Getting To Know You: Narik Patel, PayPal UK

What do you currently do?
I currently work for PayPal leading the PayPal Here cross-functional team. Our team is responsible for the PayPal Here product, a free app and pocket sized card reader that was launched in the UK in August 2013 allowing small businesses and businesses on the move to accept payments wherever they do business. A lot of the components of the PayPal Here product were designed and built from scratch, from the card reader to the web-store that sells it, so in a way, we’ve been running our own start-up inside a big company which is certainly a highlight of my career.

What is your inspiration in business?
My inspiration is to work on things that matter, that make a difference to people. The best part of my job is to talk to people who use PayPal Here or read their stories on social media and see how we’ve been able to power their potential. Technology is very accessible nowadays so I see it as our obligation to use it to simplify people’s lives and allow them to focus on what matters to them.

Who do you admire?
I admire people who are willing to create a bold vision, ask the hard questions and in that process create a special environment for the people around them. I just finished reading Creativity, Inc. from Ed Catmull and would definitively recommend it as he has some great views and stories that are closely aligned with how I see the world.

Looking back would you have done things differently?
I don’t spend time thinking of how I could change things that have already happened. I believe that making mistakes is part of the process, it’s not about not having them, and it’s about how you deal with them. In a team context I see it at as creating a safe environment where people feel allowed to take risks and make mistakes.

What defines your way of doing business?
Be obsessed with the customer experience and listen to all the messages they are giving through their feedback. They pay your bills and will always give you clear insights into what you could do better or differently.

Trust your team and they will go far. To me, trust isn’t about knowing that people won’t get things wrong, it means they know that you’ve got their back even when things do go wrong. Also make sure you get to know them – you’ll be surprised to learn what actually motivates them.

Communicate often, very often, but don’t overcomplicate it – simple, regular, informal chats can help you correct course and understand where your gaps are.

Enjoy what you’re doing – if you don’t, find something else to do. Life is too short to be wasting your time with things that don’t inspire you.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Make sure you have a solid vision and plan and then never give up. Remember to be flexible and adjust where necessary and more importantly, nothing happens overnight – it will be a lot of hard work, but incredibly rewarding when you see things coming together.