“Every day is a new day with new challenges. As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly overcoming those challenges to move your business forward.”
One playing card… CHECK
One wooden clothes pin… CHECK
A playing card and a clothes pin are all you need to transform an ordinary, every-day Schwinn into a noise-making, neighbor-annoying Harley Davidson-esque bike. You know exactly what we’re talking about. That undeniable thup…thup..thup..thup that comes from the bikes of pre-teens who happen to think they’re cooler than ice cream on a hot, summer day because of their newly created two-wheeled, hot rods.
But playing cards inevitably bend, rip and otherwise wear out with prepubescent neighborhood cruising. This is exactly why Adam Smith created Bike Pipe. Bike Pipe is an easy-to-attach bike exhaust system that amplifies sound and can be turned on and off with a simple kick of the foot. Truly an epic mic drop concept.
But how in the world did this twenty-three year old, 2015 Baylor graduate become a bonafide entrepreneur so quickly? One might say that entrepreneurship is in Adam’s blood.
It all started in southern California after Adam and his brother ruined one-too-many expensive baseball trading cards for the sake of the beloved thup…thup…thup…thup. Adam’s dad, Terry, worked to create an alternative for his boys. He developed an exhaust system for the bikes made out of spare motorcycle parts that had been tossed aside. It was in that moment that Bike Pipe became a real thing, but Terry ran out of resources before Bike Pike could become a household reality.
Terry eventually moved his family from California to Texas to own and operate an RV park, putting Bike Pipe on the back burner indefinitely. But with an entrepreneurial dad, Adam was exposed to life-lessons that would have a tremendous impact later on.
After high school, Adam went on to study entrepreneurship at Baylor. He started a few service-based businesses that never really took off for no other reason than geographical limitations. But in the back of Adam’s mind there was a reoccurring thought of thup…thup…thup…thup. It was time to bring Bike Pipe back to the front burner.
Fortunately Adam could bypass all of the labor-intensive, savings-draining research and development because his dad had already created a successful prototype. The focus was now on MVP (minimum viable product). Essentially the MVP Bike Pipe prototype allowed Adam to satisfy customers but still gain important feedback for improvements and modifications.
The initial goal was to get this rumbling product online as fast as possible, so website development was on the forefront. But there was also a lot of back end work to modify the product, develop a marketing plan for the brand, design retail packaging, and set up a supply chain from manufacturing to shipping.
Adam learned early on that having the right people around and tasking them with the right responsibilities was paramount to his success, especially when it comes to government regulations. Regulations for each country are different. Every manufacturer must meet specific certifications, pass inspections and uphold to certain standards. Ultimately, Adam sought out a third party testing facility near the manufacturing operation in China to ensure compliance.
Adam acknowledges that his short-term goals seem to change almost daily, but he remains unflinching on his long-term goal to grow a successful company. Gleaning from his entrepreneurship classes at Baylor and his dad’s business prowess, it looks like Adam is well on his way to forging his own entrepreneurial path.
And if you think about it, the Bike Pipe is brilliant. It’s ideal for bike riders and parents alike. For bike riders, their cool factor is increased exponentially with the thunderous, muffler-like attachment. For parents, the here-I-come rumble gives a little peace of mind by providing increased awareness with pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Plus, the kiddos are outside rather than glued to an electronic device. It’s a win-win and we have Adam Smith to thank for the practical and yet ingenious noise maker.
Three cheers for the thup…thup…thup…thup with a thunderous attitude.
For more information about Free Enterprise at the Baugh Center, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/freeenterprise/.