I was born with an extra appendage on my left foot [i.e. polydactyly]. It was removed when I was young, and fortunately, other than inhibiting skating on my left edge, it hasn’t been a problem – but it does make me quite particular about the shoes I wear.
Over the years, I have tried on hundreds of pairs of shoes, sneakers, boots, and slides, looking for the perfect fit.
The most comfortable shoes for me were always from Ecco, or the Onitsuka Tiger, Adidas Dragon, and the driving shoes from Johnston & Murphy, but a few years ago I happened across a pair of vintage Nike Waffle Racers – and my lifelong quest for the perfect fit had come to an end.
The Nike Waffle Racer US 10, UK 9, EU 44 is the perfect fit.
Nike made a special edition Waffle Racer for J Crew several years ago, and it was the first Waffle Racer I ever tried. From the moment I laced them up, it was perfect. And from there, I slowly began my collection of vintage Nike Waffle Racers. And now my feet reject any other shoe, boot, sneaker, or slide. Other than the occasional dress shoe, my feet reside solely in Nike Waffle Racers.
Unfortunately, the vintage Nike Waffle Racer is no longer in production. However, this has made my still growing collection of over 90 pairs of Nike Waffle Racers pretty valuable.
The pickings are slim these days – unless you want to pay over $400 [which I refuse to do]. But searching through eBay, Poshmark, StockX, FarFetch, etc. remains a nightly ritual that still gives me the thrill of the hunt. Sometimes a vintage pair will show up for under a hundred dollars, and you know some guy is going to be really pissed when he finds out they are missing from his closet. Occasionally I get burned, but I have purchased vintage Nike Waffle Racers from all over the world, including Japan, Russia, Mexico, and Poland.
While my collection has become a source of entertainment for my family and friends, it has served a higher purpose – my feet feel great.
In other sneaker news, NikeCraft is launching its new General Purpose Shoe on June 10th. Even though the Waffle Racer is perfect, the quest for an even more perfect fit continues, so I’ll be hunting down a US 10, UK 9, EU 44 NikeCraft General Purpose Shoe as soon as I can. We’ll see if it measures up.
Nike Waffle Racer – the only thing missing is the icing sugar
August 5, 2021 4:00 PM
In the early 1970s, Hayward Field in Oregon was converted from a cinder track to an artificial surface. This meant a new standard for the shoes of the ‘Blue Ribbon’ brand, founded by Bill Bowerman and better known to us today as Nike.
Bowerman actually experimented with a waffle iron for a new shoe. His wife Barbara later told The Oregonian newspaper:
“When one of the waffles came out, he said, ‘You know, if you turn it upside down – where the waffle part is in contact with the track – that might work.’ So he got up from the table, went to his lab and got two cans of whatever you pour together to make the urethane and poured them into the waffle iron. “The end product was a running shoe without heavy spikes.
Bill was constantly working to change and redefine the status quo of his running equipment. His eureka moment was the Waffle Sneaker, which was successfully launched in 1973. The shoe is responsive and adapts to uneven running surfaces. It also helped spread the idea that not only the midsole but also the outsole can absorb shock.
Previously, many track and field soles were flat and low to the ground, but the waffle-inspired sole had small ridges that provided extra support and rebound. This was the first major innovation from a company that later revolutionized the sneaker industry with inventions such as Visible Air, Flyknit, Lunarlon, and others.
The first Nike Waffle Racer
Priced between $21.95 and $24.95, the running shoe, originally made in Japan, had a nylon upper and was first released in a red and white color scheme. However, the version that quickly became popular with local athletes bore the distinctive yellow and green design of the University of Oregon, while later models also bore the colors of other Californian colleges, such as UCLA.
The first campaigns for the Waffle Sneaker were launched with slogans like “Made Famous by Word of Foot Advertising” (Made famous by advertising with the foot) touted: “You’ve seen them on training tracks and fields all over the country. You know them for their quality, their lightweight, and long life.”
Later, canvas versions were launched, as well as a women’s version and a slightly revised and more expensive version called the Waffle Racer, which was launched around 1977 and cost around $30. The Racer kept the design DNA of the shoe alive and well, with the added benefit of a lightweight EVA midsole and a wider, slightly more stable design.
Over the course of time, the original waffle sole has been used in a variety of Nike products, for example, in tailwinds and even in shoes for American football.
No one really paid attention to the famous waffle iron itself until an old device was unearthed near a house in Coburg, Oregon. That’s where former Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman lived. The wife of Bill’s son Jon Bowerman discovered it by chance, along with shoe treads that Bill himself had still made.
