Namaste friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. Shoe Dog is the inside story of the Nike's early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world's most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.
Our time is short, shorter than we ever know, short as a morning run, and I wanted mine to be meaningful. And purposeful. And creative. And important. Above all ... different. I wanted to leave a mark on the world.
Like it or not, life is a game. Whoever denies that truth, whoever simply refuses to play, gets left on the sidelines.
The world is made up of crazy ideas. History is one long processional of crazy ideas. The things I loved most - books, sports, democracy, free enterprise - started as crazy ideas.
Let everyone else call your idea crazy ... just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.
There is a primal urge to compare everything - life, business, adventures of all sorts - to a race. But the metaphor is often inadequate. It can take you only so far.
Life is growth. Business is growth. You grow or you die.
The roadside was littered with cautious, conservative, prudent entrepreneurs. I wanted to keep my foot pressed hard on the gas pedal.
My hope was that when I failed, if I failed, I’d fail quickly, so I’d have enough time, enough years, to implement all the hard-won lessons. I wasn’t much for setting goals, but this goal kept flashing through my mind every day, until it became my internal chant: Fail fast.
Confidence. More than equity, more than liquidity, that’s what a man needs. I wished I had more. I wished I could borrow some. But confidence was cash. You had to have some to get some. And people were loath to give it to you.
No matter the sport - no matter the human endeavor, really - total effort will win people’s hearts.
This is what sports are, what they can do. Like books, sports give people a sense of having lived other lives, of taking part in other people’s victories. And defeats. When sports are at their best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete, and in that convergence, in that transference, is the oneness that the mystics talk about.
Supply and demand is always the root problem in business. It’s been true since Phoenician traders raced to bring Rome the coveted purple dye that colored the clothing of royals and rich people; there was never enough purple to go around. It’s hard enough to invent and manufacture and market a product, but then the logistics, the mechanics, the hydraulics of getting it to the people who want it, when they want it - this is how companies die, how ulcers are born.
We were trying to create a brand, but also a culture. We were fighting against conformity, against boringness, against drudgery. More than a product, we were trying to sell an idea - a spirit.
Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
When you make something, when you improve something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it all crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done but so seldom is - you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama. More than simply alive, you’re helping others to live more fully, and if that’s business, all right, call me a businessman.
The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.
It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad.
All we have to do, I tell the students, is work and study, study and work, hard as we can.
That’s the nature of money. Whether you have it or not, whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, it will try to define your days. Our task as human beings is not to let it. I
I’d tell men and women in their midtwenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.
Free enterprise always irritates the kinds of trolls who live to block, to thwart, to say no, sorry, no. And it’s always been this way. Entrepreneurs have always been outgunned, outnumbered. They’ve always fought uphill, and the hill has never been steeper.
Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.