Burning Bridges, Making It My Story, and Adapting To Change Even When It Hurts

Two New Interviews and Some Resolutions For The New Year.

With the new year upon us, I’m focused on sharing my knowledge, network, and every piece of content I can with the world. I’ve been lucky to be a part of the sneaker world for the better part of 15 years, from writing for Nice Kicks, Sole Collector, and Complex, to sharpening my business and people skills when I established the Eastbay Blog, helped Finish Line start a content team, to becoming the 9th employee of StockX, and supporting countless small businesses along the way. My journey has been an incredible one nearly every step of the way and the sneaker community, especially the supporters of Sneaker History in recent months, have helped me keep things moving forward. While 2020, and hopefully its canceled contracts and the financial struggles that it put me in, are now in the rearview mirror, I’m excited to turn my passion for sneakers into a way to pay the bills through my own efforts this year.

That said, I find I’m not typically cut out for long-term jobs with most companies. I find myself working harder and longer than most people, and without new energy and leadership to challenge me in ways other than piling on the work, my staying time is typically 18-24 months before I no longer find fulfillment as an employee. Not to mention, I’m constantly looking for ways to learn from the youth and that seems backward for most people wearing suits. In my mind, the energy from young creatives is what should inspire the older generations. Why else would we have the term “fountain of youth” if we aren’t going to try to stay as youthful as possible, what are we doing? When it comes to fitness, food, and countless other things, we put tons of effort into our health in an effort to live our best lives. Yet somehow, most businesses don’t take the same approach with empowering their employees.

One thing I really thrive on is creating opportunities for others. It truly gives me life to be able to open doors for other people, and years later when I’m reminded by those people that I helped them along the way…nothing beats that. That said, I have a tendency to help people more than I help myself, and this year I am going to make sure that I break that habit.

"A deadstock shoe is like anything else until the moment you put it on your foot and wear it. When you wear it, it becomes something different than every other one out there." - @russbengtson

After talking to Russ Bengtson on the Sneaker History Podcast about how so many “friends” tend to become nothing of the sort once they perceive that you can no longer give them access to the big businesses you work for, I want to make more of the relationships that I have because of sneakers.

As I recently wrote on the Sneaker Throne Blog, another thing that my talk with Russ made me really think about, is making the story of the sneakers I wear my own. This year I am going to focus on remembering what I did in the shoes I wear more than what the brands told me was cool about them. I haven’t figured out in what way I will do this, so I am open to suggestions.

My conversation with Cody Templet on this week’s episode of Outside The Box, was a good reminder that I need to be better about adapting to the ever-changing ways of the Internet. His journey from YouTuber to affiliate marketing wizard was exactly what I needed to hear to remind me to be looking for new ways to create a living for myself through this sneaker journey.

Last but not least on my list of new year's goals is monetizing the content that I am creating, both this newsletter, the podcasts, and the YouTube videos I’ve been uploading. That seems to be scary for a lot of people, and I completely understand it, but I’d rather talk about things in a truthful way on my own at this point. I’ve done the writing for a big business that shapes the narrative in order to align with the brands or sponsors featured in the content. That always means pushing aside things that I think are actually cool to make more room for the biggest marketing budget. I’m not interested in that, and if it means making next to nothing while I build the audience here and across the channels, so be it. I’d rather be able to say what I feel is important and over the past month or so, dozens of you have reached out with appreciative and encouraging words about what I am writing here, and I couldn’t be more excited for this (likely long) journey ahead.

If you’re enjoying my content, consider becoming a paid subscriber. I’ve just recently set it up and don’t know what I am doing but I guess that’s just sticking to my goal of always being truthful 😆