I am fascinated by Nike. Phil Knight accomplished the ultimate “arbitrage” with this one. He couldn’t make shoes, he had never run a company, he didn’t have any stores, and he couldn’t get athletes bought in on his own. However, he did have a vision and used partnerships to create, market, scale, manufacture and distribute his product. He even hired someone to create this logo. One thing I don’t see from founders these days is the power of partnerships. It seems like everyone is trying to do everything themselves: acquire customers one at a time, build one at a time, etc. If you have a startup and want to scale quickly, read the book about Nike’s founder and see how he put everything together. It’s fascinating!
Here is another thing I’m fascinated by; why won’t the top 20 NBA players get together and launch their own shoe brand as owners, like what Jay-Z attempted with Tidal? They could go from no sales to over $1B in a year, because these athletes sell shoes better than anyone! They could easily partner with a manufacturer and retail stores while maintaining majority ownership. This model is the next evolution of the “ownership/investing” renaissance we are experiencing. Lavar Ball figured it out and opened a lot of people’s eyes. To see true success, however, we need the top 20 athletes to do it.
What are your thoughts on lessons learned from Nike, and athletes owning their own shoe brands? That is how we could make every top player a billionaire. Think about if Michael Jordan owned the majority of his brand!