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Tech Talent Knows No Borders: Building an Open Source Giant From an Irish Fishing Town, A Founder’s Story with Cian O Maidin

Cian Maidin, A computer scientist turned entrepreneur in digital solution development, founded NearForm in 2011 with the mission to bring the advantages of open-source software to enterprises across the globe. Today, Cian is President of NearForm
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I grew up in Tramore, which is ultimately where I founded NearForm. Tramore is a beautiful place right on the waterfront, ideal for families with children. Despite growing up by the water, my parents have always said that I am the product of what happens when you leave your child around too many computers! My passion for technology and in particular computer science started very early. My father was one of the first Irish computer scientists, so I grew up around computers that weren’t commonplace at the time. I learned C++, a new language at the time when I was 14, which cemented my interest in computer science. As I moved through my teenage years, I also developed a passion for art, which similarly to computer science, requires a level of creativity.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
My entrepreneurship path hasn’t always been smooth sailing. My first company didn’t work out very well, and around 2010 things were winding down and I had to make a decision: did I want to get a “normal” job, or did I want to try starting something new again? I decided to stick to the entrepreneurship path and co-founded NearForm. I had always been drawn to the vibrant vibrant community of developers. Seeing the creativity of the work in this space, the camaraderie, and the ways that developers across companies work together towards common goals has always made me feel passionate about the beauty of Open Source, particularly within Node.js. It was this passion that led us to take a gamble on the then-new Open Source environment, Node.js. Back in 2011, this was considered a bold and alternative approach to development, but I was spurred on by the belief that Node.js was the key to enabling developers to build better software, more efficiently. It was in this context that NearForm came to be, seizing the opportunity to become a key player in the then-fledgling Open Source & Node movements.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Being an optimist and being visionary in an uncertain world means we have the ability to have an impact on the course of events and the direction of where technology is going. Generally, entrepreneurs are extremely strong-willed, which can be a very useful character trait for the role. However, being strong-willed is not enough to alter the course of things, and it is very important as an entrepreneur to know when things are not going to plan and to adapt quickly, and without emotional attachment. Therefore, my advice to new founders is to be ruthlessly honest with themselves.
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