Views From The Bus: Bob McKnight, Quiksilver
In this episode of Views From The Bus, Bob Mcknight, former CEO of Quiksilver joins Bob Rief. There has been no brand more legendary than Quiksilver and no founder more legendary than Bob, even though he’s probably going to deny that.
The SDSI Podcast has Launched! Views from the Bus features candid conversations between Bob Rief and the innovators within our community; exploring their business and - sometimes personal – journeys, and sharing their learnings along the way. This is a “must-listen-to” series for anyone in the Sport and Active Lifestyle Industry to get some insight from those who have “been there, done that” so that you can learn from their mistakes (without making them yourself!)
3:48 – Everyone wants to be at the beach: “About half the world population lives at or near the beach and the other half can’t wait to get there. Which is a metaphor for really meaning that everybody loves to be at the beach.”
4:39 – The beginnings of Quiksiver: “The story of Quiksilver was actually started in Australia by a guy named Alan Green. In Victoria, which is where Bells Beach is. He started making board shorts.”
8:35 – Starting Quiksilver in America: “Everything I learned in business school about doing business plans and cash flow statements and the five P’s and all the business law and all these things would go right out the window. We didn’t do any of that.”
11:15 – Quiksilver’s humble beginnings: “For the first 12 years of our business, we only made three styles of board shorts and a logo t-shirt. It was very easy to manufacture because it was all the same fabric, just multiple colors.”
12:18 – Quiksilver’s extreme growth: “We grew up to $18 million in sales by the time we were 12 years old and we took the company public and then we grew to $100 million in the next year. The public money helped us bring in professionals to help us manage the merchandising, the sales growth, the banking, the finances, accounting, all those skill sets that I knew about from college, but I wasn’t equipped with, so we had to bring in professionals.”
18:08 – Competing against other surf brands: “We always compete with each other in a really friendly environment with all those guys that started all those businesses. Behind the scenes, we’re drinking beers, we’re surfing together.”
22:25 – Including women and girls in the sport of surfing: “Everybody else was totally against it, we used to have debates and arguments in the building about if we do women’s, it’s the kiss of death, we’re going to be out of business in a year.”
47:58 – Importance of strong partnerships: “I’ve just seen so many partnerships blow up over money, ego, and spouses. I have a strong view about. In partnerships you just have to really be careful.