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IAM1981 – Entrepreneur Develops an Active Solution for Deskbound Employees

Podcast Interview with Patrick Harrison

In the CEO Podcast episode, the guest is Patrick Harrison, a Kinesiologist and designer of CoreChair. With a background in designing specialized seating solutions for individuals with mobility challenges, Patrick developed this innovative active sitting solution for deskbound employees.

Key Points:

  • Background: Patrick's first successful business focused on designing specialized seating solutions for individuals dependent on wheelchairs for mobility. In 2008, he used his experience to create CoreChair, an active sitting solution for deskbound employees.
  • CoreChair: This product aims to reduce health risks associated with prolonged sitting, such as back pain and metabolic disorders, by encouraging active sitting.
  • CEO Hack: Patrick suggests using peer networks, especially on LinkedIn, Google, and the book “Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution” by Tom Peters to inspire and support business growth.
  • CEO Nugget: Patrick's advice to entrepreneurs is to take excellent care of customers because they are crucial to your success.
  • CEO Defined: As a serial entrepreneur, Patrick sees a CEO as someone who understands how to make key decisions, pivot when necessary, and implement those decisions effectively.

Previous Episode: entrepreneur-develops-an-active-solution-for-deskbound-employees

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Patrick Harrison Teaser 00:00

So we set out to design a mechanism that would act much like the stability ball. That it would move and create a more healthy environment for people over long duration to minimize back pain and stimulate their metabolism.

Intro 00:12

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:41

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Patrick Harrison from CoreChair.

It's awesome to have you on the show, Patrick.

Patrick Harrison 00:50

Hey, Gresham. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Gresham Harkless 00:52

No problem. What I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Patrick so you can learn a little bit more about him and all the awesome things that he's doing.

Patrick Harrison is a kinesiologist and designer of the CoreChair. His first successful business focused on the design of specialized seating solutions for individuals who were dependent on wheelchairs for mobility.

In 2008, Patrick leveraged this experience-based knowledge to create the core chair an active sitting solution for desk-bound employees. He has become a source of knowledge for individuals and corporations to identify health risks manifesting as back pain and metabolic disorders and to implement solutions in the workplace.

Patrick it's super awesome to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Patrick Harrison 01:35

You got it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 01:36

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. The very first question that I have is just to introduce yourself and build a little bit more upon the background that I read about you. So could you tell us your CEO story and give us a quick peek into your story and what allowed you to start your business?

Patrick Harrison 01:47

Thanks. For sure. I think I'm one of those people that have been identified as a serial entrepreneur, and that would have begun pretty much after I left university, maybe even before that. But I started the business designing seating solutions for people in wheelchairs and for people who got up in the morning and sat all day until they went to bed at night. With a variety of different physical challenges, built that business up, had international distribution, and then sold it in 1995 to U.S.-based Invacare Corporation.

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Then as an unemployed retiree, too young to settle down in those ways. I got into a lot of different projects, like land development and alpaca farming and doing business consulting and investing in different companies and working on boards and such. Then this whole thing came up about the sitting disease and I saw people taking balls to their office.

So that's how I got inspired by the need to have movement and healthy workplaces. That's the current venture that I'm engaged in as a CEO.

Gresham Harkless 02:52

Awesome.Yeah. Definitely, it's something that's needed.

And as I, record this, I'm sitting in my chair and I'm always trying to sit up straight to make sure that I'm doing what probably the core chair already does. So could you tell us, a little bit more about what the core chair is and what exactly you do with that business?

Patrick Harrison 03:07

Yeah. Basically in the world of ergonomics, office chair, seating in particular, the chair designs have not changed dramatically in terms of function in probably 150 years since they first became available. Obviously, they look much better. They function much better. So we set out to design a mechanism that would act much like the stability ball and that it would move and create more healthy environment for people over long duration to minimize back pain and stimulate their metabolism.

