Patrick (Pat) McCarthy is an entrepreneur at heart and has worked hard, and worked smart to climb his way to the top. I've personally known Pat for the past nine years and it was fun to interview him and have the rare opportunity to catch up.
We met at a local Starbucks and talked over a chocolate milk (his choice) and water (my choice-they didn't have the beverage I wanted and somehow the closest alternative-a cucumber flavored spritzer-sounded like a salad smoothie).
When I first met Pat, he was an Executive Producer at Palo Alto Software. He was also the owner and developer of a successful website called Wakeboarder.com. A few years later, Pat left Palo Alto to join Right Media; a company that specialized in advertising exchange (similar format to the stock market), where they auctioned off unsold online advertising space. Wright Media was later acquired by Yahoo! and with hard work and smart decisions, he is now the Vice President of Product Marketing at Yahoo!.
I asked Pat exactly what his title meant and he said essentially he manages a team. The team's goal is to understand the problems and needs of their customers in order to determine how Yahoo! can build a product and associated advertising campaign to take the product to market successfully.
Pat is very thankful to the internet for providing opportunities that allow him to live in his hometown of Eugene, OR. He loves being close to family and friends and says the quality of living in Eugene is so high that it's worth the extra travel. Yahoo! has corporate offices on both sides of the US, but he spends most of his time commuting to the Silicon Valley offices in California. He admitted if he was less ambitious he probably wouldn't travel as much, but he feels it's important to meet and do business in person; face to face. This is probably a wise choice that has helped him climb his way to the top so quickly.
Pat is an entrepreneur to the core and never thought he would intentionally work for a big company. However, he is passionate about the industry and working for Yahoo! allows him the opportunity to work with smart people; whom he luckily gets along with very well. Pat stressed to me that while he enjoys his work, he doesn't want to miss out on the joys of being a husband and father. He works hard to maintain a good balance between work and home.
Pat is married to his high school sweetheart; Heather. They have three beautiful children and are getting ready to move into a custom tour home which will also house his new home office.
I asked Pat to describe the dress code or dress "understanding" of his peers at Yahoo!. Pat said essentially there isn't a strict dress code. At the corporate offices in Silicon Valley, it's common to see CEO's in sandals and T-shirts. He said it's strange to see a man in a suit at the California offices. I asked if there was a difference between the dress style at the Yahoo! corporate offices on the West coast versus the East coast. He said the sales staff in New York who work with the "Madison Avenue accounts" wear suits regularly, but no tie. (business casual east coast style)
Working at a satellite office in Eugene, or at his home office where he talks on the phone most of the day, means Pat can wear what he likes. He said his father will walk into his office and see men in T-shirts, shorts and a baseball hat and can't believe they dress for work that way!
Pat mostly wears Banana Republic, Gap or Old Navy because his wife Heather worked for this retail line before they were married. He likes to wear Cole Haan shoes because he travels a lot and finds the Nike Air aspect of them very comfortable for all of his airport walking. He admitted that he probably out-dresses most in the Yahoo offices because it's not a dressy culture. However, he feels better, when he is dressed better.
Pat's pearl of wisdom into the techie clothing culture is that "it's not necessary to dress for your level of success, but it helps."
I asked Pat to describe his clothing style. He said he doesn't want to be trendy for the sake of trendy. His goal is to look timeless and consistent. He said he doesn't have a lot of impending needs to dress nice in his line of work, but his wife likes him to look nice.
Pat said his wife Heather shops for him 60 - 75% of the time. Pat doesn't hate shopping, it's more of a time issue. He said he used to like shopping with Heather, but it's difficult now with three children and a busy work schedule. He depends on Heather's advice and needs to try things on to get Heather's approval. He said it's always a risk when he shops alone to know if he is buying the right items or not.
He said he knows what he likes, but isn't always sure how to put it together and know how to layer or what coordinates with what. Heather advised him to look at what the mannequins are wearing for ideas but he finds it's not always the best look on him.
Pat's biggest clothing challenge is time. He doesn't have the time to shop or the time to keep up with the current styles. He said he reads the Wasabi Nights blog and finds it very helpful and will occasionally look at a Men's Style magazine, but otherwise, he never seeks out advice in a store.
Pat said he especially liked the Wasabi Nights undershirt post and while some might balk at the $26 price tag of the Banana Republic pima cotton undershirts, he said "it really makes a difference!"
I asked Pat what peeves he has regarding men's clothing and he said he hates sandals with socks. Then he laughed and admitted he wears his dress socks with sandals in his back yard after work! He said "I come home and step out of my dress shoes and into my back yard sandals. I always look down and laugh at myself."
He said he's not too picky and doesn't have any big aspirations for men's clothing but said he cringes when he sees men wearing bulky, white walking shoes. He said "I see men my age (30's) wearing them. Why?!"
Lastly, as I took a few quick photos of Pat outside the coffee shop, he asked me some questions about the Trunk Club. He said he loves the concept. I invited him to join and he said he's interested, but knows his wife Heather likes to shop for him. However, he said she doesn't have a lot of time anymore as a busy mother of three. I mentioned Trunk Club could be the extension of her. She could still make the shopping decisions without having to spend the actual time shopping.
As a wife myself, I can honestly relate to Heather's concern. I like to shop for my husband and like to keep tabs and have influence in what he wears. However, the main challenges are time and my frustration having to return things that didn't fit or he didn't like (picture me rolling my eyes here). Lastly, husbands want their wife's opinions and guidance, but they are quite sensitive to her feedback and suggestions. I find as a Trunk Club consultant, I can say things the wife might say, but he will listen to me since I am an outside, expert, opinion. I love having wives and girlfriends involved in the Trunk Club experience for men who want her approval.
To Pat (Mr. Chocolate Milk), thank you for sharing your time with me and your wonderfully candid clothing experiences. It was really nice to see you again and I look forward to seeing your gorgeous, new home!
-Lisa Bruckner Trunk Club Expert