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← Pop an ollie and innovate! | Rodney Mullen | TEDxUSC

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Showing Revision 3 created 12/09/2016 by TED Translators admin.

  1. (Music)
  2. (Music)
  3. (Music ends)
  4. (Applause)
  5. So, that's what I've done with my life.
  6. (Laughter)
  7. (Applause)
  8. Thank you.
  9. (Applause)
  10. As a kid, I grew up on a farm in Florida,
  11. and I did what most little kids do.
  12. I played a little baseball,
    did a few other things like that,
  13. but I always had the sense
    of being an outsider,
  14. and it wasn't until I saw
    pictures in the magazines
  15. that a couple other guys skate, I thought,
  16. "Wow, that's for me," you know?
  17. Because there was no coach
    standing directly over you,
  18. and these guys,
    they were just being themselves.
  19. There was no opponent
    directly across from you.
  20. And I loved that sense,
    so I started skating
  21. when I was about 10 years old, in 1977,
  22. and when I did,
    I picked it up pretty quickly.
  23. In fact, here's some footage
    from about 1984.
  24. It wasn't until 79
    I won my first amateur championship,
  25. and then, by 81, I was 14,
    and I won my first world championship,
  26. which was amazing to me,
  27. and in a very real sense,
    that was the first real victory I had.
  28. Oh, watch this.
  29. This is a Casper slide,
    where the board's upside down.
  30. Mental note on that one.
  31. (Laughter)
  32. And this one here?
  33. An ollie.
  34. So, as she mentioned,
    that is overstated for sure,
  35. but that's why they called me
    the godfather of modern street skating.
  36. Here's some images of that.
  37. Now, I was about halfway
    through my pro career
  38. in, I would say, the mid-'80s.
  39. Freestyle itself... we developed
    all these flat ground tricks, as you saw,
  40. but there was evolving
    a new kind of skateboarding,
  41. where guys were taking it to the streets,
    and they were using that ollie,
  42. like I showed you.
  43. They were using it to get up
    onto stuff like bleachers and handrails
  44. and over stairwells
    and all kinds of cool stuff.
  45. So it was evolving upwards.
  46. In fact, when someone tells you
    they're a skater today,
  47. they pretty much mean a street skater,
  48. because freestyle, it took about
    five years for it to die,
  49. and at that stage, I'd been a "champion"
    champion for 11 years, which...
  50. Phew!
  51. And suddenly, it was over for me,
    that's it... it was gone.
  52. They took my pro model off the shelf,
  53. which was essentially
    pronouncing you dead, publicly.
  54. That's how you make your money, you know?
  55. You have a signature board
    and wheels and shoes and clothes.
  56. I had all that stuff, and it's gone.
  57. The crazy thing was, there was
    a really liberating sense about it,
  58. because I no longer had to protect
    my record as a champion.
  59. "Champion," again.
  60. Champion sounds so goofy,
    but it's what it was, right?
  61. What drew me to
    skateboarding, the freedom,
  62. was now restored,
    where I could just create things,
  63. because that's where the joy
    was for me, always,
  64. was creating new stuff.
  65. The other thing that I had
    was a deep well of tricks to draw from
  66. that were rooted
    in these flat ground tricks.
  67. Stuff the normal guys were doing
    was very much different.
  68. So, as humbling and rotten as it was...
  69. And believe me, it was rotten.
  70. I would go to skate spots,
    and I was already "famous guy," right?
  71. And everyone thought I was good,
  72. but in this new terrain, I was horrible.
  73. So people would go,
    "Oh, what happened to Mullen?"
  74. (Laughter)
  75. So, humbling as it was, I began again.
  76. Here are some tricks that I started
    to bring to that new terrain.
  77. And again, there's this undergirding
    layer of influence of freestyle...
  78. Oh, that one?
  79. That's, like, the hardest
    thing I've ever done.
  80. OK, look at that, it's a Darkslide.
  81. See how it's sliding on the backside?
  82. Those are super fun,
    and, actually, not that hard.
  83. You know, at the very root
    of that, see, Caspers,
  84. see how you throw it?
  85. Simple as that, right? No biggie.
  86. And your front foot,
    the way it grabs it...
  87. I'd seen someone slide
    on the back of the board like that,
  88. and I was like, "How can I get it over?"
  89. Because that had not yet been done.
  90. And then it dawned on me,
    and here's part of what I'm saying.
