BuildScience founder Ritesh Patel on the power of saying yes

For Ritesh Patel, speaking at TechToronto at RBC Waterpark Place brought back a fond memory for him; as the founder of BuildScience, RBC was his first client. “Our software runs a lot of this building right now,” said Patel.

However, Patel didn’t go to TechTO to talk about software — he talked about how saying yes to every opportunity helped him get to where he is today. His “Yes #1” was his decision to move away from pursuing a Master’s in medical imaging, and eventually turn his method of procrastination — coding apps — into a career path.

“I had a friend in YCombinator at the time and he mentioned that he had an iOS app that he wanted to convert to Android. I talked to my friends and family who told me I was crazy, who told me to focus on my Master’s, and even I thought the same thing,” Patel said. “But of course when the friend asked, I said yes.”

The opportunity would lead Patel to help his friend in San Francisco, where he realized he wasted his time doing what he didn’t love and that coding was his passion. Patel decided to move to the Valley, where he found a full-time job at Luma Camera, run by three brothers from Toronto.

After Luma got acquired by Instagram and he had the chance to “experience the startup lifecycle in six months”, a Thanksgiving trip back home in Toronto ended up with him having a conversation with a friend, who was looking for guidance to building software for buildings. His friend eventually asked Patel to build it.

“It might have been the beers, but I said yes. Over the next few months we hammered out a contract, I quit my job at Instagram and moved back to Toronto to create BuildScience. And there was a huge flurry of opportunity after that,” Patel said.

Watch the whole talk below: