Top 3 Business Books to Read Right Now

Over the past while I have been doing a little bit of reading, it is something I do not do a lot of, as I read a lot of business news from websites, but it is something I am going to make more of an effort in doing. This Top 3 Business Books to read right now is made up of books I have recently read and think they offer something to the reader in terms of learning valuable nuggets of information that can help you personally, and your business. I hope you enjoy them.

Get Sh*t Done!: From Spare Room to Boardroom in 1,000 Days

If this book does not give you the inspiration to get up off your bum, nothing will. I really enjoyed this read for two main reasons, 1) it was written by a guy that went out there and made things happen for himself, it all was not based on luck, it was based on hard work and getting ahead of the competition. 2) If there is one person that you can learn from in terms of personal marketing (i.e. marketing yourself) it is Niall Harbison.

The Start-up of You

This book gives you practical advice of how you can market yourself. From the co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn and author Ben Casnocha comes a revolutionary new book on how to apply the strategies of successful entrepreneurship to your career: in other words, how to run the start-up of you. This book is definitely worth a read.

How to Build a Billion Dollar App

There are millions of apps available to download on your smartphone but choosing the right one to download can be cumbersome. Now imagine yourself trying to build one, from scratch and then get people to download it?

I have been there, and it is a tough space, not only building one but also raising the monies needed to market the product and further the product development. How to Build a Billion Dollar App is loaded with practical information to help you learn and understand both the opportunities and limitations associated with bringing an app to market.

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How To Sell Your Music On iTunes

Over the past couple of weeks I have been working hard on a project to get the music of an unsigned band for sale on iTunes and other digital music outlets whilst ensuring that the band are making the most money possible in the long term. iTunes and Spotify control approximately 80% of the digital music sales/streams. For a band, making your music available on these services is a huge step to take, the first stumbling block people come across in getting their music into these stores is, none of the digital retail stores will let you in directly, you will need to be signed to record label or use a digital music distributor to get in.

It is worth noting that when you upload a single to iTunes and the sale cost is €0.99, that Apple take a commission leaving about €0.70 for the artist. Depending on the digital music distributor you choose you could be losing up to another 15% to them.

The world of digital music distributors is confusing to say the least. So I have put all my findings into one easy to read table to help you figure out which distributor works best for your needs. I will look at: sign up costs, costs per album uploads, yearly fees, commission per sale, minimum sales for payments across the four digital music distributors I considered using: TuneCore, DistroKid, CDBaby and Ditto Music.

  TuneCore DistroKid CDBaby Ditto Music
Upfront cost per Album $22.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $49 $35.00
Annual fee per Album $49.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $0 $25.00
Upfront cost per Single $9.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $12.95 $9.00
Annual fee per Single $9.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $0 $8.00
UPC Bar Code FREE Free $20 for Album FREE
      $5 for Singles  
Name your Label FREE Not on basic package FREE $41.25
Sales Percentage kept 0% 0% 9% 0%
Payment threshold $0 $10 $10 $25.00


Each of the four digital music distributors I looked at have good points and bad and there is plenty more options out there to choose from such as Mondotunes, JTV Digital, Zimbalam and ReverbNation. I chose to go with DistroKid because we had three albums to upload from a back catalogue and their sign up fee allows for unlimited uploads for a year although it has a maintenance fee of $19.99 per year i felt with no commission going to them that it will work out cheaper in the long run. I will keep you updated with a review on their service very soon. 


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Appy Monday – FoodCloud

On this weeks AppyMonday we’re looking at FoodCloud, an Irish App and initiative co-created by Trinity students Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien. 
Foodcloud is an app that lets businesses upload details of their excess food. The service then texts a local charity, who in turn can pick up the donation and share it with those who need it.
Ward and O’Brien looked at ways to get food that would otherwise be discarded into the hands of these people. They estimate that Irish retailers produce about 87,000 tonnes of surplus food a year, most of which is dumped at a cost of €8.5 million. With no existing redistribution infrastructure they set up FoodCloud.
The App itself is very basic but that isn’t an issue; it gives the retailer a very simple signup process to get them up and running and able to submit their details quickly and easily.
The largest retailer to work with FoodCloud has been Tesco who trialled the service from October 2013 to February 2014 in 18 Tesco stores and donated almost 60,000 meals or 27 tonnes of food to 38 charities. They now plan to roll out the service to their stores nationwide.
Any charities or  retailers  who are interested in participating can register with the app or visit for more information.

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Appy Monday – AmpliTube and its hardware interface iRig by IK Multimedia

On this weeks Appy Monday we will be looking at AmpliTube and its hardware interface iRig by IK Multimedia.

