Not so long ago before passing out at night I would dabble on our Instagram feed reposting condensed versions of the dunktionary threads from yesteryear. We didn't have to much traction at the time so it was pretty much a chance to drop some knowledge on some of the older SB Dunks people may not know about, a "Behind the Sneakers" per se.
Through various degrees of separation, a person who I have the utmost respect for and consider a friend entertained the idea of doing an interview with someone they worked with at the swoosh, who just so happened to design a handful of the SB's I was posting. His name is John Martin, a Nike SB veteran since the divisions inception in the early 2000's.
While I've never had the honor to meet John away from the keyboard, I was able to shoot a few emails back and forth to learn about an upcoming project he was getting ready to launch called fiender. After using it for a minute, it became clear to me that this could very well be the quintessential app this scene has been looking for sometime.
So here we are today, as we discuss his latest project and his tenure as one of the original 5 founding members of Nike Skateboarding.
Fiender has just surpassed the 200th most popular app on iTunes.. for those who are unfamiliar, what exactly is fiender?
Fiender is an iPhone app where collectors can share, buy or sell to other like minded collectors.
So… How long has fiender been in the works?
The idea has been brewing for many years but the real work started about a year ago.
Do you hate android, I ask because according to the lovely comments on instagram it seems some feel you're biased toward the iPhone?
Hahaha no not at all, but I need to confess that I'm obsessed with Steve Jobs, so much so that my friends find it entertaining to exploit it. The truth is that one of our biggest goals is to create an android version of Fiender as soon as we can. We want to enable all collectors, the device they use is not important.
What was exactly the path on making your idea an app?
I saw a need to help collectors so I just started to flush out the idea, spoke to fellow collectors, partnered with a programmer and worked a lot of late nights and weekends to get it up and running.
Sneakers are undoubtedly a substantial part of your life, how do you feel about the sneaker culture at it's current state?
I think we have entered a very exciting time in the community, we have seen a whole new generation of collectors that have come up in the last few years. They know more about the stuff I have worked on than I do.
I accidentally an omega symbol typing this question, that must mean I get to ask about Nike SB.. what's the funnest SB project that got scrapped because of legal?
So many great ones, but unfortunately I can't say.
Jeremy Scott has been somewhat of a controversial figure in skateboarding recently and his sources of inspiration. I remember when the adidas shoe came out it seemed to me as an over exaggerated version of the three bears pack with the snuggles bear head on the tongue.
I can tell you that the SB pack was inspired by the fairy tale, because it was around time we were offering 3 different Dunks, the low, mid and high. We also made wind runner jackets to match, a kids one, women's one and a mens one. It was promo only, we made maybe 2 or 3 of each.
Shops and collectors seem to be warming up to the idea of Nike SB retroing some of their greatest hits ala Jordan Brand, do you foresee this happening?
You never know.
Given a small amount of people reading this are going to be interested in scoring a job at the swoosh, how exactly did you get approached to be part of Nike SB?
I was very lucky to have been recommended by my boss to help the team out, it was at the very beginning when there were only 5 of us. Hands down the best experience of my life.
Fienders execution is brilliant, however the one thing that seems missing is a payment gateway. Is there anything in the future to buy something directly?
Yes, in the coming weeks we will be releasing version 2.0, this will enable the community to buy and sell securely using their credit cards.
What's the long term for fiender, a lot of startups seem to "sell" once they gain traction is this a mere side project or something you and your team are heavily committed to?
Our plan is to create the best experience for the community, its what drives us. The Fiender team has made a lot of personal sacrifices to bring it to life and I don't think that will ever change.
In what way has design changed your outlook on life, creativity, and flow?
Design has informed almost everything in my life, I'm Dyslexic and have ADHD so growing up I struggled in school except for one discipline, design. So thats the path I chose and if I had not found my passion early on I'm not sure where I would be.
In short, what do you think is the most essential thing in regards to design?
To understand the problem you are trying to solve.
Everyday is a new lesson, what do you feel has been your greatest failure to learn from?
The people close to me know well, I'm not afraid of failure. So I have failed a lot and learned a lot. My biggest lesson has been to never take yourself too seriously.
Wrapping up, a few short questions.. Favorite shoe right now?
Flyknit, when I first saw the work the kitchen was doing a few years back, I was blown away. It's Nike innovation at its best.
Favorite skateshoe of all time?
Stefan Janoski, beautifully crafted by Arizumi.
Favorite shoe of all time?
Bruin, I have worn all mine into the ground.
Favorite shoe you've worked on?
My old Boss got very ill when we first started SB, each of us on the team colored up one URL to send to him while he was away getting treatment. These were one off color ways as a personal gift and not for retail. It was my first color way and was very personal. There are many other models and color ways that I like but if I had to pick one, the Bodecker URL would be it.
You might also like
More from Interviews
<img src="http://necrostock.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/dfda7c43a41bd6058b848583669edc5b.png" /> <p>Dom From Brooklyn Projects aka "Brooklyn Dom" is back at it again for his 4th installment with Nike …
We stopped by Exit Skateshop in Philadelphia and were fortunate enough to spend some time with Chuck Treece from "McRad". …