Employee Spotlight Q&A: Patrick Hentschel
team meeting about transitioning feeds

Patrick is our Senior Director of Global Accounts and has been a member of the Feedonomics family since the very beginning! Based out of the small seaside town of Gualala, California, Patrick works as an integral leader on the sales team. On top of his contribution to the company, he is a passionate and dedicated advocate for mental health and environmental sustainability. Recently, we touched base with him to get some insight into his experience and unique lifestyle: 

Tell us about your early days working at Feedonomics!

Ah the old days! Funny to think of them that way, given that it was really only about three short years ago. 

We’ve really come so far. I believe I was the seventh employee, and now we’re well over 150 worldwide. Crazy!

I remember when I showed up for my interview, I had zero idea what the company did. I really just followed the trail of a Facebook ad describing a Woodland Hills tech start-up founded by two brainiac founders from UCLA, where I had just finished my BA in Psychology. Though I did try to dig up some details on the company, my prior work experience (experimental clinical psychology) was so far removed from the world of eCommerce that I had no real context to understand what “product feeds” were and why they were important. Proud to say that after 3 years I’ve almost got it figured it out!

calculator and finances

And what did you do before that?

Before Feedonomics I was coordinating an Anxiety and Depression research study at UCLA. We would recruit locals struggling with anxiety and depression, administer clinical interviews and computer-based behavioral experiments, then try to link their performance with neural activity measured via fMRI. The goal was to build a stronger understanding of these clinical disorders through the lens of neurobiology, ultimately so that we could design more targeted treatment protocols. I also ran a project where we partnered with NASA to deploy self-guided stress management training technology at Johnson Space Center. I remember one day while there we got to explore a simulated Mars habitat. That was fun!

So looking back after these three years, what has been your biggest accomplishment at Feedonomics?

This one’s easy. Within my first 2 months, I was assigned the highly coveted and prestigious task of… wait for it… finding a replacement water cooler. The incumbent machine had nobly outlived its time, but was ready for retirement. A few well-placed phone calls, and I had passed with flying colors.

Unfortunately, because we were just a young start-up then, we did not yet have a Filtered Water Division. Naturally they put me in Account Management instead. Soon after that, we were onboarding a major digital agency with 25 brands (each with less than 10 channel feeds) that needed to be fully transitioned within a two week period. That was a pretty big deal at the time, but NOTHING compared to the water cooler.

Please tell us. What’s up with the bus?

Ever want to buy a school bus? Check out govdeals.com or publicsurplus.com. Turns out you can buy these guys at auction often for next to nothing and in great condition, having been rigorously maintained for years by school districts.

I bought one originally with the intention of using it for camping trips with close friends. Then I did some napkin math (of course I subconsciously deferred doing this until AFTER I had already completed the purchase) and realized that it was light years more fuel efficient to just drive multiple hybrids or EVs versus transporting 10 people in a single bus that got a pitiable 7 miles per gallon (on a good day).

So then I did the next logical thing one would do: strip out the seats, put in a desk, and park in a lot overlooking the ocean. I get to share internet with my close friends that run an Ayurvedic center. If you work in tech and haven’t heard of that, look it up. You need it.

calculator and finances

Kudos to Feedonomics’ leadership for being so cool about letting me work off the beaten trail!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher, and on Sundays run a children’s (ages 6 to 12 years) outdoor adventure and yoga program called YogiScouts. Kids are growing up in a generation where none of the most important skills for life are taught in schools. What does it mean to conflict constructively? What skills do we need for conscious and effective communication? Nearly 20 years of schooling and this stuff never made the curriculum? Crazy!

These days I’m also very focused on climate change activism. Most recently, for the September 20th Global Climate Strike spurred by Greta Thunberg, myself and a group of colleagues organized a march and educational forum in our town where close to 200 people showed up. That’s 10% of our local population – the equivalent of 90,000 in San Francisco or 200,000 in New York City! Good, but not good enough. We definitely have our work cut out for us.

Most importantly, I live with a community of other like-hearted folks. We share a house and kitchen, jointly run a yoga center, support each other’s work, etc. The most important member of our community is Harvest, my red Siberian Husky. As you can see, he’s the best.