My name is Saul! I'm an award winning Word of Mouth Marketer, Professional Speaker on the subjects of Social Media, Customer Service and best of all... Word of Mouth. I collect Air Force One sneakers and think you should hire me... (as a consultant) to teach you how to get your company doing interesting things!
the smartest man in the world.

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Photos from the Drupal Conference in San Francisco, CA 2010

Sunday, Feb 02, 2008

Huge companies who think small…are companies who think smart!

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There is a good chance this post will go completely un noticed.

Between SuperBowl chatter and Sarah Silverman getting it on with Matt Damon I know people are distracted but this has been on my mind for a few days and figured I would get it down on paper… computer screen.

With all the news going on about Microsoft and Yahoo….and Google and Yahoo….and well Yahoo just not preforming as well as they should/could I found it interesting to read an article a few days ago about a HUGE company that has been successful by thinking small.

The Company….much to my surprise was Nike.

Yes I know I shill for them all the time and I don’t do it because I want them to acknowledge me with free stuff (but truth be told I would love some free stuff ) but I do connect with the company and is one of the few brands I am absolutely (blindly) loyal too.

Anyway the article spoke about how when Nike CEO Mark G. Parker took over Nike in 2005, the first thing he did was shuffle departments by the sport and not the product. So basically there would no longer be a huge “catch all” department for shoes and instead there would be a bunch of shoe departments focusing on each sport ie:Basketball shoes, Baseball shoes, Jogging shoes etc etc.

Each department became small business and were expected to laser focused on their specialty.

This strategy is fascinating since it will and has allowed Nike to put faces to the departments. I tell anyone who will listen that companies need personality and personalities. With smaller, approachable departments you can hire/steal away people who are authentic in their fields…something Nike did with their Skateboard division. Skateboarders (for the most part) are not going to hop on the bandwagon of some faceless corporation…but they did because Nike filled up their boardroom with people from the Skateboard industry and raked in over $200mm in sales from the Nike Skate division.

I love small companies that choose to be great instead of getting big and faceless but if you have to get big (and sometimes it just happens) I think it is great to see people keeping the “stay small” approach…because it works!


p.s. If you are looking for an example of Nike injecting some personality into their work you need to look no further then these shoes. In case you can’t tell these are Evil Knievel tribute shoes…That my friends is cool!

  1. Hi Saul! You know I agree with your point about personality – and hopefully will be able to shed some more light and discussion on it when my book on the topic finally comes out next month. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it – and thanks for your help and contributions so far (the site we talked about will be launching next month too).

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