Ben Sampson, founder and CEO of Soul id, embodies the Soul id athlete motto to the max in his own life by starting his day at 6 a.m. and ending it long after the sun goes down. As the CEO and general manager, Sampson is involved with every aspect of the company and helps the progress on the current goals and projects. Sampson strives to lead Soul id into becoming the largest network of athletes in the world.
Soul id writer Lars Gustafson met up and went through an entire day with Ben Sampson:
Soul id: Can you describe how you start your day?
Sampson: I get out of bed as soon as the sun rises and I go to bed long after the sun goes down. I try and live by the Soul id athlete moto “the 5:00 – 9:00 instead of the 9:00 – 5:00.” When I wake up, I check my phone and knock out the first wave of emails to get ahead of the game. Most mornings I try and exercise first thing depending on what I have going on with Soul id. If the conditions are good, I’m always trying to mountain bike in the morning or evening. I then try to get into the office as soon as possible.
Soul id: What is a day in the office like for you?
Sampson: The start of my mornings are pretty consistent. I reply back to my important emails and check our analytics from the past day. I usually check in with Kyle and Eli (our heads of marketing and relations) right away as well to get a status update on their projects. From this point out almost every day is different and filled with emailing potential partners, designing new features and applications for Soul id, checking in with our team members, preparing for large events, recruiting and overall driving the team everyday to continue killing at what we do.
Soul id: How do you end the day? Any traditions?
Sampson: Between 5:00 and 6:00 pm I realize that my list of tasks for the day only refilled itself and I take a breather and go to the gym or on mountain bike ride with the team members that live in the Soul id house. I grab some food and then I hop back on the laptop to knock out some emails and our writer Lars usually has some articles he wants me to look over so I’ll check those out. Night is when I’m most creative so I usually try to do a lot of my UI/UX design work at this time creating the future of the Soul id platform. Between 11 and midnight I wind down and watch an episode of friends with the guys and head to bed. I have a hard time sleeping so I usually wire into some piano music until I pass out.
Soul id: Where are you from originally and why did you choose to live in Chico?
Sampson: I grew up in Mt. Shasta and I was born into the world of action and adventure sports. I came to Chico for the business school and because it was one of the few universities at the time that offered an entrepreneurship program. I was super excited to see the community that Chico had and how many sports enthusiasts lived here.
Soul id: Can you explain Soul id in your own words?
Sampson: I could give you the same pitch I give to everyone else but I’ll give you what the organization, name, logo and culture really mean to me. The soul in Soul id is your personal definition; your passion, and the id is obviously an identity. Soul id is a vehicle for representing your passion, lifestyle, talent and sharing that with the world. It’s a place for only the things you love and nothing else. We built this for action and adventure sports athletes, fans and enthusiasts because this is the world we know. The world of action and adventure sports lives here now and will for many years to come!
Soul id: As one of the founding forces of Soul id, can you explain how far the company has come and where you imagine it in ten years?
Sampson: Soul id started with just an idea on a BART ride home when I was a financial analyst in San Francisco. It then progressed with Greg (the co-founder) and I working together at a coffee house trying to create the monster it is now. Since then the company scaled into a powerful brand with a 14-person team sharing what Soul id is all about. In ten years, I know Soul id will be the largest network of athletes in the world and probably moving beyond that at that point.
Soul id: As the head designer at Soul id, what drives the creativity behind the things you design and produce and what have been some of your favorite graphics so far?
Sampson: I’m always looking for inspiration and seeing what the top designers in the world are creating on the network called Behance by Adobe. I try to find design that I really like and then break it down and ask myself “how can I make that better and how can I make it work for Soul id?”
The Soul id 100 logo is one of my favorite pieces I’ve created. It’s a simplistic design but it truly communicates how prestigious the members of the Soul id 100 are and what an accomplishment it is that they made the list.
Soul id: What has been the hardest aspect of getting Soul id to where it is today?
