Q&A with newcomer judge Alan Devlin

August 11th, 2016

Who are you?

“Alan Devlin.”

First-time eir Spiders judge. eBusiness consultant. Digital media master. eDot Invest entrepreneur. All round online genius.

alan

What do you do?

“I have been in the Industry for 20 years.”

As you can see from our description of Alan above, he is no stranger to the digital space. As commercial director of Webfactory, he built the largest digital agency in Ireland which he exited in 2015 to found eDot Invest (www.edotinvest.com), a new digital industry VC/Incubator which has access to funds of over 20 million euro. Basically, he is an award-winning, digital investor and entrepreneur.

Where did you first hear of the eir Spiders?

“The Spiders have always been the focal point of digital in Ireland. When I ran Webfactory we were delighted to win the Best Agency award 5 times.”

It’s Alan’s first year as a member of the judging panel but he is no stranger to the Spiders scene. As a previous entrant and 5 time award winner, Alan’s contribution to this year’s judging process is paramount. He provides experience, expertise and interest from both an entrant and judging perspective. We’re excited to have him on board!

What sets the Spiders apart from other industry awards?

“It’s bigger, more respected and an institution in the industry.”

Well, we think so too.

Why are they important?

“It can be very difficult for clients to distinguish between one service provider or product for another. It really helps to promote rising stars in the industry and also reward long standing operators for their excellence relative to competitors.”

Alan is well aware of the benefits these kinds of award programmes can bring to any company working within the highly competitive digital world. The Spiders put the spotlight on those who deserve it and sing the praises of those who succeed. This recognition can often motivate the winners and competitors to continue with the work that is so vital to the Irish tech space. A reward can go a long way in lifting morale and inspiring a bit of healthy competition.

What categories catch your attention?

“Large agency, small agency and start-up. I know these categories very well I am passionate about them and I think it’s important to have a good knowledge of the categories you are judging.”

We think Alan has all the knowledge needed to judge any one of these categories!

“The Spiders provide a very high calibre independent 3rd party opinion of the creativity and innovation delivered in a given year.”

High calibre 3rd party opinion did you say? Take a look at Alan’s CV we say!

What advice do you have for entrants looking to amaze the judges?

“It is quality over quantity. Answer the category as directed. I personally like to see the entrant produce a 4 minute, or less, video telling me why they should win.”

(Hint: Alan did actually submit a 4 minute video and claims it worked for him in winning Agency of the Year. Just saying…)

What tips do you have for anyone just starting out online?

*Listen and Learn*

Tip 1:

“Know your market.”

Spend time getting to know your market and your market will want to get to know you.

Tip 2:

“Have a good understanding of how and who is going to pay for your tech. Think bigger than Ireland especially if you are looking for investment.”

Funding and finance may not come from your friends so think big to win big.

Tip 3:

“If you are the tech guy, find a strong commercial business partner. If you are the commercial guy find a strong tech business partner. It’s rare to find both qualities in one person.”

A match made in heaven makes for a market leader.

Tip 4:

“Whatever you create, listen to your customer and adapt to what they want immediately.”

Creating with a customer-centric approach will ensure that your product always stays at the forefront of consumer’s minds.

Tip 5:

“Watch your costs, watch your costs, watch your costs.”

Of course, keeping an eye on the pennies will help protect your future.

 

Well said, Alan!

We’re really excited to have Alan on board for this year’s eir Spiders!  Stay tuned for more news and updates on all things eir Spiders :)