• 2018-04-03

How a billion dollar business 

put beliefs before profit 

When Bill needed a guinea pig to experiment with running shoe designs, he reached out to one of his Oregon track students. 

Phil was more than happy to oblige, believing his coach knew something about the value of shoe equipment to a runner; that one ounce of support could mean 10,000 pounds of difference in the home stretch of a marathon. 

 

 

 

Phil was more than happy to oblige, believing his coach knew something about the value of shoe equipment to a runner; that one ounce of support could mean 10,000 pounds of difference in the home stretch of a marathon.

That bond between coach, student and a shared fixation for precision, excellence and “just doing it” was the spark that created a company in 1964 called Blue Ribbon Sports. 

 

The original values of initiative, performance and the pursuit of excellence became the foundation for what became the #1 Sports Brand on the planet. 

 

As an accounting major, Phil didn’t know the first thing about how to start his own business and he didn't have any money. But, he would go to track meets and sell shoes to the athletes out of the trunk of his green Plymouth Valiant. Little by little, the tiny company grew and in 1971, Blue Ribbon Sports changed their name and started manufacturing shoes with a unique "waffle sole" that offered better traction with less weight. By 1987, with total sales topping $1 billion, they surpassed Adidas to become the world’s #1 shoe manufacturer.

 

In many respects, the company that now employs 70,000+ worldwide is a shining example of the essence of reinvention; the ability, capacity and willingness to stay relevant through rapidly changing times. But, none of that game-changing success would have happened had co-founders Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight not laid a solid foundation about what it means to put beliefs before profits and vision before money

Last week at the global HQ in Beaverton, OR, we got a sense of the undeniable NIKE spirit and what it means for any person or company that hopes to possess 'The Knight Stuff' on this edition of The Reinvention Chronicles

       Play by the rules. But be ferocious.  PHILLIP H. KNIGHT


 

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