Shane has built a 140-people virtual team-based business from Ireland. Very interesting view into a different part of the world.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Shane Evans: I was actually born in the UK. Both of my parents worked at Heathrow. My father is British but my mother was Irish. I think their involvement and love for travel had an impact on me. I came to Ireland when I was two years old and that’s where I grew up.
Sramana Mitra: What was your educational process like?
Shane Evans: I attended a typical Irish primary and secondary school. Then I went to UTC which is a local university and did a Computer Science degree. I have always been interested in the sciences. At a fairly young age, I was lucky to have access to computers. My parents didn’t really know what it was, but it was enough for me to get hooked.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do right after university?
Shane Evans: While I was finishing my degree, I had a programming job at Motorola as a Software Engineer. I continued working after graduating. I also started a Ph.D. program. After a year of doing both, I realized that I wanted to do something slightly different. I went backpacking. As part of that trip, I went to San Francisco and met some friends there who were in startups. I realized that something along those lines was more exciting for me. So I never made it back to Ireland. I stopped at London and started working there instead.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do in London?
Shane Evans: I got a job working for lastminute.com.
Sramana Mitra: In engineering?
Shane Evans: Yes. At that time, they were a very small company. I joined them in 1999. I was the first Java programmer that they hired. They were both a startup company and into travel, which is something I was pretty passionate about. Their growth more than doubled every year. They were the poster child of the dot-com era in London and Europe.
Sramana Mitra: What year are we talking? Is this 1999?
Shane Evans: Yes, I joined in 1999, and I was there for five years. After two years, I ended up running their engineering department. It was also my first exposure to being involved in a startup company.
Sramana Mitra: What happened to this company?
Shane Evans: They had an IPO. Years later, they were sold. The company is still there.
Sramana Mitra: Did you make good money out of that IPO?
Shane Evans: I didn’t, unfortunately.
Sramana Mitra: What happened?
Shane Evans: I joined a little late. What I really value most about that time is that it was a fantastic experience.
Sramana Mitra: You learned a lot.
Shane Evans: Absolutely. The team was fantastic. To this day, they’re still a great help to me.
Sramana Mitra: What year did you leave that company?
Shane Evans: 2005.