IDF 2017 Election Candidate: Max Vickers #MakeIDFSkateAgain #IDFDecides
Max is focused, blazing with fire and he’s got the hot marketing ideas and the energy to #MakeIDFSkateAgain. Read up and get down to voting!
Hello, Maxwell, Maximum?
Maxwell James Vickers.
Are you well?
Doing good. Currently on a business trip in Las Vegas selling promotional sports products – skateboards included!
What sort of bigshot are you?
Haha, first time on a business trip like this.
What are you really selling?
I’m selling an opportunity for brands to use a unique promotional item in their marketing efforts that is different from the average promotional pen, shirt, etc.
And what does the end consumer get?
So, we primarily work with agencies (sometimes direct with brands) but the items are used for anything from events, giveaways, POS items, etc. It really varies.
How come there are so many skaters in marketing?
I think a lot of skaters learn to market themselves on their own, as they are trying to develop their own personal brand to gain sponsors and continue skating. Like others, I learned a lot of it on my own but my business school education definitely helped with positioning myself.
What got you into it?
I started skating when I was young but, when I started school at Indiana University, I began racing more and started the longboarding club there. Starting the club helped get me connected with different brands in the industry and learn more about what goes into event hosting, sponsorship opportunities, etc. I began to market myself more and work with brands to offer them media production and promotion on my own network which in turn helped me to continue travelling and skating.
Didn’t that distract you from your studies?
School came first. I’ve always been focused on my studies and getting good grades but, with proper time management, I’ve been able to do a pretty good job at both. It’s been cool being able to apply my experience with skating into some of my class projects and vise versa.
Fancy. Business school too!
Yep. Pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation with a co-major in Technology Management. The corporate innovation side of my degree teaches you how to be entrepreneurial and explore strategies for growth while working in an already established organisation – something I believe I can apply to the IDF. In addition, the tech management has taught me proficiency in Excel which is crucial for brackets, timing, and rankings for the IDF.
Do you have any other plans to use your powers for good?
Sure do! I hope to continue working with the brands that I am a part of but also use my business knowledge in a role with the IDF. I understand what goes on in the back end of the organisation and have a few ideas in mind for helping grow the IDF in the future.
What brands are you a part of?
I am an ambassador for Original Skateboards, Bear Trucks, Orangatang Wheels, and Action Board Shop. On top of that I am the head of US sales for Disrupt Sports.
That’s pretty diverse. You usually have the animal brands together – hawgs, bear.
It’s definitely a bit different. I’ve been with Original since the beginning and they are like family to me. I wanted to explore other brands while still working with them and found the others to best suit me.
How do you Disrupt Sports?
By creating the world’s best custom sports gear and doing it with style.
What goes on in the back end of the IDF?
Over the majority of this year, I have volunteered for the IDF and attended the organisation’s bi-weekly Skype meetings, contributed with event write ups, and helped reps at IDF events. Many of the discussions are focused on the current operations of the IDF and, I have been taking a communications role with my volunteering. We are working with outside contributors that have a focus in communication to set up a strategic plan to help grow the IDF’s profile both in the skate community and globally.
Juank MoralesWhy did you volunteer your time, too single?
I was in Australia at the beginning of last year and lived a few blocks from Maga McWhinnie and Dave Robertson (two past board members). I had some extra time and wanted to help them with their work and gain more experience in an organisation that I did not have a lot of knowledge in, at the time.
What took you down under?
I had a study abroad opportunity in Sydney through my school and took off on a 5-month journey into the unknown. I met an entirely new community that I was not connected with and had the opportunity to travel around the IDF Asia circuit races in Philippines and China.
Sounds epic AF. Was it?
Epic indeed! Sydney was a really cool city and it was my first time living outside the country for an extended period of time which was a good experience in itself.
If you’re already doing so much for the IDF, why run for election?
I believe gaining a position would help me further apply myself and gain additional responsibilities that are pertinent to board members. I think these things would help me better enact my goals for the IDF.
