My name is Adam Grandmaison also known as Adam22. In 2006 I started the website The Come Up which quickly became the most popular BMX website of all time. I then created ONSOMESHIT, a BMX-based clothing line which has also been really successful, we have put out 3 DVDs and we opened a retail store in Downtown LA in late 2013 to serve the LA BMX community.

Today a video came out in which I talk about The Come Up, ONSOMESHIT, what BMX is all about and how I've struggled to build up both brands. Watch it here:

I am perfectly happy to answer questions about BMX, but what I'd really like to address here is how to turn your passion into your job. Ask away and I'll do my best to answer you honestly and accurately.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @onsomeshit and Follow me on Facebook:

Proof: I posted about this AMA on my Instagram the other day:

Comments: 318 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

myterbanesderty27 karma

You say, "DC was so busy making BMX look like shit for all those years." Didn't you wear DC shoes, allow DC to sponsor the first Come Up jam, and were also in the process of getting DC to advertise on The Come Up?

follow up, what do words taste like?

Adam22dotcom4 karma

I never really wore DCs, I mostly wear Vans and Etnies although they did send me a couple of pairs with almost no actual DC branding which I wore.

Even the DC employees were aware of how fucking kooky the stuff looked and that was part of what we were doing with DC before the corporate overlords ditched the BMX team was trying to get rid of that image. It sucks that they left BMX but it's cool that I can speak honestly about the brand now.

ForcedZucchini2 karma

So you are only speaking honestly because they ditched you as a sponsor? If they continued to sponsor you would you just keep quiet and keep taking their money?

Adam22dotcom1 karma

When you're in an advertising relationship with a brand, of course you are expected to not disparage that brand publicly. By saying that they "made BMX look like shit" i'm actually just echoing the sentiment that a lot of the employees and riders agreed with at the time, but of course that isn't the kind of thing that I would have said publicly at that time since I was working with the brand and was trying to help them better their marketing in BMX.

ForcedZucchini0 karma

The problem is that you were in an 'advertising relationship' with a company that was always disliked by the BMX community. I understand why you would want to partner with them, because they are a large player and have deep pockets. But don't try to justify what you did as a morally right decision by saying you were just trying to help DC in the BMX market.

Adam22dotcom11 karma

I don't think there is a "morally right decision" when it comes to what kind of shoe you wear. DC were a big company that sponsored a huge team of my friends for many years, why on Earth would I have ever said no to working with them? The fact that the BMX community disliked DC was a product of bad marketing on their part and I was really excited about the opportunity to help them do a better job, I'm still bummed they dropped out.

Suppafly1 karma

Tangent, but am I the only one that likes the way DCs look but can't stand wearing them?

Adam22dotcom0 karma

I always thought they were pretty good to ride in, the times that I did, I just didn't care for the logo or most of the styles they put out.

Geminii2717 karma

Starting with no budget, what were you able to get for free, and what were the first things you spent money on once you had some? Would you make the same choices if you did it from scratch today?

Adam22dotcom20 karma

When the site started to make money, I suppose the first thing I spent that money on was just paying myself back for all of the web development that I had paid for out of pocket.

But once the site started to actually make a significant amount of money the first thing I did was start paying my rent with it so that I could quit playing online poker and start spending all of my time on the site.

Once the site reached another level financially I hired a full staff of bloggers to make sure that we were able to get stuff posted to the site before any of our competitors and we started buying original video and photo content from contributors. I think that our huge push into original content has been the biggest change in the site in the past few years, both in terms of keeping our users happy but also just because it changed the way the BMX community as a whole perceived the site. Buying video or photo content rarely pays for itself but we think it's important to support videographers and photographers whenever possible.

deathsquadwarrior42010 karma


Adam22dotcom6 karma

I don't agree with your assesment of the current BMX climate. What about dudes like Garrett Reynolds, Stevie Churchill, Craig Passero, Charlie Crumlish, Ty Morrow, Rob Wise, Chad Kerley, Sean Sexton, Simone Barraco, Bruno Hoffman, Dan Lacey... ah shit I could be here all day! There are so many unbelievable pro riders that all have very unique, diverse personalities.

