Ten minutes with…Mayowa Balogun, Consultant at Appdrawn

Top UK App DevelopersAppdrawn Team | Published 1st June 2023
To complement our recent blog post on fitness tech, we thought we’d chat to a member of the Appdrawn team with knowledge of and lived experience in the field.

So, who better to feature next in our ‘Ten minutes with…’ blog series than Consultant and former professional footballer, Mayowa Balogun?

Mayowa joined Appdrawn in June 2021 as a Digital Designer and quickly climbed the ranks, expanding his role and taking on additional responsibilities as a Consultant. His current position involves “leading the development of client work from first contact to completion.” He works with a range of clients on app development and software projects, presents in client meetings and manages members of the development team “to deliver high quality work that meets the standard our clients expect.”

Footballer, designer, entrepreneur

Despite his broad remit, it was Mayowa’s flair for design and entrepreneurial attitude that led to his joining Appdrawn. He first studied design at GCSE level, following the standard educational path and progressing with the subject at A Level. However, the ‘standard’ stops there, as Mayowa opted to pursue a path not trodden by many members of your typical software development consultancy: he joined Wigan Athletic as a professional footballer. This was a natural progression for Mayowa: “I started playing football at professional clubs from seven to 18 years old, working my way up various academy teams,” he says.

He describes his time with Wigan Athletic as, “positively demanding, enjoyable and rewarding”. Running around on a football pitch might seem a million miles away from sitting in an office creating bespoke software, but Mayowa says the former experience taught him lessons that have proven helpful for making a success of the latter. This includes skills like teamwork, performing under pressure, planning and strategy, problem-solving and motivating others.

In addition to his exertion on the pitch, Mayowa was also working hard in his spare time. He founded MNB Graphic Design in 2015, creating app mock-ups, business cards, leaflets, social media post designs etc. as well as offering a commissioned art service. “I learnt a lot from freelance graphic design, working with different clients and providing design solutions,” Mayowa says. So what took him from freelance and football in 2015 to technology and team management in 2023?

Transferable skills: from soccer to software

“When my football contract ended I started a BA Design and Innovation degree with the Open University,” Mayowa explains. Distance learning requires discipline and time management; qualities Mayowa had likely honed from his sporting career, as well as his early academic experience. He studied for his A Levels remotely, at the same time as training with Wigan Athletics under 21s.

Indeed, it was the opportunity to exercise these strengths that first drew him to the role at Appdrawn. “I wanted to utilise my skillset outside of design, such as product management, project management, problem solving,” he says. Almost a year and a half into the role, what does he enjoy most about working in tech? “Being part of the fastest growing and increasingly necessary sector, and being part of innovative work that connects with different sectors.”

Appdrawn works with clients from a range of different markets, from education, to fintech, transport, public service, and entertainment. As well as being one of the most enjoyable aspects of his work, this “context-switching” requires quick thinking and “quickly learning about our new client and their industry,” says Mayowa. Never afraid of tackling things head on, this is a challenge Mayowa has embraced, enabling him and his team to “understand how they [clients] operate and be better positioned to support them whilst we develop and maintain their software.”

Off pitch and out of office

Outside of work, sports and football still play a key role for Mayowa, in addition to “faith, family, friends,” he says. But, as with most spheres of life, technology is never far away. We’ve seen this at Appdrawn, having worked with a client to develop a sports performance tracking app, and seeking to expand our portfolio in the fitness tech market in the future. Mayowa himself has “enjoyed the benefits of player health tracking technology,” using mobile apps including “STATSports app, GPS Performance trackers and heart-rate monitors” in order to better “assess my fitness and during my rehab from injury.”

Tech use in football (such as goal-line technology) however, has proven a contentious issue for many fans. Mayowa has a more positive outlook; “I support the use of VAR [video assistant referee] and semi-automated offside tech as it helps referees make more informed decisions,” he says.

Winning apps

Whether technology is used to inform referees’ decisions about football players, football players’ decisions about their performance, or the rest of us on how we can get fitter and healthier, the benefits are clear to both app user and app maker. At Appdrawn we work with clients to help realise these benefits, in the fitness market and beyond. We also aim to level the playing field and ensure businesses of all sizes can access our services. This includes Mayowa and the team providing free and timely consultancy and cost-saving analysis.

We’re always looking to work with new clients in the fitness space, and with a former professional footballer on our team, we think we’ve got the expertise and knowledge to help you create winning apps and software!

Appdrawn Team | Updated 2nd June 2023

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