Entrepreneurs who changed the world, who do you think of when you hear that statement? Maybe you think of Elon Musk and Telsa or Starlink. Maybe you think of Bill Gates with Microsoft. What about the people who change your every day life in the shoes that you wear? Here are two entrepreneurs who changed the world by changing the shoes people wore.
Adolf (Aldi) and Rudoplh Dessler were two German brothers born around the turn of the 20th century in a town where the profession was primarily shoe making. Adolf’s father hoped he would become a baker. Adolf did spend time apprecticing with a baker. However, baking was not Adolf’s passion. It was making shoes!
Finding A Market Disrupture
Part of bringing change into the market is understanding where there is a need and finding a way to meet that need. This is where many entrepreneur minds sit and the reason they are successful is the dedication they put into filling that need with an excellent product. Adolf Dessler came from a town of many shoemakers. How in the world would he find the need? Dessler enjoyed many different sports. He found that all the shoes for each sport were the same. Would a person running though need the same kind of shoe as the person playing soccer? Certainly not. Dessler took this thought and began thinking of ways he could improve the world of sports.
The Dream Comes Alive
As you can imagine with boys born in German near the turn of the 20th century, the World Wars made their mark on their lives. Adolf didn’t forget his idea to improve shoes for athletes while he was serving in the war. He came back and began work on making new and improved shoes for various sports. He enlisted the help of a professional shoemaker named Carl Zech to help him further expand his vision. Through economic challenges after the war, Adi persisted on making shoes. He gave them to numerous athletes to test them out. He teamed up with his brother Rudoph and created the, Dassler Brother Sport Shoe Factory where Aldi worked on the shoes and Rodulph used his marketing skills.
In the Summer Olympics of 1928 the Aldi Dessler provided the German runner Lina Radke a pair of his track shoes. These shoes were created with spikes on the soles for more grip. Radke ended up breaking the 800 meter world record wearing his shoes. This launched the Dassler’s into the spot light and success for making athelete specific shoes. In the 1940’s the two brothers had a disagreement about the vision of the company and the Dassler Brother Sport Shoe Factory split. Afterward Aldi Dassler started Adidas shoe company and Rudolph went on to start Puma. Two brothers and two shoes companies that are successful to this day. Aldi and his passion for shoes and athletics changed the way athletes played their game, and the shoes many in the future would wear.
We can see the impact entrepreneurs have on our lives in many ways. Some from the light bulb that we use at night time, as in Aldi Dassler, the shoes we wear. Entrepreneurs use their passion to find the need in the market and producing a product that would solve the need.
What about you, who is your favorite entrepreneur? How have they changed the world?
Boyack, Conner. (2020). Inspiring Entrepreneurs. Libertas Press
Aldi and Kathe Dassler Memorial Foundation (n.d) Chronicle and Biography of Aldi and Kathe Dassler. https://www.adidassler.org/en/life-and-work/chronicle