Lightbulb moment: Alum Mark Pittman shares how law degree supports entrepreneurship

May 27, 2024 | Alumni

by Lindsay Wilcox

Mark Pittman, a young white man wearing a baseball cap and hoodie with a beach and the ocean in the backgroundOne night in March 2014, Mark Pittman (’15) was stuck at a traffic light on 700 E after leaving the University of Utah campus. Suddenly, he had an inspiration for a brand-new business.

“This was my ‘ahhhh’ moment, when the lightbulb sparked. I set out to understand the traffic and transportation system, its drivers, how it’s funded and how it functions technically,” Pittman recalls.

Soon after, Pittman founded Blyncsy, a software company that partners with dash-camera companies to share footage of America’s roads and provide real-time insights into roadway quality. Blyncsy has worked with several cities and states to improve transportation, including Hawaii, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Alaska, Plano, Texas, and New York City. The company is also collaborating with the University of Utah’s Deep Learning Certificate Program to help students learn new techniques that also use artificial intelligence.

“I started Blyncsy as a student. Navigating law school and building a company at the same time was a challenge, but it influenced my career path,” Pittman says. “Law school helped me ‘issue-spot’ and identify where a landmine might be buried; this gave me the confidence to hire lawyers instead of being one.”

While Pittman does not work as a lawyer, his experience at S.J. Quinney College of Law—which he attended while also earning his MBA from the University of Utah—continues to impact his career.

“Business school taught me how the world works, and law school taught me how to think about the world. From the first contracts class when you learn how a verbal contract is made when you order a hamburger at a restaurant, your eyes open to the interconnected web of the law. This knowledge and understanding will stick with me forever,” Pittman says. “It was the epitome of my intellectual curiosity being unleashed and one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.”

He points out that many leaders of Fortune 100 companies have a juris doctor and that his degree prepared him for business.

“Knowing where the issues are, managing risk and being able to identify where there’s room to negotiate and where there isn’t, are critical parts of managing a business and building it,” Pittman says. “From contract review to NDAs and employment agreements, having a law degree allowed me to be intelligent about where to employ a lawyer and what was a standard form or industry-standard language.”

Whether you’re working as an attorney or judge or starting your own company, the field of law has a strong history of entrepreneurship, Pittman says.

“Opening your own law firm or trying a new area of law are both fraught with risk. You motivate yourself each day if you want to eat at the end of it,” he explains. “The law is crucial to business far and wide, and a law degree sets you apart.”

Pittman is most proud that Blyncsy never skipped a payroll as a startup. Though he later sold Blyncsy to a private company, he remains as CEO.

“Balancing cash in the bank with the right amount of growth is an incredible challenge. I’m thrilled we were able to pay our team and continue our trajectory throughout the eight years we were privately held,” he says. “People are a company’s biggest resource and its biggest challenge. What I learned was that your job as a leader is to provide a supportive environment for your team and help solve problems with them as they arise.”

Alumni: We want to hear about your personal and professional accomplishments! Share them with us through Class Notes, which we publish each winter in the alumni publication Res Gestae.