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A Day at Hurley

Sunday, August 1, 2010
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I was invited up to Hurley’s international headquarters in Newport Beach by my friend Peter King, so I asked Jonathan Forstot our Director of Brand Marketing to come along. We made the drive and met up with Peter, who promptly took us into Bob Hurley’s office.

It was awesome.

Their campus is a cluster of old-school industrial buildings, probably eight or ten of them, with parking rimming each building. People are skateboarding back and forth. I think you do that because you like to skateboard, not because you get there faster. It’s just as casual at Taylor Guitars, so I felt pretty at home.

The office space is cool, with open-top walls, all made from unfinished plywood, and galvanized steel. The floors are concrete and there’s tons of open ‘family room’ type spaces. They have a town hall and a company store, an awesome recording studio with a Neve board, an art gallery, and killer design and meeting spaces.

You can enter Bob’s office from a side door or come in through the main door. We were with Peter and we came in to the side. It was like a garage, a desk, and Gilligan’s Island hut merged.

My usual dress is jeans and flip flops, as is theirs. Met Bob and we hit it off quickly, and surfing legend Rob Machado was there. I don’t think we’d met before but he’s played our guitars for so long and has had so many photos in surfing magazines playing a Taylor that I felt we were old buddies. Then I met Pat O’Connell. I’m like, “whaaaaaaaaaa……Pat O’Connell? Pat played himself about 16 years ago in “Endless Summer II” and it’s on my very short list of all time favorite movies. I’ve watched it more than any other movie that I can think of. I used to watch it to de-stress. That’s because the scenery was so epic and soothing at the same time, the guitar music from Gary Hoey was brilliant, Bruce Brown’s narration is perfect (nobody is as good, except Dana Brown has the same vibe) and Pat O’Connell is the happiest person on earth in that movie. It would always work to make me feel light hearted by the end. It was great to meet him.

Hurley was inspiring. The whole atmosphere was so creative and the sense of community among employees shone through. We do a pretty good job of that at Taylor Guitars, but we are a factory rather than a design center, so achieving the same vibe is hard, but we do it. People at Taylor are happy to be there. I went away from Hurley saying things about it that are exactly the same things people say to me when they leave after a visit to Taylor Guitars.

I always love going to a place that makes me want to step up my game. Hurley did that it was awesome. Jonathan and I talked about it all the way home.

About the time you think you’re smart you run into people who are just as good or better. I love those moments. They cause me to think and inspire me to do better work. Thanks Hurley for the hang. I wanna do it again soon.

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