I’m ready to give Nike a lot of credit

4 Nov

By Amy Schroeder

“Be a sponge. Curiosity is life. Assumption is death. Look around.”

Pretty cool words from the leader of Nike.

In fact, the entire Fast Company cover story about Mark Parker—“The World’s Most Creative CEO”—is one of the most inspiring articles I’ve read in a while.

In a way, Parker is a perfect role model for creative entrepreneurs. As a former marathoner who souped up his sneaks DIY-style in college, Parker joined Nike in 1979 as a footwear designer and product tester. Over the years, he’s moved up the ladder and led a number of innovative campaigns including the Nike Air Michael Jordan brand and a series of limited-edition artist-commissioned shoes by artists like Futura 2000.

In 1980, Nike grossed $270 million. Speed up to 2010, and Parker is largely responsible for the company’s earnings of $19 billion. Not bad for someone who likes to talk about running with waiters and hangs out with designers, eh? “A lot of people I hang out with are creatives,” he says in the September 2010 Fast Company profile, saying that he’s attracted to people who are intense and obsessed with their art. “I like the eccentricity, to be surprised.”

Amy Schroeder, the founder of Venus Zine, also is the founder of the DIY Business Association. She reads business magazines and books like some people devour romance novels.

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