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Rodney Mullen: "Build on a Bedrock of Failure" Keynote - Velocity Santa Clara 2014

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Rodney Mullen's keynote from the 2014 O'Reilly Velocity conference in Santa Clara, CA. Watch our interview with Rodney Mullen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8sFEZqh8Ms Failure sucks, especially for skydivers and bomb-diffusers. For skateboarders, it's a necessary part of progress; hence, they develop a well-honed eye for risk assessment as well as a clarity to flush out what are real vs imagined dangers, giving rise to a confidence to go after more creative, daring, and better outcomes. This is why the best skaters tend to be the best fallers, because a kind of intuition for minimizing damage emerges, so seemingly catastrophic falls become sustainable, which eventually forms a hardened foundation that can hardly be attained in any other way. About Rodney Mullen (Almost Skateboards): Rodney Mullen is widely considered the most influential skateboarder in the history of the skateboarding. The majority of ollie and flip tricks he invented throughout the 1980's, including the flatground ollie, the Kickflip, the Heelflip, and the 360 flip are regularly done in modern vertical and street skateboarding. Despite Alan Gelfand's justifiable fame for inventing the ollie air (Gelfand's maneuver being primarily a vert or pool oriented trick) Mullen is responsible for the invention and development of the street ollie. The ability to pop the board off of the ground and land back on the board while moving has quite likely been the most significant development in modern skateboarding. This invention alone would rank Mullen the most important skateboarder of all time. John Rodney Mullen was born August 17, 1966 in Gainesville, Florida. Rodney began skating when he was 10 years old. His father opposed his desire to skate, but he agreed to buy Rodney's first skateboard on January 1, 1977, on the conditions that he always wore safety pads and he quit skating if he were ever to be injured. Rodney's first sponsorship came through Bill Murray, owner of Inland Surf Shop. Using a Walker skateboard, Rodney entered the Boys Freestyle Contest in 1977 at Kona skatepark in Jacksonville. He placed third, but that was enough to attract the attention of skateboard manufacturer Bruce Walker. Rodney was immediately sponsored by Walker Skateboards. For the next three years, Rodney claimed first place in every contest he entered. He went on to win nearly 30 contests, mostly in Florida. His success culminated with another win at the Oceanside Nationals in California. After placing first at the Oasis Pro competition in San Diego, Rodney began his professional career with the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade in 1980. Throughout the decade, Rodney Mullen invented countless skateboarding tricks, including the flat-ground ollie. Although The invention of the flat-ground ollie was arguably his most significant addition to skating. It also allowed Mullen to further innovate the sport: the Kicklip, Heelflip, and 360 Flip are just three of his most popular tricks, all of which became standard tricks for street and vert skating. He appeared in Bones Brigade Videos in '84, '85, '87, and '88. Rodney also appeared in the 1988 film Gleaming the Cube, alongside actor Christian Slater. In 1992, alongside Steve Rocco, Rodney Mullen created World Industries. Throughout the 90's Mullen was featured in numerous videos, including World Industries' Rubbish Heap ('89), Plan B's Questionable ('92), Virtual Reality ('93), and Second Hand Smoke ('95). Some recent videos include the Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song series, Globe Opinion, and Almost: Round Three. In 2002, Rodney won the Transworld Reader's Choice Award for Skater of the Year, and started up the Almost skateboarding company. In 2003, he wrote an autobiography titled "The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself. Watch more from the 2014 Velocity Conference: http://goo.gl/JoMfvo Find out more about Velocity: http://velocityconf.com/ Don't miss an upload! Subscribe! http://goo.gl/szEauh Stay Connected to O'Reilly Media by Email - http://goo.gl/YZSWbO Follow O'Reilly Media: http://plus.google.com/+oreillymedia https://www.facebook.com/OReilly https://twitter.com/OReillyMedia
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Text Comments (29)
Cristiano F. (4 months ago)
Skate is innovative because is not regulated by government.
Jon Schuck (8 months ago)
lol Rodney is what happens when a straight up genius grabs a board
Youtumor (10 months ago)
skateboarders aren't a community anymore.
ImageX (2 years ago)
He is a brilliant speaker and an extremely intelligent human being.
Jersey Devil (7 months ago)
ImageX you forgot the inventor of modern street skating!