But in the course of doing this, we had to decide whether we wanted to conform and just do what every other office chair didn't look like, or if we were going to come up with what we now refer to as a disruptive innovation. I think as a CEO in this setting with a product like this, it's actually pretty exciting because a lot of people are really resistant to change. So it really leverages your skill sets and your creative imagination and how to overcome objections and resistance to change.

Gresham Harkless 04:07

Yeah, I would definitely, agree with that especially anytime you're doing something that's disruptive, it's something that people are not used to. So they have to wrap their minds around it to take it in and understand that it's a better way.

So I guess could you talk a little bit more about what makes you guys unique and what's unique about what it is that you're doing?

Patrick Harrison 04:25

I think, probably the elevator talk is this is a chair that optimizes sitting posture. Sure it also introduces movement, which is important for our body. Our human bodies were not meant to be sedentary as they are going from hunters and gatherers many, many generations ago to now hooked on our technology. We don't move and we really do need to move. The company, we spent 7. 5 years developing this product, which at times was a scary journey because it was a significant investment in both time and money. It was recruiting shareholders and investors to believe in what this was really all about and carry the data to get this product to market.

So we've been a market now for just about 3 years. Our main focus has been North America, trying to build a team that can help to build the market presence and awareness. Fortunately, we've actually attracted a lot of international attention. So we're working with potential distributor for Europe based in Germany. We're also working with another company out of China for distribution in China, which wasn't originally on the radar screen.

So sometimes you make plans knowing that it's your starting point, and at the end of the day, you might end up somewhere totally different.

Gresham Harkless 05:35

Yeah, I think that's the funny and awesome thing about business is that sometimes you expect A to go to B, but sometimes A goes to D and D goes to Z and then it comes back to B. So you never know how things will take you.

Patrick Harrison 05:46


Gresham Harkless 05:47

Now one of the awesome things that I get to do is just to ask any CEOs and entrepreneurs that are on this show for a CEO hack.

So that might be like a resource that you use on a daily basis, it could be a book, it could be an app, but what CEO hack do you use and feel like it makes you more efficient as a businessowner?

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Patrick Harrison 06:03

I'll tell you stepping back a few years when I had my previous company, special health systems, I was a junkie for learning things. Because at the time I remember trying to build a business plan and my real challenge at the time was trying to figure out who I could talk to that could help me build my business plan. And then when I found that person, what would I ask? So I was a junkie for all kinds of different kind of leading edge things. At the time, there was an author by the name of Tom Peters, and he wrote a book called Thriving on Chaos, actually wrote a number of books, but you may have heard of them or read them.

But I remember that his work just blew me away because his underlying message was all about your customer is what you're here for. Your customer is always right. If you take really good care of your customers, they will take care of your business. So, our customers, we offer a 12-year warranty and a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. If somebody has a problem, we just take care of it, and that was the moral of that whole message. In today's age, what I think I lean on a lot of is my peer network to share what some might describe as horror stories at times.

But Kind of sharing successes, failures, challenges on a day-to-day basis. Staying connected through some awesome platforms like LinkedIn, where there are really good pearls of wisdom that are shared on a regular basis and just trying to stay on the forefront of new thoughts. I would say I use Google quite a bit from time to time.

Gresham Harkless 07:31

Yeah, don't we? Don't we all? But no, that's really awesome that you're able to take a book that you read and then you're able to implement it in your business, and you can see how that kind of translates over to that. So I think that's super awesome that you've been able to do that.

Now, I know you said that you've got a lot of pearls of wisdom or words of wisdom from the groups that you've been a part of and been able to collaborate with, I wanted to ask you if you had maybe one or a few things that you can give as a quote and quote CEO nugget, which might be those words of wisdom that we can carry on to help us out with our businesses.

Patrick Harrison 08:03

I think probably just to reiterate the point about why we're in business, if we didn't have customers, then we wouldn't be here. I just feel very strongly that if we take really good care of our customers, they will take care of our business. And if we've got one customer who's unhappy it's the old adage that we've heard for many, many years is that one person who's unhappy is going to tell 10 people.

