Hello, my name is Phin and I am a sneakerhead VC
[caption id=”attachment_455" align=”alignleft” width=”298" caption=”Sneakerhead (VC) Illustration by Sam Flores for LRG”]
I changed the name of my blog. I want to explain.
I have been collecting shoes since 1985. As a kid I would do jobs in the neighborhood to earn money for kicks. When the Air Max came out I had to have it and once they were dirty, I cut them apart to learn how they worked. My original Jordan 1’s suffered the same fate. I wore those with two pairs of socks so I could fit a 6.5 and get AJ’s, not the sky jordans that the rest of my friends had to wear in the kids size.
As a ball player I was in the sneaker culture and quickly moved from curious to addicted. Understanding the story behind the shoe, the inspiration, was always the best part. It was not enough to know they were hot, I wanted to know why they had been built that way and I love to talk about it.
After collage I worked at AND 1 and while still a collector, also became a creator. We did the mix tape and the ToChillin. We did trash talk tees and ad campaigns with Spree getting his hair done to the National Anthem within days of choking his coach. Our customers tattooed our logo on their bodies.
The designers had reasons for every shape, stitch, material and color we put into a shoe. As the creative director, I learned how to bring the consumer’s eyes into the design studio and work with the artists to create product that would pop. They taught me the language of design and creativity.
We had to choose from thousands of sketches, hundreds of prototypes and build a line of 10–12 styles every 3 months. Each shoe had to create an emotional reaction from the consumer from across the playground court or the food court and continue to delight with discovery through the purchase and use.
At the end of the day, my job was to work with extremely talented people to help them bring their vision to market. In my role at First Round I do the same thing. My years of addiction, of developing a curiosity and deep appreciation for the creative process and for discovering what a consumer really wants are paying off.
If you want to share your creative vision for a technology product or service or if you want to talk kicks, I am in.