CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
In the Green Room

Patrick Soon-Shiong

This Billionaire Brags On His Jump Shot

Patrick Soon-Shiong

Biomedical innovator, businessman, and physician Patrick Soon-Shiong is the richest man in Los Angeles and a Lakers part-owner. Before talking about the coming healthcare revolution, he fielded questions in the green room about why he loves L.A., his favorite organic compound, and his signature (only?) move on the basketball court.

Q:
What is your favorite organic compound?

A:
Barium. It’s not even organic, but if you look at barium, it’s from the ocean. Whether it’s technically true, we all come out of the sea. This initial compound—and they believe it may be the fish of the world—that’s what we are.

Q:
Why do you choose to live in Los Angeles?

A:
I left South Africa, and Los Angeles is most like South Africa. It’s so diverse, and it brings literally the best of everything: the climate, the diversity, the energy, the creativity. We’ve been here since 1980, and I don’t think we ever will leave.

Q:
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

A:
I never consider life a risk because it’s just steps in a motion in which you always are curious, making more steps forward … But from a practical perspective, the biggest risk was when I left the university to build a nanoparticle that they said could never be done using human blood.

Q:
Who is the one person, living or dead, that you’ve love to have a beer with?

A:
I think I’d love to have a beer with Mandela.

Q:
How many languages do you speak?

A:
English, Afrikaans, and a smattering of Chinese. That’s about it.

Q:
What’s your favorite restaurant in Los Angeles?

A:
We’ve now gotten addicted to Nobu, which is a Japanese restaurant in Malibu.

Q:
Where do you go to be alone?

A:
My basketball court. It truly is the place where I can be without any thought, just Zen’ed out. Or walking the beach.

Q:
What’s your signature move?

A:
I have a jump shot. And I have … I have a jump shot.

Q:
Who would you most like to play one-on-one?

A:
I’m not sure I’d most like to play him, but Kobe would be sort of a great challenge.

Q:
What is the most common misconception people have about you?

A:
I don’t know if I get into other people’s heads about what I do. I think people are confused by what I do because I do so much. I’m not doing a lot. I’m actually doing a very systematic, integrated approach to trying to solve big problems, and that gets very confusing to people.

Q:
Who’s your favorite Beatle?

A:
John Lennon. That’s easy.