Passionate about technology

Tegatech principal, Hugo Ortega, brings an enthusiasm and commitment to his niche distribution business.

What was your first job?

My first job out of school was as an assistant pastry chef. I only lasted around six months, but I was working at the back of a pastry shop rolling croissants.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

The IT industry is something I loved my whole life. I’ve been repairing computers since I was little.

How did you progress to where you are today?

I set-up two companies – one called PC Anytime, and the other called Apple Anytime – in the late 1990s. They were both value-added resellers for Apple and PC products. They did very well, and I sold them both off, which helped me to fund Tegatech.

Why did you decide that Tegatech would specialise in ultramobile PCs (UMPCs)?

I’m a believer that specialists will always be able to ride through market volatility better than jack-ofall- trades. So what we’ve done is created a niche around mobile computing and focused on that exclusively, because we felt mobility was going to be a bigger focus than desktop computing would be.

I remember my passion for the business started from meeting my first tablet PC in 2002, and from that point onwards I just fell in love with mobile computing, pen input and touchscreens – what we call human interface computing – which was fairly ahead of its time back then. I knew the market would catch up at some point, and it seems to be this year it’s starting to do that.

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What would you say has been Tegatech’s biggest achievement?

I think getting manufacturer and reseller channel respect has been our biggest achievements. We don’t have the deep pockets other wholesalers do, so we haven’t been able to promote ourselves with glamourous marketing, but we have been able to provide a commitment to service and after service to the reseller channel. Every year that has gone past, resellers have understood that we’re loyal and committed to our reseller and manufacturer base. With that, we’ve gained strong momentum and resellers repeatedly buying from us over time.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

The biggest challenge is moving people away from the idea that price is the most important selling feature, and making them realise that expertise, knowledge and after sales support is far more important. That’s the biggest challenge we face every day.

What will be the next big thing?

Multitouch and multiuser screens – the ability for more than one user to interact simultaneously over one computer or screen, is going to be the next big thing in this space. The reason we like that is that with the economic climate we’re in, if people can buy one computer to do the job for six people, then the ability to save money is there and the ability to increase productivity.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I spend time with my wife and two children mostly. We like to travel – this year we’ve gone to Fiji, and we’ll be going to New Zealand later in the year. Because I work such long hours – I have conversations very regularly with resellers way past midnight, I’m very devoted to the business – it means I’m distracted from the family, so when I’m not working I tend to be with the family. That could be at the beach, or at karate lessons with my son, or at dancing lessons with my daughter.

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Have you done much travelling?

Yes, I’ve done a fair bit, especially this year. We’ve just opened up Tegatech Europe – we’ll make more formal announcements in December – and we’re also going to open up Tegatech USA. With that in mind, I’ve been to Europe and America quite a bit this year, just making sure we’re establishing those two correctly.

What makes travelling a highlight for you?

The food. I love fine dining – I’m a big fan of, for example, going down to the fish markets in Seattle and sitting down in one of the restaurants there and eating fresh crab from the bay. We try and find the best food and wine available and make that part of the travel experience. It’s quite funny how the kids have caught on to that, and it’s not rare for them to order some of the more unique foods you wouldn’t expect a kid to order – lobster, olives or cheeses or things like that.

Do you like gadgets?

I love and am obsessed with gadgets. I own well over 30 tablet PCs and we have Exchange Server set- up in house. Having a mobile PC business has helped feed that addiction too.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

When I went to university I studied psychology. I left that early in favour of the IT industry and becoming an entrepreneur. My passion has always been to be an entrepreneur; I’ve always seen myself as a successful business person. I often joke that my fi rst business was 100 per cent profit, and it was based on selling my birthday and Christmas toys from the age of seven. The next day after a birthday or Christmas it wasn’t rare for me to have a stall out the front of the apartment selling off these goods at a 100 per cent markup.

What is your biggest ambition going forward?

It’s to make the Tegatech brand global. We have the opportunity to have a global platform with the Tegatech Australia, Europe and America branding, and we’ve got multicurrency ability now with those countries.