Method in the Madness

If you don’t follow skateboard industry news, you might very well be blind to this latest information – Madness Skateboards founder and Dwindle Distribution veteran Bill Weiss was unceremoniously fired via a phone call by the investment company that owns Dwindle.

When Weiss was canned, the pro skaters on the team (some of the most exciting and eye-watering transition skaters out there right now) all started to quit, leaving Madness as a shell of it’s former self.

In the space of a month, Madness went from one of the most revered core brands to one of the most vilified. Every post on Instagram is packed to the gills with comments supporting Weiss and shaming the big wigs at Dwindle. The pros who quit did so very publicly – with social media posts calling out the investment bankers who made the call.

Listen, we’re living in late stage capitalism. The old skool mentality of “Shit can the working man in name of profit” has gone into overdrive as the dinosaurs of old roar to cling onto a day when massive profits were the only thing anyone cared about. Bill Weiss is one of tens of thousands of people who were cruelly released of employment by uncaring profit chasing money men during January – Microsoft, Google and many more companies touting “record profits” are ripping out the very heart and soul of their companies by firing and laying off good, hard working people.

Bill Weiss was the reason Madness was so respected. The method behind the Madness was Bill and his dedication to skateboarding. The brand was next level, and was most definitely a crown jewel for Dwindle. In skateboarding, core skateboarders are the heart and soul of any skateboard company, and when you take them out of the equation you lose the respect and support of an entire industry, an entire sub-culture, and an entire generation.

I look back on storied brands that have become shadows of their former selves. Blueprint, Fracture, Duffs, Blind, World Industries and Airwalk all used to be at the forefront of core skateboarding and have been relegated to discount brands sold in sportswear megastores to turn a quick profit from beginners and young kids. Unfortunately that seems to be the way Madness is headed now that the one person bringing the brand legitimacy has been ousted.

The lesson here, and I guess there is nothing anyone can do about this, is that when a popular brand is under the control of a bunch of investment bankers who don’t skate, it’s on borrowed time. People with lots of money and no actual interest in skateboarding owning skateboarding brands is bad news – always. You only need to see what state The Berrics is in followed several years of ownership under Hypebeast has done to it (although part of that blame lies at the feet of Steve Berra and Eric Koston too).

Whilst the initial influx of money and security may seems cool and positive, eventually profits will rule supreme, and with that comes harsh decisions and ill informed ruination of beloved brands. It is literally madness that the fate of skate brands can be swayed by the decisions of people with no love or passion for skateboarding, and that’s the bottom line.

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