See the Dragon: Hear Him Roar!
We’re all familiar with Rudyard’s Kipling epic poem ‘If’, aren’t we? I was reminded of them this week as I researched the life of Dragons’ Den entrepreneur, Peter Casey.
What a life story! What a career!
‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,’ said Kipling, ‘And treat those two impostors just the same….’. These words have been used repeatedly over the last century to describe those who fail and give up and those who fail, dust themselves down and try again, but to my mind, there are few who embody Kipling’s words better than dragons den investor, Peter Casey.
Perhaps like me, you associate Peter very much with the Irish version of Dragons’ Den, the popular TV programme where he and his fellow ‘Dragons’ have been able to provide their extensive expertise to many up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Today, Peter is the extremely successful founder and executive chairman of Claddagh resources, a global recruitment and search business that places high-level executives with many of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, but it wasn’t always so…. Put simply, Peter Casey is a rare breed: an entrepreneur who has gone broke and dusted himself off to succeed again and again. While there’s certainly a ‘feel good’ factor to his story today, the secret of his success is undoubtedly shown in the rather bumpy trajectory of his career path.
(Get ready – it’s going to be a bumpy ride!)
There’s no doubt that Peter Casey was always an entrepreneur: in fact, his first business venture was selling rubber bullets as souvenirs to tourists! After gaining a third-level education, he went to work for Xerox, and credits the meritocracy of the company with developing his work ethic. After quickly rising through the company’s European structure Peter emigrated to Australia where, at first, things went well.
After setting up his own business, ‘Trinity’, Peter built it up and sold it a year later, but, once the company ran into trouble, he bought it back before selling it once again, once more at a huge profit. It wasn’t all a bed of roses in Oz, however. Towards the end of his time there, Peter would meet the first major career stumbling block when he became involved in the property market just prior to its collapse.
Peter initially returned to Ireland and invested in a company called Sky-Dome, which manufactured air conditioning. Again, he experienced great success and, when an opportunity arose to sell it in the US, he packed his bags and went West. At first the company was firing on all guns, but when one of his competitors took a cease-and-desist case against it, he was left with no choice but to start from scratch all over again.
Then came his worst investment.
After having back surgery, Peter was resting at home and was on a lot of pain medication. The Apple Air had just been launched by Apple and so, certain of its success, Peter purchased 10,000 shares. Two days later, Steve Jobs announced that his cancer had returned and the share price plummeted.
Although he’s now a global success, it’s not the fact that Peter Casey failed on several occasions that is important. It’s the fact that – like so many other entrepreneurs – he failed, dusted himself down and tried again. The tenacity and perseverance are what distinguish the successful from the unsuccessful. So, who could be better placed to talk in Dublin next month about what makes a successful start up than the great man himself? For more details click here or you can get your discounted ticket as a Small Business Can reader here.