My week: Jerry Kennelly of Tweak.com

The Irish entrepreneur on partying in New York, his first trip to Vegas and the state of the Irish economy.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
This particular week I’ve spent at our HQ, which is in Killorglin in County Kerry. Our office is in an old bank building right in the centre of town – handily opposite an excellent pub. We like to be part of the community – I wouldn’t want to be in a business park distanced from the rest of the world.

Setting up Tweak, which helps SMEs produce marketing materials online, in Ireland does have its advantages. Admittedly, we, along with a lot of other countries drank the Kool-Aid of cheap credit and we’re certainly paying the price. Huge efforts are being made by the Government and lots of other organisations here to put the country back on solid footing. We’re very optimistic people, so we are happy to take our ideas and monetise them all over the world. We are lucky to speak English as our first language, we never invaded anyone and we’ve got 12.5% corporation tax which all helps us build really strong companies.

I spend about half my time here in Killorglin and the rest of the time in various parts of the world, primarily the US at the minute. We’re working on a lot of partnership deals which we’ll launch in the third or fourth quarter. I spend a lot of time in New York – I use it as a base for travelling all over the US and we’ve got an office in there. New York is an incredibly vibrant city and the people are very friendly, and I make sure I enjoy some nights out on the party scene. I also find it’s very easy to get access to quite senior people in the US. There’s a very open attitude towards entrepreneurialism over there – something we can all learn from in Europe.

This Monday we started finalising the features and pricing on tweak’s design to print partner sites. This means that small, independent printers will be able to pay a monthly subscription and then their customers can use Tweak to create flyers or other marketing collateral and then have it printed at their local printers.

We’ve also been working on a major franchise deal which we will launch in Vegas later this month. I’ve got to go out there and deliver a keynote and some of the team will be coming with me to talk to different franchisees. I’ve actually never been to Vegas before but I’m not sure how much time there’s going to be to exploit all of the madness that’s there. I’m not really a gambler but I certainly wouldn’t mind hooping it up on the party scene.

I’ve had some 8am starts this week but I don’t work such long hours as I used to in my past businesses – I sold my stock photography companies to Getty for $135m five years ago. I probably work eight or 10 hours a day max now. A lot of the really valuable stuff, the strategic stuff, is going on in my head all the time. You’ve got to keep yourself in good enough shape to be able to think creatively, because no matter how many hours you work, if you can’t be creative it just doesn’t work at all.

Jerry Kennelly is the founder of Tweak.com, a company which helps SMEs create original, professional marketing material online, for a fraction of the cost.



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