Start-up Advice: “Be Ballsy,” Buy Whiskey

jamesonThis is Part 2 of the talk by Patrick Leddy (@FuriousLeddy), CEO of Furious Tribe. Part 1 is here.

Still on the bleeding edge of mobile development, the break for Furious Tribe came when Leddy was invited to speak at a mobile conference in London.

Terrified of public speaking, his initial reaction was to turn down the offer.

Business necessities forced him to accept, but his nerves followed him to the conference.

There was an emergency exit beside the stage, Leddy said. He eyed stage and exit up.

“I swear to God, it was 50/50.” Leddy got up on the stage and soon found he was enjoying the experience.

It paid off because, shortly after, a call came from Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA). Their Chilean rep was in London and attended the talk. He wanted an app for reporting car crashes and filing claims with photos and GPS data.

The Chilean went on to become head of RSA for South America and business for Furious Tribe followed.

Then Leddy’s company put in a bid on a Malaysian project. To their surprise, they won.

Leddy’s advice for start-ups: “You have to be ballsy. You have to take a risk. You have to go for it.”

He also told of the importance of nurturing relationships. One of Furious Tribe’s earliest jobs was for EMI Music. It was still early days for the App Store, however, and Apple was still finding its way with the approval process.

But just as the app for EMI was to go live, Apple rejected it. Cue a very annoyed phone call to Leddy. Then an explanation of the evolving approval system.

But EMI was a music company with clout at Apple. The head of the App Store rang Leddy in Ireland, explained the process and offered suggestions.

Leddy got some key insights in to Apple’s thinking. By way of thanks, he bought the exec a personalized bottle of whiskey at the Jameson distillery in Dublin and sent it off to Cupertino, Calif.

That gave Leddy permission to make a few more phone calls to Apple for advice!


On starting up a business, Leddy had the following to say:

  • Listen and take advice. Chances are people have made mistakes you can avoid. Or they know something you don’t.
  • No one will steal your idea. Talk it through and work it out. It’s not going anywhere trapped in your head.
  • Maintain a work-life balance. Leddy said that, although he is in his 20s, he feels like he has over-emphasized work.
  • A start-up is like a roller coaster. “It’s either the best day of your life or the worst day of your life,” Leddy said. You will be constantly challenged. Your self-esteem and self-confidence are constantly knocked.

“But all of the bad days are completely outweighed by the good.”

Image taken from Jameson online shop.

3 thoughts on “Start-up Advice: “Be Ballsy,” Buy Whiskey

  1. Pingback: John P. Muldoon » He Sold the Family Jewels – Literally

  2. Hi John, great posting, I’m only sorry I missed the talk myself! The four pieces of advice at the end should not be ignored – If only! Alas.

Comments are closed.