Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

Author :  Phil Knight

An amazing journey of entrepreneur Phil Knight who started his journey of Nike, which back in days was called Blue Ribbon, started from selling shoes door to door in a trunk car to turning into a business which is $23.26 billion worth in 2021.

It started all with a simple passion for running on how to make it better with the innovating thinking of Bowerman. The whole journey is filled with challenges, starting from cracking the first deal in japan with Onitsuka, meeting demand with supply, creating a factory that produces quality shoes, running the business on the float which leads to a point of almost bankruptcy, a courtroom drama and many more. There is no single chapter or year in which he does not faced any challenges.

Here is one paragraph from the book which describes his situation for his wife Penny who very supportive throughout the whole journey.

To run a company you need people with the same mindset and goals as yours with their unique nature. They called themself Buttfaces. I like this one paragraph in the end which summarise his whole business philosophy.

“It seems wrong to call it “business.” It seems wrong to throw all those hectic days and sleepless nights, all those magnificent triumphs and desperate struggles, under that bland, generic banner: business. What we were doing felt like so much more. Each new day brought fifty new problems, fifty tough decisions that needed to be made, right now, and we were always acutely aware that one rash move, one wrong decision could be the end. The margin for error was forever getting narrower, while the stakes were forever creeping higher-and none of us wavered in the belief that “stakes” didn’t mean “money.” For some, I realize, business is the all-out pursuit of profits, period, full stop, but for us business was no more about making money than being human is about making blood. Yes, the human body needs blood. It needs to manufacture red and white cells and platelets and redistribute them evenly, smoothly, to all the right places, on time, or else. But that day-to-day business of the human body isn’t our mission as human beings. It’s a basic process that enables our higher aims, and life always strives to transcend the basic processes of living.”

Highlighted Quotes:

  1. Don’t tell people bow to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
  2. So why was selling shoes so different? Because, I realized, it wasn’t selling. I believed in running. I believed that if people got out and ran a few miles every day, the world would be a better place, and I believed these shoes were better to run in. People, sensing my belief, wanted some of that belief for themselves.
  3. The world is without beauty when you lose.
  4. The single easiest way to find out how you feel about someone. Say goodbye.
  5. Above all, she was learning that marrying a man with a start-up shoe company meant living on a shoestring budget.
  6. Supply and demand is always the root problem in business. 
  7. The best way to reinforce your knowledge of a subject is to share it.
  8. Luck plays a big role. Yes, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the power of luck. Athletes get lucky, poets get lucky, businesses get lucky. Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may decide the outcome. Some people might not call it luck. They might call it Tao, or Logos, or Jñāna, or Dharma. Or Spirit. Or God.
  9. Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others defines it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.

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