Chouinard and Moser on provenance and process

We noticed a post over on Midcurrent about a little radio show we’d never heard of called From Scratch. The show is apparently produced by NPR but available via the iTunes music store or directly from their website.

Midcurrent of course posted the interview with Yvon Chouinard, who we think is one of the coolest people on the planet. But after scrolling through the older podcasts we noticed an interview with another one of our favorite non-business-man business men, Thomas Moser.

After listening to both interviews a common theme really struck me.

Yvon says something like, in climbing it’s all about the process, how you get there. He compared arriving at the top of a big wall climb and being greeted by a forest, a plain old forrest. Basically there is no real reason to do what you just spent 10 days doing, so it ends up being a spiritual journey that you benefit from as a person. He contrasts that the wealthy guy who pays a guide to climb everest, where it isn’t about the journey its about the destination, the summit. So its not where you get to, its how you get there.

Similarly, Moser talks about provenance and process as well. He talked about how he has focused more of his company’s time on making products that aren’t a commodity, where people actually care where they from. The example he uses were the chairs he made for the Harvard Library. Sure, it is nice for him to put that on a resumé but does anyone really care where the chairs come, probably not? Alternatively, the chairs we put in our houses and pass along to our children have a story and we care about their provenance, and history. So in this way the products that he makes aren’t just about the products but how they are made, the process.

The other striking similarity between these two is their complete indifference to any sort of conventional business thinking, and we love that. Immerse yourself in the process and dig deep into the why and the how, the profits will sort themselves out.