‘Failure should be celebrated’ Google boss tells Shannon Chamber

John Herlihy, head of Google Ireland, Prof John Fahy, UL, and Kevin Thompstone, Shannon Chamber
“FAILURE should be celebrated” and firms that are not failing in some part of their business are not taking enough risk, according to John Herlihy, head of Google Ireland.

“FAILURE should be celebrated” and firms that are not failing in some part of their business are not taking enough risk, according to John Herlihy, head of Google Ireland.

A native of Monaleen, Mr Herlihy was back in the Mid-West to give his advice to members and guests of Shannon Chamber at a lunch in Dromoland Castle this Wednesday.

This was through an on-stage interview with Prof John Fahey of the University of Limerick.

Mr Herlihy said companies should never fear failure.

“They need to establish a framework to always reach for new heights and take the knowledge they gain from any failure to bring out the best. It’s better to fail and fail quickly than fail slowly and die,” he said.

Technology, he said during a wide-ranging discussion, was a tool any company could use. But the key was to use premier and “not fourth division” technology because that was where increased competition could be found.

Recommending that companies leverage data, get out to customers and collaborate to a greater degree than ever before, Mr Herlihy stated that the old model of waiting for the perfect product is a redundant model.

“Technology-driven companies tend to release products that are 50% ready and use customer feedback to perfect and release later and more prefect versions. The user is now part of the design process,” he said.

Mr Herlihy pointed to an increasing dearth of technology and language skills in Ireland which he said could not be ignored.

“The market is going to prevail and there will be no excuse in five years’ time if we cannot change our educational systems to the changing digital landscape and produce the type of skills we need to retain and attract technology business to Ireland.”

The lunch was sponsored by VHI Healthcare and the land and agri-healthcare were cited by Mr Herlihy as other potential growth areas for the Shannon region.

“There are huge health issues related to bad diet and Ireland is well placed to play a key role in this area,” he said.

Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes said “we have been trying to get John Herlihy to address our members for well over a year and we are so glad we persevered; his address was well worth the wait.”