What is the Stars? #17 #cong22


I dont know what Purpose is.
I dont know if its about the way or the target.
It seems to connect from the self to the community.
A stretch purpose is hard.
But worthwhile.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Know thyself
  2. Be comfortable with growth
  3. Connect and develop with your tribe
  4. Ad Astra per Aspera

About Alan Costello

Venture growth and investment @ ResolvePartners

Natural Capital and Biodiversity at NaturalCapitalIreland.com

Arts and culture to challenge mental health stigma at FirstFortnight

Contacting Alan Costello

You can contact Alan by email or follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn or see his work with Resolve Partners.

By Alan Costello

What is the Stars?

Boyle: An’, as it blowed an’ blowed, I ofen looked up at the sky an’ assed meself the question — what is the stars, what is the stars?
Joxer: Ah, that’s the question, that’s the question — what is the stars?
Boyle: An’ then, I’d have another look, an’ I’d ass meself — what is the moon?
Joxer: Ah, that’s the question — what is the moon, what is the moon?

“Juno and the Paycock”, Seán O’Casey (1924)

  • What is the purpose of something
  • What is the point of it
  • What is its reason to be
  • What is mine

Why haven’t I used question marks in the above? Likely because I’m neither intellectually nor conceptually fit to treat them as questions that I can answer.

Although of course, I do think that your brain can be ‘fittened’ up to any new task.
(thats not a derivative of fattened….)

Am I nihilistic in thinking. No, nor am I hedonistic or feckless.

To have a Purpose, that capitalised Purpose, is to have a goal, a true north, an outcome or an output as to where you want to go. Thats written more of a statement than the question that was in my mind – is Purpose the where, the why or the how? Should you focus on the destination or the journey – every Instagram philosopher will suggest the obvious.

Where Society might expect you to aim a purpose – a question of self versus a wider directive?

What might you need to know about me:

  • I’m planet aware – pollution, temperatures, nature
  • I have no kids – so dont give me that procreation malarky. Bad for the planet anyway.
  • I’m maturing – or else the effect of being married to a psychotherapist for 15 years.
  • I’m getting better at being her partner.
  • (Dont forget, even good wines can mature too much – enjoy yourself)

I’m getting better at being me. (but oh boy, has that been learned in life lessons)

I love my work – its helping, supporting, platforming, driving, knowledge sharing. Although that sounds like it could be vocational, I support startups to raise investment and grow. Not every startup, usually the ones who are trying to make the world a better place.

I love learning – its one of the best side effects of my work.

I dip in and out of hobbies, go deep and then move on to green fields

Religion is dangerously broken. Especially since it damages the potential joining in a wider community belief and purpose.

Day to day, year to year and probably decade to decade is sorted.

Good health lives in my family.

I am content, happy and comfortable in seeking more life.

So what about Purpose?

Here’s an odd coincidence

This year, I started a programme with Common Purpose – a leadership programme that blends folk from public/private/arts/charity sectors and supports their mutual learning and personal growth from each other.

Thats kinda cute. Personal growth and development through others.

Have a look at CongRegation.ie. Hover over the submission tab. See its evolution from a digitally aware, technology consumptive group to a society and leadership orientated community.

Could Purpose for me be about personal growth, development and enrichment, through and with others. And everyone else might be similar, I hope? Sounds like a great old world

(Factfulness, Hans Rosling)

Should our world have a Purpose. Other than allow its inhabitants (virus-like) to consume itself within the normal lifecycles of its current primary species? I’m not so into Gaia, but should our Society co-contribute to a Purpose – a better, more even humankind, greater diversity, and then to explore further beyond our little rock in the Universe.

Ad Astra per Aspera – to the stars through difficulty.

John James Ingalls coined the motto in 1861 stating, “The aspiration of Kansas is to reach the unattainable; its dream is the realization of the impossible”

We’re not in Kansas anymore (allow me some of the cheese the moon is made of!), but lets stretch and strive for a better Purpose for all of us and the land on which we inhabit.

Rather than a terrible state of chassis, Boyle from Juno and the Paycock might agree.

communications key for leader

The Leaders Old Clothes…. #13 #cong21


We know what Leadership used to be, but changing world needs new structure & understanding of leadership.  Lived and demonstrated values more to the fore today.  Connectivity as a Service is the new transactional leadership

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Leaders lead through their values
  2. Leaders leverage their time, connectivity and communication to move any organisation
  3. This is transactional in nature
  4. Communications is an underappreciated requirement

About Alan Costello:

Venture development/Investment, Corporate innovation driver @ Resolve Partners
Also supporting FirstFortnight and NaturalCapitalIreland, because why wouldnt I!

Contacting Alan Costello

You can follow Alan on on Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn or reach him via email.

communications key for leader

By Alan Costello

Leadership used to be about setting direction
Leadership used to be about having insight & analysis (sometimes novel) in order to define strategy
Leadership used to represent power, maybe represented as a pyramidical organisational structure that ‘flowed’ south….

Some of these things are still true.

But ‘new data = new direction’ and the function that has changed most in the last 30 years, maybe paramount to all others is connectedness.

