I am talking with Bob Taylor, Co-founder and President of Taylor Guitars.
Bob generously shares his creative and business journey from growing a small business, setting his company apart, a partnership that transformed a company and using his platform to make social and environmental changes. For anyone that wants to follow your passions and see where it can lead…this podcast will leave you inspired and encouraged!
In this episode Jeanne is talking with Bob Taylor, Co-founder and President of Taylor Guitars. Bob generously shares his creative and business journey from growing a small business, setting his company apart, a partnership that transformed a company and using his platform to make social and environmental changes.
Episode 6 | Turning Passion into Business with Bob Taylor
On this episode, Jeanne interviews Bob Taylor, cofounder of Taylor Guitars, pioneer of groundbreaking changes to the process of crafting guitars, and passionate advocate of forest conservation.
2:06 “I took industrial arts classes from the seventh grade on, and in 11th grade I wanted a guitar and thought ‘Well, I’ll just make a guitar.’”
7:08 “My business partners and I were 19 and 21, which is a way better time to take on something like buying a business.”
7:41 “It was a dream, and we were able to starve, barely pay bills, work all day and all night and all weekends, and make it happen.”
8:56 “I’m going to say that in the beginning I had neither confidence nor success, but I loved making guitars…”
9:50 “I think I probably live in the future maybe even more than the present.”
11:03 “I wanted to build guitars, and in order to build guitars we had to sell them…everything is a business.”
11:17 “I went down to register for college, got close to the office and turned around and just said ‘I can’t do this’. I got back on my motorcycle and left.”
12:51 “Every time I made a guitar, I just tried to make it better.”
13:37 “I just made tools to make my work faster, so every single day there was less stupidity I had to face.”
18:31 “He looked at me and said the sentence that changed my life, he said “Bob, what would you rather have—one done guitar, or ten half-done guitars?”
24:20 “It better be keeping you awake at night. If you can go home and forget about it, you probably haven’t found your passion.”
25:02 “There’s three things you can do to improve your business, and I don’t think there’s four, I think there’s three: 1. Training, 2. Organization, and 3. Technology…”
27:40 “You just get a little bit better, every day, every year. Sometimes you can’t see the daily improvements; you have to turn around and say “Where was I last year? Oh yeah I guess I’m doing okay.”
34:51 “Your wealth is in your waste. Look around and ask what you are wasting— materials, time, talent, overproduction.”
37:10 “We’re just going to use what the forest is giving us. I got to make that decision with Taylor.”
37:54 “We make a lot of changes by just doing them to our guitars…”
39:03 “We miss the Rock ’n’ Roll God stage; there weren’t famous artists that played our guitars…so we decided to make our guitar the star of the story.”
45:37 “I think sometimes people lose their confidence along the way, and blame things on customers that customers have nothing to do with.”
46:07 “To this day we do not build guitars based on what focus groups ask for. We build the guitars that we want to build, we put them out there, and we take huge responsibility for that.”
46:57 “I think you’ve got to look all the way back to the first time you did something with confidence, and just kind of reach into that feeling and pull it out again, over and over.”
Co-founder and President, Taylor Guitars
Taylor Guitars co-founder Bob Taylor is a pioneering acoustic guitar maker whose modern innovations have transformed the company from a small shop into a world-class manufacturer.
Bob was 19 years old when he and co-founder Kurt Listug started the company that bears his name in 1974. Bob’s slim-profile guitar necks and easy playability helped put Taylor on the map, and in the decades that followed, Bob introduced many groundbreaking refinements to the guitar-making process, establishing new standards of quality and consistency, and making the acoustic guitar more inspiring to players at every level.
Today, Taylor is an industry leader and the top-selling acoustic guitar brand in North America. In recent years, Bob has turned his attention to forest conservation and sustainability initiatives, including several pioneering reforestation programs that are planting thousands of trees for the benefit of future generations of guitar makers and musicians.