AmpliTube and iRig allow you to turn your iPhone or iPad into a mobile Guitar and Bass Sound Studio.


iRig is a small device that lets you connect your guitar or bass to to your iPhone or iPad. The iRig is very simple to use; it connects to your iOS device with the attached cable and has a cable interface for your instrument and another for headphones or for connecting to a sound system. Once your instrument is connect you can open the AmpliTube app.


This review will focus on the free version of AmpliTube for iPad. AmpliTube is also available for iPhone but is much better suited to the larger screen on iPad and iPad mini.

Once the app is running you are presented with the main panel which shows you your amp and chosen effects.

The free version gives you one amp and two stomp boxes (delay and noise filter). This doesn’t give you a huge range of sound to play with but enough to get up and running and an idea how the app works.

The interface is intuitive and easy to use; want to increase volume or treble? Just tap and drag the knob as needed. As most users of this app will be bedroom rockers or musicians it’s safe to say that they will be familiar with the hardware that the app emulates and will feel right at home using it. Extra amps, effect pedals and a studio feature for mixing your recorded tracks can be bought individually as in-app purchases.

The app also gives you the ability to play a song from your library to play along with or to play a drum beat for practising to. Again extra drum beats can be bought as in-app purchases. The ‘tools’ tab gives you a metronome and very responsive tuner and a recording interface lets you record your licks and riffs. One cool feature of the app is the ability to let the app keep working in the background to allow multitasking which I found great for listening to songs on Spotify or YouTube to play along to.

AmpliTube offers good sound for its price. If you’re a guitarist who already owns an iPad or iPhone then investing in the iRig is a no brainer and a very small investment for all you get when you consider the price of AmpliTube’s bigger brother for PC/Mac which will set you back over €150.

iRig currently sells for €15 – €25 depending on retailer with AmpliTube available for Free, with prices ranging €10.99 to €13.99 for the pay versions which include extra amps, and effects but in-app purchases are still present and at this time it doesn’t seem possible to buy an ‘all-in’ app that contains all those extras for a once of fee.

Despite this iRig and AmpliTube offer excellent value for money and is a highly recommend for the beginner just learning or the veteran musician as the app offers a lot in a very small package for a very small price.

So plug in your guitar, plug in your headphones and turn it up to 11*.

*Obligatory Spinal Tap reference.

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Appy Monday – iMotionHD

iMotionHD is a time-lapse and stop-motion photography app developed by FingerLab for iOS.

What are Time Lapse and Stop Motion Photography?

This is probably best explained by the app developers themselves:

“Time-lapse is a cinematography technique which accelerates movement. It can be used to photograph cloudscapes, plants growing, crowds… Stop motion is an animation technique which makes a physically manipulated object looks like it’s moving on its own. “

Viewers of the Netflix series House of Cards would be familiar with time-lapse sequences as the opening credits were created using this technique and stop motion photography would be familiar to fans of The Wallace and Gromit franchise.

How it works?

Without going into too much detail, this is an app review after all…

Time-Lapse sequences are created by taking a series of photos at a set interval and then playing these back at a user defined rate to give the effect of movement.

Stop-Motion works in much the same way, though the images are usually taken manually after the object has been moved to create the desired look.

Using iMotionHD 

The interface is extremely easy to use and a total novice will be creating visual masterpieces in minutes. Upon launching the app you are given the option to create a New Movie with definable options such as movie title, and the recording mode such as time-lapse, manual, remote, or mic. Though not exclusive to this use; the latter 3 options are more relevant to creating stop motion videos.

If choosing time-lapse you can also define the interval that the images are record at ranging from 0.1 seconds to an entire day (though I would recommend having your charger handy if recording sequences at that rate!).

Videos are recorded at 1080 x 1080 pixels if using the device in portrait orientation and 1920 x 1080 pixels in landscape orientation giving you full high definition videos which look superb.

Other useful features of the app are the ability to control focus and exposure controls as well as a grid to allow you to get those landscape shots straight before you sit back and call Action!

The free version of the app only allows you to save your completed video to your photo library or to your iTunes sharing folder whereas the full version gives you email, Facebook, and YouTube interfaces direct from the app.

The app offers an in-app purchase to upgrade to iMotionHD Pro, though it’s hard to see if the Pro version offers anything extra besides the unlocked sharing options mentioned above.

In Summary; iMotionHD is a really fun easy to use app that lets you see the world in a different way or gives you a reason to play with some toys and bring them to life.

iMotionHD and iMotiondHD Pro are available from the App Store with the Pro version setting you back only €2.69. It is compatible with all camera equipped iOS devices (though the developer states some features are only available to newer devices).

