Widely considered the world’s most influential skateboarder, Rodney Mullen invented most of the tricks still used today and defended his title 35 of 36 times over a decade. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Florida, leaving school to co-found most dominant skate company in the 1990s,, earning two patents along the way while empowering rising pros to form their own companies under his corporate umbrella. Rodney eventually sold the company to turn his attention to the open source community, finding parallels conducive to innovation between skaters and hackers—a topic covered in many talks he’s given.
The physicality of skating and his interest in cognitive sciences attract various groups studying flow states, concentration, creativity, and resilience. These include USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, Red Bull’s High-Performance Team, the National Academy of Sciences, and the BrainMind Summit. He recently co-wrote a research paper for IBM using their “AI on the Cloud” as a creative tool and has worked with the Smithsonian—where his skateboard is on display—on their Innoskate program.
He still skates two hours every day.