Lessons From a Shoe Dog

My partner and I started Blueprint years ago, propelled both by a renegade streak and the desire to help improve people’s lives. We wanted to create a business of our own and something better than was available in the marketplace.  If successful, we also believed it would afford us the ability to have families and provide for them. Perhaps it’s something that only the founder of a business will truly understand.

Excitement, fear, joy, anxiety, and back again, all before your morning coffee.

shoedogI unexpectedly found myself drawing back to our early days at Blueprint while reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. There was a passage at the end that particularly resonated with me, in which Mr. Knight discusses his disdain for the concept of being a businessman:

"When you make something, when you improve something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done but so seldom is—you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama. More than simply alive, you’re helping others to live more fully, and if that’s business, alright, call me a businessman.”

I reread this passage a number of times because the idea of being a businessman was never that compelling to me. Entrepreneur? Sure. Businessman? That always felt too corporate. No, thanks.

But there’s obviously much more to this passage; the idea of helping others live more fully. This idea is often conspicuously absent from the Wall Street Journal or Barron’s, yet it’s the thing that I hear over and over from the financial advisors we work with. They want to help people. They took a huge risk by starting their practice because they believed they could make something, improve something, deliver something.

Perhaps my biggest joy of being the co-founder of Blueprint is that we sit in this oddly unique place in the world where we, as a firm, have the desire to help people and our clients, namely financial advisors, who in turn are all seeking to do the same thing for their clients.

This represents both a tremendous responsibility and opportunity.  By building emotionally intelligent investment strategies and partnering with advisors to seamlessly implement them into their practices, we help simplify their businesses, freeing them up to focus on the full financial wellness of their clients. Collectively, I like to think that we are teaming up with  advisors to help thousands of people ”live more fully”.

There is magic that happens in a business when you begin to see your dream realized. Today we are on a trajectory that is allowing us to double our business every 14 months or so, and through the relationships we have established, we are positively affecting many lives and seeing the benefits of the success in our own. (Brandon and I now have amazing wives and 5 children between us!)

As Phil Knight implies, the magic of improving, building, delivering happiness, and serving others are the fruits of our labor.

I guess if that is business, then alright, call me a businessman as well.


For more thoughts on ways to evolve your investment approach and reduce the impact of human behavior on investment decisions visit www.blueprintip.com

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Past performance is not indicative of future results. The material above has been provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal or investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security or strategy. The investment strategy and themes discussed herein may be unsuitable for investors depending on their specific investment objectives and financial situation. Information obtained from third-party sources is believed to be reliable though its accuracy is not guaranteed, and Blueprint Investment Partners makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information, which should not be used as the basis of any investment decision. Information contained on third party websites that Blueprint Investment Partners LLC (“Blueprint”) may link to are not reviewed in their entirety for accuracy and Blueprint assumes no liability for the information contained on these websites. Opinions expressed in this commentary reflect subjective judgments of the author based on conditions at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission from Blueprint.  For more information about Blueprint Investment Partners, including our Form ADV Part 2A Brochure, please visit https://adviserinfo.sec.gov or contact us at (800) 704-6913

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