Shoe Dog - A memoir by the creator of Nike
His philosophy, one he repeats throughout the book, is one I tend to agree with:
Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
Another thing that really reverberated with me was the focus on winning, and not just on not losing .. It’s pretty amazing, lamenting on this statement, how I often think about things through the same lens. I often catch myself trying to “minimize my losses” and account for the “worst case scenario” (e.g. calculating runway before I have to move back to my parents house or get a job) vs. looking at the upside. I don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about winning.
Interesting facts, having read the book:
- He was still running a day job after making $86K in sales that year, and with 4 full time employees. Wow.
- The supplier troubles he initially faced with Onitsuka sound oddly familiar to me, having been through the Network International experience. Being at the mercy of a single supplier is a ticking time bomb. Not a matter of if but when (it’ll blow up)
- One thing that strikes me is that the entire concept of Nike, to begin with, was one of a reseller. They didn’t design the shoes at first — they just sold them (occasionally funneling customer feedback to the factory and tweaking things accordingly).
This is a big deal.
Even with a company that was so lame and boring (business-wise), he managed to create a sense of purpose and instill values in the company that made it much more than just a shoe reseller.
This is the power of vision, and the importance of setting & having a mission.