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Cool New Dublin Restaurant Sober Lane Looks For Staff Through Snapchat

Snapchat has been around for a while now and we just love seeing all the innovative ways that companies are coming up with for using the hit app. With a core user base of 13 to 25 year olds. It is a great way to get your message directly on front of your target audience. Which is exactly what already established Cork based bar and restaurant Sober Lane has done to announce it has officially hit the big smoke. 

We saw this tweet from Sober Lane yesterday just as it started picking up traction and we’re super excited to see how it took off across the Irish social scene and media. Sober Lane are hiring staff but are only going to take applications via Snapchat. 

Check out what Ernest Cantonlin owner of Sober Lane had to say when talking to Newstalk yesterday afternoon. 

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Appy Monday – BeoirFinder Supporting Craft Beer in Ireland

Craft Beer has become very popular in Ireland in recent years with microbreweries and brewpubs popping up all over the country not to mention the ever growing list of pubs stocking the extensive and sometimes daunting list of beers.
BeoirFinder aims to make the finding and the drinking of said beers much easier. Developed by who are “an independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awareness of Ireland’s native independent microbreweries”, it uses the extensive database of
The App’s name comes from the Gaelic word for Beer. While a great choice of name for an Irish beer app it actually makes it difficult to locate in the app store and doesn’t appear for typical search terms you would use if searching for an app like this.
The interface is simple and to the point. It is broken down into four sections, Maps, Venues, Beers, and Events. The Map screen shows your location and icons for venues nearby. These can be filtered to narrow your viewing to pubs, breweries or even off licences.

The next tab is an extensive list of beers, a description of them, and the ability to rate and leave comments for each beer. A must have feature for the beer connoisseur.


Finally the Events section which as of writing is empty. A quick visit to the website shows upcoming events so hopefully this will be something that is fixed or updated in the next version.

Overall a really great app that will only improve with the planned updates and a must have for people new to the craft beer scene and those already enjoying it.

The app is free to download from the iTunes store and Google Play store.

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Appy Monday – FIFA the Official FIFA World Cup App

World Cup fever will hit the planet this month and even though Ireland won’t be taking part, that won’t stop us from enjoying one of the greatest sporting events on earth.

Although there are a lot of apps available for tracking the match scores, The official FIFA app has undergone a pre-tournament update providing football fans with the latest World Cup news, information on all the coaches and players across the 32 participating teams, and a full fixture list for all 64 games to be played in Brazil over the next 5 weeks. The update also provides tourist information for exploring the home nation with details on the host stadiums and cities.  

Another update is due as the tournament starts to access minute-by-minute action, live from all 64 games of the tournament.


Set up of the App is simple, select your favourite team participating in the World Cup, select the team notifications you want pushed and you are ready to go. Tournament news and team news is easy to access and the content on the app is very informative. Table positions and match details are what most users will be interested in, and I especially love the feature that allows you to add fixtures to your calendar.  

FIFA – Official App of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is available to download for free on both Android and IOS

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Let’s B*Different, Sinéad Cady is Bringing Beauty Classes To Your Bedroom.

The popularity of Youtube has exploded in Ireland over the last few years. Last week we caught up with daily vlogger Jonathan Saccone-Joly to discuss life on YouTube. Today is the turn of Sinéad Cady, Ireland’s most subscribed female YouTuber. Sinead, was an early adopter of YouTube and is a true success story of the creative platform; going from being denied a place on a makeup course to having 424,123 subscribers watching and learning from her videos, which she uploads three times a week

Tell us about life before the vlogs.

Before I started “TheMakeupChair” life was really boring. I finished school and was working part time as a sales assistant. I applied for a makeup course in Cork College of Commerce only to be refused (twice) so I was feeling very frustrated that I couldn’t get any work or training in the makeup industry. I went online and bought lots of makeup books and started teaching myself makeup at home. 

How did you get started on YouTube?

One night when I was Googling makeup I found makeup tutorials on YouTube. I started watching them and realised there wasn’t many videos explaining the basics for beginners. I really wanted to share what I’d learnt for beginners so I created my first video – How to tell if you are a Warm/Cool/Neutral undertone and then I started uploading regularly on different subjects. Luckily this got me a place in Cork College of Commerce and I studied there for a year which was a great experience. 

At what point did you discover that you could make a career out of YouTube?

