Some people up in Canada decided, for whatever reason, to start an action sports industry news magazine called The BoardPress. Their sanity in trying to do this can be questioned, but they sent me a copy of their first print magazine, which came out some months ago. Probably hoping I’d write something about them. It seems to have worked.
They featured an interview with Blue Montgomery, one of Capita’s founders that I highly recommend. I think I’ve met Blue like twice but I’ve never had a long conversation with him.
Most of these stories with brand founders in our media tend to be heroic epics with the goal of promoting the brand. I’m not claiming the people at Capita were unhappy to get the publicity, but the article was way better than the usual stuff.
If you have any thought of starting a brand, in any industry, go read this. There is constancy in what Blue says, and in his approach to the market, that you can learn from. He hits all the high points.
1. You have to work really hard for a long time, so you better like what you’re doing.
2. The vision has to be yours- not what other people tell you it should be.
3. You are going to be surprised and make some mistakes- i.e., banks do not hand 26 year olds loan just because said 26 year olds say they’ve got a good idea.
4. You have to operate well in all the major business functions if you are going to do more than survive.
5. You have to change with the market, but do it in a way that doesn’t require you to abandon your vision.
6. You have to be passionate and dispassionate all at the same time. He doesn’t say that exactly, but it’s one of the key things I heard in the article.
Here’s my favorite question and part of the answer:
“Is anything wrong with snowboarding?”
“(Long pause) I don’t want to give you a bullshit answer. My honest feeling is that snowboarding is young and in transition. I think when people say that something is wrong with snowboarding; they really mean that it’s not what it used to be. It’s not what it was when they fell in love with it. I think we, as leaders of snowboarding, need to get past those feelings and understand that thing evolve and change. We need to embrace it and adapt. We all share some responsibility for the status quo and now we need to work with it. If you are not happy then get involved and help steer the ship. Snowboarding has changed. We aren’t bad boys anymore.”