Metcalf, who co-founded Black Diamond with a $744,000 investment and has grown it to reap an expected $90 million in sales this year, is readying for his biggest climb yet. He wants to double his revenues in the next five years. He just opened a sales and support center in Switzerland and a manufacturing and distribution facility in southern China. And he recently launched several new products, including portable LED lights for climbers and the first new ski boot in two decades to have been entirely designed and developed in the U.S.
Black Diamond employs few career managers and even fewer MBAs. Instead, the Salt Lake City – based company hires mostly world-class athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. The standing joke among the staff is that the white-water, adventure-sports, and climbing champions on the payroll are better at their sports than most of the expert climbers and skiers who come to Black Diamond looking for sponsorship deals.
Pay particular attention to the last few paragraphs where they discuss how Black Diamond approaches product design and improvement.