Bonus – How Sibling Rivalry Built an Empire

Bryan takes a break from the technical talk and tells a quick story about how two brothers fueled an industry and created an empire with raw sibling rivalry. Bryan co-owns a family business, and we understand that many people in this trade work with family, so we hope you'll enjoy this story.

Many of us are competitive, and nobody enjoys failing. We especially try to avoid failing in front of our family members. However, the drive to succeed and avoid failure can sometimes get a bit out of hand.

In the early twentieth century, two brothers named Adi and Rudy Dassler worked in their father's shoe business. Rudi was the more outgoing older brother; Adi was younger, quieter, and focused on making shoes. Business practices had changed as industrialization occurred across Europe, and many shoes were made in a factory instead of by hand. With all of the innovation going on at the turn of the century, both brothers realized that they, too, could own a factory.

After serving in World War I, Adi began making shoes in his mother's laundry room. Rudi talked their parents into helping start up a shoe business. The brothers established their own athletic shoewear company, which became popular with help from the Modern Olympic Games. Adi approached Jesse Owens, a famous African-American track athlete from the United States, to wear his shoes in the Olympics. Jesse wore the shoes to victory, angering many Nazis. Rudi was the more ardent Nazi, and a rift started between the brothers.

Rudi was arrested for war crimes during World War II, though historians suspect that Adi may have snitched on him. The sibling rivalry came to a head in 1948 when Rudi officially split from the company and formed Ruda. Adi formed Adidas, which was more successful than Ruda (now Puma).

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