Episode 43 – Natalie Nzeyimana
My first question is, what made you decide to get into tech?
Like many people I had a little bit of exposure to tech when I was younger through blogging. I wanted to know everything I could about HTML and CSS to make the blog look exactly how I wanted. As time went on, I moved a little bit deeper into tech.
I went to University and studied Philosophy and Politics. I loved what I was learning, but it felt overly theory-based. I realized that I was the kind of person who wanted to make things rather than talk about things that already existed or how things could be. So I started coding. When I left university, I met someone at a house party who happened to work at ARM. I interviewed, and two weeks later I was working at ARM, so it all happened very quickly and spontaneously.
What was your journey from ARM to Co-founding ‘Nuanced’
So, I was at ARM for under two years and loved it. I learnt tonnes about how the tech industry works from the ground up. Being a semiconductor company it gave me a real technical grounding in understanding both hardware and software. When I came back to London, I felt like I wanted to try making things outside of a corporate environment. So I started freelancing, taking on clients here and there, and then met my co-founder at a hackathon. It’s been really exciting ever since.
Are you guys a product based company or do you primarily do client work?
It varies, so we have a few products in the pipeline which we will probably be launching in Q2 and Q3 this year. We probably spend twenty-five to thirty percent of our time on those, and then the rest is client work.
I think that mix makes us better at both. Building something for yourself makes you really good at helping other people create what they want.
What was your perception of tech before you entered it and how has that changed since partaking in it?
I didn’t have a perception per se. I think it was just space for me to make things. Once I started [at ARM] working as a graduate, I felt like I had a lot of freedom to implement ideas. It was a flat hierarchy.
As my first foray into tech, I was almost spoiled, reading now from other people’s experiences because I didn’t face a lot of the things that other people seem to have experienced. It was chilled; my manager was amazing. I learned lots quickly; I was given big projects to hit the ground running there. So, I don’t have a perception other than ‘I want to learn as much as I can from this experience’, and I think I did.
It sounds almost too good to be true, why did you leave? Was it the entrepreneurial bug that got you or….?
Yeah, I think it was. I felt like now’s the time to go and try to make it happen.
So, are there any tips that you would give someone, perhaps yourself five/six/seven years ago?
Make things, make things and make things. Things that you’ll need in the future or that you need right now, that’s probably the main piece of advice that I would give.
The other thing is to try to do things with other people, talk about your ideas and collaborate on what you are doing. I think isolation is one of the biggest things that makes products bad or makes the user experiences terrible. So, I would recommend a collaborative approach in anything that you’re doing. Also, surround yourself with people who are smarter, you can learn from them and that will up your game as well.
We have our dinners coming up, which you can find out about on our website thenuanced.com/community. We host dinners for underrepresented groups in technology who are interested in sharing their experiences in the tech industry. We usually have a panel of speakers who have been there and done that. So yeah, we’d love for you to come along and join us. It will be in Central London later on this quarter.