While it’s easy to understand why you might believe it is me in the video linked below, I must correct you. Don’t be embarrassed, it could happen to anyone. I may have similar moves and physique however, this is actually a video of Adam Dunlap, Director of Parkour.com, that I found on the YouTube. Adam is an experienced marketing manager and business developer. He’s an athlete, actor, and entrepreneur.
Mike: Adam, let me start with the domain name, parkour.com. That is a category killer name you have. How long have you owned it and how did you acquire it? Can you share what you paid for it?
Adam: Hi Mike, thanks for interviewing me. It’s a pleasure to talk to you! Yah, Parkour.com is category killer for sure haha. I started pursuing domains in the Parkour category in 2008, so it was a dream come true to acquire it. That was in 2014. It was a private purchase, and I’m not allowed to say what I paid for it.
Mike: Parkcour.com seems to be in early stages as one of the main navigation links is “Welcome to the new Parkour.com.” You are selling apparel, but what is the long-term vision for the site?
Adam: Parkour.com is definitely in the early stages. Like, reaaaaallly early. We’ve played with a lot of different types of sites over the last 5 years and haven’t had the success we wanted. We started with a static site in order to collect emails and build social media channels; then we moved to a blog-based site and had a team of athletes and writers supporting it; and now what we have is the current eCommerce site you see.
We’ve had some huge ups and downs over the past 5 years. We had a site crash 3 years ago that took out the whole site, and we had to rebuild. Also, around 2014 an admin deleted our 150,000+ person Facebook page. That was a crushing and setback, and changes in the Facebook algorithm have prevented us from reaching the same success and driving the traffic we used to. Suffice it to say, we’ve had some troubles along the way, but as you alluded to, we have a long term strategy, and that’s what I am focused on.
Long term, I see the site as being something really similar to BodyBuilding.com in some ways (with products, influencers, and great articles) and really similar to BBC in other ways (lots of news content, media content, and other). At the very least, I see Parkour.com becoming the #1 visited site for Parkour news, tips, videos, photos, and for people looking for the world’s best Parkour apparel and shoes. I also see us doing lots of interviews like you do at DSAD.com, as well as having our own media platform through which we develop inspiring and informational content from the Parkour world and cover competitions and other newsworthy events. The sky is really the limit. It all comes down to the resources we can leverage and the size of the industry.
In the short term, we plan to adjust the site to focus on consulting, so we can bring Parkour & Freerunning to television, film, and marketing projects through our expertise. We often get emails about film castings and things of this nature, so this seems like the current opportunity for the domain, even more so than apparel and shoes.
Mike: How does one go about learning parkour? It’s not really part of the school system’s physical fitness program. Is it self taught?
Adam: One can learn Parkour in a myriad of ways. In the early days we were all mostly self-taught, so that is still an option. When I began doing Parkour in 2006, there were hardly any Parkour schools, teachers, or even online resources. However, now there are plenty of those resources, so most people can find someone to learn from.
If you want to learn Parkour, just do an internet search and see what you can find in your area. Maybe you’ll find a Parkour gym or outdoor community classes. If there isn’t anything, then maybe you can find a meetup group in your community and learn from more experienced Traceurs (that’s what we call Parkour practitioners). If there really is no one around then I recommend watching Parkour videos, studying online tutorials, are teaching yourself. Start small and listen to your body and see where it takes you.
Also, some schools are developing Parkour programs which is really exciting! But they are exceedingly rare. Hopefully in time, Parkour will become a sport that is taught in public school systems around the world. I think there is true potential for that.
Mike: I came across an old thread on Reddit listing dozens of parkour names that were said to be owned by you. Do you still own them? Have you developed any others?
Adam: Oh yah, haha I alluded to that previously. I owned about 200 Parkour related domains at one point. It actually caused a ton of controversy in the Parkour world. People found that out and said I was all about money and used that fact to bash my name and my companies. It was really unfortunate and a sign of how young the Parkour world was and still is in many ways. Of course, the domains were part of my short term and long term strategy. I’m not someone who buys domains to sell them, the way some people do. I’m always open to selling them for the right price, but every domain I own I have a plan for. Since then I’ve scaled back a bit and only kept the ones that I feel have real value in the short and long term. I think I own about 100 now, but I’d have to count. And some of the ones I’ve let go, people have bought up and put sites on. That’s always cool to see.
Mike: Tell me about Take Flight, the apparel business? Did you launch this company as well?
Adam: Yes, I launched Take Flight in 2008. Take Flight was my second company after I started my Parkour gym, Revolution Parkour. Take Flight started as a t-shirt company, and then morphed into a Parkour shoe company which is now what I consider it to be since shoes are what we mostly sell. I’m really proud of what we do, the products we create, the international team of athletes we’ve cultivated, and the value we bring to our customers, followers, and the Parkour world. The products are great for Parkour, and they also have a lifestyle feel to them. Many people who don’t do Parkour, wear our shoes and clothing and rave about their quality and feel. I always felt that the Parkour style could be a style that transcends the sport, so we always keep that in mind when designing products.
Mike: What type of traffic numbers are you seeing on the site each month?
Adam: Ah of course, that most important question lol. Well, we don’t divulge traffic numbers. Some people would say our numbers are good, but in my opinion, we have lots of work to do.
