Jim Jacoby : Stop Running or Grab a Helmet and Break a Land Speed Record

Casey Gordon | April 28, 2016

Jim Jacoby is surrounded by skulls. They’re mostly human skulls. One polished chrome, others painted wood. There’s a tiny one hanging around his neck. Where many offices might opt for a flower-filled vase, one is met with an open-mouthed crocodile skull that bares gleaming gold teeth.

The cranial motif is deeper than decor. Every skull is a marker of mortality. A reminder that our time is finite, and having the power to do with it as we choose is at once the ultimate freedom and an unparalleled — at times even overwhelming — responsibility.

Wrestling with these questions of time, choice, and meaning led Jim to critically evaluate his self-made path and doubt his own purpose despite a successful decade of growing his own digital design and development business.

Some time, much thought, and a chance meeting with a world-renowned motorcycle designer in a New Orleans bar later, Jim had his answer: Bienville Legacy Motorcycles.

Jim wanted to shed the trappings of personal financial success in pursuit of something greater: a tangible legacy with consequences as enduring as they were revolutionary. As an avid motorcycle rider and lifelong design aficionado, what better way to do this than turn the entire history of motorcycle design on its head, and reinvigorate the state of master-craftsman-caliber design in the process?

Today, when he’s not training to break a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Jim is running the American Design and Master-Craft Initiative (ADMCi), seeking out likeminded people with the courage to channel their remarkable skills into unique value across industries and audiences.

5 design lessons Jim learned developing the Bienville Legacy Motorcycle:

1. Greatness ≠ popularity. Designing to surpass the limits of imagination is not designing for production or scale.

2. Novelty makes people mad. Something entirely new is often met with anger. Be prepared.

3. Stand for a truth. Your truth keeps you on task, on target, and forces others to realign around you.

4. Talk without action is noise. A ton of people say they are going to do big things. Very few actually do them. Clearing this noise from your experience elevates your craft.

5. Stop running. All insecurities are self-realizing. Whatever your insecurity is, face it, address it, and learn from it.

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