Sampson: Failing. I came into tech space, a space that I have never been a part of and just dove in head first holding nothing back. I was so determined to make Soul id a success and I learned everything I know now by just continuously failing over and over again. I’ve made some stupid mistakes but looking back on it I’m glad I made them. It’s really hard to keep yourself up sometimes when you’re constantly getting beaten down, especially when you have a lot of people counting on you to get the company to the next stage. I’m pretty blessed that I have an awesome team, a killer group of friends, and a wonderful family. That support system gets me through the hard times.
Soul id: What are some of your favorite memories over the past three years as you have built Soul id to where we are today?
Sampson: Haha there are so many! I remember when we started the Soul id 100 program, we featured and interviewed pro photographer Barbara Britvin from Argentina and then we sent her a hat. Next thing we know she’s rocking the Soul id hat in all of her shots. Everytime I get to meet with pro athletes I get really pumped up. I remember when Eli and I went to Hangtown to watch the pro motocross series and we got to meet Ryan Dungey and he was so pumped to talk to us. Those are the moments that make the 60 – 80 hour weeks all worth it. I was recently at a concert in the Bay area and funny enough I was in the bathroom and this guy saw my Soul id lanyard and yelled at me “hey are you on Soul id?” I just replied “yeah man I really like it!” He responded “yeah man that’s one of the sickest companies out there and they’re based out of nor cal!”
My favorite moment of all time was recently I was unable to attend the US Open of Surfing and have the opportunity to meet my favorite athlete of all time Sally Fitzgibbons. Luckily I work with the most amazing guys in the world and they put in a good word for me and had a Soul id hat signed and addressed to me. The hat now sits in a glass case on my desk.
Soul id: What action sports do you do?
Sampson: I try to dabble in everything! My room is practically an action sports store haha. I religiously mountain bike, love to wakeboard, dabble in a little bit of skateboarding, longboard, rock climb, snowboard, ski (especially backcountry), and try to hop on the BMX bike when there is one lying around.
- Soul id Mountain Biking
- Soul id Wakeboarding
- Soul id Skateboarding
- Soul id Longboarding
- Soul id Snowboarding
- Soul id Skiing
- Soul id Climbing
- Soul id BMX
Soul id: Why do you like action and adventure sports?
Sampson: I grew up with action sports, so in a weird way when I’m doing them or involved in the industry in some way, I feel really comfortable and get a homey feeling. Aside from that, the addiction to going fast and letting everything go while you’re in a moment feels amazing. I feel sick when I don’t have some form of release that sports give me.
Soul id:What is the best aspect about Soul id?
Sampson: The team. This amazing group of individuals that drives Soul id everyday and it’s awesome to see everyone become really close friends. Sometimes I feel like we’re an action sports fraternity!
Soul id: What is the craziest thing you have ever done in your life?
Sampson: Volunteer across the Andes mountain range in Peru with no connection to the outside world. Changed my life.
Soul id: Where is your favorite place to ride?
Sampson: Back home in Shasta for sure. I know that mountain like the back of my hand, which always makes for a good day of riding no matter what the sport. I will say however it’s pretty hard to beat the mountain biking in Canada.
Soul id: What is your favorite joke?
Sampson: Son, someday you will make a girl very happy for a short period of time. Then she will leave you for other men who are ten times better than you could ever hope to be. These men are called mountain bikers.
Soul id: If you were stranded on an island, what three items would you bring?
Sampson: A surfboard, radio, and a lamp with three wishes.
Soul id: Do you have a motto?
Sampson: Start something that matters. Do what you love, make a difference.
Soul id: What are some of your favorite action sports athletes?
Sally Fitzgibbons – She is the most dedicated passionate athlete I know.
Ryan Dungey – This guy makes it look so damn easy, yet he’s so humble. Lots of respect for Dungey.
Tom Schaar – Kid knows how to send it and loves interacting with his fans.
Tony Hawk – Not so much because he’s legend but it’s how he’s giving back to the skate industry.
Travis Pastrana – He’s done so much for our industry and continues to push the limits.
Soul id: What is your favorite activity to do?
Sampson: Ride, Shred, Build, Create.
To follow Ben Sampson’s life and his latest Soul id work, follow his Soul id profile here!