What we do is not a bit sexy. Blacknight basically provides internet plumbing to ensure a decent connection. We enable our clients to have names for their websites, which behind the scenes are converted into machine readable internet protocol (IP) addresses.
I studied for a BA in language studies in Limerick in 1995 after a gap year working at Eurodisney in Paris turned into three. I don't have a technical background; my business partner of 18 years, Paul, is the fibre-optic cables guy. I am marketing, legal and policy.
Throughout college, and afterwards, I spent long periods teaching English as a foreign language in Italy and Spain and this love of travel has stayed with me. This year, I have already spent a week in Mexico and have gone to concerts in Paris and Madrid.
Money doesn't motivate me; or I am not interested in getting richer.
Rather, it is the freedom it brings to enable me to do what I like in my spare time.
I am half-Italian and my mum was a single parent who worked hard to send me to a private school. I did not appreciate it at the time but I am grateful for my education now and my four languages come in handy. My biggest mistake was offering to be her email service provider; she is definitely the client that has caused me the most grief.
I am renowned for my stubborn pigheadedness. There was a company that lied to us in the early days and almost caused our ruin. I made it my personal mission to compete against them. I hate dishonesty - and I am happy to speak my mind.
Myself and Paul have very different strengths and for the main part, we get on very well.
There are times we fall out. Many of our staff have been with us over 10 years and they joke the parents are fighting again. It does blow over quickly, and we always reach a compromise, but non-stop harmony it is not.
When you are a small company, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain - but when you grow and employ people, there is more at stake if you mess up.
For years, this responsibility would have kept me up at night, and the stress of the economic crash in 2008 meant I put on a few kilos.
I am getting better at managing this. I still feel the pressure not to make bad decisions that could affect the 50 people we employ.
It can feel like you are underwriting a life when you take on a new employee - but I no longer worry about what I cannot control.
I picked up some basic internet skills while I was studying for a postgrad in Limerick. The Department of Language and Culture hired me to help put academic papers online.
I had a very basic ability but in 1998, so few people had any clue about getting online, even the really simple things, so a little bit of knowledge meant you were in demand.
I then moved to Milan and was teaching and translating, and picked up a few gigs helping to set up websites.
This is when I met Paul on IRC - a less slick version of Slack. When we established Blacknight Solutions, I had not even met him. It was basically a sideline hobby that grew fast.
But aged 30, I moved to Carlow and we set up shop in Paul's sister's spare bedroom.
The aim at the start was to make a modest living and there were rookie mistakes: cash flow, getting paid, paying our bills in return.
It looked like it was curtains in 2004, yet somehow with loans and by making the move to rent our servers directly from data centres, we kept the show on the road.
Much of what we do is intangible, apart from some physical presence needed at our two data centres and with broadband services, so Covid-19 has not been as disruptive to our business, so far anyway. But, obviously, our clients will be affected.
Working virtually has been part of my working life for a long time. I would talk daily online with friends and colleagues from all over the world anyway.
I just had a virtual coffee break with people from Spain, Toronto, Ottawa, Seattle, Germany and Russia. I'm pretty sure at least one person was drinking vodka.
My big interests are film and music. I write a blog and love to cook. When I moved to Carlow 17 years ago, I did not know a soul apart from Paul. The first decade I was fairly married to the job; I can see that now. In your 20s, it is easy to meet people but when you get to 35/40, everyone is paired up. I am used to living on my own, and have done so for over a decade, but I would like to settle down - though it would have to be with someone I could have a decent intellectual argument with.