The CEO who ran his own illegal radio station at 16

Poynting is one of South Africa’s great success stories, with its locally-designed LTE, IoT, and M2M antennas outperforming international competitors.

One of the people behind this success is CEO Michael Howard, who had an interest in wireless communications from a young age.

Howard started to tinker with wireless equipment at the age of six, and started radio repairs as a hobby in high school.

He was busted by the Post Office for maintaining an illegal radio station when he was 16, and a year later he became a radio amateur.

Howard completed an engineering degree majoring in radio frequency design, and held numerous positions in the telecoms space before taking the reins at Poynting.

He credits his success to hard work and having faith in himself when no one else was prepared to show support.

Michael Howard interview

Michael Howard

MyBroadband asked Howard about his position as Poynting CEO, and about his technology choices.

What are the best and worst aspects of being CEO?

Being an engineer at heart means it is always fun to build things, whether it is building a business, a product, or a strategy, and then actually making it happen according to expectation.

Frustration occurs when influences outside of immediate control tend to derail or delay progress. But then this becomes just another challenge where answers can be found, and solutions can be built once again.

Do you have any plans after you step down as CEO?

Not really. Currently completely immersed with the task at hand and growing the success of the domain where I have an influence.

This is kind of what I do anyway, whether as CEO or not. Should I step down, I would continue to “build things”, whether it be in the telecoms industry or in my private life.

What advice do you have for a young person who would like to advance their career?

Instill within yourself the ability to generate passion in whatever you do, as this is the only driving force that will motivate you to achieve.

No one else can motivate you or make you successful. Ensure you have self-integrity and honour towards others set in a framework of guiding principles, and little tolerance for those who don’t.

Which smartphone do you use?

Samsung S8+

Which laptop do you use?

Dell Inspiron 5000 series.

What is the best gadget you have ever bought?

Yaesu FT 857D HF and VHF ham radio.

Yaesu FT-857D

What is the worst gadget you have ever bought?

A wireless charger from the East.

What Internet connection (fixed broadband) do you have at home?

4G LTE fixed wireless with a rigidly-mounted fixed outdoor cross pole antenna for maximum performance.

What is the best investment you have ever made?

My house.

What is the worst investment you have ever made?

Coastal property.

What is the best business book you have ever read?

Stephen Covey – 7 Habits of highly effective people.

Now read: Poynting’s antenna testing chamber is ready to roll

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The CEO who ran his own illegal radio station at 16