Running a Company for Two Decades

peter metcalf

Fittingly, Peter Metcalf’s interview with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard happened in the mountains. Chouinard was looking for someone to help with his climbing company as Patagonia took off and Peter met the job’s one key requirement — he was a climber.

He flew out to the Tetons to meet Yvon and after a few days together, Yvon wrote a German address on a piece of paper and told Peter he had to be there in September for a trade show. Without much more explanation Peter was sent on his way, knowing he had a job and left to wonder about the rest.

He’d eventually find himself running Chouinard Equipment during a tumultuous period of tort law reform in the U.S., which led to the company breaking off from Patagonia and nearly going under. Peter managed to raise the money needed to bring from the ashes what became known as Black Diamond Equipment.

For the next 25+ years Peter would lead the team at Black Diamond, taking the company public in 2010. We spoke with him shortly after he retired from daily operations.

John and I could’ve spent hours talking to Peter. In particular, I found his depth of thought on both the daily tactics and meta implications of Black Diamond to be quite striking.

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Thanks to Peter Metcalf and our sponsor MailChimp.