How Crazy Is Your Idea- The Rise Of Nike

With just a loan of $50 Phil Knight was able to make this brand Nike a reality, he even sold the shoes to athletes from the trunk of his car.

People can call your ideas crazy, they will give you one thousand reasons to quit, let there be just one reason why you should continue striving.

Determination is the only thing that leads to success, don’t let yourself be distracted by what people are saying.

Don’t let people’s opinions validate your dreams and existence in life, you are in charge of your life.

Try not to be in competition with anyone, focus on yourself, focus on your dream and see how far you will go.

No one has ever made it by sitting comfortably in their comfort zone, no one has ever made it by staying in a sport doing nothing.

The formula to being successful is to know who you are, define what your core values are, find out the things that you are passionate about, and consistently work on them.

This formula is such a powerful one, that if you dedicate and devote your time to it doing that which you want to do, success will come looking for you.

It is true that you should not put your egg in one basket, but when you are about to start up anything in life, it is best for you to focus on a particular thing, though you might have a list of the things you want to achieve, but then you should focus on one for a start.

Don’t be a jack of all trade master of none, take them one after the other, when you succeed on one, then you can diversify.

Today I bring to you the success story of Phil Knight, the brain behind this powerful brand called Nike.

Dont just read, pick some points from the story and let the points you picked be your motivation.

Nike is the world’s most popular and biggest sportswear company. In just 50 years one man’s dream of better shoes turned into a global corporation worth over $100 billion

Today we are going back to the earliest days of Nike to figure out how that magic happened and what the ingredients were for their success.

In the year 1962 Phil knight had just graduated from Stanford University and as any business graduate can tell you, becoming an entrepreneur is difficult if you don’t have any good ideas but Phil had one

He was a distance runner back in university and in one of his business classes, he had written a paper proposing the following idea.


Phil had seen how Japanese cameras had replaced the dominant german cameras in the American market, and he wondered whether Japanese shoes could do the same to Puma and Adidas which were at that time extremely popular in America, and by the way that is indeed how you pronounce Adidas but back to Phil. 

After writing that paper and graduating, Phil became obsessed with his idea about bringing Japanese shoes and the few he had seen were brought stateside by soldiers who had been stationed in Japan during the occupation after the second world war but this lack of exposure only reassured Phil that he had stumbled upon a great opportunity.

He knew that to take advantage of it he had to establish contact with  a Japanese company and negotiate the importation of their goods to America, both of which were actions he had exactly zero experience with but, as a befitting of the man who did later created Nike, he went ahead and just did it 

In November 1962 he flew over to japan like a tourist and just started exploring the beautiful city of Kobe.

He stumbled upon a shoe store that caught his eyes it belonged to a company called Onitsuka Tige and the shoes they made were (for that time) very high quality, so much that Phil was determined to import them back home 


Nike’s co-founder, Phil knight has begun to build his dreams with a loan of only $50 even though Nike started as a company named BLUE RIBBON SPORTS and a budget of only $50 Nike became the most valuable sports brand in the world 

As a college graduate, Phil felt lost and didn’t have a clear direction of what he wanted to do with his life.

He worked different jobs and tried to find himself but it wasn’t until he enrolled at the Stanford graduate school of business, that he found his purpose, his compass that eventually guided him into building the most valuable brands in the world 

The idea for Nike was born when Phil knight was working on one of his college assignments because he loved sports and he was a middle-distance runner in college.

While writing his college paper he came up with a business plan for making cheaper, stronger, and better quality running shoes, he teamed up with his former coach, Bill Bowerman, and the duo began working on his idea, his ambition was to import high-quality and low-cost running shoes from Japan.

That is when he discovered the tiger-brand running shoes which were made by the company called Onitsuka, because he had no money to turn this idea into reality he asked his father for a loan of $50, yes, and Nike started with a loan of only $50.


So that morning in 1962 “I told myself to let everyone else call your idea crazy just keep going don’t stop don’t even think about stopping until you get there” so, they imported the Japanese shoes to America and sold them to high school students and other athletes from the truck of his car and because they began selling more and more shoes they even had to hire additional people.

Things got really bad he faced major financial problems because the shipment from japan was almost always late.

Banks were unwilling to give him the loan he needed to keep the company going so he would beg multiple banks to give his company just one more loan.

For many years his dream was on the verge of falling at the end of every month because of the problem they began to face with the Japanese company Phil and bill decided to form their own company and start their own line of shoes.

The new brand was called Nike the name came from a Greek goddess of victory. With a loan of $50 dollars, he became the richest and most valuable sports brand in the world.

In 1965 their revenue had increased to $20000 and pretty soon they opened their very own store in Santa Monica.

While Phil was handling the business side of the operation, the actual innovation was coming from Bill.


He was the guy who single-handedly brought jogging to America in 1966 he wrote a book about it that sold out over a million copies and his company was among the first to start marketing the tiger shoes for jogging.

Bowerman was all about innovation and with every new shipment from Onitsuka, he did open a few shoes to see how they were made, and he did always try to improve them by for example adding to the cushion or using more lightweight materials.

He constantly sent his notes to japan requesting changes, he was effectively designing Onitsuka’s shoes for them. It was one of the bill’s designs that catapulted BRS into the mainstream.

The Cortez as he called it became one of the best-selling shoes in 1968, undoubtedly thanks to the 1968 Olympics, held in Mexico thanks to the Cortez, BRS sold $300000 worth of shoes in 1969. But they had a big problem Cortez was so successful that they couldn’t keep up with the demand.


Every new shipment they received sold out faster than the one before, but Onitsuka kept sending them at the same glacial pace what Onitsuka was actually doing was satisfying their local demand in japan first and then sending whatever was left to America.

Phil and bill knew that to expand they would have to evolve beyond being just a simple distributor then they realized that they held all the cards.

The Cortez was Bowerman’s design so as soon as their contract with Onitsuka expired they were free to start making it for themselves luckily for them their contract would end in 1972 just before the Olympics in Munich.

Thus Phil had plenty of time to prepare for his big move in 1972 he started working on the branding, his first employee suggested calling the brand NIKE, after the Greek goddess of victory 

Then Phil needed a logo so he went to a nearby university and snatched the first graphic design student he could find and told her to make him a logo, for the impressive sum of $35 he got this the swoosh in hindsight that was money well money and with his brand now complete, he was now ready for the Olympics.

This time instead of cocking himself into exclusive agreements, Phil established a network of subcontractors across Japan with production under his control.

Phil could finally spread his wings you can in this graph of Nike’s sales exactly when Phil started importing shoes from his Japanese subcontractors and yes he started before his contract have even expired in 1971.


From then on the story of Nike became one of growth they became the largest sportswear company in America in1989 on the back of brilliant marketing like the just do a campaign and by signing rookie athletes that would eventually become famous across the world 

The ascent of Nike is a story every bit as interesting as the early day of Phil knight but don’t take my word for it, Phil Knight had just released his autobiography in 2016

Finally, your dream might look awkward to people, and it might sound crazy in the ears of so many people, but once you work it out, it becomes a center of attraction.

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