Paul Stannard, Chairman – Vector Innovation Fund
Interview by Phil Hellmuth
Business ace and poker king Phil Hellmuth is spreading the word of #Positivity, in an exceptional new book explaining how positivity has helped him become one of the leading and certainly most controversial but entertaining poker players in the world.
Hellmuth, who lives in California and is a regular at the card tables in Las Vegas, has won more than £20million from the game. He is also a serial entrepreneur serving on ten advisory boards and has been involved in three successful reverse takeovers.
Here, exclusively for The Business Influencer, he invites a successful entrepreneur to answer a set of positivity questions to see what makes them tick.
Entrepreneur, impact investor, and humanitarian Paul Stannard believes #positivity can shape our health, wealth and the personal impact we can bring to people and the world at large. Allowing humankind to better address some of the biggest challenges we face, such as sustainability and longevity of life.
Stannard lives in the UK, but has been travelling worldwide, sharing a vision for a fairer and safer world through impact investing in advanced technologies such as nanomedicines, digital twins and quantum materials. He made his name in the media and technology industry, launching over ten start-ups and positively exiting to large international groups on five occasions. He is also Chairman of The World Nano Foundation, a not for profit organisation, and a Trustee of charity World Science Aid.
He was a keynote speaker at Davos in 2019 talking about the impact of enabling technologies and global investment in accelerating these innovations through partnerships with the World Bank, World Economic Forum’s Top 100 Global Innovators Initiative and is a member of UN Healthtech Investment Program. In the last five years this has led to collaborations and joint ventures with some of the world’s leading figures in technology and investment especially around healthcare and sustainability.
Stannard is currently launching an international, billion-dollar, alternative investment fund for advancing impact healthcare and sustainability technologies that can reverse some of the biggest challenges we face. This includes multi vaccines for pandemic protection and preparedness, decentralisation and point of care health technologies for better outcomes and greatly improved longevity of life.
Vector Innovation Fund, of which Stannard is Chairman, and his partners Paul Sheedy and Kojo Annan have delivered more than $2.4bn in value creation over the last 15 years and intend to use this experience to create positive outcomes globally and not just for those that can afford it.
In your business life, why is positivity as opposed to negativity so important to you?
Positivity breeds creativity and an open mind for what is possible. We need to focus on what is possible and believe in humanities ability to change, innovate and deliver the vital breakthroughs we need.
Climate change, biodiversity, access to sustainable resources and healthcare provision need positive, decisive actions backed by everyone to create real change.
Next to positivity, what is the most important factor that leads to success in business?
Having a clear vision and strategy that everybody can understand and buy into allows positivity to thrive and achieve incredible things.
What is your earliest memory of an act of positivity?
My parents always said, ‘believe in yourself and ‘everything is possible if you do’ throughout my childhood.
Who or what has had the most positive influence on your life and why?
No matter what I say or do, which is not always perfect, my children and family make me want to be a better person.
Which positive person from history would you like to meet?
Bobby Moore, England captain and world cup winner, was such a leader but always had time for people and seemed to make them feel at ease.
What is the most positive piece of advice you have been given – where, when and by whom?
Many years ago, I met an RAF WW2 fighter pilot who became a human relations expert for advising business leaders. He had a memory game that he learned if he was caught on enemy lines to remember things. He taught us how to learn and memorise the ten principles of human relations using colour memory and association.
Thirty years on, I can still remember some of those core principles, such as ‘don’t criticise, condemn or complain without considerable thought’, which we all occasionally do and regret. The other one is ‘when you look in the mirror, and you see your children in the reflection, do you like what you see?’ all these principles can only help you become a better person.
What is the most positive piece of advice you could pass on to people?
Treat everybody as equals, and how you would expect to be treated. You can never say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to someone enough times.
How do you deal with negative people?
Ask them positive, open questions on how we might improve things and try to make them feel part of the solution.
What are the most positive songs on your playlist?
‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams, and ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves.
If you could sit down with five positive people, who would they be, and what qualities would they bring to the table?
The late sir Captain Tom Moore lived a full life right to the end and just wanted the best for everyone. Sir David Attenborough, a gentle, wise man full of life and hope. Nelson Mandela, for the ability to forgive for the greater good of a nation. Dr Robert Langer of Langer Labs, for his ability to see a better future for the world’s health. My brother, Michael Stannard, for always being positive.
What is the most positive film you have watched?
‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘A Wonderful Life’ and ‘The Green Mile’. However, ‘Forest Gump’ is the antipathy of hope and what is possible.
Who is the most positive person in your life – apart from yourself?
My dog, a German Shorthair Pointer called Burt. He’s always pleased to see me, and he doesn’t expect much but my attention and love.
Do you have an inspirational catchphrase?
‘Knowledge is power’ – My father has been saying this to me since I was a child, and he now says it to the grandchildren; they even bought him a sign with ‘Knowledge is power’ on. It depicts that we can never know enough to impact the people and the world around us positively.
Where in the world are you in your most positive state of mind?
Walking on a sandy beach on a sunny day, with the sound of the sea and just my thoughts.
If you could be known for just one positive achievement in your life, what would it be?
Having three healthy, happy children and a family.