John Lucas (2 years ago)
animal chin reincarnated
Dobby (3 years ago)
Rodney Mullen is a fucking legend.. Hes one of, if not 'the' greatest freestyle skaters of all time, most certainly of his time. Edit: Oh and as for the guy who says "anyone can do what pro skaters do", I beg to differ.. Sure anyone can skate at a very basic level, but look at the greats in each discipline, street, vert ramp, mini ramp, bowls, freestyle etc.. The best of the best have skills that are not just learned, they are part of them, they have exeptional spatial awareness, speed/dexterity/agility, balance and a fast intelligent mind.. Not everyone can be as great as them, just look at the differences between the pro skaters themselves.. Some of these guys are 50+ now, Sean Goff was one of the first pro skaters in the UK earning something like £20k sponsorship money per year (competition wins not included) and he was in his late 30s back in the late 80;s early 90's. The amount the American skaters could earn a year was vastly more back when I skated in the 80's and 90's, and by the time it really took off and prizes and sponsorships dealls were huge. I can remember my family telling me to stop spending so much on skateboards and stop wasting my time doing it, as you couldn't earn a living at it, and it wasn't a real sport..Well, it might not have been a sport officially by the so called defined rules of a sport back then, but you could certainly earn money doing it and have awesome fun at the same time. I remember the Deathbox Crew comming to skate at our local park, my mother had booked them to come skate with me adn my friends, and my father hated it..as he saw it as my mother was encouraging me to waste my life away doing something pointless that I woudlnt be able to do past my 25th birthday due to age and injury etc, Lol.
arif proklamasi (4 years ago)
whatever you do, dont think about it too much :D
RORY WOODS (4 years ago)
Genius .. .  
O'Reilly (4 years ago)
What can a professional skateboarder teach us about the value of failing? (And after watching footage of some of Rodney's spills, some of your fails might not seem so awful.)
pete L (8 months ago)
I'm pretty sure Mr. Blart's being ironic or trolling. Either way everyone has a right to their opinion and you don't have to like it(i don't if he is serious; i do if its a joke) but just let windbags blow.....eventually they'll cause their own sails to fall. PS That is not the proper user of the term "ironic".
Theodor Raczka (11 months ago)
Paul Blart Rodney Mullen gets paid for his talks for sure, while you trying to get attention on youtube for 0 money. Thus, what you say doesn't matter. I mean why do you comment, if there isn't a standardized method to measure how good you are at writing comments. Although people pay for that rodneys talks to learn from, you state its stupid. On the other hand you claim that skateboarding is pointless, if you don't get money from it, while you don't getting money from that comment. Your logic is inconsistent. Because of that i assume you have a really small cock seeking for some attention.
Paul Blart (2 years ago)
+Bryce Zechmann Yes. Yes I am. 🤘🏻👮🏻™ I'm PAUL BLART and your dreams I hate to shatter but when I talk, it does matter!
PSN SlangReverend (2 years ago)
Is Paul Blart speaking like he matters or something?
Paul Blart (3 years ago)
+FromThe6IXWithKIX No way! This Ramen Molden...or whatever! He is a hack! Everyone knows skateboards were those milk box scooters until Marty Frikken McFly had to tear off the handles and get all "dreamy" around town instead of taking a beating from the bullies! Just like how skateboarders and nerds need to take their abuse from security officers and the police! You sir, are breaking the oath! Skateboarders caused Building 7 to fall in 9/11. ✋🏻👮🏻™
marco invernizzi (4 years ago)
Rodney is god to us! He is quite possibly one of the smartest human an earth and that's why I collect only his boards! Thank you Rodney! I can only dream to seat down with you one day and talk about the universe!
joshua kearl (1 year ago)
biltospill Obviously you know nothing of Rodney Mullen, he has build some of the most successful skate companies ever. He is a engineer As well, which he used to make his own truck geometry that he patented and numerous other Innovations in and out of skating. Oh and that he invented more then half of the tricks we use today. He maybe not the smartest person on this planet but one of the brightest, talented geniuses to ever grace a board. Never disrespect mullen ever! EVER!!! Like you ever will be even half is man's greatness.
Biltospill (2 years ago)
smartest humans on earth? haha. cute. Rodney is very smart no doubt, but this is a scripted speech. Rodney had contributed a wealth of ideas and innovation to the sport of skateboarding, however that does not qualify him as the smartest human. Please elaborate. What other achievements go along with his contribution to skateboarding that would honor him the distinction; 'Smartest Human'? Michael Jordan was the best at his sport.. is he too the smartest human? Perhaps if he had a large vocabulary?
ketafiend slowgurn (4 years ago)
+marco invernizzi Marco Mullen...
1275638a (4 years ago)
skate or die. you either skate, or you die
O'Reilly (4 years ago)
Here's yesterday's inspiring +Rodney Mullen "Build on a Bedrock of Failure"  keynote from the +O'Reilly Velocity Conference. 
Carlos Pacheco (4 years ago)
ouch, that's gotta hurt! 
R Project (11 months ago)
Carlos Pacheco Yeah it surely does, but Endurance is key.

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