Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Matt Cudmore, and I do a little bit of everything. I own Meier Ski Company, Selkirk Architectural Design, and Elevation Engineering Consulting. I am a skier, snowboarder, dirt biker, pilot, mechanic, and ski builder.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
The general statement “why not me.” There are so many challenges in life and everyone if facing them. But that also means everyone has the opportunity to do something great and follow their dreams. It all comes down to ambition, and the steps you take to get there. Life is a buffet and the opportunity is endless.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
It’s hard for me to narrow it down to one… I’ve made about 100,000 mistakes. In my experience, I’ve learned that you are going to make more and you just gotta keep moving.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
It seems like small ski companies are popping up everywhere, and I see a continuation of a trend. I think of small ski companies kind of like small batch microbreweries. Smaller brands have the ability to innovate and create extremely strong brand loyalty with their fans/customers. In the coming years, I see the big boys like K2 jumping and to create small batch skis and emulate what the smaller companies are doing.
But even if brands like K2 try to get into the game it will be a major challenge because of all the levels of management they have to go through for a new idea. I can dream of a ski today, build it tonight, and ski it on the weekend.
Small brands also have the opportunity to give back and help small ski shops and retailers. If someone buys a pair of skis off our website, the closes Meier Ski dealer in that area gets a cut.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I can’t really think of any bad recommendations. I see people do things that I wouldn’t do. Like slap their brand on a bad product.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
Trying to please people and being so hungry for a customer to be interested in what I am doing. When I first started people would say “why should I buy your skis when there are 500 others to choose from.” I would bend over backward and do everything I could to please these people. I don’t do this anymore, so I can say yes to important things in my life like family.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger. It’s an older book, but I think every entrepreneur should read it.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Anymore I wish I would have talked to you before you started college. Because the truth is you might have gotten a degree you won’t use. Everything that you have learned has brought you to this point in life. You don’t have to use your degree to pigeon hold yourself on one thing. Explore you’re life experiences and knowledge and apply them to what inspires you.
I have certifications in architecture, construction, have an airframe and powerplant license for aviation, and pilots license for flying. And I build skis that fly through fresh powder. All of the skills that I have obtained have set me up for what I love to do.
Pick and choose your life experiences and how you will apply them to your life, and remember that your degree doesn’t define who you are. Be comfortable with the fact that you can go somewhere completely different than your degree.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
Keep Moving Forward. -Walt Disney