Today I finished reading an excellent memoir.
Shoe Dog, the recently published book by Phil Knight — Founder and Executive Chairman of Nike — is a fantastic read that demonstrates how challenging it is to build a massive, global business.
I lost count how many times Nike was in a near-death situation during the book. How many times they were cash constrained due to working capital requirements. The global fights against factories, distributors, piracy and even the US government. They are fighters.
Nike avoided their IPO as much as possible. I did not know that it took them 18 years to get there, but it was a necessary stepping stone for them to be around for the long term. Think of it as an old school version of a Unicorn graduation. Their IPO happened at the same $22/share price of Apple, and they went public in the same week. It might explain why Nike and Apple always had a friendly relationship.
Phil is honest with himself during the book. Mostly about the fact that he probably wasn't a heavenly father while building Nike. He talks about the difficulties of prematurely losing his son in a diving accident. I salute him for his openness on this complex topic. Sometimes these business memoirs expose little vulnerability, making them pasteurized tales of how one wins in life. Nobody needs lessons like that.
If you are a founder or investor, do yourself a favor and read this book. It will help you understand that when in doubt, you shall hustle more. Its all about "The Grit" and not running out of cash at the end of the day.