Hope you guys enjoyed your Independence Day. We had multiple writers on vacation last week, and yours truly did little more than crisp his skin in the Texas sun and check in on Twitter every once in a while to make sure Mike Gundy hadn’t taken a machete to the mullet (at this point, that’s probably the only thing that could do it any damage). We’re back at it this week, though, with one eye on Big 12 Media Days next Monday and Tuesday.
What I’m Excited About
It feels like we’re headed downhill toward the football season now. July 4 is always the crest of the roller coaster, and now it’s (mostly) just a straight thrill ride until the end of the year with a few breaks in between. I’m excited to shift my mind to start thinking more about
how on earth Matt Rhule is out-recruiting Mike Gundy what the Big 12 landscape is going to look like this season and how OSU fits into it.
We won’t get a ton of answers next week at Media Days, but we’ll certainly have more good questions to ask once it’s over.
A Media Thing I Think I Believe
I finished Shoe Dog last week, and whoooooo boy it was good. I was expecting stories about Phil Knight hanging with Kobe and Bron Bron, but what I got was far more interesting and valuable: A behind-the-scenes look at (sometimes accidentally) creating one of the iconic brands of the last century.
Lots of things stood out, and I’ve implored Kyle Boone to read this to the point that I might call him every night after I put our kids down and read it to him myself as his bedtime story.
One of the many things that hit me was how colossally the company (and Knight personally) failed. I mean, failure after failure after failure. Multimillion-dollar failures. Failures of personnel. Failures from which you should not be able to recover.
Many years into the company, they had mere thousands of dollars in the bank. Operating on 90 percent debt the entire time. The methods are eye-popping, but the crux is that if you are obsessed with problem-solving and creating a path to the future and get a little bit lucky, it could happen. Not that it will, but it could. Knight simply kept his head down the whole time.
The end of the book is about Nike going public, and it made me emotional.
I went around the house, turning off lights, checking doors. Then I joined (my wife to go to sleep). For a long time we lay in the dark. It wasn’t over. Far from it. The first part, I told myself, is behind us. But it’s only the first part.
I asked myself: What are you feeling?
It wasn’t joy. It wasn’t relief. If I felt anything, it was … regret?
Good God, I thought. Yes. Regret.
Because I honestly wished I could do it all over again.
I fell asleep for a few hours. When I woke it was cold and rainy. I went to the window. The trees were dripping water. Everything was mist and fog. The world was the same as it had been the day before, as it had always been. Nothing had changed, lest of all me. And yet I was worth $178 million. I showered, ate breakfast, drove to work. I was at my desk before anyone else.
Many times when you’re building something, you think oh, well when we hit X checkpoint then we’ll exhale and all of this will be relaxing and fun. Or, when we achieve this level of revenue or profit or hire this many people then we’ll start delighting in the thing. Or, when we sell this and can sit on a boat all day and talk about what we built.
That ain’t true!
This part — this daily grind — is the fun. It’s the day to day of building something special, something people connect with and believe in. It’s a fun I’ve fallen in love with over the years.
I don’t really agree with Knight’s willingness to eschew his kids’ childhood in order to build a shoe and apparel company. What’s the line? You can be an accomplished man or a great father, but you can’t be both. Yeah, I feel that tension.
What I did enjoy, though, is an appreciation of the journey. The screw-ups, the successes, the trips, the toasts, the sorrows and the joys. All he wanted when he got $178 million was to be able to give that up and start the whole thing over again. That’s when you know you’ve done something worth doing.
What I’m Reading
I’m swimming around in Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Also about to dive into Beartown 2, although I think I’m going to save that for a vacation we’re taking at the end of July. I also picked up Life of Pi for that vacation, and I’m still bouncing around a little between Tim Ferriss’ 4-hour Body, Herding Tigers, Moonwalking With Einstein, Parenting, and Planet Funny. My theology book I’m grinding through for June-July is Sojourners and Strangers.
Contribution And Site Updates
We are at 318 contributors. That’s -1 from last week, but it’s also an encouragement. We started the contribution program one year ago tomorrow, and a lot of folks began contributing yearly. They have all received an email notifying them that their yearly contribution is about to be renewed (you will soon, too, if you haven’t), and most have committed to another year. We are really grateful for that.
Pageviews through July 8, 2018: 6.41M
Pageviews through July 8, 2017: 6.77M
Most popular post of July 2018: Dax Hill says decision could come soon
Most popular post of July 2017: OSU favored to land package deal involving brothers
Most popular post of 2018: Spencer out as DC
Website Refresh Update
We are looking to hire a designer/artist to help us with a few items before we put the new site out there. You can apply here if you’re interested, or if you know someone who is, please pass along the link.