  91. I had an infrastructure.
    I had this deep layer,
  92. where it was like, oh my gosh,
    it's just your foot.
  93. It's just the way
    you throw your board over.
  94. Just let the ledge do that, and it's easy,
  95. and the next thing you know,
    there's 20 more tricks
  96. based out of the variations.
  97. So that's the kind of thing...
    Here, check this out,
  98. here's another way,
    and I won't overdo this.
  99. A little indulgent, I understand.
  100. There's something called a Primo slide.
  101. It is the funnest trick ever to do.
  102. It's like skimboarding.
  103. And this one, look how it slides
    sideways, every which way?
  104. OK, so when you're skating,
    and you take a fall,
  105. the board slips that way or that way;
    it's kind of predictable.
  106. This? It goes every which way...
    It's like a cartoon, the falls,
  107. and that's what I love the most about it.
  108. It's so much fun to do.
  109. In fact, when I started doing them,
    I remember, because I got hurt.
  110. I had to get a knee surgery, right?
  111. So there were a couple of weeks
    where I couldn't skate at all.
  112. It would give out on me,
    and I would watch the guys,
  113. I'd go to this warehouse
    where a lot of the guys were skating,
  114. my friends, and I was like,
  115. "I've got to do something new,
    I want to do something new.
  116. I want to start fresh."
  117. And so the night before my surgery,
    I'd watched, and I was like,
  118. "How am I going to do this?"
  119. So I ran up, and I jumped on my board,
  120. and I Cavemanned, and I flipped it down,
  121. and I remember thinking,
    I landed so light-footed, thinking,
  122. if my knee gives, they'll just have
    more work to do in the morning.
  123. (Laughter)
  124. And so, when it was the crazy thing.
  125. I don't know how many
    of you guys have had surgery, but...
  126. (Laughter)
  127. you are so helpless, right?
  128. You're on this gurney
    and you're watching the ceiling go by,
  129. every time, it's always that,
  130. and right when they're putting
    the mask on you before you go to sleep,
  131. all I was thinking is,
    "Man, when I wake up and I get better,
  132. the first thing I'm going to do
    is film that trick."
  133. And indeed I did, it was the very first
    thing I filmed, which was awesome.
  134. I told you a little bit
    about the evolution of the tricks.
  135. Consider that content, in a sense.
  136. What we do as street skaters is,
    you have these tricks...
  137. Say I'm working on Darkslides, or a Primo,
  138. that you guys know this stuff now.
  139. (Laughter)
  140. What you do is, you cruise
    around the same streets
  141. that you've seen a hundred times,
  142. but suddenly, because
    you already have something
  143. in this fixed domain of this target,
    it's like, what will match this trick?
  144. How can I expand, how can the context,
  145. how can the environment change
    the very nature of what I do?
  146. So you drive and drive and drive,
    and, actually I've got to admit,
  147. just because I was struggling
    with this because I'm here,
  148. but I'll just say it,
    is, I cannot tell you,
  149. not only to be here in front of you,
  150. but what a privilege it is
    to be at US campus,
  151. because I have been escorted off
    of this campus so many times.
  152. (Laughter)
  153. (Applause)
  154. So let me give you another example
    of how context shapes content.
  155. This is a place not that far from here,
    It's a rotten neighborhood.
  156. Your first consideration is,
    am I going to get beat up?
  157. You go out and... See this wall?
  158. It's fairly mellow, and it's beckoning
    to do bank tricks, right?
  159. But there's this other aspect
    of it for wheelies,
  160. so check this out.
  161. There's a few tricks, again,
  162. how environment changes
    the nature of your tricks.
  163. Freestyle oriented,
    manual down... wheelie down.
  164. Watch, this one? Oh, I love this,
    it's like surfing, this one,
  165. the way you catch it.
  166. This one, a little sketchy
    going backwards,
  167. and watch the back foot.
  168. Oops...
  169. (Laughter)
  170. Mental note right there.
  171. Again, we'll get back to that.
  172. (Laughter)
  173. Here, back foot, back foot.
  174. OK, up there?
  175. That was called a 360 flip.
  176. Notice how the board flipped
    and spun this way, both axes.
  177. And another example
    of how the context changed,
  178. and the creative process
    for me and for most skaters,
  179. is, you go, you get out of the car,
    you check for security,
  180. you check for stuff.