So Nike’s Holy Grail had been rediscovered and is now on display at the company’s headquarters in Beaverton. Nike historian Scott Reames said of the discovery: “It truly is the headwaters of our innovation. From a historian’s standpoint, it’s like finding the Titanic.”
We are well into rebranding the Advantage Co as UGA Capital Ventures. This rebranding is important because it allows us to better define who we are and what we are building.
UGA Capital Ventures I Introduction By 1991, I recognized that I no longer wanted to run a business. The Stereo Advantage, which I had launched in 1978, had become a successful enterprise, but I was uncomfortable with my role. In 1993, I began a decisive career change in order to focus on building independently owned and operated businesses. My motivation for building such a variety of partnerships was, and remains, my desire to do different things with an eclectic mix of visionary builders.
David Ogilvy once said, “If you hire people smaller than you, you will have a company of dwarfs; but, if you hire people bigger than you, you will have a company of giants.” This is even more true about partners. Fortunately, our partnership model has proven to be very successful over the past 30 years – and today, this model has come to fruition as UGA Capital Ventures with our remarkable portfolio of independently owned and operated partnerships.
“Our partnership certainly has worked well for me as it approaches 30 years on September 3, 2023. I gave a speech years ago at the University of Buffalo, and someone asked me what our partnership model was. I told a story I’ve often recounted. Tony and I were at Brennan’s Bowery Bar in the summer of 1993 after a round of golf. We had been discussing a possible staffing partnership, and I said, “I’m in 50/50. Let’s shake hands.” Tony replied, “51/49, and you’re the 51 percent majority partner. Frank can do up our partnership agreement.” I immediately responded, “Ok great, see you on September 3rd.” Once I got started, I memorably asked, “What is our secretary’s name? I have a few letters that need to get typed.” Of course, I soon learned I’d be typing my own letters and learning how important the ‘Save’ button was.” – Joe Kreuz, Founding Partner of AP Professionals
UGA Capital Ventures I Who We Are UGA Capital Ventures advises our portfolio of companies on a full range of liquidity transactions ranging from early-stage growth capitalization [which blends the best elements of venture capital and private equity] to a minority sale to a majority recapitalization with a financial sponsor. Additionally, UGA has the resources to structure, when desired, the most advantageous exit, whether it be a full sale to a financial or strategic acquirer, a merger, or an IPO.
With expertise and investments in data management, cloud architecture, cyber security, software development, professional services, social benefit, beauty and wellness, property management, and food services, UGA Capital Ventures is uniquely positioned to help produce significant financial returns and meaningful social impact for each of our portfolio companies [along with the fulfillment of their founder’s vision].
Our UGA mission is to provide the vision, resources, and confidence necessary to enable the development of our portfolio of independently owned and operated businesses as a rewarding experience for those willing to take the full measure of the challenge. Building real value in a business is not easy, but it is certainly rewarding.
Battery Attached The key to launching a dynamic partnership starts with being in sync with the founding partner’s ambition. But the success of any UGA partnership has always been dependent on having a visionary partner who is not only an expert in the business but, most importantly, the battery attached.
Power is the ability to initiate and sustain action, translating intention into reality – and without the core power that the visionary partner provides, there is no energy source.
Without the energetic engagement and inspiring leadership of the visionary partner, there is absolutely no chance of success. As we look back on all of our really successful partnerships, we have been fortunate to have been engaged with several magnetic and energetic partners who understand the basic premise that defines leadership in UGA’s portfolio of companies: Leadership is the ability to create an environment where people are motivated to give 100% effort toward the desired result.
Continuous Development & Renewal In order to bring a visionary partner’s ideas and concepts to life and, more importantly, to continue their ever-changing and dynamic growth, it is UGA’s responsibility to build and support a flexible matrix for each business that enables, encourages, and ensures ongoing paradigm shifts through the simple restructuring of elements providing maximum speed to benefit and market ascendancy.
We never agreed with the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” adage. At UGA, we believe that if it is working, we can still make it work better [because the competition is definitely working on something better]. For us, the challenge remains to always stay ahead of the competition by continuously renewing who we are. In our technology partnerships, UGA helped Tom and John to bring value to Autonomic Resources by changing our vanguard FedCLOUD into a FedRAMP product instead of a service and to Capax by splitting it into Capax Global LLC and Capax Discovery LLC [now Zantaz EAS LLC]. Unfortunately, renewal often frustrates those who simply do not want to change.
In the early years of the Stereo Advantage, we remodeled the entire store every February. We built buildings, rooms, walls, counters, offices, or displays only to tear them down as soon as we recognized we could [and should] build something better. And while this disruptive approach can be disconcerting, it continues to stoke the fire within and accelerate our growth.
