Build the Company That You Wouldn’t Sell

It’s tough not to admire Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, after reading his book “Let My People Go Surfing.” The man not only built a company that stands by its amazing products as closely as it stands by its values, but he also basically created a new way of thinking about work and play, and the critical marriage of the two. 

Chouinard’s employees famously enjoy midday surf sessions and are encouraged to take sabbaticals. And in his book there’s a line that always sticks with me. Chouinard says he wants to see employees taking stairs two at a time. That is, that they are energized to be there working. 

I stumbled across the above video above of Zach Klein, who helped build College Humor, Vimeo and DIY, discussing Chouinard and why he (Klein) is now working to build a company he doesn’t want to sell, much like Chouinard who has held onto his company despite big buyout offers. It’s amazing insight from an entrepreneur who has been down the rabbit hole of building immensely successful businesses and selling them off. 

“We should make work feel like play,” Klein says. “Play is a human superpower...It’s the moment in which we are at the paramount of our focus and interest in whatever we’re doing, and it’s never tiring.”

I like the way he thinks.