Just when you thought smart phones couldn’t get any smarter, something new comes along to disprove it. Mark Harward of Syndiant Inc. says his company has produced cutting-edge technology that not even the newest iPhone boasts (yet, anyway).

The Dallas-based company developed a light modulator that acts as a mini “projector” for handheld devices—basically, a chip that allows you to project images or documents from a cellphone onto a screen, wall, or whatever’s handy.

“We’re bringing a whole new level of projectors with higher resolution and better images at a lower cost,” Harward says. “That’s why so many customers are excited about our product.” If things go as the CEO has planned, current projectors will soon seem as out-of-date as cassette tapes and landlines.

AGE
50

TITLE/COMPANY
Co-founder, president, and CEO of Syndiant Inc.

TENURE
Four years.

EXPERIENCE
Worked at Texas Instruments for eight years and left in 1994 to start Test Chip Technologies. Sold Test Chip in 2002 and founded Syndiant two years later.

MANAGEMENT STYLE
I have a “less is more” philosophy. It’s really about building small teams with world-class people.

FAMILY
I’ve been married to my wife for 27 years, and we have an 18-year-old son who just graduated from J.J. Pearce High School.

FIRST JOB
Helping my family with a garden on my grandfather’s farm when I was about 7 or 8 years old. 

WORST JOB
Working in a coal mine one summer while I was in college. It was the hottest summer on record. I got a lot of motivation from that. Now I consider any job that involves air conditioning a great job.

EFFECTS OF ECONOMY
We’re just coming out of our “pre-revenue stage,” so this has been a great time for us to finish product development. The demand is so high right now that I don’t think the economy will have an effect. It has made fundraising very challenging, though.

HOBBIES
I like to mountain bike and exercise because it’s the one thing that completely diverts my attention from the problems I’m trying to solve. I’ve had to slow down recently, though, because I crashed my bike at the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve and had shoulder surgery.

BOOK
I usually read boring business literature stuff. Right now I’m rereading Inside the Tornado by
Geoffrey Moore.

TV
My son and I love Supernatural and I’m a big fan of watching Dallas Cowboys games.

WEAKNESS
There are so many demands on my time that I have to learn to say no. We’re a small and growing company and we’ve got over 100 customers at our door trying to get our product. Normally I want to please people, but sometimes I have to say no in order for the company to be successful.

IF YOU WEREN’T CEO OF SYNDIANT
When I retire from this life as a high-tech entrepreneur, I hope to get out of the city and be able to afford to buy a ranch here in Texas. That’s my long-term dream job. I was born and raised in Iowa and loved working my grandfather’s small farm where we raised corn, soybeans, and black angus cattle, but buying land to go into farming was not feasible in the late 1970s as interest rates were approaching 20 percent.

INDUSTRY TRENDS
Convergence—things are coming together to where you get more functionality. Smart phones are becoming more like laptop computers, and laptop computers are becoming more like smart phones.