

Best coffee in town?

The Bald Barista in Dublin’s Aungier street has been voted for the best coffee in town. It’s an alternative style hostel as well as a cafe. They have a large variety of coffee and pastry for reasonable prizes. There many students around from DIT, Dublin Institute of Technology.

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go to the church – for a beer – Dublin places

Are you religious? Well, you don’t have to be for visiting this church. It’s a nice venue in the middle of Dublin. The cool thing about it, it is an original former church where you now can have your beer, lunch, dinner, cocktail
It’s a night club as and they regularly run live concerts as well. It’s a place where literally life takes place. Look for the church at Henry Street when you are in Dublin.

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Dublin places

If you are in Dublin for a spring weekend, just go and do a combined visit to Glasnevin cemetery and the botanical gardens. Enjoy a carrot cake and a cup of tea afterwards. It is really nice there.

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James Joyce, Dubliners.

Dubliners
Dubliners by James Joyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Haven’t I met this guy yesterday in Grafton Street? Is the plum cake still as good as in the 1920ies at Brown Thomas? Do the kids play still the same games at Grand Canal? James Joyce is painting an amazing picture of Dublin in the early 20th century. Dark streets, rough men but as well passionable lovers. This is mandatory for lovers of Dublin and Irish culture. Rest assured, this spirit is still here.

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