37 Questions with Patrick Finan

Block Club co-founder and principal Patrick Finan doesn’t sit still for long. When he’s not cooking for friends or starting something new—his day, a business—he’s probably en route to his latest travel destination. In our latest 37 Questions installment, a humble nod to Vogue’s 73, he fills us in on the details of his forward momentum.

  1. What’s the last thing you ate?

    One Swedish Fish

  2. What are your plans for the weekend?

    I’m heading to Price Edward County in Ontario to hang with some friends and relax.

  3. What’s good in Prince Edward County?

    The food and wine are supposed to be great so I’m looking forward to a weekend of good eating and drinking.

  4. What is something you’ve learned about life recently?

    Good things take time. And that it’s okay to fail.

  5. What makes you nervous?

    Losing my sense of optimism as I get older

  6. Do you collect anything?

    Travel experiences

  7. What’s your most-prized travel experience?

    Making close friends in Copenhagen

  8. What are you looking forward to?

    Practicing French after I get out of work

  9. Why are you studying French?

    I’ll be in Paris this fall for my Block Club residency. Had I gone down a more traditional path, my plan was to study French in college.

  10. What do you usually eat for breakfast?

    A smoothie made with Greek yogurt, fruit, and protein powder, or two eggs and some fruit. Usually with an Americano. But I don’t need coffee to get my day started.

  11. If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?

    Time travel. I would go back as far as I want, but I would never go past present day. I don’t necessarily want to know what comes next.

  12. What year would you travel to first?

    The Jurassic era would be fun for a minute or two.

  13. What is the best thing you heard someone say today?

    I’m really excited to be working here.

  14. What song makes you want to dance?

    “Bad Girls”

  15. What is the best Halloween costume you ever wore?

    One year, I was one half of the Grady twins—the little girls from The Shining.

  16. Who was the other half?

    My husband, Brandon. The eight-inch height difference made for a hilarious pairing.

  17. Who wore it best?

    Brandon

  18. What brand do you love?

    Zingerman’s

  19. What do you love about it?

    The transparent, deliberate way they grow, the way they hold themselves accountable to their customers and each other, their “better tomorrow than today” philosophy

  20. What brings you happiness?

    Cooking for friends

  21. What are you excited to cook next?

    Anything from the farmers market. And I’m hoping to push past my Mediterranean flavor comfort zone and get more into cooking Indian and Asian food.

  22. What is your favorite podcast?

    How I Built This with Guy Raz

  23. Why?

    Entrepreneurs can be very inspiring. I’ve been involved with four startups in the last twelve years. Block Club and Oxford Pennant have been successful. Two of the startups didn’t make it. One of them was a big failure, with people losing their jobs and investors losing money. Failure is humbling. Starting over is scary. The podcast is a great reminder that nothing comes easy and building something great takes an incredible amount of sustained effort.

  24. What’s a cause that’s close to your heart?

    LGBTQ rights

  25. What is your best habit?

    I’m a really good starter.

  26. What catalyzed you to start Block Club?

    Classic entrepreneur thought: I can do this better.

  27. What is your worst habit?

    In my haste to get started, I don’t always think things through.

  28. What words do you live by (or try to)?

    “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Big emphasis on the “or try to” part of the question.

  29. Where do you find inspiration?

    In the people around me, the people I’ve met, and the people I’ll meet—I really like people.

  30. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

    Make it a great day.

  31. What embarrasses you?

    Not much

  32. What makes you proud?

    Being able to provide a workplace for creatives in my hometown

  33. Who do you look up to?

    People who don’t give up, who push through the tough parts, in pursuit of happiness and excellence.

  34. Where do you go to reset and recharge?

    My couch

  35. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    In Buffalo with less hair and more wisdom

  36. What do you want for Buffalo?

    I’d like for us as Buffalonians to realize that it’s wonderful to be a fun and friendly midsize city—a great place to live today—instead of always comparing ourselves to who we used to be in the past.

  37. What do you want for our country?

    A lot. Perhaps we can start by remembering that in between two extremes is a place called the middle. And I wish that voters focused more on local elections than the presidential election every four years.