I'm incapable of seeing a difference between guys like The Gonz and Ratboy and the current crop of pros. When I watch someone like Chad Kerley ride, he reminds me of a modern day Ratboy. I can guarantee that Ratboy was a huge influence on all the riders I just listed off.

upvoatsforall9 karma

I am a carpenter. I'm very good at what I do but can't seem to find anyone who will hire me to work on their home. I'm clean cut and well-spoken and have been told I present myself very well. It is my passion and it is getting very frustrating.

I don't get it.

MrObviousCommenter8 karma

While I cant speak for carpentry I will speak for general construction because I feel it applies to the whole industry. Being "very good" at your craft is only a fraction of what matters. The average consumer has a job they want accomplished, but they dont have a clue whats going on. They just want peace of mind that they made the right choice. Aggressive marketing techniques , embellishing your services, and convincing your client you are THE ONLY one they can trust is the key to success.

Adam22dotcom6 karma

That is a really great answer and a great description of how that works. Thank you.

ivegotagoldenticket8 karma

Can you recall the moment in your life when it just clicked that making a website was the thing you needed to do? What was that feeling like/what brought you there?

Adam22dotcom7 karma

Ooh I like this question.

When I was 16, a friend of mine told me to sign up for Livejournal. I did and pretty much immediately got addicted. Around the same time I started posting on messageboards about BMX and hardcore music. I didn't realize it at the time but I was essentially in an internship, writing about things for free on The Internet and accidentally getting thousands of hours of practice writing about the things I was passionate about.

When I was 20 I started playing online poker and did that for a living for 3 years. I was making good money but I hated it. In my downtime between hands I would glance at BMXBoard (an old BMX messageboard) and Nah Right (the popular hip hop blog) over and over. In time I began to ask myself why there weren't any good BMX websites. I realized how easy it would be to start a Blogspot and just post all the good YouTube videos that were being posted on messageboards and I dove in.

Pretty soon I was spending pretty much all of my time working on TCU, mostly updating the site but also just researching all of the technical aspects of running this sort of business. Which didn't really make any sense since I wasn't earning any money from TCU, but it felt so good to do something I was passionate about after years of playing poker, which I liked but had already decided I didn't want to do for a living.

I decided pretty quickly that TCU was my chance to be the best in the world at something and to really contribute something to the same culture that raised me. Even before TCU took off I have always felt like BMX gave me the template and all the tools I needed to be successful in life.

jameson57 karma

What was the biggest challenge you faced? How could others overcome it? would you tell them to do it differently?

Adam22dotcom13 karma

My biggest challenge was definitely just mastering the business side of running a blog. There were so many overwhelming things to be done. I had to learn how ads were bought and sold online (which was quite a bit more complicated in 2006 than it is today) and I had to figure out how to work with all of these brands who wanted to advertise. It took me a little while but I ended up hiring someone (my good friend and fellow BMX rider, Alfredo Mancuso) to take over the more technical and financial side of the business.

Reading that, it might sound like a cop out. My way of dealing with a problem was to hire someone else to do it, who was more suited to it. But delegating responsibility is the most important thing in any business. I was inspired when I read about Michael Aarington (the founder of TechCrunch) and how he hired a young, female CEO to run the business when they were only bringing in a couple 100,000 a year. I think it takes a lot of courage to accept that even though you started a business, that doesn't mean that you're the best person to run the business. I had to really put my ego aside and it was hard but it was probably the smartest thing I've ever done.

clem1456 karma

Who would win in a fight. Adam LZ or Boqer123?

Adam22dotcom10 karma

Everyone else in the world > Adam LZ in a fight.

dallasdude5 karma

At what point did you decide to move past the daydreaming/idea phase and actually create something?

Adam22dotcom4 karma

I started The Come Up within 5 minutes of having the idea to start a BMX blog. Generally speaking, the best thing you can do is to just dive in and start working your ass off on something.

andrewrbrady4 karma

where should bmx media head in the future and what should it be doing? where do you actually see it heading?

Adam22dotcom2 karma

YouTube. It doesn't make sense to me why kids don't just start their own YouTube pages. Guys like Adam LZ and Josh James ( Boqer123 ) have tons of subscribers and probably make a pretty decent amount of money off of their channels. This is something that literally any kid could start doing with almost no money, it's really easy, it could get you sponsored etc

calvin19734 karma

What is your favourite BMX stunt or clip from any event?

