Quality Content, Low Definition

Back in 1990, there was a trio of remarkable skateboarders – all of them could have claimed to be the best street skaters around – and to this day, nobody would argue. One was the still-relevant skate icon Mark Gonzales, one was Jason Lee (yes, that Jason Lee), and the other was a quiet guy named Matt Hensley. Although none of them were famous back in 1990, their influence helped catapult skateboarding to the cultural significance it maintains today. Amazingly, they were all under the age of 20.

So what made these teenagers so influential?

One of the tools of the trade of the skateboard industry for the last 20 years has been the skateboard video. If you’ve never seen one, imagine 45 minutes or so of pure skateboarding, set to music, featuring the best skateboarders doing their best to represent their sponsor and elevate their own personal status. Today, skate videos (dvds) are awesome hi-def productions with major label music and even occasional special effects. Back then, skate videos were blurry bootleg copies of bootleg copies of VHS tapes that would circulate through schools and at local skate spots. Skateboarders… always the innovators, led the viral video revolution!

Now thanks to YouTube, all of the best videos from back in the day are now available on demand. I wanted to share a short clip from a classic skate video from a brand called H-Street, featuring Matt Hensley.

I get goosebumps watching this clip like I did when I was 15-years-old watching it after school. Not much can give a 15-year-old goosebumps – think about it! A video like this is the ultimate argument for the incredible power of high quality content.

Terrible audio, terrible video, a no-name musician, and kids would still gather around the television set with their bootleg copy of this video for hours to get pumped up to go skate. Kids would lose sleep after watching a video like this. Forget the lack of HD quality! Yeah, it would have been nice to have back then, but when you have great content – content that connects, motivates, inspires, and generally keeps kids like me daydreaming through every class – all the bells and whistles are just… fluff. Brands like this also inspired some of my first forays into consumer generated content… almost every art project at school was inspired by H-street and brands like them.

Forget the focus on technology. Forget the focus on the delivery mechanism. Learn a lesson from Matt Hensley and the H-Street guys from 1990 and give consumers what they want – high value, high quality content!

P.S.  Check this video of a star in the making:

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