Featured on Nov 21, 2016
"This is it. (sourced from a note propped up on my meditation teacher's little table.)"
I trained as a biomedical engineer because I wanted to improve people's quality of life, but some crazy stuff happened and I didn’t know if I’d live long enough to make an impact with medical devices - I got impatient. Software solves problems a lot faster, so I started building a health software startup, but I dropped it after a month - I got bored.
It turns out good conversation also improves our lives, and for me, conversation is the most intriguing, unpredictable, serendipitous and rewarding thing that we’ve got - I can never get bored of people. So here I am, hacking socializing for the last 3 years with my Irish startup,
My mission is to make it more natural to talk to new people, about topics that matter, so we learn about ourselves, eachother, and the world, and make the most of our short time here.
Outside of conversations, design and startups, I love speaking on stage, living in new places, mexican food, exploring, and giving myself a hard time about not meditating enough.
You and your co-founder, Adrian, started working on Crowdscanner in Ireland and then moved to New York to continue working on your company. Why did you guys choose to move to NYC, as opposed to California?
When we chose NY, we had no idea it would be this awesome, or this addictive. We just knew that it was as cheap as London, but a better base to visit event organizers in Florida, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh; that it was close to Europe for the time difference and cheap to fly back and forth; and to be honest, we just don’t love California. It’s a mix between hating the car culture, wanting to avoid group-think, and having a bad experience with the Tenderloin when we first visited! NYC feels like more of a real city with real people from such diverse backgrounds that it made more sense for who we are, and what we are trying to achieve.
After attending both undergraduate and graduate school for Biomedical Engineering, you decided to found a startup. How did you end up learning how to design and code?
I did some Fortran, and C in University, but I don’t remember there being any connection between coding and creating websites or anything - it was just for random mathematical theorems. We also did a lot of product design and 3D drawing so a lot of the design skills were transferable. With our first startup, I just learned to code what Adrian didn’t have the patience to do. I started with HTML and CSS, and then did the HeadFirst books on Java and iPhone development. A lot of it seemed easy, so I must have learned something in University without realizing it. Plus Adrian has been a good teacher :)
You’ve been in New York for a while now. What are some of your favorite places that you’ve discovered while exploring the City? Where have you found to be the best places to meet interesting people?
I love walking the boardwalk in lower Manhattan late at night, or crossing the Brooklyn Bridge - a bit of tranquility in this dense city.
Interesting people are everywhere: on metros, at hackathons, in acting classes, at meditation groups or pop up museums etc but to be honest, New York has turned me into a bit of a machine so the majority of my best conversations have been with clients, investors or potential employees, all about startup stuff, without much of a human element. Despite that, the ethnic diversity and cultural differences within groups here fascinate me. I have really enjoyed having a group of people to talk startup gossip with, at #nightours, or WeWorkLabs. Working alongside other startups facing similar challenges, and alongside other women in tech has been an incredibly rewarding experience.