Skaters and Hackers

Maybe it's because I used to skate as a kid or ...

Published Aug 6, 2013 in Misc, Software

Skaters and Hackers

Maybe it's because I used to skate as a kid or ...

Maybe it’s because I used to skate as a kid or because I identify with the Hacker community now, but this video really resonated with me. At one point Rodney says:

Creativity requires a deep well to draw from.

He was talking about about how his experience skating helped him develop new tricks even when the popular style of skating changed entirely. This strikes me as a more universal point, applicable far wider than skaters (and hackers).

He also talks about an ethos that hackers and skaters share:

Take what others do, make it better and give it back.

Skaters modify each others tricks and those tricks act as the foundation for future tricks. Hackers have open source.

Finally he said (paraphrased):

The nobel prize is a tombstone on all great work. You start defending your position instead of creating, you get into a “turtle posture”. This is when others can surpass you.

When I first read this, I laughed. However, it’s really another way of describing loss aversion ^(1). It also describes the Innovators Dilemma ^(2). That’s how the whole video is, funny and remarkably deep.


  1. Loss Aversion refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.
  2. The Innovator’s Dilemma refers to the fact that successful companies can put too much emphasis on customers’ current needs, and fail to adopt new technology or business models that will meet customers’ unstated or future needs.

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