Throughout my year of college I still tried to upload once a week. It was tricky at times but the views and the support I got from my followers really made it worthwhile. I applied for a second makeup course the following year but a few weeks in I became extremely unhappy and I struggled to keep up with my video uploads. It was then that I decided to leave college and try to make it as a makeup artist with the skills I had already learnt. It was a difficult choice to make and most people thought I was crazy to drop out but my family where really supportive. About two years ago YouTube took off for me with many of my videos reaching over a million views. That’s when I realised this could be a business!

What has been the highlight of your YouTube career?

It’s hard to pick one highlight for the whole thing. Every day I get messages from women of all ages telling me that my videos make them feel confident and happy. To me that’s the best part of the whole experience!

Any advice for young people thinking about a career in vlogging?

For anyone who is thinking about starting on YouTube make sure you have a tough skin, YouTube is wonderful and scary all at the same time. Though I rarely get any “hate” you have to be able to deal with it when it comes!

When you share your life with the world are there privacy concerns in the future?

I never worry about privacy because I never over share anything about myself. I keep my life pretty private. My videos are more about makeup and beauty and hardly ever about me personally.

What does 2014 hold in store for The Make Up Chair and what are your opinions on the long term future of YouTube businesses?

The next two years are going to be really exciting, I’m working on something special which I can’t speak about just yet but it links back to my channel which will continue to have makeup lessons and fun beauty reviews and tutorials! As long as people keep watching I will keep creating videos!

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Appy Monday – How to Redeem an iTunes Gift Voucher on an iPhone or iPad

I have had a few parents text me in the last few weeks asking how to redeem an iTunes gift voucher on an iPhone or iPads. Apparently there is a new trend in giving iTunes vouchers as communion and confirmation gifts

Step 1:  From your home screen open the App Store

Step 2: On the bottom left hand side, select the featured menu (the star icon)

Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the page

Step 4: Tap on Redeem

Step 5: Sign in to your iTunes account.

Step 6: Choose how to redeem your voucher.

  1. Click on “Use Camera” point the camera at the gift card and follow on screen instructions; the code will automatically be redeemed
  2. Click “You can also enter your code manually” and enter the 16 digit iTunes voucher number. Tap Redeem on the top right corner. 

Step 7:  Your account will now be credited with the value of the voucher. You can use your credit to purchase all products from iTunes and the App Store. If an App or Album costs more than the credit on the account the credit card associated with the apple id in use will be charged the balance.

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Let’s BDifferent, Jonathan Saccone-Joly Talks Life On YouTube

The social talent of YouTube has been in the traditional media spot light more and more since the acquisition of US based digital video network Maker Studios by Disney for $500million in March. Main stream media outlets can no longer deny the threat of technology-driven video coming from individual content creators on YouTube.

Jonathan Saccone-Joly is Ireland’s most successful YouTube vlogger, together with his wife Anna he has turned uploading daily snippets of their family life onto YouTube into a full time career. The SacconeJolys’ have been recording their daily lives for four years now, every evening at 6pm Irish time, across the world people tune in to LeFloofTV on YouTube to see the latest instalment from the Cork based family. The current stats for their YouTube channel stand at an impressive 429,771 subscribers and a total of 86,940,792 views.

The couple have shared almost everything with the world, from their engagement and marriage, to the birth of their two Children, puppy births, holidays and of course the day to day life in-between. Next on the agenda is their big move to London later this month.

Today we catch up with Johnathan to talk about his career to date:

Tell us about life before the vlogs.
Before I picked up the camera and began to share my life with the world, I had just graduated university from AUB (Arts University Bournemouth) where I studied and completed a BA Hons in interactive media. I left university with the world in my sights but sadly graduated in the middle of a huge global recession and after working for a few months in London doing contract work I retreated back to my home town of Dublin,  to see if I could find anything better. After a few months of hopeless searching for work I noticed that I had been spending most of my time watching YouTube videos for either entertainment or education and that was the first time I thought about YouTube as a career option.
How did you get started on YouTube?
I started with simple parody videos, just me utilising some of the skills I had picked up at university, I did maybe 30 of those types of video and then I put up a different kind of video, just me out walking my dog in a forest with my then girlfriend, now wife and suddenly there were more comments, more rating and more interest from such a simple video, no special effects no written scripts just an honest account of my day. I did go back to doing the parody videos until my 50th video on the channel which was me saying that i was going to try make an honest video diary of my real life for one week.
At what point did you discover that you could make a career out of youtube?
It was about 350 days into my daily video series, and at this point i had moved down to Cork. I managed to get a job working in a stock video studio doing after effects and general video composition and I remember getting an email from my network about the channel stats and looking at my pay check from the studio and realising that youtube was about to become a bigger pay check than my nine to five.
What has been the highlight of your youtube career?
Meeting the people who made all this possible. Each year since the 2nd year i started this series I have organised a meet and greet with my viewers. The first year 10 people showed up and we just sat in a park in the city. The second year I had to rent space because almost 50 people showed up. The third year I had a sponsor and packed out an entire night club with hundreds turning up to say hi, and although yes there have been many milestones I have achieved in terms of viewing figures, money and accolades I still couldn’t have achieved any of that if it wasn’t for the support of the people who watch my videos.
Any advice for young people thinking about a career in vlogging?
Stop thinking about it, and start uploading videos. Youtube is forever expanding and being noticed is becoming increasingly difficult but if you have the drive, the determination and the intrinsic motivation there is no reason why you cannot become successful.
When you share your life with the world are there privacy concerns in the future?
I find it funny when I watch back the older videos, back when no one was watching, the information I would share because what harm could it do, I now know better. Lucky for me I learnt a lot when no one was watching so now I find myself better equipped in knowing what I should and should not share.
You are moving to London in the near future, what does 2014 hold in store for the SacconeJolys and what are your opinions on the long term future of youtube businesses?

