Patrick is originally from Alaska, currently studying an MBA at Said Business School in Oxford. He studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate, and was a co-founder at Diagnostics For All, a point-of-care diagnostics startup. He is currently developing Redbird Health Tech, a medical diagnostics distributor expanding access to health care in Ghana through community pharmacies.
Q: What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
A: Entrepreneurship, to me, is seeing the way you want the world to be and working towards that wearing any hat you need to.
Q: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
A: I realised that the most important aspect to being happy in life is to have it be interesting. I spent time in the Peace Corps, where I had autonomy, but was way over my head, and really liked it. Satisfaction comes from doing your own thing.
Q: So what would you say are the top skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
A: Flexibility is absolutely necessary. You and your team are responsible for everything, including the things you are not comfortable doing, so you need to be able to change and adapt where necessary. Persistence is also key; you need to be self-driven and be able to motivate yourself to a significant degree if you want to succeed. However, you do need to listen to other opinions.
Q: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
A: Hanging out with James at the Launchpad! But seriously, I never feel like I am just filling time. As an entrepreneur, you are creating your own direction, so I am never bored.
Q: What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
A: There is a great company called Sidai in Kenya, which is a franchise for farm inputs. They saw an ecosystem need that limited others in the ecosystem, so formed Sidai to solve that problem. It is very different from traditional aid. This has been my inspiration for Redbird.
Q: If you could have 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
A: I do speak to them, but I am always interested in the lessons they have learned along the way. If you pay attention to lessons learned from any company, you come away better prepared for what’s ahead.
Q: What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
A: With Diagnostics For All, it was when we got the first results and photos back from our trials on liver function. We proved we were more than hype, and that it was useful.
Q: What would you say have been some of your mistakes as an entrepreneur?
A: With DFA, I wish we had moved faster. Many decisions are damaging if they are not taken quickly enough. Change it or move on. Also, being able to recognise when we needed help. Very important!
Q: What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
A: The University is such a great resource – Oxford really has the world coming through its doors. Any question you may have can be answered here. There is so much energy focused towards entrepreneurship, so we should be building the wave of support here. The only problem with Oxford is that it is like a little brother to London – you have to run twice as fast and stand twice as tall for people to think you’re the same as a London startup.
Q: If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship information or resources in Oxfordshire, where would you send them?
A: Enterprising Oxford of course! (laughs). The Launchpad is a no-brainer really, as there are so many great people who can help you. And then shamelessly talk about your idea to anyone and everyone. You never know who you will meet along the way.
Q: Any last words of advice?
A: My guru words of wisdom would be to make sure you remember what got you excited about your idea in the first place. You will need to draw on that to keep moving forward, and not get paralyzed with decisions or setbacks.