Throughout the entire history of skateboarding, skateboarders have found their way off the board and into the boardroom (so to speak). We could even go as far as to call skateboard entrepreneurs “Skentrepreneurs” but Ed Templeton might kill us.
Working in skateboarding starts with a passion for skateboarding. It is a labor of love first. Whereas in the “real world” starting a business is often done with painstaking calculation, planning, financial modeling, fund raising, research and analysis, testing and so forth. In skateboarding it can as simple as putting a logo on a t-shirt and you’re in business.
It’s easy to recognize the most successful of the pack - Rob Dyrdek, Tony Hawk, Steve Rocco, Jamie Thomas... It’s also easy to miss the thousands of entrepreneurs that have made the industry what it was and is today. Stepping out into the unknown of business can be scarier and in many cases riskier than going switch down a 10-stair blind folded (insert Lance Mountain talking about running The Firm here). Whether the businesses have failed or succeeded they’re all an important legacy woven into the fabric of skateboard history; this includes everything from the local skate shop to great brands of the past and even the products that we’d like to forget.
We believe that skateboarders are better equipped than most to step into entrepreneurship. Here are some key skills learned from skateboarding that can be applied to business:
- Skateboarders don’t stop once we see blood, it just means were that much closer to landing the trick. This trait in business is essential as you’ll need tenacity and grit when the times get tough (as they always do).
- Skaters understand that it may take hundreds of tries to land any trick (especially when starting out). With each try we adjust by the millimeter. Move the foot forward, push faster, lean back, bend your knees, move the foot to the left, flick faster and eventually roll away. The ability to not get discouraged and stay in the game through iterating by the millimeter is a foundational skill needed to be successful in business. Thomas Edison reported it taking more than 1,000 tries to get the light bulb figured out.
- We believe. We believe that if we put in the work hard enough and long enough that we’ll land any trick. Same with successful entrepreneurs; they believe they will be successful. Call it the power of the subconscious mind. Where would Walt Disney be if he didn’t believe with every ounce of his being in his vision? Where would Jeremy Wray be if he didn't believe he could make it over the water gap?
- Love the process. No matter how frustrating skateboarding can be at times it is always fun. Find a way to translate your passion for skateboarding into learning key business skills (i.e. reading a balance sheet, marketing, product design, etc). Imagine how far Apple would have gotten if Steve Jobs wasn’t in love with his product.
It is important to note that you can apply your skills to be successful in any endeavor inside or outside of the skateboard industry. Many skateboarders have successfully done so (Tim Gavin, Jordan Hoffart, Mike Taylor, Tyshawn Jones, and many more).
We salute everyone that has ever put their hard earned cash and time into investing in their dreams, regardless of how successful those ventures turned out to be. If you're considering stepping into the unknown of business, we remain your humble advocate.
More on the subject, read our last post.