Pay it Forward

Remember where you came from

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Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk
Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run
Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly
So I'ma spread my wings, you can meet me in the sky

- ‘My President (Remix)’, by Jay Z & Young Jeezy

My first job out of college was with one of the Irish banks on their graduate programme.

It was September 2007 and I had just joined the European Property Team, tasked with sourcing European property investments for high net worth clients.

The Head of the team, my first real boss, had only joined the bank in the June prior to my joining and had spent the majority of his career in senior roles with Intel and others.

We hit it off straight away, mainly because I was just desperate to learn and to get involved and he was keen to impart knowledge.

Our working routine always involved a daily coffee break in the Insomnia in Ballsbridge. You can imagine the looks we would get walking out of the office every morning around 1030am for a coffee break!

The boss always paid (Irish banks paid well back then!) and we would sit and discuss projects we were working on, the strategy for the team and how we would source investment opportunities as well as all other business topics.

The boss saw me as an equal for the 2 years that I reported to him. He always brought me to meetings of importance, and included me in the important conversations, despite many being above my pay grade and the fact that he would get push back from other senior management.

It was his way of teaching me. I was keen to learn and was like a sponge so he gave me every opportunity to learn.

And he had my back in front of others. Any mistakes I may have made during that time were dealt with privately but I was never hung out to dry in front of other staff.

Given that he wasn’t from a banking background, and hadn’t become institutionalized from working in the bank for years, meant that we took a fresh view on many topics and didn’t just do things the way they had always been done.

(Anyone that knows me will know that I have an allergy to things being done the way they always have been and I am not shy about challenging the way things are done!).

I was very fortunate to work with someone like that as my first job in the corporate world. I have worked in a number of jobs and companies since then, both private and public sector, and have many experiences of the other end of the ‘good boss/terrible boss’ scale.

Why Should You Care?

My first boss is my mentor and I still speak with him regularly and meet for coffee to discuss new opportunities I am looking at and will always look for his view when I am considering a new role. He is a director in one of the Big 4 firms now and I am sure he still gets paid well but I pay for the coffee these days.

I know how fortunate I was and I have carried that with me into all of my jobs since.

Where possible, I will go out of my way to work closely with graduates anywhere I work and get them involved in any projects that I can.

Regardless of if it is within their remit of not, give them the opportunity to get involved and to learn.

Never forget where you have come from.

Never forget who helped you on your way.

As your career/company grows, make sure you give back to help someone on their path.

Pay it forward.

Tell me why I’m wrong…

- Eoin

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Left Field

How do I describe ‘Left Field’? It’s a place to put the content (newsletters/articles, etc) that we have amassed over recent weeks or previous years that really make us think or change our thinking on a particular topic. All the content will offer an alternative view of some topic in financial services, technology or sport (or a combination of all three!)

Heroin’s Hidden Ingredient Is a Chemical Made by U.S. Companies

This is a fascinating recent article from Bloomberg about acetic anhydride, a clear liquid chemical that smells like vinegar and is used in laboratories and factories—the most common use is in the production of cigarette filters.

It is also one of only two key ingredients (the other being the sap drained from opium flowers), required to make heroin.

The article goes into detail on the company, Avantor Inc., a $12+ billion publicly traded U.S. company that bottles, brands and sells the chemical in Mexico.

Anyway, I won’t give away too much. Enjoy the article and feel free to get in touch to discuss more!

- Eoin


Can’t Sleep?

MoneyNeverSleeps podcast episode from this week:

  • Episode 103: Ya Know The Rules: Jill Richmond and Jewel

  • Jill Richmond, Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Jewel, joins the show this week to talk about having agility at the core of everything they do, the relationship between regulations and problem solving…and backpacking solo through eastern Africa!

  • Audio version on Apple and Spotify

Podcast Recommendation: Highly recommend checking out the ‘A Media Operator’ podcast where Jacob Donnelly interviews entrepreneurs and operators that are building digital media companies.

Book Recommendation: I highly recommend the book ‘The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable’ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we — especially the experts — are blind to them .

Article/Newsletter Recommendation: if you haven’t heard of it already, check out the ‘Divinations’ newsletter by Nathan Baschez. It is an excellent newsletter on business strategy featuring original essays that explore classic frameworks from thinkers like Christensen, Porter, and Helmer, and use them to understand today’s most important technology and media companies.


This newsletter has been written by Eoin Fitzgerald and Pete Townsend

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