How I Built This: Yvon Chouinard

I’ve recently become a fan of NPR’s How I Built This podcast. It features interviews with people who have created interesting companies, products, movements, etc.

Recently I found myself pretty blown away by the podcast’s interview with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia clothing company. I’m not typically enamored by the wisdom of CEOs and titans of industry, but I found Yvon’s philosophy pretty interesting.

Some choice excerpts:

We’ll repair every singe piece of Patagonia no matter how old it is, indefinitely… We’re trying to teach people that you don’t throw things away - you repair them.

[We tell] our customers to think twice before they buy anything. Not just our product, but anything.

We have a policy that when the surf comes up, drop work and go surfing.

(on Patagonia’s daycare and parental leave policies) The kids that come out of our company are the best thing that come out.

I believe in “the more you know the less you need”. I’ve been fishing, fly fishing, with one fly… I’ve limited myself to that for a whole year and I’ve caught more fish than I’ve ever caught in my life. I realize that all of these hundreds of thousands of different fly patterns and different colors and shapes are totally unnecessary. You can replace all of that with knowledge and technique… The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life.

Written by David Friedman on 17 February 2019