Dan Filby. "It's aboot time we all started speaking some Irish!"
Dan Filby. “It’s aboot time we all started speaking some Irish!”

(Please be aware, this article was posted on April 1st)

Following the announcement of a new HighWire office in Belfast, Northern Ireland, top management is working on a cultural transition plan for the Silicon Valley based company.

“It’s aboot time we all started speaking some Irish!” announced Dan Filby, HighWire’s CEO, to an all-staff meeting in Palo Alto. Born and raised in Canada, Filby still speaks with vestiges of native diphthongs and open-vowels. Grilled about whether the company was simply shifting to Northern Ireland for tax reasons, Filby responded, “If I wanted higher taxes, I would have moved us to Canada, eh.”

Hoping to set an example for employees, John Sack, HighWire’s Founding Director, has given up his South Beach Diet for porridge, boiled potatoes, and corned beef hash. The staff lounge now serves Guinness on tap.

Vice President of North American Sales, Wendy Newsham, is not worried about cultural, gastronomic, or climate divisions between Silicon Valley and Northern Ireland. “I live in Boston,” adding, “I have an Irish Red and White Setter, a lop-eared rabbit and two teenagers.”

Bonnie Zavon, Public Relations Director for HighWire, has been hoping to ease the transition for those employees raised in sunny southern California. Van Morrison now plays softly over the corporate sound system and every employee has been given a DVD set of Liam Neeson films. Zavon will even do impersonations:

If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

Phil Davis

Phil Davis

Phil Davis is a publishing consultant specializing in the statistical analysis of citation, readership, publication and survey data. He has a Ph.D. in science communication from Cornell University (2010), extensive experience as a science librarian (1995-2006) and was trained as a life scientist. https://phil-davis.com/


4 Thoughts on "HighWire Cultures Northern Ireland"

I’m sure many HighWire staff are of Irish descent ( think Dan Filby told me his forefathers hail from Yorkshire, aka “God’s own county”).

For those staff that aren’t and who want some insight into a key moment into Irish history both north and south (perhaps in advance of a trip to the city that built the Titanic?), here’s a blog post I wrote earlier this week about how The BMJ covered the Easter Rising 100 years ago.


I don’t think we were on the HW platform at the time!

When I was digging around our archive, I came across this 1916 article about the survival of Shakespeare’s “language” in Ulster, and why, http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/1/2887/624.full.pdf

Maybe John Sack, given his humanities background, will find it interesting.

It’s great to work on a journal with such a large back archive!

Until now, the most Irish thing I’ve done (other than studying James Joyce in grad school) was being in New York on St. Patrick’s Day.

I will be visiting Belfast next week, so I’m glad to have David’s reading assignment from back issues of the BMJ all set out for me!

Though there’s no denying I’m quite protective of my daughter, methinks I’m more likely to quote Sinéad O’Connor, than Liam Neeson. But hey, its April Fool’s Day!

My dog and pet bunny have been mentioned on the Scholarly Kitchen – my life is complete! Thank you for the laugh, Phil.

Comments are closed.