Phil Knight. Shoe Dog
Mr. Knight and his band of Shoe Dogs: Bill Bowerman and Jeff Johnson, all runners, were focused on innovation of the running shoe. They went on from 1962, selling and tinkering with Tiger brand shoes out of Knight’s garage, to developing Nike and taking it public in 1980.
Venerable with a focus on creativity, they were on the brink of bankruptcy for those first two decades: fighting for distribution rights, working with manufactures on improvements, protecting their innovations, balancing finances with lenders, transitioning from selling someone else’s brand to developing their own, branching out from the running shoe, establishing themselves from other top brands, developing relationships with athletes, and finding their edge.