I personally try and make a lot of longterm goals and not too many short term, I will move back to the UK later this month in the hopes of being part of what I can only describe as a media revolution, for so long main stream media has tried to ignore the online space but I see we are heading into transition period where talent is being picked up from the online space rather then the traditional medium and I also want to make sure I am front and centre should anyone come looking a funny irish man.

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Samantha Kelly – Empowering The Irish SME #IrishBizParty

#Irishbizparty is a weekly Twitter based networking event for Irish SMEs. It takes place from 9pm to 11pm every Wednesday night, when Irish start-ups and SME’s gather online from the comfort of their own homes to talk shop, help others and promote their own business in the process

Today we have a quick chat with Samantha Kelly founder of #IrishBizParty.



How did the idea for #IrishBizParty come about?

It just happened really, it was born out of frustration. I could see there was a gap in networking, especially for those Mums who couldn’t get out to BNI breakfast meetings for example. I thought it was unfair that we would miss out just because we had no one to mind the kids etc. I also thought these networks were expensive for start-ups and they could sometimes be quite intimidating. There were also a lot of new entrepreneurs who had started a business out of necessity as one partner had lost a job due to the recession; some of us were lacking confidence and support as we didn’t know anyone else in the business world.

Then one evening when I was having a particularly demanding week and had got frustrated with all the red tape and paperwork clouding entrepreneurial vision in Ireland. I decided that I would try to create a bit of positivity and thought that surely I was not the only one coming across the same stuff. It was a Wednesday night so I asked the question on Twitter were there any business who needed help promoting themselves, I asked them to tweet what they did using the hashtag #irishbizparty and that I would retweet it for them.

I got a lot of replies and this continued for a while until it started to get really busy. The results were amazing and soon there were over thirty businesses all active and the great thing was they all followed each other and re-tweeted each other’s business.

So that is really how it started and I decided to do it every Wednesday night after that. It has since grown rapidly into hundreds of participents; #irishbizparty trends regularly on Wednesdays and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon!

Who takes part in #Irishbizparty and who should be taking part? 

Anyone who has started a business, is thinking of starting one or who is interested in supporting Irish business by buying from a small business owner rather than the multiples or large chains/

Have you any goals for #IrishBizParty for 2014?

Yes! My goal is to grow the network. We have over 1000 members on our very active and supportive Facebook group.  And over 700 SMEs take part on the hashtag every week. I select a #Starbiz every Wednesday night that get a feature on thanks to Ailish O Hora in the small business section. This is a huge emotional boost for the business owner if anything!

Going from Twitter to offline would you like to tell us about the #Irishbizparty Inspires Conference?

I first decided to do a conference as I was always speaking at conferences where the tickets were sometimes costing  over €150 and I thought ‘This is wrong….the people who need to be here learning all these tips and being inspired are start-ups and SMEs yet they can’t afford to spend that amount of money.’  So I decided to do one myself with the aim of inspiring SME community by providing a place for them to network in a friendly environment.

I held the first one in the Green Isle hotel which was very successful, over 200 SMEs came along! So now I have organized one in Wexford to give SMEs a boost. I will have some really inspirational speakers including Jason O Reilly who was the ‘guy who cried on Dragons Den’ and Joanne Sweeney Burke who was a finalist in The Apprentice on TV3. I have made it really affordable at €30 per ticket with lunch included. Find more details on the #IrishBizParty Conference here.

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