Mike: Is Parkour considered a sport? Are there Parkour competitions?
Adam: Yes, Parkour is considered a sport. It’s also considered a discipline and an art. People can call it whatever they like, it all depends on how one practices, what they want from it, and how they see it. Basically, each person can approach Parkour in the way they see fit. Many have found reasons to compete, so competitions have begun to rise up. There are some local competitions circuits that are becoming pretty ingrained in the Parkour world, but it’s still such a new time for the sport that nothing is certain.
A recent event called Air Whipp was one of the most popular international Parkour/Freerunning competitions in the world. The event has been held annually in Sweden for the past 7 years, and they just announced they won’t be holding it anymore. Red Bull also used to host an annual Red Bull Art of Motion every year in Santorini Greece, and 2018 was the first year since, I think, 2010 that they haven’t held it.
The Parkour industry is new, and so many things are still in flux. Even just 5 years ago there were huge debates in the Parkour community as to whether or not competitions were even in line with the philosophy of the discipline, and for quite a while most people were against them. The paradigm of the sport is still very much in its infancy and evolving.
Mike: I see you are also an actor. Tell us about this career path and how it fits in with parkour.
Adam: Yes, acting! Well I’m kind of between a rock and a hard place when it comes to what I want to do with my life. I am still young, and I am in a great position in the Parkour world, but oddly enough I see my future in acting. Even when I was starting my companies in 2008 I had this in mind. I saw my companies as simultaneously, a) Extremely viable long term business ventures that I could pour my heart into and use to grow the Parkour world, and b) Avenues that would open doors for me to act in movies. So acting isn’t a new thing, nor are my ambitions for it.
In 2011, I moved to France to work with the founder of Parkour, David Belle. I wanted to build Take Flight with him, learn Parkour from him, and he was frequently approached to work in films, so more than anything I wanted to work on films with him. But nothing quite worked out. Then in 2015 I landed a recurring role on the NBC show “Grimm,” and it had nothing to do with Parkour. I got he role 100% because I could act. So the lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized, “I don’t need Parkour to become an actor and make big films. I can just act and get there.” So that has been a serious hobby of mine ever since. I recently landed an amazing agent in LA called Engage Artists, so I am pursuing work there while running Take Flight and Parkour.com. I really have too much on my plate to handle.
In the future I see all the projects working together. I see my Parkour history, the Take Flight brand, and Parkour.com working synergistically to open doors through their presence, their marketing ability, and to bring Parkour to the forefront of more films and television shows and commercial productions.
Mike: If I were to circle back with you in 5 years, what can I expect to see from parkour.com? What about parkour as a whole?
Adam: It’s hard to say where Parkour.com will be in 5 years. Eleven years ago when I started my journey into Parkour as an athlete-entrepreneur, we all thought that by 2018 Parkour would be global. It some ways now it is global– almost everyone knows of it. But outside of that the industry is still teeny-tiny from a financial perspective. With Take Flight and Parkour.com, I really tried to drive that industry ahead through some innovative ideas and approaches, but it doesn’t appear to have done much. The industry is still just creeping along at its own pace.
I really used to push my business ventures ahead. In the last few years I’ve started taking a more methodical approach that listens as opposed to drives. I think in 5 years Parkour.com will grow in tandem with the Parkour industry and the change and growth you see in the site will be a reflection of the growth in the industry. I truly have no idea what that will be.
Mike: Have you read any books that have inspired you as an actor, athlete, or entrepreneur? If so, which books and why?
Adam: Reading is more of a new habit for me. I haven’t been too drawn to books in the past, but there are a few I’ve read that I really like. “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene really opened my eyes to power games, politics, and different ways to see the world and business. The book “Parkour” by David Belle (the founder of Parkour) is really inspiring and a must read for anyone who really wants to understand the heart and spirit of Parkour. For acting, Stanislavski’s book “An Actor Prepares” really nails things on the head and exposes some of the bad acting theory that still permeates the world and many acting school. I also found immense value in the book “A Theory of Everything,” by Ken Wilbur – that book really speaks to the thought patterns and paradigms of people in powerful ways. I also recently skimmed “The Art of Learning” by Josh Waitzkin. A very cool book on learning that I think has tips that will help propel anyone to mastery who really desires it
I see life as being connected, so when I read a book like “A Theory of Everything” or “The 48 Laws of Power,” I see life through that lens and find ways to apply the ideas to everything I do.
I actually write a ton more than I read. I have written a book about my perspective on life, and I’m the process of editing. We’ll see what comes of it.
Mike: Anything else you have to say about Parkour.com?
Adam: Yah totally. As much as I have a clear vision and direction for Parkour.com, I am always open to new collaborators and ideas. If anyone who hears this interview would like to be involved with Parkour.com and/or sees places that we can improve, I’d love to connect, open a dialogue ,and maybe grow a partnership together. As I alluded to, I’m swamped, so I’m always open to teaming up with people who have the vision and/or a different expertise. The way I see it, domains are merely opportunities, and as valuable as opportunities are, it’s what you do with the opportunity that counts. Even currently, I believe we have a lot of untapped potential in Parkour.com, and I’d love to connect with people who can help us take the site to the next level.