What I Learned From The Mountain Climber

I have never in my life gone surfing or rock climbing. The real rock climbing that is, not the kind with the plastic walls and the harness with the person assigned to ensure you don't fall. I don't think I ever will either, too many other interests to do in my life. So I really had no draw to read Let My People Go Surfing, but for some reason a book I had won years ago was the one that I happened to pick up off my shelf and was very quickly drawn in by.

It is the story of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. It takes you through the history of the company and how it established its values. The second part of the book expounds on the philosophies that Yvon keeps as the focus of his life and what his business stands for. If you are in business there are obvious examples that you can take out for yourself, help to guide you on developing your own philosophies to guide you. But the really intriguing part for me is how it has made me rethink how I shop and how I'm going to start looking more at the companies that I buy from. Every company has a goal of turning a profit, but there are lots of ways you can do that. How you go about making money is an important aspect and we as consumers vote with our dollars on the types of practices we expect and tolerate. I don't know many cultural aspects of the companies I buy from, but that is going to change because of this book.

The other thing Let My People Go Surfing reminded me of is that there are lessons all around us. How a company that is about surfing, rock climbing and fly fishing goes about its business opened my eyes to different ideas I could apply to the world of software development and corporate IT. Innovation and advancement comes from finding new ways to do things, not just finding ways to do the old things better.


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