As Jobs said, “Don’t you get it? – Its a phone, its a camera, its an internet device – its all in one”

The world and its parameters never stop changing – of course we have never lived in static eras and we know the pace of change is obviously faster every period of time you bracket.

This speed and quantum of change is driven by faster communications, which leads to greater shared learning and connectedness – moving from oral tradition to written, moving from relatively static tribal geographies to trans-global travel in a day.

The following factors need to be taken more into account by leaders than ever before.

Services are commoditised by globalisation and near instant learning availability and application.

Products are not far behind from a smorgasbord that includes supply chain optimisation on global scale and digital manufacturing. Even high IP products like medicines are becoming personalised on biomanufactured scaffolds.

The incredible enabler of ‘software eating the world’ has followed along its twin rails of cloud deployment and global ‘at-scale’ distribution, hurtling towards effectively infinite scalability.

The asymmetry of external factors competing for a leader’s internal and external PoV means that no longer does strategy and power gravitate to the central node/corner office. (same for industries too by the way)

A newly empowered population is competent and ethically aware, able to learn, be influenced and make new choices like never before. Society as a whole is also moving in similarly restructured fashion, which it has demonstrated experience in doing so previously – agrarian cooperation, nobility & empire, techno-civilisation, economic and political systems and more.

So our constructs of leadership are dead, long live the king –

Set direction – no longer without the influence of their stakeholder society
Insight and Analysis – available to all
Pyramid org structure – Ask Irizar how that’s going for them!

With factors like these in play and many more I am only ‘pub qualified’ to soapbox on, leadership needs to adapt. So far, so much obviousness!

I suggest that leadership today is about modelling values and communicating their narrative, more than strategic intents, power through wealth or populism or intellectual genius expressed through the lab or the code.

Leadership today is divining, distilling and modelling the values of an organisation, state or community and empowering others to act through that entity.

Leaders today won’t command and dictate, they are ‘simply?’, connective passages or conduits to change, those nodes and fulcrums through which we pass from one state to another.

Leaders should understand that ‘new data… – also means new narrative’. They need to be conscious of the constant lens and communication of their actions in setting behaviours/values/authenticity. Finally, leadership is far shorter today than it has ever been before. Leaders are transacting their leadership to organisations for a period of time (again see Steve Jobs/Tim Cook) and perform different roles at different times for the entity they lead (Musk – coordinator@x.com to strategy@tesla and mission@SpaceX).

In a Connected world, powered by Communications, the new model for Leadership is to offer these Twin C’s as a Service to their organisations

To those that can communicate, they shall inherit the earth!

We need to talk about….. #1 #cong20


The C word has taken over 2020.  But not the one you are thinking of.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:


Key Takeaways:

  1. Recognise the shared future we have
  2. Acknowledge the work that needs to be done
  3. Focus a little bit more on the Horizon
  4. That Horizon is us

About Alan Costello:

I support early stage ventures to get past toddlerhood with NDRC

I sit on a few Boards which tell you more about me – Irish Forum on Natural Capital, FirstFortnight and the Mill Enterprise Centre, Drogheda.

Contacting Alan Costello:

You can follow Alan on Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium

By Alan Costello

Hiya. Howaya Congregation,
We need to talk about that thing. The C word. It has been all over the news this year. We’ll never forget 2020. It has pulled people apart. It has pushed people together. We have all become experts this year in social distancing, in hygiene, in awareness of our sometimes fragility.
You, know. The C Word.
No, not that one, not Covid.

The other C words that we should be more aware of this year:

  • Community
  • Collaboration
  • Consciousness
  • Country
  • Connection
  • Civilisation

These are the more important C words for today and for our near and further futures.
Community: When you see the local GAA club volunteering to do shopping for Cocooners (another important C that snuck in there), or Neighbours spending socially distant time linking with each other, thats Community

Collaboration: The simple adherence to guidelines, to support our frontline staffers, the support from corporate leaders to their teams to deliver a changing distributed workforce, thats Collaboration. (spot the sneaky c in there – Change..)

Consciousness: Think for a moment, how your life changed this year, where you had more time, space and capability to be thoughtful and self analytical. Realising that the commute and the time with family had unheralded value. (you know the drill now, lots more Cs!)

Country: This year we saw units as large as nation states falter and rise again, deliver new forms of civil change and historic partnerships being formed. Our Countries Governments are the under appreciated hand that support public health and wellbeing and we best not forget their role.

Connection: That feeling you have when you join with someone on a human, emotional or intellectual level, when you add or receive value from another, gather those moments for yourself and those around you. Connection is a process, a journey, or a bridge – it needs a place to begin and to go to.

Civilisation: In 2020, we inhabitants of this village, county, country, continent and world received a sharp awakening as to the global nature of the challenges in front of us. We have also Connected, Collaborated, Communed and been conscious together like never before. Lets try not to lose that again.

Too many C words, too important to do slight justice – Context, Containment, Challenges. I cant go further

Yes I can
I must
One final C
Let you never lose sight, Dear Ireland


For ever Yours