I’m of two minds here. Can you sell out? Sure. Is making money selling out? No.
1) Why make crummy products/services when you can make high quality products AND make money?
I don’t have a problem with people making money off snowboarding. Heck, make $100 million for all I care. The issue I have though is when people pump out crappy junk for money when they could be doing a lot better.
That’s not to say that pumping out cheap junk for money is ‘selling out’ or that they owe us anything, but it just seems stupid to me.
Maybe it’s just the business side of me talking, but the way I see it, you can make a ton of money AND pump out high quality goods that rock, so why settle for making less money and crappy products?
Pumping out high quality products and building a strong brand that’s synonymous with quality will take you way further than pumping out cheap gear for a few years just to make a quick buck.
I see it as very short sighted and a shame. Very few people think long term or think of the big picture or potential. They want the quick score at the cost of what could have been so much more amazing in the long run.
2) You need money in snowboarding
To say I hate big businesses making money in snowboarding would be hypocritical when I’m hitting million dollar park lines that are only possible because of the money in snowboarding.
To some extent, snowboarding needs big businesses and money in the sport to create many of the epic things we enjoy and to keep our sport running.
I like my perfect jump lines. I like new snow technology. I like my GoPro and my goretex outerwear. I like my lift upgrades and peak to peak gondola. I’ve seen the millions of dollars that Whistler Blackcomb pumps into their snow making and I like that it allows me to ride epic parks in the early season.
If the money disappeared, so would those things and I don’t really want that to happen. I’d rather see our sport grow and keep making money despite the negative side of ‘money in snowboarding’.
3) There’s a right way and wrong way to do business and make money in snowboarding
I think some people get jaded by big businesses and ‘money whores’ in snowboarding because they can take the soul out of snowboarding. When everything becomes about money, you start to feel like you’re nothing but a walking dollar sign to companies and I can see why people dislike it.
However, that doesn’t mean every company and every business does things that way. You can make money in snowboarding without resorting to used car salesman tactics.
You can offer great customer service, you can build great products and you can sell them to great customers through good marketing that isn’t deceiving customers. Marketing isn’t bad, it just gets a bad rep from people who use it the wrong way.
And there are companies out there that are trying to do it right. For example, Rome Snowboards has excellent customer service and they don’t treat you like just a number and recently there are other companies realizing this too.
The bottom line
I think at the end of the day, a huge amount of the negative image of money in our sport is due to short term thinkers. People who are in it for a quick buck and they do it at the cost of customer relations, quality and long term thinking.
However, I actually think right now is a better time than any for companies doing things right to shine because consumers are bored of the fake marketing BS and can smell it a mile away.
Thanks to the social world we live in, now more than ever will companies stand out if they treat customers right, build quality products and genuinely care about the sport and their customers as more than a way to make money.
Just my 2 cents.