Getting to know you: Sean Bowen

Sean Bowen

What do you currently do?

I am the CEO of Push Technology.

Push Technology has pioneered technology which delivers time-sensitive data to web, mobile, and IOT applications in real time. Businesses that are developing next-generation applications can use our patented technology to streamline internet communications between their back-end systems or virtual machines, and their applications. Our product Diffusion is the only real-time, 2-way, delta data streaming platform available for on-premise, in-the-cloud applications, or hybrid applications. Regardless of where your app runs, Push Technology provides the right platform and all the tools you need to fit your business requirements and assure that your applications are real-time, scalable, and infrastructure and bandwidth efficient. Our products are very successful and are used by leading international brands such as 888 Holdings, DAB Bank, and William Hill.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

In 2004, a few years before the markets crashed, I pitched real-time dashboards to banks. A technology which can expose the weaknesses of many financial institutions. At that time, I was working for an American consultancy business and the banks with whom we were speaking were getting fined by the FSA, so it was an ideal time to promote the solution. Our technology was able to give a true picture, to the second, of the banks risk; previously spreadsheets might be updated once a day. We were able to offer a tool that would track every trade, every movement, and interact with their risk analysis system to alert them if they strayed over set limits.

I saw a big market opportunity with this technology and Apple phones were also just coming out, but my boss at the time wasn’t interested. So I said fine, I’ll go and do it myself. Honestly, there wasn’t a huge amount of strategic thinking on my side. I wasn’t financially set up, so it was a massive risk. But I believed in it, so I decided to do it. I received some advice when I was young from my Gran – it’s a lot easier to live with something if you try and fail, rather than wonder ‘what if’.

A lot of people don’t like making decisions, in fact there aren’t that many entrepreneurs around. Making decisions every day is something you have to have in your DNA. If somebody says to me you can’t do that, it makes me want to do it more…

What inspired me? Firstly, somebody telling me I can’t do something, that’s like a red rag to a bull. What inspires me today? My kids and wife, plain and simple. When I started the business I didn’t have a family, but things are different now.  Everything I’m doing is to ensure they have a good life and are secure.

What defines your way of doing business?

The military and the world of business aren’t all that different. There are huge similarities between the two, in terms of attitude and strategy, which could determine whether a business plan works or fails.

As a former serviceman in the Royal Air Force, I moved away from my roots in South East London at the age of 18 and quickly learned that a collective need of determination, discipline, grit, and excellent time management, made better military personnel. All of these skills are transferable to the business world.  I use them in my company and encourage others to do the same.

It’s easy to see how both worlds might blur into one, as the similar objectives and ultimate goals steadily become entwined. Basic disciplines can be transferred from one to the other seamlessly. Take trusting your gut as an example. It’s the most powerful tool a professional has. By understanding, owning and honing it, you are better equipped to make worthwhile decisions. Results will soon be generated and career progression can really take off.

Who do you admire?

Anybody that scores for West Ham? No seriously, my inspiration comes from my family. My kids and wife, plain and simple. When I started the business I didn’t have a family, but things are different now.  Everything I’m doing is to ensure they have a good life and are secure.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done different?

You learn so much on the journey. If somebody says they don’t make mistakes they are lying. What I have been taught is to learn from mistakes quickly, and make a decision quickly. For example, it could be that you’ve hired the wrong person, don’t dwell on it. Look to move that person on if they can’t deliver, because at the end of the day they won’t be happy in the position either. It’s best to be honest. Biggest thing I’ve learned in terms of starting a business? I would start it in the US rather than the UK – as a country it’s just better geared to start ups.

In general, accept nobody’s perfect, we are all human and we all make mistakes. Just make sure your ego doesn’t get in the way and you learn quickly from any mistake you make – and believe me you will make many.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

One of my friends in Hong Kong recently reached out to me and said he was starting a business and he would appreciate some advice. I think he thought I could provide him with business advice which would enable him to avoid all the pitfalls. I couldn’t really talk to him about the great decisions I’ve made as they are individual to me and my line of work.  Instead, my response was to discuss the general business mistakes that I have made. That’s where I was able to help him.

You have to accept that building a company isn’t a nine-to-five job. If you have a good idea, and most importantly the desire, you have to fully commit to executing it. Only then can you move forward. Also, ask your trusted friends, don’t be afraid to bring people in. They can help and give you the confidence you need to take that first big step.