As many of you know, I’ve been working with an insurance company for the past few years, however I’ve decided that it is time to move on. Here’s why.

The digital world is like an invisible but richly decorated tapestery over the real world...The Internet has changed dramatically over the past few years. When I completed a course in Multimedia Systems in Trinity College 12 years ago, I thought that I would end up creating virtual worlds for people to inhabit. Instead we are still living in the real world (thankfully), but it has been overlaid with myriad digitally facilitated conversations and data units. The digital world is like an invisible but richly decorated tapestry covering the entire planet which anyone can view and contribute to with just a few finger taps on a keyboard or screen. We are at the dawn of a new world that creates endless opportunities for anyone with even the basic tools to access the digital stratosphere.

In my time working as a virtual insurance salesman (the worst kind!) I put a lot of effort into trying to demonstrate to people on the outside that the website represented not just a large faceless institution, but an organisation with people who genuinely have their customers’ interests at heart. Every member of the web team focused on being absolutely customer-focused in everything they did; developing online product propositions and processes that gave customers what they wanted in the manner they wanted it. We engaged with social media as the tool that would allow us to have real conversations with our real customers. We constantly listened to our customers through the range of practices and applications available to us, and changed what we did in order to improve on the service we offered. And we realised that this approach was a key ingredient in the formula for success online.

Personally, I have become conscious that whether it is within large organisations, small businesses, universities, local communities or worldwide networks; each of us is continually seeking to connect with people who share our interests or who have the expertise to meet a specific need. Word of mouth has been complemented by social media in the digital age in helping us find others to connect with. There are many online resources that facilitate these connections, and yet there isn’t one place to go that brings it all together.

So I was particularly curious when Gary approached me about a fledgling Irish venture called Weedle which is setting out to create “new opportunities” for people around the globe by developing a platform that connects people with skills with those that need them. The platform will take a number of the best features of the social web and combine them with some new concepts. At the heart of the platform is a next-generation search algorithm developed in conjunction with the world’s leading experts in the semantic web, based here in Ireland, to create a truly unique and useful online service.

Iain, and the team already in place in Weedle, are passionate about the opportunities such a service can create for people everywhere. For me, this is a great opportunity to be involved in something that seeks to bring people together from anywhere in the world in relationships that are mutually beneficial. My role will be to help make sure that the platform does just that, efficiently and effectively, for all members of the Weedle community.

I will be starting with Weedle in mid-February. I fully intend to keep my own personal blog going here and I hope you will continue to stop by occasionally for a chat.