I’ve always tried to relentlessly focus my thought process to [something that is] reality-based. Get out of your own head and see what the world is valuing.– Clint Spiegel
When we met Clint for the podcast interview, we began by taking a tour of his 70,000 square feet factory. There are big machines and lots of metal parts everywhere you look. In between each machine, is a handful of employees wearing protective face gear, working away to keep the parts moving through the system. The floor is covered in what can only be described as “metal sawdust.” Oh, and it’s loud. Very loud.
Clint yells over his shoulder, “I’ve been walking on metal shards all my life.”
He’s not joking.
Since the day he was born, Clint has been surrounding by manufacturing. Many years ago, his dad had established a machine shop in Asheville that manufactured parts for a variety of industries throughout the world. At age five, Clint began to join his dad at work, learning the ins and outs of the industry. After graduating from college with a degree in Computer Science, Clint found his way back to his family’s business, eventually taking it over and making it his own. Although the business has evolved since then, he and his dad continue to work together on certain aspects.
Clint identifies as a “constant innovator” with an “overactive mind.” Over the years, he’s started numerous businesses, from manufacturing knives to building engineering software and industrial robotics. Some of these businesses failed and faded away, but some of them—like Industry Nine (appropriately name “nine” because it was his ninth business)—have been wildly successful.
During our interview with Clint, which feels like an MBA-level course on entrepreneurship, we try to unpack what he thinks has contributed to Industry Nine’s success and how he’s thinking about the future.
Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode
- How the idea for Industry Nine came about
- Clint’s insight on innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship
- What makes Industry Nine’s cycling parts different from others in the industry
- What client identifies as “the perfect mix” for entrepreneurship
- Key milestones and turning points in Clint’s business
- The importance of focus and keeping your edge when running a business
- Tips for managing employees (Clint has about 90 currently)
- Bent Creek (Bike Trails)
- DuPont (Bike Trails)
- Liberty Bicycles (Bike Shop)
Music by Commonwealth Choir
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Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.
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