Jon Seal, managing director at technologywithin, on how he got started in the industry, his top film and podcast recommendations, his best and worst purchases and the most ridiculous fact he knows.
How did you join the property industry?
In 2005, I joined the hospitality industry, working with hoteliers to roll out technology across their sites. I started my own business, contracted to a company that provided tech to hotels. Then I went to work in-house for them, eventually leading their tech pre-sales team across EMEA. One of the most exciting projects I worked on was rolling out IT infrastructure and wifi for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles – an 850-acre site.
What does your job entail?
I am the managing director of technologywithin. We provide connectivity and technology solutions in the property sector, working with build-to-rent (BTR) providers through to councils, offices and flexible workspace operators, hotels and retail outlets.
I cover all areas of the business, from securing new clients to supporting research and innovation. My role is predominantly relationships with customers, the board and my team.
It is a great job but challenging, especially given the last two years.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The property sector is vast – it is such a complex industry. Ideas and creativity in the sector have the power to change and influence our society. Bringing technologies from security to connectivity to refresh and underpin the property sector is very exciting.
And what do you dislike most about it?
There are still barriers to entry, which really lets the sector down. We need more people with different experiences, because that is the magic touch in transformation.
What would you change about the property industry?
Property is about people. It is not just bricks and mortar; it is much more. Technology is a rapidly growing industry – even as we launch products, we are already working on not only the update but the update after that and the one beyond that. Landlords should see connectivity as a utility, like water and electricity.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Too many companies rely on degrees as opposed to experience. Before I joined technologywithin, I was headhunted to apply for a role with a household name.
I did, only to be rejected because I did not have a degree. I was flummoxed – I have 20-plus years’ experience. Mindsets need to change, which is why we look at characteristics and past experience.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud of my team at technologywithin. I was employee number 17 when we started; we have since doubled in size and tripled the turnover. When I speak to my colleagues, they are happy and productive, which makes me inordinately proud.
What do you value in people?
Honesty above anything else.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Don’t be intimidated by experience: respect it but remember that all industries need new ideas and views. Your greenness to a sector is not a disadvantage. You can bring the power to see things from a different perspective.