Dublin Business Women: ‘You don’t need to get rich quick to succeed’

by Cóilín Duffy

Nicola Byrne is a bubbly, outgoing and genuine all-round nice person; a thinker who looks at the full picture, rather than just doing things for the sake of it, and is always thinking about what’s ahead.

It’s no surprise that the Glasnevin native has been involved as a founder of a unique group of companies, while also holding down a number of various board positions from the likes of being President of the Irish Exporters Association to being a member of the Ireland US Council, and much more besides.

She isn’t one to sit around, and set up the 11890 Directory enquiries service, after coming up with the idea when on holidays.

“It was one of those mad ideas you have when you are on holiday,” Byrne told Dublin Gazette.

“I was with my husband on holiday in Blackpool in the UK, and I saw that they were deregulating the UK market and I thought ‘ooh we should have a go at that’ and I did!

“All of my ideas tend to be ‘oh how could I do that’ and then I go and do something about it!”
Byrne is certainly a person of action.

“I was flicking through something on the internet today, and I saw a great quote about Governments, that ‘unless smart people participated, that stupid people keep getting to rule’,” she said.

“I realise that you can’t do anything by just sitting on the sidelines, that the only way to get things done is to step in and do it yourself.”

Directory Enquires services are far from the money maker they used to be and while continuing the service, Byrne has diversified into other areas, and in 2013 founded ‘Cloud 90’ a service which provides live risk analysis over social media data in real time.

“What we did was kept the same model, and kept the same people, but changed the job in hand,” Byrne said.

“We’ve made jobs that never existed before now. We have created innovative concepts that have never been built before.

“When the internet came along, everyone goes on about A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) this and A.I. that and the Googles, Facebook’s and Twitter’s of this world empowering you to do things for yourself like booking a holiday.

“The problem is however that you have only one you and you are not an expert. The problem is that the internet brings you data, it doesn’t bring you answers.

“What someone thinks is an answer, because they have been empowered by Google or Facebook, but it’s just not true.

“You don’t have time to find facts, and even when you do find a fact, you don’t understand it the consequences.

“The difference between whether you have a flu or a virus can be only determined by a Doctor or a good mother!

And Nicola has this advice to budding entrepreneurs.

“There’s a mad world out there of ‘the get rich quick brigade’.

“You do have to believe in yourself, but if it is a good idea and you work hard, you don’t need to sell your soul or look for a quick win, because even if you raise loads of money, or go to the bank and borrow money – if you feel rich you will blow it on needless things and make mistakes.”

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