In our latest Spotlight, we bring you Patrick Lee of Berkeley, California.
Patrick is a Serial Entrepreneur focused on consumer tech and entertainment, and was most notably known as the CEO and Co-Founder of the very well known movie and reviews website, Rotten Tomatoes.
Since then, Patrick has stayed very busy in the online world, going on to create other websites like XMFish.com, Xiaban.com, alivenotdead.com and most recently co-founded Hobo Labs. Patrick also serves as Executive Producer for the movie, The Heavenly Kings, directed by Daniel Wu. When Patrick is not working behind a keyboard, he serves as an advisor to many startups as well as mentors to students and faculty at Founder Institute, Berkeley LAUNCH Startup Accelerator and more!
Without further delay, we have asked for a small fraction of time in this busy entrepreneur’s life in regards to what goes on behind the scenes with his work and efforts.
Q. What is your type of work and its purpose?
I’m working on a new startup called Hobo Labs making mobile games. Prior to that did a number of other startups, the most well known of which is the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. For all of these companies, my personal goal was to make a company with my friends doing something I was interested in.
Q. What brought you where you are today?
Family, friends, school, skill, hard work, and a lot of luck.
Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?
Rotten Tomatoes. We believed in it enough that we gave our design firm to another company in order to focus solely on the site. We had a feeling there was something special there when Roger Ebert wrote an article highlighting his favorite movie websites and he included Rotten Tomatoes. Also when we got a spike in traffic when Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life” opened in theaters and we realized that a lot of the traffic was coming from Pixar itself.
Q. What steps did you take to build your audiences?
Search engine optimization and word of mouth.
Q. What gives you the most inspiration?
Great friends, traveling, video games and anime.
Q. What are your toughest challenges?
After we sold Rotten Tomatoes, I moved to Asia (China and then Hong Kong) to try doing some startups out there.
I learned a few things:
1) Do business where your network is strongest. In my case that would have been the Bay Area.
2) If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to pivot and/or try something new. Perseverance is a great trait, but sometimes you have to know when to fold.
Q. Where do you see the web 5 years from now?
The web will be everywhere there is a screen. And there will be screens everywhere.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give other creatives?
Do what you are interested in and have fun. Do your best to stay positive even when things aren’t going your way. Don’t get overly focused on money; your health, family, and friends are way more important.
We want to thank Patrick for taking time to talk with us. To visit more of Patrick Lee’s work, simply visit the following: