Soundings: Season 3 Episode 2

Yvon Chouinard

On climbing, breaking the rules, protecting what you love, the virtues of simplicity, capitalism and Patagonia, surfing Malibu in the golden era.

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Outdoorsman, self-taught blacksmith, and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard never wanted to be a businessman. Rather, it was from his desire to innovate, change the status quo, and protect the environment that Patagonia was born. A craftsman to the core, Chouinard started applying industrial design principles to making outdoor-clothing as a blacksmith shortly after high school. His recent decision to transfer all of Patagonia’s voting stock to the Patagonia Purpose Trust and all of the company’s excess profits to the Holdfast Collective, a non-profit devoted to addressing climate change, sets a precedent for a new form of capitalism in America—one that considers quality and social impact over excess and consumption. Chouinard sits down with Jamie Brisick to talk about the value of problem solving using principles of industrial science, environmentalism, what inspired his game-changing business decision, invention versus innovation, what marketing means to him, and his heroes.

Produced by Jonathan Shifflett.
Music by Paz Lenchantin.

Feature image by Jeff Johnson.