By: Phil Knight
Nike is everywhere these days. The brand and the products are always within our line of sight. We see the “Swoosh” on basketball shoes, shirts, running shorts, college football uniforms, golf and tennis apparel, fashion apparel as well as athlete and team sponsorships. This list goes on and on. Nike has become one of the world’s most admired and recognizable brands while racking up over $30 billion in annual revenue. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. In Shoe Dog, he tells his story at last.
Shoe Dog is story of Phil Knights journey into the creation of Nike, starting in the 1960’s with track shoes. Armed with an accounting degree and yearning for travel, he borrowed $50 from his dad and began developing his dream.
This is the story of a struggling entrepreneur. Undercapitalized, with bankers that did not buy into his dream, he builds a team of loyal, energetic believers who are constantly inching the company forward. In one chapter it details a long hard year where the company doubled its sales while struggling to set up an international supply chain and figure out how to finance the inventory. The company’s revenues had doubled to $5MM, a far cry from the $30B today. In the book, Phil recalls the relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers. Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the transformative power of sports, they created a brand—and a culture—that changed everything.
The book is a fast paced, fascinating and entertaining read, filled with stories of entrepreneurial dreams, risk, hard ship, failure and determination. In this story, I see the story of many of Texas Security Bank’s clients as they work so hard to build success out of their dreams.