Collaboration - A Founder's Perspective

Mary McKenna is the founder of Learning Pool, a successful E-Learning company in Derry, Co. Antrim. With the business now flourishing in its eleventh year, Mary is a mentor and angel investor active in Ulster, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland UK.

Mary McKenna, Irish entrepreneur and angel investor

In the latest post on her blog Kicking Assets, she talks about the importance of collaboration when growing a business. Investors who value a strong management team, and look for longevity and sustainability in a company's talent, contracts, and relationships with  suppliers, distruptors and key partners, will find Mary's advice worthwhile reading, we're sure.


Competition is old hat.

We weren't surprised that Mary's post has a big emphasis on networking. But not the awkward social rituals of liking things on Facebook, nor those interminable breakfast meetings where hotels open a room at the crack of dawn and serve radioactive reheated coffee from last night.

 “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.”   How can you make that work to your advantage? By showing an interest in people, and giving them a chance to find out something about you. Mary says that only one person in the last ten years has refused a request from her for help. That's someone who does it right. 

“Creativity is less of an individual characteristic than it is an emergent property that surfaces when people convene around a problem”.

It had never ocurred to us to look at it that way, but that makes a lot of sense to us when we think about what makes innovative companies tick. The stereotype of the under-appreciated genius in the corner is about big companies that prefer to do more of the same.

But this is our favourite bit of advice from Ms. McKenna:

"Competition is old hat.  It makes me think of gung ho alpha salesmen in shiny suits driving Ford Mondeos.  Ugh."

The future belongs to those who create more wealth than they intend to keep for themselves.  We recommend you take a look at the whole article, "How Networking and Collaboration Can Ease Your Key Startup Challenges"  on Kicking Assets.