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Q&A with our judges: CEO of Insomnia Coffee Company Bobby Kerr


By Emer Roche
08th Jun 2018
Q&A with our judges: CEO of Insomnia Coffee Company Bobby Kerr

By now, we’re sure you’ve heard of IMAGE x Samsung’s brand new project The Pitch. We’re offering up to €100,000 worth of career-changing prizes to one female self-starter who is set to make a massive impact on her industry.

The Pitch is all about seeking out Ireland’s best disrupters and giving them the tools they need to get to the top of their game. Who better to guide those disrupters than the people who’ve done it themselves?

At our special event on July 25th, the shortlist of finalists will be pitching their business to a panel of 5 judges who have risen to the top of their game.

We’re delighted to have Bobby Kerr on our panel of judges.

Bobby is a man who is very familiar with the Dragons’ Den-style of pitch, having been a dragon on the RTE version of the show in 2009. Like all our distinguished judges, Bobby wears many hats- businessman, entrepreneur, presenter and CEO of Insomnia Coffee Company. We had a chat with the man responsible for creating a nation of coffee drinkers!

 

What was your big break? 

Opening my first coffee shop on Grafton street in 1998 when I was a youthful 38-year-old.

Why are mentors important?

Because they can offer impartial advice and don’t normally carry the baggage of the CEO or founder.

Have you ever suffered from imposter syndrome? 

I have always had a bit of self-doubt but tried to use it to spur me on.

What’s the most important thing to remember when presenting? 

Focus on the content and not the technology. Also, know the audience.

How do you deal with nerves? 

Fresh air and a walk around the block.

Where do you have your best ideas? 

When I’m running 12k very early in the morning on the seafront in Dún Laoghaire.

What was your lightbulb moment? 

I saw takeout coffee culture in the USA in the mid-90s. That coupled with quality European espresso-based coffee and an emerging consumer interest in coffee told me Ireland was ready for a quality coffee shop chain.

How do you motivate your team (and yourself)?

In the early days, I would do this by physically working in the shops, latterly by visiting shops and talking with staff and customers.

What’s the hardest thing about business? 

Making money in a consumer environment is a lot more difficult than people think.

Are targets important? How do you set them?

Weekly and versus last year much more important than budget.

Who do you admire? 

Lots of people. Someone like Brian Cody is an inspirational leader and a decent, kind man.

How do you find work/life balance 

I sail competitively, and I run 3 times a week. I spend as much time as I can with my wife of 30 years and my 4 daughters.

How do you convince someone to give you a raise? 

Research the market and sell yourself internally against that.

Do you ever doubt yourself? 

Many times, particularly in my early days as a broadcaster.

How do you relax? 

Out at the BBQ in the back garden with a cold beer in hand and the family all there.

 


Are you reading this, thinking about your own brilliant product or service? Maybe you could supercharge your plans with €100,000 worth of technologically advanced products from Samsung. Enter The Pitch with IMAGE x Samsung and you could get that extra support you need.

Click here to get pitching!