UGA Capital Ventures I Portfolio At UGA Capital Ventures, we learn from the past, live in the present, and build for the future. The past provides us with precious memories, moments, and a building block for the future.
The present is here to both challenge us and provide enjoyment [and neither meeting the challenge nor enjoying the moment should ever be delayed until tomorrow]. The future provides us with the promise of what we can be. Fortunately, the future of UGA Capital Ventures provides us with more promise than ever before.
The profile below of our UGA portfolio of businesses starts with our 10 Tech lineup of independently owned and operated technology companies. Be big, be a builder.
Information Technology [10 Tech] At 10 Tech [which is just an internal name we use for easy reference], our 10 independently owned and operated IT companies are PremCloud Resources, Data Connect + Detect, Zantaz EAS [formerly Capax Discovery LLC], Zovy Cloud, Arcivium for Azure, c1 Secure, c1 Advantage, FedCloud Resources, UnBiasIt, and Fortified Law Data Resources.
PremCloud Resources LLC As an independently owned and operated company of the UGA Capital Ventures portfolio, PremCloud Resources provides the foundation for our worldwide IT business development and support. When it comes to delivering our world-class IT resources, the deciding factor in their efficacy relies on PremCloudTM to assure secure and reliable performance. That’s what Powered by PremCloud is all about.
Our advanced PremCloud Resources speak directly to the strategic versatility of our various data archiving alternatives along with the appropriate data management solutions and services we provide our clients starting with our Proprietary Purpose-Built Data Stacks. PremCloud Resources offers our clients the most advantageous data management resources based on a number of criteria specific to each engagement.
Zovy Cloud LLC Zovy Cloud is a combination of the original Zovy we acquired plus HPCA, ZIDOL, and a variety of new technologies built specifically for the Zovy Archive by PremCloud Resources.
Zovy Cloud delivers cost-effective customer experiences through our unique cloud-based hosted distribution and delivery services, taking the burden off our customers to properly identify, manage, secure, and access all data and regulated electronic correspondence in all data forms.
“The Zovy Cloud was built utilizing advanced capabilities which allow us to archive data more effectively than anyone else in the world, while our Zovy Archive is the premier hosted data archiving solution in the marketplace.” – Eric Carpenter, Zovy CCO
Zovy Cloud continues to provide its own Zovy Data Stack featuring new connect and detect technologies to go along with their current archive solutions for legacy HPCA, Nearpoint, and Zovy Archive users. We are looking forward to launching ZIDOL as an IDOL services resource. Additionally, Zovy will be building on UnBiasIt’s Racial Bias Alert [Supervisor]. And there might be life in Z Hub.
With our combination of proven HPCA profitability, industry-leading cloud architecture, top tier proof-of-concept customer base, outstanding reputation with our teaming partners, breadth of hosted SaaS platform opportunities, and growth-focused management and technical teams, Zovy Cloud presents a compelling investment opportunity for a strategic partner in order to augment an existing business or as a platform for a market-leading growth strategy. Most importantly, Zovy Cloud has been a pandemic-proof operation that continues to grow and deliver results even during this period of chaos.
Zantaz EAS LLC Zantaz EAS will pursue maximizing its current revenue stream with our legacy accounts as well as building a stronger account base through the development of a white-label and value-added reseller network [It is estimated that nearly 90% of enterprises using Gartner-recognized archiving software are deploying outdated versions]. Our immediate goal is to continue to grow our EAS Support & Maintenance revenue.
Arcivium for Azure LLC Arcivium for Azure is being created to be the most ascendant solution for the demands of secure data archiving in conjunction with Microsoft. This pursuit dates back to 2017, and it is fortunate that the opportunity has not been lost because of our delay in developing Arcivium for Azure.
By creating Arcivium for Azure with PremCloud Resources, we will have a new company with Azure-hosted solutions based on our proprietary software. This is a very important consideration when creating equity value and flexibility. Owning our IP versus licensing makes a considerable difference in value.
I believe that Arcivium for Azure will be a company that Microsoft – or a key teaming partner of Microsoft’s – will want to invest in or acquire.
Data Connect + Detect LLC Data Connect + Detect [DC+D] will be a new company that will focus entirely on our agnostic connect and detect solutions. In the marketplace, DC+D will not be associated with any of our archive companies [i.e. Zantaz EAS, Zovy Cloud, UnBiasIt, Fortified Law Data Resources, or FedCloud Resources]. This is a necessary degree of separation because DC+D must be recognized a resource for all archive solutions. In fact, I would like to see many of our archive competitors become VARs for DC+D.
