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The Art of Manufacturing podcast gives a behind-the-scenes look at how inspiring entrepreneurs who make stuff are trying to “make it” in their industries. Find it on iTunes, iHeart, Stitcher and other popular platforms. Subscribe to never miss an episode!

May 11, 2017

In this episode, “the godfather of street skating” Rodney Mullen reveals his insights on the history and future of skateboarding. He invented most of the foundational tricks used today—including the flat-ground Ollie which allows skaters to pop their boards off the ground—and he co-founded the largest skateboard company in the world in the 1990’s. Despite his worldwide fame, Rodney is a bit of an enigma to his millions of fans, but in this interview we delve into some parts of his past he hasn’t shared before. We trace the pioneering path of World Industries through times of greatness and trouble and to greatness again, and we discover some leadership and innovation lessons along the way.

He tells stories of forklift races, mutiny, and late nights of drinking with the Chinese as they grew the company. We peek behind the scenes to hear how they designed and manufactured their boards, and their pioneering approach to cultivating talent. Rodney shares the challenges of catering to a culture driven by rebellion, and the dilemma of brands that want to scale when “selling out” is the worst thing you could do. We hear about Rodney’s comeback, and how technology and innovation are impacting the future of skateboarding as he looks to his next venture.

For more information, photos, and links, check out the show notes:

Best of Rodney Mullen video (darkslide at 4:02)

Steven Sebring's Liminal video in Rolling Stone

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