Interesting talk by the founders of Threadless, a company that I feel had similar beginnings as Punchdrunk Panda's, and a company we aspire to be as big and awesome as in the near future. :)
Amusing to see what founders of companies/brands we admire are like as well. :D
UPDATE ON THIS ENTRY BELOW! (10/1/11)
My business partner Gail reblogged this entry here, and I just wanted to comment/add to some things she said in her reblog by adding to this post.
Threadless is one of the top brands we admire at Punchdrunk Panda.
We love how they successfully push for better design in tees with their brand, how they’ve become a resource for design inspiration, and how they really build a community. And their website really IS fantastic! And after finding out that they’re savvy web guys, I understand why this is the case now.
Do-First Work Ethic: Forget Ignorance / Inexperience / Hypothetical Failure and Nike (Just Do It)
This is the title of their talk, and I can totally relate to it. I feel that’s how we operate at Punchdrunk Panda. I don’t have a degree in business management, I took up Psychology. (Though oddly enough, my course was initially a double major in Psychology & Business Management (PSM-BMG), but I decided to drop BMG because I didn’t like the thought of making a product for a grade, or not being able to really properly choose my business associates. I also figured the tuition I’d spend for the rest of my business classes could go to actually investing in a business I’d like. And then, I eventually did wind up in business. And I got to really choose my team.) I am not discounting business classes, because there is a great deal we can learn under the right professor. But I feel that there really is a lot you won’t really learn about something until you’re immersed in it. A lot of learning can also be gained from chatting with entrepreneur-friends, reading articles and watching videos online, and really just going out and around and seeing what else is going on in the world.
At PdP, I’ve been “forced” to get into things I’ve never had experience in, or never thought I would go into, ever. I’ve delved into the whole production process, quality control, I made shoes (SHOES!!), organized shoots, events, and heck, the once reclusive Daria-like Jen transformed into this super approachable person, especially during PdP appearances or bazaars! (Never thought I’d wind up on TV or be a salesperson!) I’ve also been pushed into the scarier, even more alien world of taxes, government requirements, import licenses, sound systems, managing 154 kids for a workshop, etc. But yes, you will survive, sometimes you will emerge unscathed, sometimes you end up with battle scars so huge that you can’t unsee them (and it’s good when you can’t, so you don’t make the mistake again). But the point is that we do try, we come up with an idea, decide if it’s something the world should bear witness to, or if it’s something that might work for us, and we just do it. And whatever systems are in place, we assess, and we see how we can improve upon them while we’re running them. From there, we just see what works and what doesn’t and we move on.
On How The Self-Employed Are Employed 24/7.
Jeffrey Kalmikoff seems like a very industrious man, and I admire him for that. As an entrepreneur, I understand what it means to be unable to “shut down” or “turn off” from the business. Lying in bed, sometimes at 1AM, 3AM or even 5AM, I’ll think of something I’d like us to do with our company and I’ll type up an email until morning comes and it’s officially time to go to work.
Gail and I told each other almost maybe half a year ago now that we really shouldn’t be sending each other emails on weekends. But we still do. And both of us are stubborn enough not to follow our own rules because we actually still respond to each other’s weekend emails and encourage this behavior.
But having been the sole manager of the business in the Philippines for almost a year before Nica joined our team, I do feel that breaks from the business are necessary to allow other ideas to come in, and really, just to keep one’s sanity.
While I do want my team’s creative juices and ideas for the business to flow wherever, whenever possible, I do want them to balance their lives with their own passions too. :)
I wounded up typing so much more additional thoughts than I thought I would!
They’re worthy of their own blog entries! Haha.
Anyway, I love my company, and while our sales have been rather dreary in these past cold, wet and rainy months, I am determined to come back with a bang this Christmas. And while initially, PdP started out on a lark, I know the value of our business and what we’re trying to put out there. So, we will continue to put ourselves out there and try our darndest to make PdP known throughout the world, and eventually become as big, phenomenal, influential, aspirational, and all those other similarly great words, as Threadless.
Who knows, they might wind up getting me and Gail as speakers in the 2018 99% Conference. :D