  181. (Laughter)
  182. It's funny, you get to know
    their rhythms, you know,
  183. the guys that cruise around...
  184. (Laughter)
  185. Skateboarding is such
    a humbling thing, man.
  186. No matter how good you are,
    you've still got to deal with...
  187. So you hit this wall, and when I hit it,
  188. the first thing you do
    is you fall forward,
  189. and I'm like, all right, all right.
  190. As you adjust...
  191. you punch it up,
    and then when I would do that,
  192. it was throwing my shoulder this way...
  193. which as I was doing it, I was like,
    "Oh wow, that's begging for a 360 flip,"
  194. because that's how
    you load up for a 360 flip.
  195. And so this is what I want
    to emphasize that, as you can imagine,
  196. all of these tricks are made
    of submovements,
  197. executive motor functions,
  198. more granular to the degree
    to which I can't quite tell you,
  199. but one thing I do know is,
  200. every trick is made of combining two
    or three or four or five movements.
  201. And so, as I'm going up,
    these things are floating around,
  202. and you have to sort of
    let the cognitive mind rest back,
  203. pull it back a little bit,
  204. and let your intuition go
    as you feel these things.
  205. And these submovements
    are kind of floating around,
  206. and as the wall hits you,
    they connect themselves to an extent,
  207. and that's when the cognitive mind:
    "Oh, 360 flip, I'm going to make that."
  208. So that's how that works
    to me, the creative process,
  209. the process itself, of street skating.
  210. So, next... Oh, mind you...
  211. (Laughter)
  212. Those are the community.
  213. These are some of the best
    skaters in the world.
  214. These are my friends...
    Oh my gosh, they're such good people.
  215. And the beauty of skateboarding is that,
  216. no one guy is the best.
  217. In fact, I know this is rotten to say,
    they're my friends,
  218. but a couple of them actually don't look
    that comfortable on their board.
  219. What makes them great is the degree
    to which they use their skateboarding
  220. to individuate themselves.
  221. Every single one of these guys,
    you look at them,
  222. you can see a silhouette
    of them, and you realize,
  223. "Oh, that's him,
    that's Haslam, that's Koston,
  224. there's these guys, these are the guys."
  225. And skaters, I think
    they tend to be outsiders
  226. who seek a sense of belonging,
  227. but belonging on their own terms.
  228. And real respect is given
    by how much we take what other guys do,
  229. these basic tricks, 360 flips,
    we take that, we make it our own,
  230. and then we contribute
    back to the community
  231. the inner way that edifies
    the community itself.
  232. The greater the contribution,
  233. the more we express
    and form our individuality,
  234. which is so important to a lot of us
    who feel like rejects to begin with.
  235. The summation of that
  236. gives us something we could never
    achieve as an individual.
  237. Truly.
  238. And that forms...
  239. I should say this.
  240. There's some sort of beautiful symmetry
  241. that the degree to which
    we connect to a community
  242. is in proportion to our individuality,
  243. which we are expressing by what we do.
  244. Next,
  245. these guys, very similar community
    that's extremely conducive to innovation.
  246. (Laughter)
  247. Notice a couple of these shots
    from the police department.
  248. But it is quite similar,
    I mean, what is it to hack, right?
  249. It's knowing a technology so well
    that you can manipulate it
  250. and steer it to do things
    it was never intended to do, right?
  251. And they're not all bad.
  252. You can be a Linux kernel hacker,
    make it more stable, right?
  253. More safe, more secure.
  254. You can be an iOS hacker,
  255. make your iPhone do stuff
    it wasn't supposed to.
  256. Not authorized, but not illegal.
  257. And then, you've got
    some of these guys, right?
  258. What they do is very similar
    to our creative process.
  259. They connect disparate information,
  260. and they bring it together in a way
    that a security analyst doesn't expect.
  261. It doesn't make them good people,
  262. but it's at the heart of engineering,
  263. at the heart of a creative community,
    an innovative community,
  264. and the open source community,
    the basic ethos of it
  265. is, take what other people do,
    make it better,
  266. give it back so we all rise further.
  267. Very similar communities, very similar.
  268. We have our edgier sides, too.
  269. (Laughter)
  270. It's funny, my dad was right.
  271. These are my peers.
  272. But I respect what they do,
    and they respect what I do,
  273. because they can do things,
    it's amazing what they can do.
  274. In fact, one of them,
  275. he was Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur
    of the Year for San Diego County,
  276. so they're not... you never know
    who you're dealing with.
