Nike: Can A Colossus Still Be Cool?

By now, the story of how Nike Inc. grew out of the trunk of its founder's car is well known. In brief: A former journeyman middle-distance runner from the famed University of Oregon track team goes to Stanford Business School and writes a paper on how track shoes made in Asia could undersell the competition in the U.S. After B-school, he becomes an accountant but on the side starts hawking Japanese imports designed by his old coach. He hires a bunch of beer-swilling ex-runners and would-be jocks to travel the track-meet circuit, selling shoes from their cars. In no time, the company is growing like wildfire, they've created a marketing phenomenon called Air Jordan, and they're all rich.

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