Editor’s Notes: It was a beautiful day in Dolores Park in the Mission District of San Francisco. We were looking around for people to interview when Rob offered us a beer. Despite its difficulties, interviewing strangers can also be a lot of fun!
Gig: I do headhunting, staffing, recruiting, talent acquisition.
Last great TV show, movie, podcast enjoyed?
In a word, how would you describe it?
What’s your main source of news?
What brands do you have on you right now?
I’m wearing Tony Lamas on my feet. I’ve got Hollister on my ass. And I’m wearing Jos. A. Bank and Yeti.
Because Yeti is a bad-ass company. They make the most premium products for outdoor enthusiasts.
The quality is better than Patagonia, for example?
I just hired somebody out of Patagonia to Yeti. I wouldn’t say Yeti’s is better, I would say it’s on par and in the same sandbox as other premium brands such as Patagonia.
Do you know if Yeti has any sustainability programs, or gives back in any way, like Tom’s Shoes or Warby Parker?
It does. Whenever there is a disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, for example, Yeti donated a ton of coolers to the Red Cross immediately. They have a customization burn room where you can burn a logo on top. So they burned Red Cross on all those and shipped them immediately to New Orleans. There are many other efforts they do. That’s just one example.
Does that influence you when you’re buying something? You mentioned Jos. A. Banks before. Do you know if Jos. A. Banks does anything that benefits society?
Some people care about things that are made in the United States and some people don’t. The reason I went with Jos. A. Bank is because, from their branding I believe that they care about things that are made in the United States. But, for example, at Yeti, we source things globally. A lot of products, especially the stainless drink ware, is made in Hong Kong. Some people think, this is made in China, it’s crap. But really, there are people that are employed and it’s their full-time job to do advance sourcing of materials and find the most premium, most luxury materials in the world. They’re not necessarily the most expensive, but it can run in line with that.
So quality can be found in many places?
We’ve sourced many U.S. manufacturers of food-grade stainless steel. None could cut to the same level as the vendor that we use in Hong Kong. It’s higher quality than the U.S., but many people don’t see that, don’t know that, or don’t know the story. They only want something made in the USA because they believe that the quality is better. So I care about it too, but I also rock a brand or twenty or thirty from China most days.
Do you know of any brands that do bad stuff or have a bad reputation?
I am more of a glass-half-full person. When you hear in the media that a brand has done bad shit, somebody is getting fired and somebody fucked up. It’s not necessarily the brand. When I think of the brand, I think of the entire populous of that company. One person may have made a mistake that wasn’t caught by checks and balances, by management, leadership, what-have-you. They’ll try to fix it. If they have a PR agency or an in-house person they’ll try to repair the damage, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that said company did something terrible.
A company is a set of people. A brand isn’t inherently good or bad.
A company is an entity. A company is not the CEO of that company.
Are you involved in any charitable organizations or do any work like that?
Right now, the reason you see this dead, platinum blonde cat on my upper lip is because I am the head of the Yeti team for Movember, headquartered down in Culver City, California. I’ve been doing it for five years. Movember is for men’s health, but you don’t have to be a guy. Mo-sisters and mo-bros are welcome. Basically, you can donate, but you don’t have to. You can grow a mustache, but you don’t have to. You can shave, but you don’t have to. As long as you spread the word about the organization for men’s health, other people will donate. Maybe people who had an uncle or a nephew who had testicular cancer or prostate cancer or PTSD from a war experience, or something. Funding for Movember goes to finding solutions for societal issues like that.