What have been some of your favorite projects / client collaborations over the years?
Oh wow. Yeah I’ve been lucky here. I guess my stand outs would be overseeing Nevernot, our film with Nike snowboarding through that Olympic cycle. A great team behind the scenes, insane riders, unreal budget — I mean, we got to license the Rolling Stones! Some of the others though that stand out are the launch of the Metcon shoe. Kind of weird as I had zero experience with Crossfit, so it meant learning a new business, mindset and it really taught me a lot about understanding a consumer. Now I love that community and they are so committed, it’s kind of like any of the sports we’re all from except they’re just hyped in a gym everyday. We built a gym in an old historical building in London for it and all the Crossfit crew came in and started slamming weights around and we broke the floor in this place, so that was quite a way to go into an event.
More recently the collaborations with Marcelo at Db has been cool as you have the Real Madrid captain working with a small brand and just seeing how hyped he is because we are listening to him is so good. Then we’re doing a series called Pack Heavy, Chase Light right now, which is showcasing some amazing photographers and film makers which I love. It’s great to highlight the people usually behind the scenes making magic happen.
What was the impetus to put The Anti Blueprint Project together?
Like everyone, I had an inclination that I wanted to do a project. I had produced snowboard films (Hungerpain) back in the day and love the feeling of creating something (ironic since I’m 100% not what you would class as a creative). I get ideas and can imagine the output, but have zero clue to go from A to B. I am always lucky enough to find people who can help though.
So the impetus; we were having dinner at colleague at Nike’s house who explained how much they were paying for her 14 year old daughters education: $46k a year and had been paying this for 4 years already. Add another 4 years of this, plus college and they are easy into her education for half a million dollars. I couldn’t believe the system thats been created (and is being replicated in the UK more and more). The funny thing was I just imagined this girl, like the rest of us, by the time she turns 18 or 21 might just say, “I’m out” and decide she wants to go surf or live off the grid or anything else. Then I thought about friends I have who are successful and between people I know and then friends of friends I knew so many people with crazy careers who either didn’t study, or changed course mid-career, or something random. So I just started interviewing them and after like 20, I realized it was a thing. Some people suggested a YouTube series, others a podcast, but I kind of gravitated towards a book as it was as much for me as for the readers to have something tangible. I had got into a bit of a strategy funk at Nike. Most everything you do is a strategy deck, which down the line eventually becomes real, but by then, it’s had so much input that it’s not what you envisaged in the beginning. So creating my own project and book felt just right. I also like there is a certain barrier to entry. It felt like in the pandemic everyone was starting a podcast. I loved the idea of ok, you need 100,000 words, a bunch of content just to have the conversation.
I started writing in April and we sent it to print in November, so like a 6 month turnaround. I was so thankful that I had three great friends Nick, Sani and Bugz all come in to help me bring this thing into the real world. Without them I would still have just a bunch of Google Docs. It’s funny, I still look back on the initial email in April to Nick, my editor, who was kind of like, “oh great idea, but it needs a lot of work.” I love a challenge.
How has that book influenced your own life?
It’s definitely made me realize that I can also be a bit more carefree. I guess I wouldn’t have left Nike without it and all the inspiration I got along the way. It has also made me value the connections I have from snowboarding and traveling.
It also has made realize my own worth as a creative. At Nike, you get told that if you don’t sit in the design department you aren’t a creative, but the reality is in marketing and creativity, it can come from anywhere. And that the written word is one of the most important things we have but often gets forgotten behind video, stills, and everything else.
Do you have plans to continue the project with a second volume?
I can’t wait. Honestly I loved the process of writing and getting into your thoughts and meeting new people. I just need some time. Between Db and ūmmi, a family, and trying to surf as much as possible, time is limited. I can do it though and so maybe I’ll get into it this winter but let’s see. I also need to figure out whether to self-publish again or try and get a deal going, but either way, a film or YouTube series alongside it would also be amazing.
What is the point of doing passion projects in your opinion?
Well, so far I have made a snowboard film (Hungerpain), which made me zero money, a book which made me hardly anything, but both have arguably been the most important things I have done as they have opened doors for me. They make you realize what you can achieve, but also instill confidence from others that you can get stuff done. So many people have ideas, but getting them into the world is a different story.