Tell Me More: Rob Dyrdek Talks About Being a Skateboard Mogul
We all know by now that Rob Dyrdek pretty much can’t lose. He’s parlayed his career as a professional skateboarder into several of his own MTV shows, as well as being a celebrity brand ambassador for Lunchables. What’s even more remarkable is that even after a full day of business ventures, he still finds time to give back to the community. We caught up with Rob recently to talk to him about how he’s managed to stay killing it throughout his career, what a typical day looks like for him, and his thoughts on Ohio’s sports resurgence this year.
You turned being a pro skater into being an all-around business mogul. How did you pull that off?
Rob Dyrdek: I was always hustling as a young kid, and then right after I turned pro, I started my first company. When DC took off, I used that money to dabble in all different types of businesses from record labels to skate shops to truck companies. Despite finding a ton of success in both [skating and business], it’s still been many years of trials, tribulations, and lessons learned through experience.
What would you be doing right now if you weren’t a pro skater-turned-business-mogul?
RD: I think I probably would have gone down a similar path. I was always very focused on business at a young age, so I’m sure it would have ultimately evolved into that, or I just would’ve been a pro poker player in Las Vegas or something.
You’re good at poker?
RD: No, I just picture myself on some weird left turn like, “You know what? I’m sick of trying. I’m just going to play poker.”
Who was your favorite skateboarder when you were coming up?
RD: Without a doubt, it’s The Gonz because he had this creative element. The same goes for Neil Blender. They were so creative, artistic and driven, and I liked that combination.
What about present-day?
RD: Today, I look at Ishod Wair as one of my favorite skaters, or even people like Chris Cole, a skater who’s still innovating and doing insane stuff this deep into his career.
When you first started, you were Alien Workshop’s first rider. What’s your most memorable experience from your time with them?
RD: I think our team back then was a force. We had Lance Conklin, Scott Conklin, Bo Turner, Duane Pitre, and Thomas Morgan. We were all a little wild and crazy, and I was the captain of the ship back then. That exploration of what they called “the next big boom” of skateboarding with Alien Workshop was something that I really enjoyed.
You bought Alien from Burton and tried to keep it going, but it didn’t work out with sales. Why do you think Alien dissolved after you got the company?
RD: It was kind of the after-effect of what I like to call being “ran fat.” Rather than lean it out and build a realistic business model, we tried to continue this very expensive, very difficult business model, but we did a deal with Tum Yeto, and we’re about to re-launch Alien. We didn’t plan on letting Alien go away. It was just a matter of leaning it out and restructuring the model.
You’re an outspoken guy who lives a very different lifestyle, and you definitely show that through your show. What’s a typical day in the life of Rob Dyrdek?
RD: It’s a pretty traditional schedule. I get up every morning at 6:00 a.m., and my first conference call is every day at 6:30. Then I work out or work all day, but luckily for me, it can be just about anything.
Tell us about the Lunchables program and how you got involved with them.
RD: They approached me a couple years ago when they launched Uploaded. We did these fun, cool, ridiculous viral videos, showcasing what it means to “take things to the next level.” The Fully Uploaded web series is an extension of that. Whether it’s with LeSean McCoy or Jagger Eaton, we hear their story of how they took it to the next level. Most recently, we extended that into this renovation program with the Boys and Girls Club of America, which was able to build a skate park for the Chula Vista Boys and Girls Club. In skateboarding, any place that’s free and legal for kids to skate is super important for the sport.
Fantasy Factory is on its way back, and we heard that Lunchables is holding a sweepstakes where the winner can come hang out with you. What’s that all about?
RD: It’s really simple. Go to Lunchablesupld.com, sign up, and you can win a super VIP mega trip to the Fantasy Factory. We’re flying in the foam pits and getting nutty.
You’re an Ohio boy and with the sports resurgence there, whose team are you on? Are you a Manziel fan or a LeBron fan?
RD: I’m on both their teams at the highest level. I could have shed a tear when LeBron announced he was going back to Cleveland. It’s the most exciting time in Cleveland sports history. As far as Manziel is concerned, God bless Hoyer for being from Ohio and giving it all he’s got, but let’s get Manziel in there! I’d rather roll the dice at seeing some incredible, electric football than play safe, sound football. I’d rather see Johnny Football become Johnny Cleveland, the way that he’s meant to be.