Bryan Pate – Co-Founder and Co-President of ElliptiGO

Bryan Pate earned a BS in Earth Systems from Stanford University in 1995.  Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant. As a Marine Officer, Bryan led a platoon of Scout Snipers during a deployment to the Persian Gulf and also served as an intelligence officer on an admiral’s staff.  After the Marines, Bryan accepted a strategic marketing position at semiconductor equipment manufacturer Palomar Technologies, Inc.  While at Palomar, Bryan was promoted to product marketing manager and was responsible for new products.  In that role, he helped lead 2 new product development efforts at Palomar. In 2002, Bryan left Palomar to attend Columbia Law School.  After graduation, he completed a 1-year federal court clerkship and then joined McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm.

In 2005, during his federal court clerkship, Bryan approached Brent Teal, a friend and former Palomar co-worker, with the idea for the ElliptiGO.  In 2008, after 3 years of working with Brent to design, develop and test prototypes, Bryan left McKinsey to work full-time on the ElliptiGO project.  Bryan and Brent co-founded ElliptiGO Inc. at the end of 2008 with the goal of commercializing the world’s first elliptical bicycle.  As a company co-founder and co-president, Bryan has taken the lead on corporate strategy, marketing and fundraising.

Bryan is an accomplished endurance athlete, having completed numerous running and triathlon events, including Ironman Florida in 1999.

What are you working on right now?

A low-impact running device called ElliptiGO.

Where did the idea for company come from?

I am an injured former runner and running was always a core part of my life.  Basically, I wanted the product.

What does your typical day look like?

I am at the office with my dog by around 7:30 or 8:00 AM.  I spend time trying to figure out how to raise awareness about our product.  I go for a run on an ElliptiGO in the afternoon and leave the office with my dog by 6:00 PM.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I find the right people and get them bought into the idea and then make sure they have the tools needed to execute effectively.

3 trends that excite you?

– The increasing numbers of runners.

– The decreasing cost of technology.

– The growth in the number of elite runners using our product.

What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Clerking for a judge.  I learned that if your job makes you want to jump out of a window, you’re in the wrong profession.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would be nicer to people.

What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?

Be willing to give up some of my ownership of the idea so that others can really get behind it in a big way.

Tell us a secret…

I actually do like my dog – a lot.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Reusable printer paper.  Why someone hasn’t figured out how to evolve ink, paper and the printing process so that you can reuse a single sheet of paper 100+ times is truly shocking to me.  How hard could that be?

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Unfortunately, it’s Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.  It’s actually a really good read and has some good advice for certain kinds of potential entrepreneurs.

If you weren’t working on ElliptiGO, what would you be doing?

Hopefully teaching.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why.

Good question.  I don’t have time for Twitter, but I recommend following:

– Shaq because when I did use Twitter, some of his tweets were ridiculous.

– Obama because he seems important and I believe he tweets.

– “The” Joel Stein because he is fairly clever.

When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Last night–I laugh out loud every time I watch Modern Family.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Bill Walton, the legendary basketball star.

Do you think it is it a good idea to leave a corporate job and start your own company?

I think it depends on your tolerance for risk, how unhappy you are in your current position and what the start-up opportunity is.  Bottom line: the corporate job is almost always going to be more lucrative in the long run unless you get exceptionally lucky, and it is almost certainly less stressful and more stable.  But if you have the luxury of gambling with your career, then taking a swing for the fence will almost certainly be more meaningful to you.

What is your near term goal?

To do the 11.67-mile climb up Mt. Palomar in 90 minutes or less on an ElliptiGO.