From butcher to chef, to entrepreneur and blogger
Blogger of the Year at the Irish Blog Awards, Pat Phelan began his working life as a butcher, then a chef. Now an entrepreneur, his company Cubic Telecom is active in 230 countries worldwide.
HOW did you get involved in blogging?
I went to Cork Institute of Technology for an event and a guy called Shel Israel spoke, while Tom Raftery also spoke, and this was long before Twitter. I started reading Shel's blog and a book called Naked Conversations that he co-wrote with Robert Scoble. I thought this blogging thing is amazing, what a way of getting our message out there, it's going to revolutionise the world.
Shel helped me start blogging. I said: "I'm in this mobile market and telephony and I can write all about that." And he said: "No, that's not what you write about. Write about where you came from. I want the story, I want Pat Phelan." And so I wrote about 30 blogs on who I am and what makes me tick.
Would you say Twitter has adversely affected blogging?
What Twitter does - besides being very entertaining - is it actually spoils my blogging skill. I'll find a really nice, interesting piece and write 140 characters about it and I've just lost the blog. Okay, so 4,000 people will see it on Twitter, but I've just lost a really good blog.
What technologies and internet phenomena currently fascinate you?
Virtual markets like FarmVille and Mafia Wars. I don't subscribe to them but see them as an enormous market. If you can make something that costs zero and sell it for X, that's a good business model.
Google's Goggles is amazing. I was in town last week; I took a picture of a shop with my Nexus One and I couldn't believe it. Instantly, a search came back and gave me opening and closing hours, website, domain - just from a photo!
How do you consume media today - will e-readers reign supreme?
I used to buy a lot more newspapers, but it's not that I don't read as much, I actually read way more than I used to. I really love the FT Weekend. Things can move on all they like but I still like reading newspapers. I'm a book lover. I've the Kindle, but I still buy books. I just think that feel in your hand, nothing replaces that page turner. I also like reading thrillers and there's an author called Lee Childs and his new book was released this week, and I can get it there and then. It's instantaneous. I don't have to go to Eason and ask when it's coming out.
What big changes do you predict in mobile in 2010?
There will be 50 Google Android-based devices on the market and rumour has it that a high-end sub-$99 Android device will hit the market this year.
The one thing that's very interesting is, as the screens get bigger, the battery life is getting worse and we're not seeing anyone come out with new battery technologies.
There's some interesting stuff at the moment in Africa around mobile-phone charging stations. Africa is way ahead of us on mobile - look at Safari.com in Kenya, money transfer has been there for two years now.
After winning 'Blogger of the Year', how would you sum up blogging today?
Three years trying, I'd say I wore them down. It was so nice to get it because blogging was the start for me and blogging is still there. It's a community and it's coming back a lot because a lot of people are out of work. The recession has moved to create entrepreneurs; and blogs and entrepreneurs go hand in hand in my opinion. I think we're going to see a lot more entrepreneurs and bloggers.
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