Adam22dotcom27 karma

It would be impossible to even begin to consider all of the crazy stuff that has happened over the years both in videos and in front of my own eyes. But here's a memory that stands out:

When I was 15 I became obsessed with a rider named Edwin DeLaRosa from New York City. Anyone who rides will tell you that Edwin essentially brought style and speed to street riding at a time when street wasn't really taken seriously by the majority of riders. Not only was Edwin's riding unbelievable but he was always just a really stylish dude. There was a Zoo York ad that I had on my wall where he did a 360 barspin to fakie (a trick I'm pretty sure he invented) on the bank at The Brooklyn Banks wearing this striped sweater and I just remember thinking that Edwin, that trick, that spot and that sweater were all fucking awesome.

The first time I ever went to NYC to ride, my friends and I were pedaling around lost trying to find The Brooklyn Banks. A rider pedaled by and told us to follow him. We pedaled a few blocks and as soon as I pulled up to The Banks (probably the most famous BMX/skate spot on Earth) there was Edwin DOING THE EXACT SAME TRICK WEARING THE EXACT SAME SWEATER. It was literally the first thing I saw as I pulled up.

I think I fell a little bit more in love with BMX at that moment, just realizing that not only was BMX absolutely fucking amazing but that it was going on all the time and that if I was lucky enough, I could be part of it.

deanxleong3 karma

I always wanted to be a photographer but I'm really not sure how to start becoming known in my community. I do any types of photography which varies from landscape photography to portraits and whatnot. Any pointers on how I could start?

Adam22dotcom9 karma

I'm not a photographer, but my general advice would be:

Do a really complete and honest analysis of the existing landscape. Look at all of the photographers you admire and study everything about them including

-their social networking sites (who do they talk to? who do they follow? etc) -their business. do your best to figure out who they work for, what kind of work they do and what kind of parties they go to -their work. are you as good as them? if not, why? -their equipment seems like a good thing to keep in mind -their interns. do they have people working for them?

Once you feel like you really understand these people and what they do, get involved. Go out of your way to meet these photographers. Try to make a good impression. Offer to intern for them. Working for free isn't fun but it's a great way to learn and make connections.

This is a vague question so this is sort of a vague answer, but generally speaking I think it's usually pretty easy to find role models. There are writers that I admire and I have studied EVERYTHING about them and written them friendly emails where I tried to convey an overall understanding of their craft. Do I plan on carbon copying what these writers do? No, not at all. But I feel like once you truly understand someone that you admire then you're better able to emulate the parts of their lives that you find admirable.

AustUN3 karma


Adam22dotcom9 karma

My opinion of pretty much anything involving scooters is that they can suck it hard, from the back.

One of my favorite parts about BMX has always been just being out in the streets. I've just always been drawn to that environment, I love being in cities and feel incredibly uncomfortable whenever I'm out in the woods.

requiredoptions3 karma

I know it's a pretty general question, but what got you interested into bmx? Was it filming that aspired you to create a place to keep up with what's new in bmx?

Bonus question: what is one trick you hate to see in video parts?

Adam22dotcom2 karma

The young BMX riders were anti-social, violent, boisterous and just seemed like a bunch of assholes who didn't care what anyone thought about them. Since I've always identified with all of those things (or at least did as a teenager), that definitely drew me in. It wasn't so much the quest to learn tricks, it was more just associating with a bunch of dudes who existed outside of the traditional values that I had grown up with.

Once I had been riding BMX for a few years the tricks started to make a lot more sense to me. I still remember the first time I left my house, unable to manual (wheelie) my bike and came back able to do it for blocks at a time. I got so unbelievably addicted to that feeling of learning something and that's still what I'm chasing after all these years. I just love the feeling of imagining a trick and then going out and making it happen. Everything I have done since then, whether it's writing an article or starting a business, is an extension of that. I just love the feeling of trying to accomplish something new.

The infamous "half way crook" is probably my least favorite trick. Something about pulling up into a crook after doing a double peg just doesn't look right to me.

funkydandy3 karma

Hey Adam, I'm from canada and just wanted to congratulate you on owning and operating the best and most successful bmx news and info resource there is. I've been coming to your site everyday for more than 5 years (the truth is i can't remember exactly when i heard about TCU). Ive always wondered what it was like to start TCU and how you developed the website initially, did you have a long term plan or was it more spontaneous? also i was wondering if you ever get stressed out, what you like to do when your not riding or thinking about bmx and also where you see the greatest opportunities in the industry for business people in the UPCOMING future. thanks a lot, i know thats a lot of questions and congrats with opening the OSS store. i also wanted to let you know your a big inspiration for me.

edit: bonus question! whats your favourite video from all time?

