Skip to content

🏗️ "How to Sell Without Selling"

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

Photo by wu yi / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Reid Hoffman
Guest: Phil Knight, Co-Founder, Nike
Category: Biz & Tech | 🏗️ Founder Stories

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[9:31] “I wrote a paper in the entrepreneurship class, Can Japanese shoes do to German shoes what Japanese cameras did to German cameras? And the teacher gave me a good grade, and I got kind of excited about it, and away we go.”

[15:04] “We hired a freelance artist. It was a student at Portland State University. We paid her $2 an hour to come up with different designs, and she came up with what is now known as the Swoosh. […] It was kind of, I don't know if I like it that much, but we gotta have something, and that's the best we got.“

[16:16] “In a trademark article that we all had read, it said good brand names are short, they have kind of a hard sound, like Coke, or Xerox, or, Kleenex, that type of a name. […] We had 45 employees, and they all put a name in the hat. I put in the name Dimension Six, which I gave some thought to. […] [We eventually chose Nike because,]  the others were so bad. My comment at the time was, I don't know if I like it that much, but it'll grow on me, and of course it has.”

[18:11] “Originally the focus was on the product itself, […]. And then, if we could get some good people to wear it, so it'd get the attention of our consumers, which were really the runners of the world. And you know, getting Steve Prefontaine (former Olympic athlete) to wear the Swoosh was a big, big help of establishing a brand.”

[19:11] “In the ’80s, we got our brains beat out by an upstart company called Reebok. And they basically focused on women, and they focused on what the shoes looked like. And we hadn't really focused on the appearance of the shoes. We said, if a shoe performs, and a great athlete wears it, it'll sell. And so all of a sudden design became important to us because we were losing market share for bad design, if you will. […] We went back and got an emphasis on design. We had a young designer that we kind of put in charge of all those designs, his name was Mark Parker.”

[23:34] “The first time I met Dan Wieden, I walked into his office, and I said, I just want you to know, Dan, I hate advertising. And he says, Well, that's an interesting way to start. […] One of the things they did, and of course they were young and hungry too, is that we have to know the client. We have to know the product. We have to know who and what they are. We have to represent what they really are. And what he began to understand really quite quickly, wasn't that I hated advertising. It was that I hated traditional advertising.”

[28:50] “[W]e couldn't have paid David Stern for better publicity, that he actually banned the original Air Jordans from anybody else in the NBA, even Michael. Michael wasn't supposed to wear them, and of course that got huge publicity and every kid wanted it.”

[35:19] “It was basically a system where we said, We don't care how many people dislike us as long as enough people like us.“

[37:38] “We didn't really foresee back 20 years ago that the sport shoe business could get so big. And we're starting to see a few people wearing sport shoes, black sport shoes with tuxedos, which we hope is a trend that catches on.”

Rating: 🍎🍎🍎🍎

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 41 min | 🗓️ 11/10/2020 | 🗄️ Archives
✅ Time saved: 39 min

PodSnacks is exiting beta in January 2021 and transitioning to a paid subscription. Current subscribers will be grandfathered into a complimentary founding membership. You may invite three friends to join before December 31, 2020.

Subscribe now