Book Reviews

Silicon Docks – The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub – Book Review

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Silicon Docks – The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub – Book Review by Dan O’Neill

Fish and (Computer) Chips – The Rise of Silicon Docks

‘Silicon Docks’ has become the shorthand name for the Tech Industry not just down by Dublin’s Docklands, but throughout the country. But it is the transformation of the run down Docklands area of the capital city of a small country (the best small country in which to do business?) that is the focus of ‘Silicon Docks – The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub’ edited by Pamela Newenham.

The Editor selects a well informed array of tech and new media journalists to write about the Rise of the Googler. Young (almost always under 40), skilled and preferring a skinny mocha to an Ulster Fry, there’s a stereotype of the sector which isn’t that far from the truth. Yet, this is not a social study; more of a business analysis of what brought Google, Facebook, Linkedin and a myriad of smaller companies to set up shop in one of the poorer areas of Dublin. The much derided twin semi-states of Dublin Docklands Authority and NAMA are credited with transforming what was an area in decline and decay into the glistening location it is today.

To be fair to the contributors, Ireland’s controversial low corporate tax rate is considered. Overall, while seen as a lynchpin in attracting start ups and multinationals to Dublin and other regional cities, the book maintains that a small increase in the rate might not act as a disincentive for investment. Rather, the cluster effect is now an enormous draw, particularly for ambitious US firms looking to become the next big thing. The annual Web Summit has become a major international event where networking and funding deals are done over pints in Dublin 4.

The IDA is given plenty of kudos for smart targeting in an international market place for winning investment. A considerable level of expertise has been built up over the years and the strategy of attracting medium to high skilled jobs has been successful. There are huge caveats; investment is still confined to the large urban conurbations, the sector and the World is now one where capital and labour can be moved between countries at the cost of employment in the host country and lastly Ireland needs to develop Engineering hubs of expertise as well as relying on the outside investment. But this is a largely positive look at the Brave New World down at the far end of the Liffey.

‘Silicon Docks – The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub’ – Edited by Pamela Newenham – Liberties Press – €17.99 rrp

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