'I love to follow the road less travelled on'
Q&A: Dave Whelan
Q: What's the best advice you've ever been given?
A: Your best advisers in business are your customers. If you listen to your clients and gain an understanding of their needs, you can respond accordingly. There is no greater pleasure in business than developing a product that makes a real difference to people's lives.
Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?
A: I believe very strongly in the Nike principle - 'just do it'. People are so often defensive and risk adverse but how much more could be achieved if they focused on the positives rather than what could go wrong and then got on what making it happen?
Q: What was your best business decision?
A: At Clarity Telecom, our emphasis is on consulting, not selling, and that means engineering new solutions that meet the demands of modern businesses. The decision to establish a subsidiary specifically to research and develop these solutions kickstarted a new era of success for the firm. Among the products developed by Voxbit, established in 2014, is the ground-breaking VoIP platform byphone which has been widely lauded by the industry as well as a huge hit with customers by providing a simple to use interface that can be operated even without a manual.
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Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career?
A: Outdoor travel guide. Long distance walking brings us all to a different place emotionally. We see things differently. You have a challenge less is more. Bring too much stuff and it just weight you down.
Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?
A: I love going to new and interesting destinations and following 'the road less travelled' as I do so. Most recently, I holidayed in Cuba. Political choices matter. Cuba is paradise but... I want to go back to the edge of Europe. Is it Crimea or Odessa? Is it Cappadocia in Turkey or Istanbul? It's part of what defines us.
Q: What are your hobbies/interest?
A: There is a lot to be said for the benefits of being outdoors and that is where I like to spend much of my free time. I walk whenever and wherever I can and have traversed the length and breadth of Ireland. Between that and gardening, I try to breath as much fresh air as I can.
Q: What is your favourite sport and team?
A: I love rugby and am a passionate supporter of Ireland. What a time it is for the team and the country as we look towards the World Cup in Japan as the number one ranked nation on the planet.
Q: And have you ever played any sports?
A: I went to boarding school, which was a challenge, but the good bit was we played lots of sport.
Q: If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?
A: I recently completed Capital by Thomas Piketty. With a focus on wealth and income inequality in Europe and the United States since the 18th century, there is much that can be learned for the contemporary reader.
Q: Have you any economic predictions?
A: It would be a brave person to make any bold economic predictions, given the uncertain times that we are currently operating in. Brexit, regardless of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal, will no doubt have a massive impact, but the business community has rode the storm of previous economic downturns and can do so again.
Q: How would you assess your time in business with your company Clarity Telecom?
A: Hugely successful. Over the past 20 years, we have pioneered developments in the telecoms industry during a period of considerable changes across the sector. The success of the firm has grown exponentially, made possible by assembling a team, not just of salespeople but including the best engineering focused and creative minds in the industry locally.
Q: How do you sum up working in the telecoms sector?
A: Working in the telecoms sectors, as with many other industries, is about adapting and responding to change. Digital advancements have transformed the way in which we communicate, and the telecoms sector is still changing to meet the demands of consumers. At Clarity we aim to stay one step ahead with an emphasis on technical expertise and engineering excellence that allows us to develop new solutions that our competitors simply cannot.