Stephen Patrick, founder and CEO of CableFree: Wireless Excellence

Photo of Stephen Patrick

Stephen Patrick is the founder and CEO of CableFree: Wireless Excellence, a leading Oxford based wireless telecommunications company which designs and manufactures high performance equipment for wireless connectivity. Stephen founded the company in 1996 – celebrating 20 years this year – and CableFree wireless solutions have since been deployed in over 70 countries worldwide are used in telecoms, corporate, government, defence, CCTV security, healthcare, education, broadcast and other specialist applications. Stephen has over 25 years hands-on experience in technology and communications since completing his education at the University of Cambridge.

What is your background?  Why are you doing this?

I was born and raised in Oxford, so naturally I escaped to study as an undergrad in Cambridge! I completed a degree entitled “Electrical and Information Sciences Tripos” leading to an MA, having completed a year out learning key skills in a Government communications organisation. After graduation I worked for Cambridge-based technology companies then started my own consultancy firm – designing solutions and solving problems for high profile organisations including the London Underground!  My first experience of electronics was building a crystal radio set as a kid – and fixing old televisions by swapping valves around to get them working again. The “home computer revolution” of 1982 brought a Sinclair ZX Spectrum to the family home – which replaced my previous passion of building model aeroplanes.

Away from technology, I have been involved with Oxford-based charities including serving as Chair of Trustees with projects related to youth, arts, culture, food and poverty – and have enjoyed sharing my time and expertise to the non-profit sector. As a life philosophy, giving not only lightens the soul but brings hope to those in need.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
CableFree: Wireless Excellence Logo

The transformational process from taking inspirational ideas through to visionary, creative and innovative products and services. Entrepreneurship is about changing the world in a positive manner, one step at a time.

What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

The realisation that choosing the life of an entrepreneur brought the greatest freedom to innovate and deliver cutting edge, market disrupting products to the global marketplace.

So what would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?

1. Vision – being able to see the ideas realised keeps the mind focused on the creative philosophy.
2. Passion – fuelling the zest and desire to think big and innovate.
3. Determination – the resilience and drive for strong and motivational leadership.

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?

Delivering the newest product in our range to a customer and seeing it perform perfectly… and nothing better than the same customer telling you years later that it’s still there, working perfectly and they want more! At CableFree: Wireless Excellence we strive for excellence and creating the best solutions in the market, and hearing customers tell us how they are using our products all over the world is highly rewarding. We’re celebrating our 20th Birthday in the company this year (2016) and that is a great accomplishment in the turbulent and fast-changing wireless industry.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to”. Khalil Gibran – Lebanese artist, poet, and writer.

If you could have 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?

How do we focus our inner thoughts, psyche and talents to make the world a genuinely better and fairer place?

What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?

Supplying the BBC high definition Gigabit Wireless video links originally for the 2012 Olympics and seeing live Team GB interviews transmitted over them! … Amongst many other high profile customers and projects.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is a great way to find out your limitations, hone a wide range of skills and learn from the experiences – including how to tackle seemingly-impossible tasks and situations.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?

Oxford really is the City of Dreaming Spires. We are based at the Oxford Science Park and it really couldn’t get better. There is so much talent and cutting-edge innovation in Oxford and that suits an innovative company like CableFree: Wireless Excellence.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship information or resources in Oxfordshire, where would you send them?

I would recommend any new entrepreneur to talk to successful businesses in Oxford. There is so much to learn from experience. Strive for resilience, reliability and perfection – building firm foundations based on these sets the tone.

Any last words of advice?

Don’t settle for second best, set your goal on creating perfection.