The Irish Software Association – Worth the price?

I run a small startup called Secantus. We are running on a tight budget and are currently focussed on development. I recently inquired as to the price of joining the Irish Software Association. Get this, the special deal startup price for companies like mine is €800!

To put it in perspective, my subversion hosting, and a dedicated hosted server costs about the same price. The loose rule of thumb is you can get a Web 2.0 company started for around $100,000. €800 is about $1000 at todays prices so I’m going to blow 1% of my share capital on membership of a local club.

The HotHouse incubator program in Dublin stamps out ten to fifteen new startups every six months, a significant proportion of which are Software companies. I don’t know of any that have joined the ISA. If the ISA truely wants to represent the Irish Software community then they are going to have to make a bigger effort to include the startups.

Is there even an appetite to recruit this kind of member in the ISA? You would think in this Web 2.0 world they would have a click here to join button on the website with a credit card form and integrated wiki, email and forums. But no its a very sedate email and inquiry form (no mailto: links for these guys, you’ll cut and paste the address like we did in the old days) an once you get access, rest assured its no Alice and Wonderland website in the members area.

So what could they do,

  • Drop the fees to something that doesn’t make me sweat, think less than €100
  • Take credit card bookings directly on the site
  • Add wiki, forums, mail groups, blogs and company editable web pages to this site. All this technology is freeable available and can even be purchased for next to nothing as a hosted option.
  • Target the startup companies, these companies are the future of the industry. Where was the ISA are the recent Enterprise Ireland Web 2.0 event? Will they be at the next one in Cork?

If they did this I’d join, what about you?

11 thoughts on “The Irish Software Association – Worth the price?

  1. Hey Joe,

    I can’t speak for the ISA but IT@Cork’s membership dues are €120 for small companies payable online via the website.

    The membership includes free access to all events throughout the year (including the Web 2.0 event you linked to).

    The site has a blog, podcasts and we are discussing the rollout of the Wiki.

    You don’t have to be based in Cork to join (but it will help get the most value from the free access to all the events).


  2. When we were last in Dublin, we pitched the ISA a number of speaking topics that I was pretty sure would be of interest to their members. We’re talking about things like Web 2.0, how to write a whitepaper, citizen journalism and so forth. I’m an experienced public speaker, and certainly wasn’t interested in doing a big company pitch. I mention Capulet at the outset of my talks, and that’s about it.

    It was apparent to me that the people I was speaking with had little or no background in software, and so had no idea what I was talking about. And, of course, they had no criteria with which to evaluate the quality of my pitches.

    More importantly, they seemed devoted to the idea of letting members get first priority at giving talks. That’s acceptable, I guess, but it certainly doesn’t encourage a thriving exchange of ideas.

    And, despite the fact that Capulet’s work with at least 10 Irish companies, we couldn’t join, because we’re not based in Ireland.

    Obviously, I was pretty turned off by the whole thing, and will look elsewhere to give a talk the next time I’m back in Ireland.

    Also, the ISA needs an RSS feed for new member announcements.


  3. Tom,

    Proof if proof were needed that you can create a society that supports the needs of its users and encourages them to join.

    Who’s on for setting up the sister organisation IT@dublin?


  4. Darren,

    Obviously more nonsense from the ISA. So how come Oracle and Microsoft get to be members?

    Consider this a formal invite to join IT@dublin 🙂


  5. I thought the ISA was Microsoft and Oracle’s bitch? Are they the ones all for software patents that will more than likely kill off a lot of smaller companies out there that don’t have the legal resources to defend themselves? Or have I just drank the no software patents koolaid?

    IT@Anywhere Dublin branch sounds good. 🙂


  6. Damien,

    I haven’t seen an ISA position statement on patents, but given the predominance of “old school” companies you could guess their position might be “conservative”.


  7. What do they do for you?

    Whatever about the membership fees, it all comes down to whether joining groups like these does anything to help you grow your business.

    I don’t care about what order i get to speak at, I care about growing my business. Does ISA do anything that might help you grow your business ?


  8. Interested,

    I can’t speak for the ISA but IT@Cork is an IT Professionals networking organisation. We have over 230 member companies and we are actively growing that number. Our members are from all over Ireland and range from banks to telcos to fmcg to one man bands like me! The current chair of IT@Cork is Donal Manning – the IT Manager of Heineken Ireland, for example.

    We run evening events about once a month (we had 15 last year) which are free to members where we invite speakers in to speak on topics as diverse as RSS, storage, and Sales and marketing tips. Drinks and finger food are provided afterwards as well as an opportunity to network.

    We run a mini conference half-way through the year – last year we had Rod Johnson speaking at it. This year we have Salim Ismail, Shel Israel, Fergus burns, Walter Higgins and Rob Burke discussing Web 2.0. Again free to members and €50 to non-members.

    Our annual conference is the highlight of the year – last years annual conference we had Charles Handy and Robert Scoble keynote – a spectacular day. The conference is pay in because of the calibre of the speakers but it is a reduced entry for members.

    I won’t bore you with details on the blog, the podcasts, the newsletter, etc.

    Membership is €110 for companies of 1-6 employees – so low cost to join and amazing quality networking and content in the events.


  9. I used to be a member of ISA, a few years ago and memberships fees were nothing like E800. AND I am going to the ISA conf on Thursday coming to see what’s going on, these days.

    Even then it was mostly a Dublin centric organisation.

    I dont know the details, but it looks like ISA and ICT Ireland have recently secured sufficient funding to drive their organisations.

    To do this they are, very likely, bound to have a national focus in developing the industry.

    At a E800 membership fee, then it is not for developing the software industry in Ireland. A fee at this level for well established companies.

    I am a steering committee member of IT@Cork.

    I have seen first hand and heard from so many that IT@Cork brings great value to many people and companies, big and small. This is through professionally organisationed and run, high value information based events with good attendance and networking opportunities.


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