Looking Back One Year After I Quit My Job and Started The Boardr

Posted by Rob Meronek on Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Boardr One Year in Business, Selected Stats

The Numbers

All I knew was that things had irreversibly changed where I was and I had to move on and join up with Clements and Porpe who had left months earlier. It was a scary move with a kid on the way and no real plans. That was one year ago today. A lot of things have gone down since then. How about a recap? Let's start with a few high level numbers. As you know, I'm attracted to the digits. I'm happy with some numbers, disappointed in others. It's been a great year, but we are just getting started and have truckloads of work to finish building what we set out to do last year. Check the Milestones section below for a story of how it has unfolded here at The Boardr so far.

The Milestones

August 2013: Welcome to The Boardr

The Boardr's official birthday is August 1, 2013. Leading up to the big move, I started with thinking I'd just write some skateboard software to help people run their businesses. I made up the name The Boardr because it was short, relevant, and available on just about every social network as a username and website domain. After talking with Ryan and Porpe about all the good things they were already up to since leaving SPoT six months before me, we all decided we would all work together under The Boardr umbrella. I still wasn't sure if I would need to move and/or get a real job, but The Boardr was a great immediate start on building something in skateboarding again.

August 2013: Copenhagen Pro Just to Get Away

Clements and Porpe were already hired to run Copenhagen Pro, so I joined them out there to hang out for the week. Copenhagen is included as an important part of our 2015 event plans that you'll hear more on after we get through 2014.

September 2013: Empire Hires The Boardr to Run Empire Backyard Party

I remember this being the first Contest where I heard, "This is Ryan Clements from The Boardr," over the mic. Ryan and I both paused to think about that one. Our company and our plans were not public yet as we were still working on the branding, message, our live scoring software, The Boardr Live, and more. This event was the big ginuea pig tester for The Boardr Live. I was nervous using it for the first time at an event with a live broadcast, but everything worked out fine.

September 2013: We Announced The Boardr to the Public

This is the post and email I sent to all my contacts announcing our little skateboard company we started, The Boardr.

September 2013: Return to South Africa

We worked as individual contractors in 2013 for the Kimberley Diamond Cup for another fun year of a great skateboarding contest where Nyjah Huston took home $100,000. For 2014, KDC and its organizers hired The Boardr as the official production company running this annual event.

November 2013: Hired by Lil Wayne and Young Money

Yep, you read that right. Weezy put us on payroll for some jobs that included organizing the skaters for his YMCMB tour and some missions like determining what it would take to get his skate park in Atlanta back up and running again. Talk to Jereme Knibbs and Kyle Berard for some of the best stories you'll hear about being on tour in both the US and Europe. We haven't done much with Wayne lately, though. During Tampa Pro, he attempted to come skate the Dream Driveway, but his tour bus couldn't make it back into the small streets of the neighborhood, so they had to abort.

November 2013: Our First "Fan" Letter

We got a nice postcard from a kid thanking us for a giveaway we did on The Boardr site. It sure made me miss being in retail and seeing how psyched people get when they get good customer service from skateboarders just like them. We started seriously thinking about retail again.

November 2013: Fun Fun Fun Fest

We started getting hired for more and more small jobs like the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas.

November 2013: The Boardr Live is Ready for Public Use

I made some demo videos and announced The Boardr Live as being done and ready for public use by others to help run their skateboard shindigs. Since then, 345 individual skateboarding events have been created and scored by all our customers using it. As you can see by the stats above, they created 3,450 skater profiles on TheBoardr.com in the process. Honestly, that's the main reason I made this app. I wanted to rebuild a bigger, better, and more useful skateboarder database than the one I left behind at my old job. Just a few more years of this and I'll have hit that goal.

November 2013: Payroll Officially Starts

Bob Freeman who also used to work with us at our old jobs, quit around the same time I did. He handled everything with online customer service. On this day, we all started official payroll for ourselves under The Boardr. It felt like our new skateboard company went from baby to toddler stages.

November 2013: Writing More Software: A Skate Specific Point of Sale App

I look at things like Shopify and think, "I can make this entire product myself, but better." I figured I would do that but make it skate industry focused. I finished it, but it's only for us at The Boardr right now. Turning it into a product that I can turn over to other stores to use is on the back burner for now and possibly forever. If The Boardr crashes and burns, this is my fallback project. I started making videos documenting the progress of building the POS here.

December 2013: Ryan's Interview on Forecast

Ryan had an interview at Forecast Magazine in Europe that went into details about the split from our old jobs.

December 2013: BBQ at the Dream Driveway

While all our friends are in town for Tampa Am that we used to run, we have them over at the Dream Driveway to skate, bbq, and kick it in our own hometown on the river. Thanks to everyone that stopped by this year.

December 2013: We Bought a Damn Warehouse

I started dropping hints about what we were up to as far as retail and a skate facility in Tampa. On Black Friday, we closed on a building at 4611 North Hale Avenue in Tampa. Blood rush to the head.

December 2013: Ground Breaking in The Boardr Store

We immediately got to work on building The Boardr Store.

December 2013: 2013 Year in Review

As usual, I prepared my year in review of what turned out to be one crazy ass 2013.

January 2014: Announcing a Florida All Ages Contest Series with Grind for Life

Our first baby steps to getting back into local skateboarding events was to help Mike Rogers get his Grind for Life Series back up and running. We planned some stops and put together the tour of 2014 and announced it on January 6. We're three stops in as of today with over 400 skaters entered so far.

