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Last Fall at the Outdoor Media Summit in Tahoe I had the pleasure of meeting Adam Jaber founder and show host at Out of Collective, The outdoor podcast network for the people. Originally created by Adam, the network is a collective of ski and outdoor industry veterans with a strong passion and knowledge for all things happening in our industry. Yes, we geek out a bit on podcasting but we also talk about gear, trade shows, and plenty more . . .
What is a fish lift operator and how did you get that job?
I was an environmental major in college. And one of the jobs that they had as a paid internship was working at a fish lift. Basically, it’s essentially just like a water mitigation situation where they have this waterfall and they gotta get the fish back up so that they can go back and spawn. But they also have invasive species that they don’t want in the river, that they gotta move somewhere else. And that’s kind of how it goes. So they have this little thing set up. You basically just watch ’em through a little fish tank essentially as they go up the lift. And if there’s something that’s not supposed to be there, we pull it, test it, go out, and put it somewhere else.
You were going to Westfield State. What did you study there?
At Westfield, I actually studied Business Management and then, I was at Holyoke Community College when I went and did the fish lift thing and I was going for Environmental Outdoor. I knew I wanted to be in the outdoor industry in some capacity, and even at 20, I already had, you know, seven years under my belt of working in this space and kind of growing up in this space.
What were you doing?
My family owns a ski shop here in Western Mass.
What’s the name of the shop?
How did skiing and biking become your jam? When did that happen?
I was playing basketball all throughout high school and a little bit in college. So I never really had the time to commit to skiing. And then I kind of popped into the shop and started doing it more and more. You know, I’d skied as a kid and it was just kind of a recreational passion for me for a while. And then I got into racing bikes around at age 15 or so. Then, got hooked on that whole bit. So bike and ski, I’ve kind of just been committed to for, I don’t know how long, 15 years now, something like that.
What kind of bikes?
Mountain bike racing.
When did you discover podcasting?
In 2018 a buddy and I were working together on some media stuff, doing gear reviews and all that kind of thing. And then podcasting seemed like a thing that was gonna start moving in the direction of the YouTube world. And we kind of were just like, let’s start doing it as a gear-based show and talk to the people in the industry that I’ve made connections with. And then one thing led to another and ended up just doing a bunch of pro talk. It’s still crazy to me. Like I get to talk to the athletes that I grew up watching as a little kid. Out of Bounds Podcast
Tell our listeners about the Out of Bounds Podcast. How often do you drop episodes and what’s the content about?
So once a week I basically have everybody from the biggest snow sports and bike athletes in the world. It’s insane to me to be able to say that.
And then I have people that are professionals in a specific department on quite a bit. I’m trying to do some more of that. As I can, so if people are a specialist in one area, like whether they design ski boots or they design skis, or they go in and they care about snow science, these kind of things are . . . especially now that I’ve had, most of the athletes that I want to talk to on, I’m at the point where I kind of wanna have a specific, more impactful conversation with people.
Which part of podcasting do you enjoy the most?
I like leaving a conversation and feeling that like rush that you get when you’re just so happy with how it went and you’re just like, you made a new friend out of it. Those are the ones that I enjoy.
Tell us about Out of Collective, How did that come to life?
A couple of years ago I decided all right, I’m running out of episode slots, and this is really as simple as it was. I’m selling four sponsors every show. I can’t grow the businesses if this is all I can make.
And I can’t charge a thousand bucks an episode. It just doesn’t make sense for our sponsors. I can’t, some of them it does, but it doesn’t make sense on the regular to sell that kind of volume. And even if I am, what, that’s four episodes times 52 a year. It’s just not enough money to grow a business.
So I was looking for some people to go in on what we did as we were growing the business into more of a full-on media company. Okay, There are four other days in the week that there isn’t a show. Let’s fill some of those days. Let’s get some other interesting people on to tell some stories. And that has transformed it into what it is now, which is we do full-on gear reviews, we do the YouTube stuff, and we create content for social. We do a lot of stuff outside of just doing podcasting now, but I think having so many people on the team that host shows gives us more content to use and it just increases the audience exponentially because now it’s all on the same feed, right?
If you listen to my show, the next show that’s gonna play is gonna be Michelle Parker’s show. And then we keep rolling from there. So we have plenty of people that just sit on their bike trainer and they’ll listen to every show during the week.
What are some of those other shows?
Michelle Parker does a show called Careless Do More, where she basically just sits down for an hour and a half, two hours, talks with her friends, other athletes, and stuff. She’s been such a blessing to have and she’s so good at it already. She’s been doing it for six months and she’s better than I am already. It’s insane. She’s a professional in everything she does. It always impresses me to see the kinds of things that she’s able to do while still being one of the most prevalent ski athletes in the world. It’s crazy.
Then we do The Pursuit with Adam Saurewine. He hosts on Wednesday. He’s a tele skier and van lifer, so he’s got some stuff to chit-chat with people about. His and my show are sort of similar, but in a different vein. Then we do Coffee and Van Chats, which is with a professional cyclist name John Crew. And he basically just does like cycling talk and now he’s getting into some boat racing and stuff like that as well. It’s cool. And then we got two more shows, hopefully dropping the summer.
In addition to cycling, what other outdoor activities do you do?
Honestly, it’s mostly cycling. I do all the traditional sports, I was super into playing basketball, playing football, playing baseball. I did all the sports in high school and some in college and I’m still, I try to fill my time with things outside of the outdoor industry. I fish and I hike and trail run and all that stuff, but that’s really kind of the extent of it for me.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for folks wanting to get into the outdoor biz?
I mean, just be nice, man. Like just reach out to everybody. You can try to make as many connections as you can. Even if it’s just somebody giving you the time of day to say hey. Or even somebody telling you they don’t have time for you right now. That’s the thing that I think people get so bummed out on, so burnt out on, is just the fact that everything is so yes or no, and being told no is sometimes such a downside, but people remember you. There are people that have told me no before that I’ve come back to and now we’re super tight. So I think remembering that these relationships are gonna last for a long time and that somebody will always move on to a different position.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve dealt with at one brand that, either went well or it went poorly, and then they go to another brand and it switches. You never know where people are gonna end up. So I think if people are trying to get into it, one care about the sports that you’re talking about and you’re trying to be involved in, care about the outdoors and, and try to stay committed to actually like making those connections in a positive way.
What’s your favorite piece of outdoor gear under a hundred dollars?
I have this little tool roll-up bag that this company, I think called Re-up makes. They basically just make little things out of unused material or previously used material. I have this little kit that I carry with a toothbrush and pencils and all this stuff. It’s just a little roll-up goretex, like sheath basically, and it’s so cool. They’re like 50 bucks or something.
What are a couple of your favorite books?
The most recent book I was enthralled with completely was Powder Days by Heather Hansman, it is such an incredible book. And I usually don’t like ski and snowboard or outdoor books at all. I usually lean towards other stuff, but the way that Heather writes is so impressive and the storytelling is so good. I couldn’t put the thing down so that would be one that I’d recommend to everybody.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our listeners?
I want to know what people actually care about in the outdoor industry, cuz that’s the thing that I’m constantly in a battle with, right? Do people care about gear? Do people care that there are new boas on ski boots? It seems like it, but then does it sell? Do people care that there’s a new bag out there that has this feature, that feature? I’m always curious to see what it is that interests people.
Follow Up with Adam