Name: Lynette Hundermark
Designation: Co-founder, MD and Chief Product Officer
Company: Useful and Beautiful
What do you do every day? I am currently building up my start-up business. My daily activities include:
Business development (ensuring I move from startup to the growth phase within the next three months) – I am working toward this by meeting with existing and potential clients to make sure I understand their short-term and long-term business goals in order to identify the best way a mobile solution (be it apps or mobi) can help them meet those needs.
I also monitor the mobile consumer landscape so that I can advise potential clients on the best and most relevant solutions for their business at a strategic level. I work with designers and developers on existing projects so that the project execution is in line with the vision expected by clients. I also manage client expectations as the project unfolds.
As a veteran in the mobile space my job is also to educate my clients about the industry, so I proactively look for ways to improve their business using current technology trends.
How did you get into the tech space? I graduated with a BSc(hons) degree at university majoring in Computer Science. I was offered a bursary by Standard Bank during my third year of studies. On completion of my degree, Standard Bank placed me in their head office as an analyst programmer.
I continued working an as analyst programmer for several years thereafter, both locally and internationally (eight years in the UK) with clients including Citibank, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. I progressed to the level of senior enterprise analyst/developer and on my return to SA in 2010; I was approached by the MIH group to fulfill a new role as mobile product manager which requires a combination of technical, analyst and user experience skills.
My passion for the mobile space ignited during this time and I realised I wanted to focus in this ever-changing space. I have always been a gadget girl and it was a fantastic opportunity to combine both of my passions. Wanting to pursue a strong career in mobile by gaining as much practical experience as possible across a variety of industry sectors, I joined Prezence Digital (at the time, it was the best mobile solutions house in the country), to build and grow their mobile apps division. Earlier this year the holding company of Prezence (Primedia) decided to exclude mobile from their core offerings and shut Prezence down. That was a huge catalyst towards me making the big bold move to start up my own company and continue working in a space that I love.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? My good friend and mentor reminded me of a phrase by the great Mandela when I was torn with the decision of starting my own company or looking for a new job at a corporate: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Don’t look at it as a black and white career. Although IT can be seen to have an “old-fashioned” connotation, new channels such as apps belong in this realm. There are many paths and opportunities so you have to explore and cultivate your career to what you want it to be.
Females in particular seem to think that working in tech means you have to be a geek in the corner coding. While sometimes it may start out that way (I was one of those geeks in the corner for almost eight years), it certainly does not have to stay that way. Tech is wonderful, dynamic and so full of progress. If you are willing to embrace it, there are no limits to what you can achieve.
Find a tech space that inspires you and do the best you can. I strongly believe that women can have a career and a family as long as it is a career that inspires them. It’s really about loving what you do and working hard at it that will always yield results.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
Nothing beats waking up every morning to do something I really enjoy and getting paid for it. Seeing a product evolve from just a concept on a napkin or a whiteboard to something tangible is the best feeling ever.
I love that tech is so dynamic; it excites me that a new gadget or operating system may be released at any time and I look forward to investigating what cool stuff can be built on it. Also as a gadget girl at heart and working in the tech space, it’s the best of both worlds for me as there is no real division between my personal and professional life. Life does not get any better.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? I am growing up really fast in my new role as a business owner using my own money to pay for things along the way. I suppose I would like to be regarded as a successful, well-established business owner, who is able to lead by example to help inspire and motivate people to realise that all it takes is hard-work, determination and a passion to succeed in life.
Find me here:
Twitter: @lynetteanthony @UandBMobile