FedCloud Resources LLC FedCloud Resources will be similar to Arcivium for Azure but in a FedRAMP authorized environment.
c1 Secure LLC c1 Secure provides cyber risk management and continuous compliance monitoring. Our key teaming partner is Service Now. We are currently launching over 20 apps on the Service Now platform.
c1 Advantage LLC c1 Advantage provides IT professional services. Our key account is GE. c1 Advantage has been able to successfully introduce our detect solutions to GE.
UnBiasIt LLC BPM has worked with PremCloud Resources and Zovy Cloud to develop UnBiasIt. UnBiasIt utilizes proprietary data management and compliance solutions designed to fully enable an organization to recognize and eliminate inherent bias and misconduct throughout their enterprise – as well as transform their distended data into a resource that can easily and accurately be drawn upon when needed for the critical information governance that is increasingly demanded of every enterprise.
Fortified Law Data Resources LLC Unlike other critical assets, big data presents a unique challenge for law enforcement organizations because it often lacks the identification necessary for proper recognition, storage, and utilization. Ever-expanding law enforcement data is created and accumulated in massive amounts from an almost endless array of sources, both internal and external [leading to confusion and ownership disputes, as well as contributing to the obfuscation of bias and misconduct]. The inherent disorientation in most law enforcement organizations’ data optic often leads to costly mistakes, compliance violations, and costly litigation.
FLD Resources will coordinate and provide technologies specifically built for the challenges that law enforcement agencies now face with their escalating demands of data security, archiving, search, access, and sharing. Fortunately, through PremCloud Resources’ experience in building the first FedRamp Authorized Cloud Platform [ARC-P], FLD Resources’ key 10 Tech infrastructure partners are uniquely prepared to develop a comprehensive data management system based on the CJIS standards as well as any and all other compliance demands.
By managing law enforcement data effectively with our FLD Resources data technologies, we provide our law enforcement customers with a remarkable resource to access, integrate, cleanse, unify, govern, store, secure, and prepare data to unlock its inherent value and maximum utilization.
The key selling points of our FLD Resources product are the fact that our Unified Data Stack is far and away the most robust archiving solution for their data, while our Unified Data Stack Solutions provides the most secure and compliant environment for their data management. Essentially, FLD Resources is better at data archiving than anyone else, and it is more secure than anyone else.
As with nearly all of my posts, this one is especially for my grandkids.
Whether you believe in god and country is of little matter to me. I simply hope you recognize that we are nothing more than a brief guest here in this world – and we should behave accordingly.
No one likes a bad guest.
We all know the bad guest. They take advantage of everything and add little. They expect to be served and satisfied. They are entitled – and they truly believe their existence [or the brief entertainment or service they provide] justifies their insouciance.
On a small scale, they expect it all and provide little. They borrow something and rarely return it in its original condition. They order big and tip small. They drive your car and never fill up the tank. They piss in the well but expect fresh water when they are thirsty. They demand 100% and are aggrieved by anything less. And they always deserve more.
The bottom line is that they expect more than they give.
The common thread with poor guests is that they just don’t get it. They think their bill was somehow overpaid in advance. They have a steadfast belief in their exaggerated self-worth – as if they matter. They fool themselves into thinking they are valuable because they attract, support, and feed off other bad guests. They harbor a secret zest in others’ complaints. They are a nidus.
As long as they have something to complain about, they have the air-cover they need to tear down anything without consequence [to them].
In the big picture, they are more destructive. They are morally superior while always the critic and never the builder. To the bad guest, those in charge are always idiots or corrupt, the accommodations are always substandard, the water is never hot enough, the salmon is never cooked right, the weather never suits them, the service never measures up, and it is always someone else’s fault. Accountability is not their strong suit. It is always someone else who is accountable for their hardship – and their hardships are endless.
They are in no one’s debt because they believe they are always getting less than they deserve. Of course, their host is always distressed by their complaints – knowing the accommodations will never be enough.
Unfortunately, with victimhood now in fashion, it’s getting harder to tell the bad guests from the truly afflicted. But you still know who they are – and it would be a big help to everyone if you told them that they are merely guests here and should start behaving accordingly. And remind them that nothing is free – and nothing is just there for the taking. And then tell them to try not to make a mess – even if they think they are a rock star. We are all getting tired of cleaning up after them.
Of course, it might help if they knew whose guest they really were. Maybe then they would appreciate the accommodations and just how fortunate they are to be staying here for a while. After all, even if fate gives them a late checkout, their stay here will eventually come to an end – and the bill will come due. And they are the only ones who can pay that bill – the host insists.
