Federico Tessore – Investor Passport (Argentina) –
The stories about ideas that become big business successes are always fascinating.
To investors, they represent the best opportunities to make money, but they
also show that you can turn your dreams, even impossible ones, into reality.
Today I am going to tell you one of these stories.
In the 1950s Bill Bowerman, an athletic trainer at the University of Oregon,
was eager to discover ways to give his athletes a competitive advantage.
He tested different track surfaces, various hydrating drinks and, most
importantly, new footwear innovations. Since popular sport footwear brands wouldn’t
listen to his ideas, Bill began making modifications to the footwear himself.
Bill wasn’t alone in working to achieve his dream. Phil Knight, who was
an Oregon student and part of Bowerman’s athletic team, became key part of the
While on a trip to Japan, Phil managed to seal a deal with Onitsuka for distribution
of their Tiger-brand running shoes in the United States.
Once Knight received the first shipment of sneakers from Japan he approached
Bowerman with the intention of making a sale. But surprisingly, Bowerman made a
counterproposal that Phil couldn’t refuse. They became partners; Bill
contributed ideas to improve the Tiger sneaker design while Phil worked to build
contributed $500 to the enterprise, sealed the deal with a handshake, and founded
Blue Ribbon Sports, a sports shoe distributor for the Japanese brand Tiger.
in January of 1964, they got their first order for 300 pairs of running
shoes. At that time, Knight was selling them out of the trunk of his green Plymouth Valiant. Meanwhile,
Bowerman, obsessed with his idea of improving athletic footwear, modified the
Tigers to make them lighter and tested them on his running team.