When Colby Bauer suggested installing a halfpipe in the Provo, Utah, offices of his company, Thread (No. 442 on the 2021 Inc. 5000; No. 104 in 2020), it was not as well received as, say, Tony Hawk's first aerial 900. In fact, Bauer's idea led to a fight with his co-founder and wife -- who was, he admits, quite right to be worried about the hit to their startup's budget. But they ultimately agreed to build the ramp, and Bauer now considers it his secret productivity hack -- and a key to the breakout success of his wallet and apparel company.
Bauer, who struggles with anxiety and depression, says the easy access to an activity that requires his full attention has helped him cope with the stress of being a founder: "I think about the business all day and night, and it's so hard to find release," he says. "But with skateboarding, you can't afford to focus on anything else -- because you'll break your arm." These days, when Bauer is feeling anxious or unproductive, he'll grab his board and hit the halfpipe for a few minutes to reset. He's usually joined by a few skaters on staff, and says that the halfpipe is also a hit with visiting clients: "It's a signal to everyone in the office that you need to take care of yourself and clear your mind."