January 2014: Volcom's WITP at Surf Expo

When you're doing this much stuff, there are some failures that will come your way. Volcom signed on to use The Boardr Live for their Wild in the Parks series. Our first use was me helping their staff to use it at the Surf Expo stop of WITP. They found it too difficult to use and went back to pen, paper, and pinning numbers on the skaters. I felt defeated and went back to make a ton of improvements to the app. Maybe I'll get them back on it one day.

January 2014: Construction Continues at The Boardr Store

Hammers were swinging and keyboards were clicking. We continued to work day and night both physically and digitally to reach our goal of opening the online store doors by February 1.

January 2014: Zumiez Brings us to the Mountains

Thanks to Zumiez, we took a nice break from work to snowboard in Colorado and catch up with our industry friends for the mixing of skateboarding business and pleasure. My grand exit from the party was falling out the front door into the snow. I still blame the altitude.

January 2014: Two Huge Milestones

We were hyped to get our first dollar of registration income and our first shipment of inventory for our upcoming retail store. A very important part of our staff, Justin Ryan our buyer, was also in place and working with us.

January 31, 2014: The Boardr Store Online Opens

I flipped the switch and we opened our online store one day early. Blood rush to the head.

February 2014: The Boardr Does Bar Mitzvah

What's next, weddings, too? Yep, we helped organize getting pro skateboarders to a bar mitzvah in South Florida.

February 2014: Our First Online Orders Shipped

Following the weekend we flipped the switch on at The Boardr Store online, we shipped our first little stack of online orders. Another blood rush to the head.

February 2014: Portland for a Meeting Not With Nike

We went to Portland to discuss plans with adidas for what would eventually become the Skate Copa series that we're in the middle of completing this summer. It's been a pleasure working with the whole staff there for the past few months putting together every detail of this super fun, national Shop vs Shop contest series.

March 2014: The Boardr Bland Opening

Given all the big plans we have yet to complete, we didn't feel right calling this opening of our physical store "grand," so we called it "bland." Still, however, another blood rush to the head.

March 2014: HiDefJoe Joins The Boardr Staff

We hired HiDefJoe to join us full time. Our old team was now 100% complete. Damn, this was a happy ass day. Blood rush to the head!!!

March 2014: ESPN Hires The Boardr for X Games Street and Park

We had been attending as spectators for years. This year, ESPN signed a three year contract with us to help organize all things skateboarding in the Park and Street divisions in Austin. We went and had a super good time watching our favorite top pros rip. We haven't announced it ourselves yet, but Dew Tour also hired us as "skateboard organizers" for their Portland and Brooklyn stops this year.

March 2014: Tampa Bro is on Again

During the week of the other Tampa event we used to run, Tampa Pro, we have all our industry friends in town stop by the Dream Driveway again for the usual beers, BBQ, and chill time.

April 2014: Our April Fools Tradition Continues

We've always had a good time putting together our annual April Fool's stunt and this year HiDefJoe joined us just in time to help us make a nice one that fooled you into thinking the rings were turning into skateboard wheels. In an interesting turn of events, this one actually has a chance of becoming at least partially true. Stay tuned on that one.

April 2014: Cowtown and Phoenix Am use The Boardr Live App

We went to Phoenix to assist Cowtown and the folks running Phoenix Am with using The Boardr Live to run the Contest quick and smooth, plus power the live data for the broadcast Vans was doing. Now Vans also uses The Boardr Live to run both Van Doren Hastings in Canada and Van Doren Huntington Beach.

April 2014: The Events Business Continues to Grow

Just a few months into 2014, we started having to split up the crew in different cities as we planned and got hired for more and more of these skateboard shindigs. We added several more contract staff including filmers, judges, and people like Paul Zitzer who help with organizing our events.

April 2014: Our First Team Rider

We announced Felipe Gustavo as the first team rider for The Boardr. Watch for more announcements on our Team coming up real soon.

April 2014: Our First Obstacle in The Boardr TF

We started construction on our first obstacle in The Boardr TF, a basic bangin' ass ledge. With events being so busy this summer, construction of additional things there hasn't gone as fast as expected. We'll be back on that project soon.

May 2014: Zappos Hires The Boardr to Plan, Execute, and Run a Las Vegas Skateboarding Contest

Everything in Vegas is fun and this one was no exception. Zappos asked us to put together a plan for a skateboarding event on the closed off streets of old downtown Las Vegas. Just a few weeks later, we were there on site getting it done.

May 2014: Maryland Am Uses The Boardr Live

We went to Maryland for the weekend to check out Maryland Am and assist with them using The Boardr Live to run their annual event there.

May 2014: Our Show on Ride Channel: On The Boardr

We started our new show, On The Boardr, that's on the Ride Channel. The first episode was a Tony Hawk and Friends Demo at X Games in Austin.

June 2014: The Smithsonian, Polk Museum, and City of Lakeland Partner with The Boardr for Innoskate

It was an amazing day celebrating skateboarding history on Go Skateboarding Day with Rodney Mullen, Paul Schmitt, and more influential skateboarders for The Smithsonian's Innoskate program that The Boardr assists with developing. I'm really looking forward to watching this get better and better each year as more and more of skateboarding's progress and history gets documented.

Damn, what a first year to look back on for The Boardr. It's been a fun and rewarding one back working together with Porpe, Clements, Justin, HiDefJoe, Bob, and the rest of the crew. I can't wait to tell you about the next year and the year after that. They're already in the works. Thanks for following along!

Rob