  277. We've all had some degree of fame.
  278. In fact, I've had so much success
    that I strangely always feel unworthy of.
  279. I've had a patent, and that was cool,
    and we started a company,
  280. and it grew, and it became the biggest,
  281. and then it went down,
    and then it became the biggest again,
  282. which is harder than the first time,
    and then we sold it,
  283. and then we sold it again.
  284. So I've had some success.
  285. And in the end, when you've had
    all of these things,
  286. what is it that continues to drive you?
  287. As I mentioned, the knee stuff
    and these things,
  288. what is it that will punch you?
  289. Because it's not just the mind.
  290. What is it that will punch you
    and make you do something
  291. and bring it to another level,
    and when you've had it all,
  292. sometimes, guys, they die on the vine
    with all of that talent,
  293. and one of the things
    we've had, all of us, is fame...
  294. I think the best kind of fame,
    because you can take it off.
  295. I've been all around the world,
  296. and there will be a thousand kids
    crying out your name,
  297. and it's such a weird,
    visceral experience.
  298. It's like, it's disorienting.
  299. And you get in a car, and you drive away,
  300. and 10-minute drive, and you get out,
  301. and no one gives a rat's who you are.
  302. (Laughter)
  303. And it gives you that clarity
    of perspective of, man, I'm just me,
  304. and popularity, what does that
    really mean again?
  305. Not much.
  306. It's peer respect that drives us.
  307. That's the one thing
    that makes us do what we do.
  308. I've had over a dozen bones,
    this guy, over, eight, 10 concussions,
  309. to the point where it's comedy, right?
  310. It is actually comedy, they mess with him.
  311. (Laughter)
  312. Next,
  313. and this is something deeper.
  314. I think I was on tour when I was reading
    one of the Feynman biographies.
  315. It was the red one or the blue one.
  316. And he made this statement
    that was so profound to me.
  317. It was that the Nobel Prize
    was the tombstone on all great work,
  318. and it resonated because
    I had won 35 out of 36 contests
  319. that I'd entered over 11 years,
    and it made me bananas.
  320. In fact, winning
    isn't the word, I won it once.
  321. The rest of the time,
    you're just defending,
  322. and you get into this,
    turtle posture, you know?
  323. Where you're not doing...
    It usurped the joy of what I loved to do
  324. because I was no longer doing it
    to create and have fun,
  325. and when it died out from under me,
  326. that was one of the most
    liberating things,
  327. because I could create.
  328. And look, I understand that
    I am on the very edge of preachy, here.
  329. I'm not here to do that.
  330. It's just that I'm in front
    of a very privileged audience.
  331. If you guys aren't already
    leaders in your community,
  332. you probably will be,
    and if there's anything I can give you
  333. that will transcend what I've gotten
    from skateboarding,
  334. the only things of meaning,
    I think, and of permanence,
  335. it's not fame, it's not all these things.
  336. What it is, is that there's
    an intrinsic value in creating something
  337. for the sake of creating it,
  338. and better than that,
    because I'm 46 years old, or I'll be 46,
  339. and how pathetic is that
    I'm still skateboarding, but there is...
  340. There is this beauty in dropping it
    into a community of your own making,
  341. and seeing it dispersed,
    and seeing younger, more talented,
  342. just different talent, take it to levels
    you can never imagine,
  343. because that lives on.
  344. So thank you for your time.
  345. (Applause)
  346. Kristina Holly: I have a question for you.
  347. (Applause)
  348. So you've really reinvented yourself
    in the past, from freestyle to street,
  349. and, I think it was about four years ago
    you officially retired.
  350. Is that it? What's next?
  351. Rodney Mullen: That's a good question.
    KG: Something tells me it's not the end.
  352. RM: Yeah. Every time you think
    you've chased something down,
  353. it's funny, no matter how good you are,
    and I know guys like this,
  354. it feels like you're polishing
    a turd, you know?
  355. (Laughter)
  356. And I thought, the only way
    I can extend this
  357. is to change something infrastructural.
  358. And so that's what I proceeded to do,
    through a long story,
  359. one of desperation, so if I do it,
    rather than talk about it,
  360. if I do it, you'll be the first to know.
  361. KG: All right, we won't ask you any more.
    RM: You'll get a text.
  362. KG: Right, thank you, good job.
    RM: Thank you. Thank you.
  363. (Applause)