Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Rob Roskopp, founder of Santa Cruz Bicycles.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
Follow your gut instinct. You need to live what you do. If your not real, people will call you out. Never chase money, only your passion.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
The financial crisis in 2008. Bank would have owned us in 3 days if I didn’t come up with the money they wanted in the bank. From there we went lean and mean and grew the business and bottom line 30% year over year for the next seven years. We sold the company to Pon Holdings in 2015.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
At the current pace of technology ten yrs. out is too far, 3yrs is more realistic. Electronics will continue to play a big role in the bicycle. The main opportunity for us is to supply product globally, that’s where our growth will come from.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Most come from consultants outside our industry telling us what we should do. They don’t know our industry, maybe they think they do, but far from reality.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
Investment opportunities, there will always be an opportunity, just don’t get overwhelmed or caught up into it.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
“Art of War” applies best to business reality. I read it over all the time.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Intern or get into the real work world asap…..you will learn much more than you ever did in college. College teaches you how to think, but not necessarily how the business world works, at least for your BS, Master’s is a different story. Be a sponge! Granted this is all dependent on what field you’re in. I’m going off my experiences.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
Listen, observe, filter, go off your gut…..that’s mine.
I like the one quote by Enzo Ferrari. [On which Ferrari model he liked the most]
“That which is yet to be built. The car which I have not yet created”