What are your goals?
I hope to execute our communication plan for the IDF and, grow the organisation outside of the community. Explore tour sponsors with outside brands to gain funding and publicity for the next year’s tour. Create a 2-year organisation plan which better defines the roles of each board member and sets performance indicators for the IDF for membership base, organizers, social media following, etc. Better work with event organisers to create guidelines and consultation to help new and current organisers to better run races. Lots of stuff!
In his interview, Koma mentioned that you had a plan to solve some of the IDFs marketing issues. How?
As mentioned, we put together a strategic plan for bettering the IDF’s marketing moving forward. This consists of bettering the media on our own platforms, earning media opportunity with channels outside the skate realm, and embedding our content with already established media sources within the skate community. To begin the year, we are working with Aaron Breetwor, editor of DGM and contributor to other skate media sources, to get proper coverage of the Asia series races and better tell the story of gravity racing.
What’s the core of the marketing problem for the IDF?
There is not enough work being done to promote gravity racing and the events that are taking place. There isn’t a set individual that is tasked with running the social media platforms and promoting the races. It is currently a collective group of people and sometimes things get dropped or events don’t get publicised the way that they should. Skateboard and luge racing is sick and I think the public is interested in it but we need to better establish our own platform before seeking outside and corporate endorsements.
I think the World Surf League should be set as a paragon for what we strive for in our marketing. Surfing had previously been a niche outcast sport and with proper promotion and coverage they have grown their following to over 8 million users and gained sponsorship from outside brands to help support the tour.
What’s the end game?
Higher attendance at races, better established events, greater media coverage, and a rise in skateboard and luge racing’s global profile .
How else will you be telling the story of skateboard racing?
Focusing on the local heros, the newcomers, sub-categories, and behind-the-scenes coverage at events.The champions should be publicised but not everyone travels to races to win so focusing on the experience of going to a race will be important in attracting more attendants.
Will the IDF be able to fund a project like Push Culture news?
I’m not sure the IDF would need to fund a project like Push Culture specifically but, I think there is potential to eventually have more professional and paid media partners for the IDF. As the organization grows and gains more funding I think establishing better media management and coverage will be important in growing the organisation’s profile.
What do you need from/offer skate media?
One of the points on our communication plan is the concept of embedded media. This includes pushing IDF coverage of events or the organisation across skate media channels that have a huge reach and in turn help promote the IDF. Kind of like what we’re doing now with Thane Magazine and SkateSlate!
The IDF offers a unique media opportunity in downhill skating as the events happen around the globe and at each event the riders are pushing the limits of gravity racing. It’s hard to get similar media coverage outside of IDF events.
Will this role conflict with your sponsorships?
I don’t think so. My role as a sponsored skateboarder will be separate from my duties with the IDF. By applying for this I’m taking on the responsibility that comes with a role with the IDF – if that means I have to not race at certain events in order to help run them, I am cool with that.
If they aren’t convinced already, why should undecideds vote for Max V?
I have the experience, I’m dedicated, and I’ll do my part to bring the IDF to greatness. I may be one of the youngest candidates on that list but I have the fire to get real work done and progress skateboarding and luge racing.
What’s your campaign slogan?
Make IDF skate again!
Who’s your pick for president?
Mike Girard. He’s an entrepreneur with management skills, vision, and drive that I think could really help lead the IDF in the future.
Maxwell. This has been fun. Not nearly weird enough but, fun. Looking forward to the next one, with a side of bacon. Good luck for this weekend!
Cheers Gbemi! I appreciate you putting these interviews together. I’ll try and let the weirdness out more in the next one!
Any last words?
For all of the IDF members out there, read up on the candidates and go vote! There’s an entirely new crew of people that will be running the IDF for the coming years and it’s important to choose your picks.
Check out all the candidates for the coming IDF election. Here: IDF Election Candidates