On the other hand, I have some friends, family, and associates among the most generous guests. The family member who cares, the employee who everyone relies on, the doctor who is tireless in his aide, the business partner who builds and then builds some more, the friend who stands fast, and those that love. They are the ones that don’t just pass thorough but actually make it better. They appreciate life. They are the guests you want in your world, and it’s the guest I am trying to be [knowing full well that I’ve not always been a good guest].
Be big, be a builder. Your host will appreciate it.
Originally Posted: January 1, 2017 Last Updated: April 3, 2022
From the very beginning in 1978, it has been my goal to provide the vision, resources, and confidence necessary for the development of the Advantage Co as a business experience for those willing to take the full measure of the challenge. This approach has energized our Root Philosophy for over 40 years, and it has been our good fortune to build a number of world-class businesses.
Here is a short list of businesses we have started or helped to start over the years. [170 and counting]. The businesses in italics are partnerships. The businesses in bold are currently operational. Each one has been visited by success and failure. Some businesses never really got off the ground, while others have been thriving for decades. One of these nights I’ll start filling in the stories. The really good news is that over 50 of the businesses we have helped to launch are thriving enterprises.
All told, we estimate there have been over 8,000 participants in the building of these opportunities. If you have a backstory for any of them, why not share it with us? I’ll take the good with the bad [they all have their share]. It is never meant to be easy, but it is always meant to be rewarding.
A man who says he never had a chance is the man who never took one. Be big, be a builder.
Advantage Co Businesses
Advantage Brands Group
Advantage Computer Co.
Advantage Global Resources
Advantage Home Theater
Advantage Trade Group
Aussie T Co
Computer Head Start
Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse & Pizzeria
Giancarlo’s Cafe & Patisserie
Gift Giving Registry
Grivani Wine Cellar
Grivani Wine [Distributing]
House of Cotton
Forrestel Clothing Co
iWorld Shopping Center
Lab to Beauty
Leave It To Alison**
Lifetime Service Trust
Love Pink & Green
Merwin & Payne
Pioneer Home Theater
Pure + Fresh
Scotch Boots of Holland
Smart Car Store
Smart House Cafe**
Smart Squad Design
Smart Squad Install
SONY Home Theater
Stereo Advantage [Olean]
JVC Home Theater
TW Outlet [Niagara Falls]**
Walker Kids Trust
Walker Global Parts
Walker Global Solutions
White Box Services
Advantage Co Partnerships
Advantage Business Exchange
Advantage Investment, Development & Oversight
Advantage Legal & Fiduciary
Advantage Marketing & Incentives
Advantage Systems Professionals [now iWorld Professionals]
AP Washington DC
At Your Service
Autonomic Resources [sold to CSC]
Beacon Global Resources
BizHop [support only]
Black Progress Matters
Black Progess Resources
BP Executive Staffing
BPM Minority-Owned Business Incubator
BP College Advisors
BP Executive Networking
Carolina Clothing Co
Capax Discovery [Zantaz EAS]
Capax Global [sold to Hitachi Data Systems]
Capax Resource Management*
CARES Act ADVISORY
Chiampou Travis & Kershner*
Cleary & Sullivan
Coco by CeCe
Delta Road Properties
Fortified Law Data
Free Trade Consultants
GRW For Hair
Images & Graphics
Inspired Global Resources*
JNorman & Co
Kizer Data Solutions
LD World Resources
Manzella Productions [support only]
My Personal Advisor
One Global Culture
Outback Paging [AdTel Worldwide]
Pacific Data Resources
Panther Data Solutions
Real Properties Services
SmartLink [Bailey & Kensington]
SmartLink [Main Place Mall]
State of Clean
Stereo Advantage [Phoenix]
Stereo Shops [3 Rochester stores]**
Tony Walker Golf Club [4 locations nationally]
Total Health & Fitness
TW Charter Stores [92 Aussie Outfitter stores nationally]
UGA Capital Ventures
Walker Sports Audit
White & Co
Coming Sooner or Later or Never
Ana Blu Mediterranean Kitchen
Arcivium for Azure
2 Girls 1 Deal
2×4 Office Anywhere
Beach to Beauty
Bedtime Monster SpraY
Church of the Good
Clean Your Closets For Kids
College Rep Program
The Fantasy League
Fashion Resource Group
FedSecure Data Centers
Franjordalli Gift Giving Registry
Giancarlo’s Boutique Hotel
Life Source Insurance
Meta Data Stack
Walker Global Mergers Acquisitions & Review
* No longer involved in this partnership. **Ended successfully.
There are three worlds: the one we are given, the one we are stuck with, and the one we bend to our will.
Theodore Roosevelt’s famous Man in the Arena speech. ‘It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, if he fails, at least fails while bearing greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.’