I grew up surfing, and I was raised in a surf shop.My teenage years all the way up to age 30 I lived at Infinity Surfshop, in Dana Point, CA. We saw every imaginable fad, trend and invention come through the shop, with the sales reps or the inventor of the product selling it to us as the next great thing.From surfboard, skateboard and snowboard accessories, to the off the wall bike boards and electric skateboards, we saw it all.We often were given shop demos to try-before-you-buy.Some good, some not so much.One of the categories in which there was no shortage of products was balance boards.Makes sense, right?Surfing, skating, snowboarding, all require balance.We would stand behind the counters while folding clothes, or ringing customer up, all while balancing on the different offerings of balance boards that we sold in the shop.Different products offered different benefits, some made better than others.One…Continue Reading
Saris might be the most genius company in existence, that I’ve encountered. When it comes to installing and assembling new products, I tend to lose the battle. It takes longer than expected, or I don’t have the right tools, or I just do everything backwards. It doesn’t take much for me to lose my mind while putting something new together, when all I want to do is USE the new “thing.” I worked at a retail shop where we sold car racks. Every salesman avoided being the one that had to assemble and mount the racks to the customer’s car. It’s not that we didn’t want to be helpful, but because it usually entailed about an hour and half of looking like a complete idiot. Saris is a god-send for all you shop workers. Saris Cycling group just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Founded and based out of Madison, Wisconsin since…Continue Reading
Today’s interview is with Brent Starck, founder of Drift Studio in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. Drift is a design studio, think-tank, prototype lab and ultimately a maker of module furniture.   Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourselves and how Drift came to be? I have been planning and imagining the idea of Drift Studio for most of my life in some form or another. I’ve always been an inventor, an artist and a maker at heart and I’ve always imagined a life where I could pursue those passions on a daily basis as my career.  Drift Studio is my effort to make those dreams a reality. It is a place that hopefully will become a creative hub for product ideas and an incubator to help nurture those ideas into reality. I studied economics at the UW-Madison and while I fully enjoyed the whole experience it wasn’t until junior…Continue Reading
Today’s interview is with Steve Malchow of Trek Bicycles. Trek Bicycles was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin, where they still manufacture their high-end carbon bicycles.   Can you give 50 BUILT readers some background on yourself and your experiences at Trek up to this point? I joined Trek almost ten years ago. The prior twelve years were spent in smaller companies focusing on custom products for capital equipment for the food and pharmaceutical industries. The bicycle company intrigued me for two reasons: 1) I felt I needed some consumer products experience for personal growth.  2) I love outdoor recreation, and who wouldn’t want to fill their days with something they can be passionate about? I have the privilege of leading our Operations group which includes Engineering, Proto, Design, Manufacturing, Sourcing, Testing, Quality and Warranty. There are no silos, and we can make decisions very quickly without…Continue Reading