“Living the examined life is a pain in the ass.” Thane Ryland’s insights into life at the world’s coolest company – the environmentally minded outdoor brand Patagonia – ranged from the sobering to the amusing. At the heart of the latest Seven Hills Academy session this afternoon, however, was the importance of mission.
Former Patagonia employee Thane offered his thoughts on how a clear mission statement and campaigning can underpin successful business. A mission statement of conservation and sustainability is the bedrock of Patagonia, an organisation that went from near financial ruin in the early nineties to celebrating its fortieth anniversary in 2013, following years of consistent growth. Thane also gave his personal experiences of campaigning on behalf of Patagonia, for the conservation of Yellowstone National Park, creating one of the company’s most successful public awareness campaigns, and serving on some of the key initiatives in the company’s switch to organic cotton.
The presentation offered the team at Seven Hills a thoughtful vision of business with a purpose. Whilst we might not be turning our hand to sustainable clothing, Thane’s advice to live the examined life, seek out difference, and stay true to your core belief will certainly stick.