Michael Patterson

Founder of Romeo Power

Michael Patterson is a visionary entrepreneur with a passion for disruption. He started his career building companies in the mobile market, solving complex problems for businesses, mobile carriers, and financial institutions. All three companies he created prior to Romeo have been acquired, the last one by American Express.

In 2015, Patterson started Romeo Power to apply his innovative experience to ending energy poverty. Patterson assembled a team of engineers with deep tribal knowledge for the design, development, and deployment of the most powerful and sophisticated battery packs on the planet.

Patterson is the CEO and Chairman of Romeo Power, leading its global strategy, business development and fundraising.

Where did the idea for Romeo Power come from?

From a conscious effort to create my next company into something that mixes my background in tech with an effort toward helping the environment.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

It’s like this…I wake up at 4 am and pray, meditate, read the Zohar, and then work out. I’m typically “Game on” by 7 am and then deal with the biggest problems/issues by 9:30 am. I spend the rest of the day on sales activities.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Two things… first, it has to be a “Hell Yes”, or it’s a No. If I do it, the most important thing is to have certainty…. and then I make a list of the steps to accomplish, one by one, and check them off until I get there.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The electrification of trucks.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I actually listen when prospects/customers are talking to me. I use something called reflective listening and repeat back what the customer says… now they know I understand.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Slow down and do it right the first time.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The mind commands and the body obeys…

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I pivot… change strategy… I start with an idea and then listen and find the sweet spot. In my last company (sold to AMEX) we were trying to sell an authentication product w/o a lot of success when JP Morgan/Chase asked me if we could do Jailbreak detection. I said of course, and we built that product immediately and went on to sell it to 10 other major financial institutions.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I hire all my competitions best salespeople by offering rich option packages… this motivates the salesperson and brings in accounts.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In my 20’s I was a broker/trader of bonds and quickly became the number one salesperson in the firm… I ended up buying the firm and getting all the supervisory licenses and then tripling the company in size in 2 years… I didn’t pay attention to details, pulled a few dumb moves trying to trade out of a hole, and lost the firm, got heavily sanctioned, and was down $5.2M at age 28.

I got over this by keeping my head up and working down the debt… (always facing it and communicating)… I sold my next company for $16M three years later and my proceeds enabled me to pay this debt off.

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

I’ve sold two mobile and internet security software companies so I will give you this one:
Security software companies are all about defense….how about offense?… instead of trying to not be the most vulnerable… try to be the financial institution that no one wants to ^@#& with because there will be retribution… I’m talking offensive security.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Shorts from Aviator nation… super comfortable

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I have built my own productivity tool called ENDER… I use it to push along all of my projects at a rapid pace… every project is assigned a person and a date due is recorded for every task. For publically available productivity, I use LinkedIn for hiring people and finding sales contacts.

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

Genghis Khan, The making of the modern world – Lots of excellent strategy.

What is your favorite quote?

From Risky Business… Sometimes u just have to say WTF and make your move.

Key Learnings:

  • Use reflective listening when dealing with prospects/customers (repeat back what they’ve said to you) so they know you are listening.
  • If a new idea isn’t a “hell yes!” then it’s a no.
  • Slow down and do it right the first time.