Unlikely Similarities Between the Creators of Nike & Doom (& Apple)

1995, The Annual “World Business Awards” Ceremony, in a Fancy Ballroom in New York City

Host Billy Crystal is on the stage.

Crystal: “To present our final award of the evening, the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship, please welcome to the stage a pair of gentlemen who know a thing or two about building a business, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple Computers.”

The two Steves walk up to the stage to a loud ovation. Once the applause dies down, Jobs begins reading from the teleprompter.

Jobs: “We’re honored to be here today to be here in front of such an amazing group of people to present this amazing award.”

Wozniak: “To honor a special pair of individuals who turned their passion into a business, then took that business to such unprecedented levels the world has never been the same since.”

Jobs: “They were an unlikely pairing. Having both come from humble small-town origins, no one would have suspected they would rise up to conquer the world.”

Wozniak: “One was a technical genius who introduced new technologies that serve as the foundation of what those industries use today.”

Jobs: “And the other, a marketing visionary who transformed their business into a movement and created an identity for their consumers.”

Wozniak: “Together, they turned what was a fringe outsider activity that most thought was nerdy, or weird and brought it to the mainstream. Almost cool.”

Jobs: “Now the industry they trail-blazed is worth billions of dollars.”

Wozniak: “A while they have since drifted apart, the world will never be the same thanks to those fleeting, magical years when they worked together.”

Jobs: “And changed the world.”

Jobs, whispering to Wozniak while ignoring the teleprompter: “Wait. What the f*ck? Are we presenting this award to ourselves?”

Wozniak chuckles.

Jobs: “I’m serious.”

Wozniak, nervously: “Come on Steve. Just read the teleprompter.”

Jobs, not listening to Wozniak and turning back to the producer behind the stage: “Sandy! Tell me what’s going on.”

Producer: “No, it’s not you!”

Wozniak, pulling the envelope from Jobs’ hand and opening it: “And the winner is….”

Drumroll…

Wozniak: “It’s a tie!”

Jobs: “It’s a tie?”

Wozniak: “Yes the co-winners are Phil Knight and Bob Bowerman, founders of Nike, and pioneers of the personal fitness revolution.”

Jobs: “…And John Romero and John Carmack, founders of id Software, creators of the video games Doom and Quake, and pioneers in the first person shooter genre and competitive video game industry.”

Music plays as the four winners walk up to the stage.

Jobs, whispering to Wozniak: “We should have won this award.”

masters of doom and shoe dog cartoon


Dig Deeper

Just as the founders of Nike and id Software entrepreneurs shared this award, they share something else as well: highly entertaining books that tell their stories. In Nike’s case, the book is Shoe Dog, written by Phil Knight himself. In id Software’s it’s Masters of Doom, by David Kushner.

Whether or not you’re an athlete or a video game junkie, both are page-turners that anyone who appreciates entrepreneurship, or just a good underdog story, will enjoy.

And if you read both, as I did, you’ll see you don’t have to look too closely to identify some eerie parallels.  Maybe you’ll also identify some inspiration or ideas to apply to building your own game-changing business.

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