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10 things I learned from "Shoe Dog" by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is a term for someone who is obsessed with shoes. By his own admission, Phil Knight is one of these, and this drive helped him keep going for the decades it took to build Nike's success.

10 things I learned  from "Shoe Dog" by Phil Knight

    1. Beginnings

    Phil Knight began his journey as a runner in high school and was inspired to sell shoes after a global quest, initially distributing for a Japanese brand, Tigers.

    2. Company Growth

    Most of this book traces Nike's journey from concept until its IPO. On the day Nike went public, Knight's net worth surged to $178 million. The company became an industry leader two decades later, and Knight's net worth exceeded $10 billion.

    3. Early Career

    Knight worked at Price Waterhouse as a CPA, analyzing company equity. This position gave him a keen insight into the importance of equity in business.

    4. Military Service

    Knight served as a military reservist during the initial phase of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s.

    5. Partnership with Bowerman

    Phil Knight collaborated with his track coach, Bill Bowerman, a significant figure in the running field. At that time, running wasn't a popular activity in the U.S.

    6. Innovations by Bowerman

    Bill Bowerman was constantly tinkering: he invented rubber tracks and created prototype shoes.

    7. Building Nike

    Nike wasn't always a giant. Phil Knight started the brand by selling shoes from his car's trunk in the 1960s, and it took two decades of hard work to establish it as a major player in the industry. Nike, along with Adidas, basically created the industry of athletic apparel.

    8. Hiring Strategy

    Phil Knight, being an accountant, had a tendency to hire other accountants and lawyers. He believed that their qualification and expertise in their respective fields indicated strong skills and work ethic.

    9. Financial Struggles

    Despite apparent success in the late 1970s, with increasing sales and new factory openings, Nike was financially struggling and was near bankruptcy

    10. Venturing into China

    In the late 1970s, Nike pioneered modern American shoe manufacturing in China. Knight personally visited these factories and noted the challenges of producing high-quality merchandise due to the prevailing culture and infrastructure.

    One of their mantras was that there are 2 billion feet in China and they all need shoes.

    Because Nike is such a major brand they get targeted in protests about working conditions. They have actually done a tremendous amount to solve these problems around the globe.

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