Founder's Diary #1 - I Just Wanted To Be Better Than Kevin Plank
I knew absolutely nothing about clothing manufacturing when I started Veii. Realistically if you asked me the difference between cotton and polyester, I would have looked at you with the blankest stare. The truth is I just wanted to be better than Kevin Plank. That's right, the founder of Under Armour, Kevin Plank.
To give you some context, I played football at the University of Maryland from 2016-2019. We were the flagship school for Under Armour because Mr. Plank founded this brand during his time playing football at our sacred alma mater. Throughout my tenure at Maryland, KPizzy(Kevin Plank) would make surprise visits to my team, almost enough to ask myself, "is this guy a coach or the CEO of a billion-dollar company?" On most of his visits, Mr. Plank would observe, almost like a fly on the wall. I could tell he was soaking in the atmosphere and reminiscing on his glory days back when he was a broke college student-athlete with nothing more than an idea. But there was one visit that changed my perspective and, ultimately, the trajectory of my life.
I was sitting on the left side of the team meeting room dozing off during a routine special teams meeting with everybody's favorite coach/comedian Pete Lembo when our head coach(he who must not be named) walked down the aisle and announced that we had a special guest in the building. I straightened up in my seat, almost sure that it would be Ray Lewis for some reason, but instead, KPizzy(Kevin Plank) walked down the aisle with his chin up and a big smile on his face. The only thought that crossed my mind was, "this guy is wealthy."
Mr. Plank shook our head coach's(he who must not be named) hand and began to look around. He pointed at a seat in the 3rd row, and everybody looked directly at where his finger led and said, "that was my seat," Almost like Cinderella, when the clock struck 12, he was no longer the owner of a billion-dollar company. At that moment, he became human and one of us.
KPizzy(Kevin Plank) talked about his time playing football at Maryland. His inspiration behind starting Under Armour, but the only thing I could think of was how 20 years ago Kevin was doing the same thing I was, in the same room, in the same seats, which put things into perspective for me.
That night when I returned to my dorm, I laid down on my luxurious twin bed, and with eyes looking up to the ceiling, I whispered to myself, "I'm going to be better than Kevin Plank."