It's pretty ridiculous that I have yet to post photos from this summer's cross country road trip.. I blame Instagram for making me a lazy blogger. My family and I drove from Charlotte, NC to San Francisco, California over 10 days in August- it was quite the adventure! Life since then has been a whirlwind (in the best way)-- so cheers to looking back on some of the best photos from the trip! (more on my Instagram- @janehall8
St. Louis, Missouri
Salt Lake City, Utah
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe, California
San Francisco, California
It was an absolutely insane trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If anyone needs a roadtrip partner.... Here I am! (This also applies to anyone who needs a dog sitter-- preferably if you have a french bulldog puppy)
The tech industry started off with Silicon Valley (the southern region of the San Francisco Bay), and then moved across the country to establish Silicon Alley (the nickname for Manhattan's tech and new media boom). From that point we have developed a few Silicon Prairies- although there are so many different 'prairies' in this Wikipedia article
that I'm not sure they are even worth mentioning. A more recent addition to the silicon lineup is Silicon Docks, a new area of Dublin that is experiencing a rapid influx of tech companies. Facebook and Google both established their European headquarters in the city and other companies are following suit. For some reason I assumed that these headquarters would be found in London (where Google and Microsoft have massive offices), but after doing a bit of research on Dublin's economic incentives I understand the attraction to Ireland.
Above is a picture of The Grand Canal Square, which is the hub of all recent tech growth. Corporations are lured here by Ireland's low corporate tax rate of just 12.5%, as well as the Industrial Development Authority. The IDA helps companies with an array of tasks- from finding a new office for a tech giant to helping a young start-up figure out it's investment options. There is also the draw of Enterprise Ireland, which is a government sponsored organization with the largest venture fund in Europe. Each quarter the organization uses it's Competitive Start Fund to invest in 15 seed stage start-ups, helping to attract Europe's best entrepreneurs.
One of the things I was most excited about doing in Ireland was visiting Silicon Docks and seeing the landscape of tech giants. The Google office is home of 2,500 employees and spans a small campus- including the tallest office building in Dublin, the Gordon House and the punny "Google Docks" (all shown above).
With the youngest population in all of Europe, combined with great universities such as Trinity College and Dublin Institute of Technology, the future looks bright for Dublin's tech community. Plus the IDA has recently started working with Ireland's colleges to help them stay up to speed on where the tech sector is moving. Dropbox's Dublin headquarters opened in January, and their VP of development claims that Dublin is "the heart of tech in Europe."
"Our No. 1 decision criteria when we were looking at where to expand Dropbox in Europe was: Where is the talent? You start with some great academic institutions, and add a few companies that paved the way, and soon, a city becomes known as the place. That's what happened in Silicon Valley, and I think Dublin's in a similar position."
- Sujay Vaswa, Dropbox VP of Development
What I love about Silicon Valley isn't just the combination of exciting innovation and nerdy programmers-- what I love are the company cultures and the way that large tech corporations stay involved in their communities. After only one week of being in Ireland I can tell that the companies in Dublin's Silicon Docks share this vibrant community presence. Facebook, Google and Microsoft all had a large showing in this weekend's Gay Pride Parade, marching alongside government organizations, small start-ups, dance groups and scout troops. This energy was just what I was hoping to find in Dublin, and it is something that makes me eager to visit again soon!
Needless to say, I have had a great week in Ireland and can't wait to see how the rest of my destinations stack up. Next stop: Berlin!
I have been in Ireland for almost a week and have absolutely loved it. It is a place of rich history and SO MUCH GREEN-- the landscapes here are breathtaking. Not to mention the people, who are extremely cheerful and love talking with visitors about their beloved home. After a few hiccups on the way here (there was terrible weather in Chicago which caused us to miss our flight to Ireland-- luckily we got a flight out the next day), we arrived in Dublin on Wednesday morning. We were super jet-lagged but had an awesome apartment booked and were able to take a long nap before exploring the city.
