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Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From
by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how a young man left the secure job that his father wanted him to take to follow his passion in the sporting world. He went on to build one of the most well known companies in the world. This is the story of Nike founder Philip Knight and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“We had no master plan. It was totally seat of the pants.” – Philip Knight
Philip Knight (born February 24, 1938) is the co-founder and Chairman of Nike. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Knight discovered he had a love for running and went to train with the legendary track coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon. In addition to coaching, Bowerman was experimenting with creating new types of shoes and Knight field tested them on the track for him.
After graduating, Knight went to graduate school at Stanford and signed up for a small business class. He had to create a business plan in the class and thought back to Bowerman’s shoes. In his business plan, Knight developed a blueprint for superior athletic shoes which could be produced cheaply in Japan. After taking a job as an accountant to make his father happy and hating it, Knight flew to Japan to find a factory to make the shoes. He returned home to create a partnership with Bowerman. They each invested $500 into the business and named it Blue Ribbon Sports (later changed to Nike). In its first year the company sold only $364 worth of shoes but Knight was determined to make the company work and stuck with it until it did.
Today Nike brings in almost $20 billion in revenue. Knight’s stake in the company gives him an estimated net worth of US$12.7 billion, making him the 60th richest person in the world.
Action Item #1: Have a Clear Focus
Action Item #2: Think of Business as War
Action Item #3: Just Do It
In 1972, Knight decided that his company, Blue Ribbon Sports, needed a new name and a new logo. Knight liked the name “Dimension Six” but his staff disagreed. One employee suggested “Nike” after the Greek goddess of victory.
Knight then paid $35 to Carolyn Davidson, a University of Oregon student, to design the now famous “swoosh” logo. At the time Knight said “I don’t love it, but it will grow on me.” He was under a deadline to pick a logo so he went with it and a the new company was born.
“Ultimately, we wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus.”
“The trouble in America is not that we are making too many mistakes, but that we are making too few.”
“Everybody wants a certain amount of stress. Most people have too much, but I didn’t want too little, either.”
Fun is the Future: Mastering Gamification
Gamification is fundamentally rewriting the rules of engagement for product design and marketing. From Foursquare to Farmville and from Nike to the Navy, game mechanics like points, badges, levels, challenges, rewards and leaderboards are being used in ever greater numbers. But what does this mean for “traditional” marketing & UI/UX and how do you leverage this trend in your engagement strategy? Moreover, how do we measure success, and why will every company have a Chief Engagement Officer in the next few years? Find out more in this in-depth discussion with Gamification Expert, Gabe Zichermann — author of “Game-Based Marketing” and the Gamification.co blog, and Chair of the Gamification Summit.
GABE ZICHERMANN is an author, highly rated public speaker and serial entrepreneur. His most recent book,Game-Based Marketing (Wiley, 4/2010) has achieved critical and industry acclaim for its detailed look at innovators who blend the power of games with brand strategy. His next book on game mechanics is a detailed technical look at architecture and implementation. Gabe is also the Chair of the Gamification Workshops and Summit, upcoming events that bring together the leading minds in Gamification and Engagement Science – http://gsummit.com. A resident of NYC, Gabe is a board member of StartOut.org, advisor to a number of startups and Facilitator for the NYC chapter of the Founder