“Is that the queue!?”
I had left work just after 5pm and went to Starbucks to sit down and do my last little bit of homework before the Dubstarts Jobs Fair in the Button Factory. I grabbed an uncharacteristic caffeine boost in the form of a frappucino and took a seat. I was joined there by Stephen, a fellow graduate from the M.Sc. in Creative Digital Media in DIT. We took a look through the brochure, finished our liquid energy and made our way to Curved Street. I won’t say that we were skipping per se, but I was definitely enthusiastic.
We arrived at exactly 6pm and the queues stretched back further than we could even see. Stephen was momentarily disheartened by this mass of people and he considered leaving, but he quickly got over that. The queue soon dissipated as the crowd trickled into the building. Previous to this I had only ever been in this venue for a gig or a club night, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
The first sight that befell my eager eyes was that of candy floss. Fluffy, sweet, childhood-memory-inducing candy floss. Two familiar faces stood over the floss machine: Mark Moore and Marc Atkinson, two industrious Limerick men that I knew from my days in TCD. I also noticed that the bar was open and that people were walking around with candy floss and beer. Career Zoo this was not.
I soon lost Stephen in the throng, but that was to be expected and so I made an attempt to brave the crowds. The place was absolutely packed and incredibly noisy, but the atmosphere was so different and charming that it didn’t bother me in the slightest. There was a brilliant jazz band playing on the stage and all the companies lined the walls, in as much as they could. My height became an immediate disadvantage, as I couldn’t tell if all these tall people were standing looking or queuing to talk to the companies. Nonetheless, I squeezed through and made my case.
I spoke with a lady at the Birbl stand first. In all honesty it was the only company with a very vague explanation of itself and a comparatively disengaging representative. Birbl wasn’t on my shortlist of companies that I really wanted to talk to but Popdeem was, so I really only spoke to the former while I waited for the latter to become available to talk, as they were right next to one another.
Richie from Popdeem was clearly in demand for the chats but he still made time to talk to everyone who came along and to engage those who were waiting by assuring them he’d be with them in a moment. Popdeem is also a part of the Wayra Enternships programme, which is how I first heard about it. They kindly took my CV and so I moved on.
Box of awesome also caught my attention while I waited for Fluid UI. I knew they were looking specifically for coders but they still took the time to talk to me and they took my CV too.
Fluid UI had a very large team with them, it seemed. Again, they seemed very organized and very engaged with people. They were friendly and funny but they didn’t mess about. They took my CV, but they had a huge number of people and, as far as I’m aware, they’re not taking marketing interns until the summer. But, of course, it’s still good to talk.
Daniel from CurrencyFair had a much more lax attitude which I didn’t expect, but it was very welcome. I couldn’t tell because of the hordes of people that were there but I got the impression he was running his stand on his own. He was very easy to talk to and took my CV, even though I initially thought they weren’t looking for anyone with my particular skillset.
I very briefly spoke with the crowd from likecharity next, but mostly just to offer them my CV. They were inundated with people looking to work with them, which I suppose is a good sign: even the unemployed want to give back.
Jane from GetBulb was just great. She was honestly just a genuinely cool woman. She read through everyone’s CV’s as she spoke. She took it all in. I couldn’t steal all her time though so I moved along.
I spoke with the lads from Visilit next. It turns out my creepy company-stalking wasn’t in vain because they remembered my tweets and my linkedin, it seems. Both James and Dan were absolutely lovely. They have developed a piece of software that allows you to visualize your theatrical lighting designs in a 3D mapped out space. They have their product and now it’s just a case of getting the product out there, packaging it up, making it attractive to consumers and investors. Again, because of my background with D.U. Players, I could have stayed chatting forever.
45 Sound were very busy but, again, very engaging. I was going to have to wait for a very long time to talk to the marketing guy so I just left my CV with them. I know that’s not the best move, but I really wanted to get around to as many companies as I could. Funnily enough, in the brief time that I was talking to one of the guys from 45 Sound he glanced through my CV and saw my basic coding skills and my Gaeilge. He asked if he could put me in touch with his CoderDojo friend who wants to teach coding as Gaeilge in Cabra. Hilarious, but I said yes, of course.
I managed to get a really interesting demonstration of the Soundwave app from Aidan Sliney (who gave me “two ticks” for being from Cork and liking the song Bukowski by Modern Mouse). The app is actually fantastic, and, for fear of sounding like a hipster who disregards the mainstream, I actually like it better than Spotify.
Since the event itself I’ve heard back from 6 companies! That result is six times better than any other fair I’ve been to. Other companies want you to have a very direct focus. Every email I’ve gotten back from Dubstarts companies has included such glowing testaments as “we loved your combination of marketing, design and videography skills”. Everywhere else, this was considered a bad thing. I think I love start-ups. It’s definitely a hard-working, fun-loving culture that I can be happy with.
Also, the power of Twitter proved itself once again. Corissa Nunn from Enternships contacted me with an invitation to network at the Wayra Enternships Dublin launch party next Tuesday. I’m bringing one other guy from class who has also been having trouble getting work. It’s all about the good Karma.
My first interview is tomorrow morning. Best get to prepping.