The view as we flew into Dublin on Wednesday morning
That night we went to see the xx at the O2 Dublin, which was AWESOME. I have wanted to see them live for a very long time and the show surpassed my wildest expectations. The venue was great because it wasn't too large or too crowded and served lots of beers! Plus it was cool to see the xx perform so close to where they formed as a band (they met at the Elliott School in London and formed while some members were only 15 years old).
We have spent the rest of the week exploring some pretty big chunks of the country. On Friday we did a tour from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher, which let us see many of the small towns in between the east and west coasts. The castles in Kinvarra and surrounding areas were especially pretty! On Sunday we took a train to Cork for the night, which went along a beautiful route to southern Ireland. The trains here are impeccable-- extremely high tech and comfortable.
In between our trips we have done a ton of exploring around Dublin. I have gotten to see everything on my list- from the exquisite Trinity College Library to Dublin's Pride Parade to the Google EU Headquarters. One of the obvious perks about being in one country for over a week is that I have gotten the opportunity to see many small towns and also learn a great deal about our home city of Dublin. I didn't realize that this city was such an international business hub- the government has great tax perks for big businesses and robust programs to help start-ups get going. Large corporations like Goldman Sachs, Google and Facebook are just beginning to lay their roots in Dublin, and such investments give Ireland a promising future. I am working on an entire post about my interactions and experiences with Ireland's tech world, so more on that later. For now, I'm off to see Riverdance for my first time since elementary school! After seeing it for the first time I decided I was going to grow up and be a professional Irish dancer.. which obviously didn't come true (although I did take lessons for a good while). We will see if I love it as much the second time around! More posts coming tonight.
I am leaving for the airport in three hours and I don't think I could be more excited! I can't wait to learn about so many different European cultures, especially from a business perspective. I will spend the next week adventuring throughout Ireland with my friend Dean, staying primarily in Dublin but also traveling to the Cliffs of Moher and spending a night or two in Cork. I will finally be seeing on of my favorite bands, the xx, live and will also be attending Dublin's Pride Parade- which apparently rivals San Francisco's. Cheers to planes, trains and automobiles, and to this awesome Lego advertisement.
My itinerary has changed some since I posted in January-- luckily I was able to extend my trip so that I could travel beyond just London, Amsterdam and Berlin. I will post all of my travel updates on this page (praying for good wifi throughout the trip!). Talk to you on the other side of the pond! :)
This blog will be used to document my travels upon graduating (eek!) in May. Which is 111 days from now, not that I am counting [panicking
] or anything. That being said, I am looking forward to a non-internship summer. Except I am having a little bit of anxiety about not
interning this summer. Interning ROCKS. Le sigh.
Luckily, I have a lot to look forward to in the post-apocalyptic months following May. I was awarded the John Sweeney Fund from UNC's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which I will use to study tech start-ups in London, Berlin and Amsterdam. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel to Europe and could not be more excited about all that I will learn! My trip is tentatively planned to span June and July 2013, during which I will be posting as frequently as possible (all hostels have wifi, right?) about my adventures. A huge thanks to Jason Kilar
for financing the John Sweeney Fund!
Upon returning from Europe I will pack my quaint little east coast life into a minivan and drive across the United States to San Francisco, which is my final destination as a post grad (a post grad?? a reallll person? ew). I have yet to decide on a particular route, so if you have any advice please let me know! I am torn between Denver and Austin, which is making it quite difficult to choose between the typical northern route or southern route.
And I want nothing to do with Kansas.
Seeing as I usually pack an entire car to drive from Chapel Hill to Charlotte for winter break, packing for this adventure is guaranteed to be a nightmare and will most definitely involve me sobbing on my bedroom floor screaming about how I don't want to grow up. I'm sure you are dying for me to blog about those parts.
If you have any best practices for shrink wrapping shoes, they would be greatly appreciated- otherwise half of the minivan will be dedicated to Vans. And disregard the above complaints- I cannot wait to be back in San Francisco. I Left My Heart in San Francisco (and I'm driving to fetch it): A Blog by Jane Hall.
Stay tuned, lovely people!