Meet Dunstan Power
Dunstan Power, co-founder and director at ByteSnap Design, is a chartered electronics engineer providing design, production and support in electronics to customers.
Having graduated with a degree in engineering from Cambridge University, Dunstan has been working in the electronics industry since 1992, and in 2004 founded Diglis Design Ltd, an electronic design consultancy, where he developed many successful electronic board and FPGA designs.
Here, Dunstan shares why Alex Ferguson epitomises teamwork and how essential optimism is to business stamina…
Question 1: What do you currently do at ByteSnap?
ByteSnap is an electronics and software design consultancy founded by myself and Graeme Wintle.
ByteSnap helps market-leading technology-based companies and innovative start-ups design their next-generation products. We design the hardware (circuit boards or PCBs) and software for electronic devices, such as medical devices and electric vehicle charge posts, spanning several markets – Internet of Things/Smart Home, Energy and Industrial, to name a few.
My background is as an electronics engineer and Graeme’s as a software engineer.
Effectively, the company has grown with myself looking after the electronics/product design side of the business and Graeme leading the software team. We’ve taken on all the other responsibilities of running ByteSnap, too. For me, that’s principally sales and marketing, and overseeing the financial side, while Graeme looks after operations.
Question 2: What was the inspiration behind your business?
Graeme and I worked together in an electronics design consultancy in the 1990s and early noughties and that was where we learned our trade in consulting.
I then went self-employed in the mid-noughties and began getting enquiries for consultancy alongside my contract work.
The firm that Graeme and worked for closed their European office in 2007, leaving customers who needed servicing.
We also saw a gap in the market for a new business equally focused on both embedded electronics design and software development – rather than being just one with the other either outsourced or bolted on. So, we decided to set up ByteSnap to focus on both the electronics and the software.
We’ve had customers from day one and the business has grown steadily ever since.
Question 3: Who do you admire?
Ex-Man United boss Alex Ferguson, who demonstrated time and again the power of teamwork.
He managed to build three football teams effectively from scratch, and go back to the start and rebuild the squad and each time, winning the Premier League multiple times. Though the players were of varying ability, he created a sense of teamwork and focus that allowed them to perform above their individual talents.
For me, this just shows the power of getting teams to really work together towards a shared goal.
The other person is Elon Musk.
While I don’t agree with every single thing he does and stands for, he presents an optimistic, futuristic technology vision. We have serious global issues to tackle such as climate change; however, Elon Musk has shown that you can address those things whilst still having a positive view of the future and of what technology can achieve.
Question 4: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I’d say two things…
Firstly, recruiting and growing faster; not super-fast, but accelerating with a bit more confidence.
Secondly, investing more in internal intellectual property at an earlier stage; allowing those developments some extra focus; overcoming the challenge of that very fine balance between customer projects and internal projects.
Question 5: What defines your way of doing business?
At ByteSnap, we pride ourselves on being a “safe pair of hands”.
Product design is inherently a risky process and it’s essential to us that customers know and trust that we have the deep technical expertise to deliver. Sometimes, there are great technical challenges that need surmounting – but once you set out, you have to succeed.
Complimenting that is our traditional business model – the customer pays us to do the work and then they get the IP at the end of it – rather than having complex, opaque licencing formats, or royalties-based arrangements. We prefer a straightforward, easy-to-understand way of doing business with our customers.
Question 6: What advice would you give an entrepreneur starting out?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. In fact, risks are absolutely essential because if you’re afraid to take risks, it’s impossible to grow your business.
I doubt there are many pessimist entrepreneurs. Stay positive.
You need a team – and be sure to have the right people on your team. I think starting your company by yourself can be a lonely, difficult path. It’s best to work alongside people who complement your skills and challenge you with a different mindset, but whom you get on with!
If you’re a go-go-go person, you need people who are dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s – really looking after the detailed side of running the business.
But, as a management team, it’s crucial not to focus on the negative; be aware of those threats but stay optimistic – and always be on the lookout for opportunities.
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