The Global Irishman: Liam Casey’s borderless world
Man in the Nehru jacket
Jetting between continents, speaking at high-profile conferences, working “26-hour days” . . . I asked Liam Casey how all the hours and the travel affect his personal life.
“What personal life?” he grinned.
Weekends are rare for Casey. After meetings in California, he usually flies back to China on a Friday night, which puts him in Shenzhen late Sunday morning, with just half a day to recover.
And home, for Casey, is the Shenzhen Four Points Sheraton. Why not live in a house or a flat? “The opportunities in our business are too big to miss,” he insisted, “and time is often our number one currency.”
By now you might be imagining a stressed, highly caffeinated executive. But Casey struck me as comfortable and highly personable. He came from his client meeting wearing not a suit but a denim shirt and Nehru jacket. And he flatly rejects the workaholic label.
“It’s a cliché, but if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. . . . I love it, it’s great fun.”
Here in the Silicon Valley, Casey works with “some of the best, most creative companies on the planet.” And on the other side of the globe in Shenzhen, which he described as the fastest changing city on the planet, Casey has had “front-row seats to the changing of the world . . . Take those and put them together, and I wouldn’t say it’s work.”
Work and pleasure are so synonymous to Casey that getting him to suggest anything else he might do with more time in the day was harder than expected. Finally, after a long pause, he offered, “I think I’m . . . disruptive by nature, so I’d be looking at, what can I break next, and what can we do better?”
There’s no way to know what the next disruption will bring, to Ireland, to China, or to your own front doorstep. I asked Casey to reflect on his own surprising course, from the farm in County Cork to his present-day mobile, global identity.
“It’s not a clean arc, there’s been a bit of meandering. To me it’s a journey, and often the journey is more fun than the destination.”
I thought again of the Pacific Coast Highway.
“The longer you can keep the journey going,” Casey smiled, “the better.”