May

22

 The following interview with Yvon Chouinard, the CEO of Patagonia, was sent to me yesterday. I feel that a lot of the points made and discussed are amongst the principles that have been discussed on this forum. Some of the highlights and quotes are as follows:

"I don't have much faith in that the government is going to do anything, but I can tell you that there is a revolution in business going on right now. And it's only been going on for the last two years, maybe the last year or six months."

"Yeah, well I used to hop freights when I was in high school a lot. I'd go up and down from L.A. to San Francisco. Once I was hitchhiking across the country and hopped a freight and got caught by some railroad bulls. I was thrown in jail for 18 days in Winslow, Arizona."

"What some people consider risk, I don't consider risk. I've been a mountain climber all of my life. I do a lot of risk-type sports: whitewater kayaking, surfing and things like that. I don't think there is risk whatsoever if you've done your homework. That's the whole thing. It's managed risk. I love living on the edge in some of these sports, but I never go over the edge. I think the biggest risk is just to be stupid, to not do your homework. That's where I see a lot of businesses go under."

"And I think these days, a lot of kids are trying to live their lives out through celebrities. They have no confidence. They have to buy the same surfboard that the world champion rides because they don't have any confidence that they'll be able to ride any other board. Or they have to have the same tennis racket that Roddick uses. I think having the confidence that you can change things makes you an effective leader."

When having everyone in his shop read a book on "peak oil," he wonderfully evoked and used the "Law of Ever Changing" and realized that Patagonia makes a lot of winter or cold weather clothes. So they started to get into the surf business because "the waves are only going to get bigger, the storms are going to get bigger and people are going to go to tropical areas."

While I don't believe that we are in environmental crisis, I do feel that awareness, respect, and preservation are important. We are gradually adapting to this and finding ways to profit as companies, and this is awesome. I was raised to always walk out of a room and have it in better shape than when I went in. The Navy was the same way to me. And the outdoors, while implementing a "no trace left behind policy," is very similar.

The part he mentions as a revolution having recently been started certainly seems to be true. It's nice to see free markets and capitalism do their thing and profit during this process almost as if it was in perfect harmony.

Now one thing I'd like to mention to Mr. Chouinard is if he feels that all young kids do is "watch TV, play Gameboys, and sit on their butts," then he better be picking them up. They are the ones that'll be buying his clothes!


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