The one person who is happy might only tell one or two or three people. So I think it's really important that we make sure that even at the end of the day, if we can't resolve a customer's concerns or whatever the issue might be, at least if we make a sincere effort to do so and don't burn bridges and keep building the business towards the future, there's a whole bunch of other things that we could probably dig into of day-to-day things that you could do to make your business better.

But I think the highest priority is the customer. In saying that, I think we need to look at customers and suppliers within our organization that we need to make sure that our team is buying in and part of that whole philosophy so that you're not just feeding fodder to the front lines people who actually have to deal with the customers. They need to buy into it and understand it and be treated similarly.

Gresham Harkless 09:15

Yeah. I love that. I think often, with all the different things that you have to do, the marketing, the sales, the running the business, the management, sometimes there's technology. There are all these different things that sometimes you just forget about why you're in business and why you need to have a business, which is to have customers and making sure to take care of them. So that's insanely important to have at the forefront. And it's great that you guys are doing that.

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One of the next questions I have, is one of the reasons for this podcast, is we're open to have a range of different quote and quote CEOs on this podcast. So what I wanted to ask specifically for you, obviously being a serial entrepreneur, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Patrick Harrison 09:51

I think going back through my history of being a serial entrepreneur with fortunately more successes than failures, but still some failures being the CEO really means that you don't have to make all of the decisions, but you can make the real key decisions and you're not limited in what you can do.

So the biggest challenge I see with a lot of organizations is that when they make a plan, they're so hard and fast on that plan that it doesn't allow them to flex and deal with the waves that are coming and going on a day-to-day basis. So as a CEO, if I've got some really brilliant idea that somebody on the team brings forward, we can change our plan in a heartbeat and I'm all over that.

If I wasn't the CEO, I might get frustrated that I couldn't do that. So Probably why I think I'm probably not employable by somebody else, but it certainly is nice to be able to make decisions that you can act on right away.

Gresham Harkless 10:47

That's funny. Yeah. I often hear that sometimes the best, especially the serial entrepreneurs and business owners are often the worst employees because they want to just be able to make the changes.

And when they can't, that becomes frustration.

Patrick Harrison 10:59

For sure.

Gresham Harkless 11:00

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Patrick, I'm super appreciative of you taking some time out of your schedule to speak with us. What I wanted to do was just give you the floor to see if there was anything additional you want to tell our readers and our listeners.

And then finally if people want to learn more about core chair and get ahold of you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Patrick Harrison 11:16

Yeah, I appreciate that question. I guess my wisdom that I would put out to young entrepreneurs and young CEOs of startups in particular is that it's so important that if you have a dream that you chase it because you'll spend the rest of your life regretting if you don't and to be able to take charge and take the risk and get out there.

And yeah, sometimes you're going to fall down and bruise your shins and knees and elbows. But what you learn from doing that is immense, not just for your business potential and success, but also as an individual to really test what you're made of and make you feel really good about what you've accomplished.

Gresham Harkless 11:52

Awesome. Those are obviously very great words of wisdom. And for anybody that might be listening, what's the best way for them to get a core chair or learn more from you?

Patrick Harrison 12:02

We're always happy to make a core chair available. We have a We're located just above the city of Toronto in Canada and we're distributing internationally.

So probably the easiest way to connect with this is on our website.

Gresham Harkless 12:23

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. We'll definitely have that link in the show notes just in case anybody wants to link go directly to your site. But Patrick, thank you so much again for taking some time out of your schedule.

I truly appreciate all the awesome things that you're doing and the words of wisdom that you gave for us today.

Patrick Harrison 12:36

Thanks Gresham. I love what you're doing, so keep up with the great work.

Outro 12:39

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at This has been the I Am CEO podcast Jr.

Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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