Adam22dotcom4 karma

First, thanks a ton for the support I really appreciate it.

Spontaneous is the word. I didn't know anything about the BMX industry, just knew that I lived bikes and wanted to cover them better than anyone else was doing at the time. That's really the root of all innovation. If you can pinpoint a niche in which there is room for improvement, I think of that as a soft spot that needs to be targeted.

Favorite video of all time is Don't Quit Your Day Job. It was the first street video I got as a kid and it featured full parts from George Dossantos, Bob Scerbo, Joe Tiseo (RIP), Ralph Sinisi and Will Taubin who I consider to be some of my biggest influences.

CandyCheetoSteamboat3 karma

Adam, I'm very much into car culture and love how a car can become an extension of one's persona. I have bought a Web domain with the intent of starting a blog and seeing what that may lead to. In an industry (much like sports) that is already so saturated with offerings, what did you do to a) get people to your website and b) offer original content to keep them coming back?

Adam22dotcom2 karma

What you're asking about is kind of interesting because it's the opposite of the problem I was addressing when I started TCU. Back then there were no good BMX websites. From what you're saying, I'm guessing that isn't an issue in the car world.

You are at a huge disadvantage in the face of all of the well funded, established websites that already exist in the car world. But what you do have is an ability to focus on a tiny, super specific niche that a large publisher wouldn't have time for. If I were in your position I would want to come up with one very specific type of niche content that you are an expert on and write about it, produce videos about it, etc.

Look for a pain point. Something that is missing from the current web landscape, that you would love to read or interact with online. For me it was a blog full of BMX videos. It wasn't an original idea since I essentially copied the entire format for the site from Nah Right, it was just a different style of content.

The Merged is a site that has done well in BMX over the past couple years because they target a small, underrepresented niche (BMX parts) that existing BMX sites were neglecting.

RamsesThePigeon2 karma


Adam22dotcom2 karma

My favorite book on this topic is "The War Of Art" by Steven Pressfield. The entire book is basically a big long answer to this exact question.

I was always inspired by the BMX rider Jamie Bestwick. He would talk in interviews about how he would work 8 hours at his job and then get in his car and drive 2 hours to the nearest vert ramp. Then he would drive home, sleep, go back to work and repeat. His logic was that if he needed to work for 8 hours and sleep 8 hours then that left him with a cushy 8 hours in which to pursue his passion no matter how inconvenient it was. Today he is without question the greatest vert rider of all time and even though he is in his mid 30s he still dominates the vert class.

You need that kind of attitude. You need to be willing to make less money (by taking a job that pays less but that gives you more free time) to pursue your craft. If you aren't willing to give up all of your worldly comforts to chase your dreams, that's okay, but maybe being a writer isn't for you.

areyouamoron2 karma

was the clothing brand name "Big House" already taken? because it seems like a real gimme. it sounds credible. the imagery works. anti-authoritarian and all that. perhaps you prefer wearing clothing that says ONSOMESHIT on it.

if you invent a line for children or women maybe you can call it NOMNOMSHIT, AWESOMESHITS or TAKINSHITS.

edit: turns out "big house" is already a line of clothing. do you at least own i'd be furious if i were you.

Adam22dotcom3 karma

Haha! Actually over the last few years I have had more and more people ask me about my name, I think because most people are at least vaguely aware of the (hypothetical) illuminati and the freemasons and it kind of sounds like something associated with that. But as far as I know, nobody in my family has ever been a Mason.

Maybe I'm tripping but a shirt that says BIG HOUSe actually isn't a bad idea at all.

MacGoPro1 karma

Motocross enthusiast here with marketing/social media experience and a bachelor's degree. I am looking to move to the Long Beach area in the next few months. Any pointers how to make it? Or how do get my foot in the door? Thanks!

Adam22dotcom1 karma

I would assume there are a lot of opportunities to work in social media/marketing in the MX world, particularly in So Cal. But those kind of gigs in BMX rarely come to people unless they are EXTREMELY knowledgable about BMX and they usually have a lot of pre-existing relationships with people in that world. At the very least you are going to have to identify different brands that you would like to work with and then identify a way to get on the radar of the people who do the hiring for these sorts of jobs.