TheBridge profile: Patrick Johnson
Name: Patrick Johnson
Current city: San Francisco, CA
Current job: VP - Tech Banking, SVB (Silicon Valley Bank)
Past job: Solutions Studio, Booz Allen Hamilton
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? 111 Minna Gallery (in SF)
Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job. Always test your assumptions. I've learned a lot over the years from working as a policy analyst, startup co-founder, management consultant and now, most recently, as a technology banker and financier. Every project recommendation, investment thesis, corporate initiative, etc., will ultimately be informed by your assumptions and biases, so these better be known and accurate! Seek out divergent viewpoints, data sets and approaches, and stay agile by constantly testing and improving your assumptions to make better decisions and drive better outcomes.
Q. Job advice in three words? Enthusiastic, Focused, Industrious
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? This might sound counter-intuitive, but one of the ways I'm trying to bridge the gap between politics and tech is to simply ignore the headlines and stay focused on the things that matter when getting a startup off the ground. Most of what you see on TV or read in the papers is just a distraction, and startup founders have enough to worry about. Would it be helpful if DC and Silicon Valley were better aligned? Of course. But for most of the startups I work with, this should towards the bottom of the list of things to worry about.
Q: Morning routine? I start off with two double espresso macchiatos. I splurged on a commercial grade Rancillio espresso machine from Italy earlier this year. Once the caffeine starts to hit, I'll check emails and prioritize the top things I want to accomplish that day. This is usually followed by either heading to the gym or the office, depending on what time my meetings start. (side note: I've been trying to re-frame "routine" to "ritual" as part of a broader focus towards more mindfulness and presence...routines are too mechanical!)
Q: Last time you completely unplugged? This year marked our 4th Burning Man and we spent a full 11 days on the playa (we arrived early to help build our camp). I'll always make a point of treating Burning Man as a digital detox, even as cell service gets better each year and you see more and more people using their phones. With technology continuing to infiltrate all aspects of our life and compete for our attention (our most precious asset!), I think its more important than ever for people to regularly unplug and take a break from digital distraction.
Q: If you had to live in another city, what would it be? Before moving to San Francisco earlier this year, my wife and I had spend most of the last 6 years living and working as expats in Paris and Singapore. We'd love to return to Paris someday, but right now there's no place more exciting to be than Silicon Valley.