Notes from Shoe Dog on the Entrepreneur Behind Nike

After several friends recommend Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, I had to check it out. Wow, it’s an awesome book. The writing is superb. The stories are excellent. And, the message is clear: it’s incredibly hard to build a business.

Here are a few notes from the book:

  • Side Hustle – Imagine starting a shoe company in the 1960s with no money, no internet, and no place to begin. For 7+ years Nike was a side hustle while holding down a day job to pay the bills. Figure out how to make it work.
  • Get on a Plane – With the initial shoe manufacturer in Japan, and very little credibility, major issues required a face-to-face. When issues arise, get on a plane.
  • Sacrifices – Family was neglected. Friends were neglected. Nike constantly had major problems for years. Know that sacrifices are required.
  • Dad – Talking to your dad (or a mentor) every night for years about the business is powerful. Find a sounding board that cares and talk regularly.
  • Air – One day a crazy guy walks in off the street and says he figured out how to inject air into the sole of a shoe. A complete stranger. Then, only a few years later it’s the core of the most successful shoes in the world. Sometimes opportunity does knock on the door.
  • Going Public – Fight it as long as possible. Only after every other option is exhausted consider the public markets. Maintain control as long as possible.

Looking for a great entrepreneurial book about grit and resilience? Read Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.

What else? What are some more takeaways from the book Shoe Dog?

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