On June 24, 2013, a technology startup Red e App moved into 216 South Shelby at the corner of Market and Shelby in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. It was a 150 year old dilapidated building rehabbed by a local husband and wife team redeveloping worn neighborhoods just east of downtown Louisville.
The office, 3,000 square feet most recently served as a gymnasium to a small church located just down the alley. After moving in, many neighbors began to share with us that Muhammad Ali boxed on the existing, and preserved wood gymnasium floor in our new offices.
I wrote most of the Muhammad Ali talk off, but had a neighbor and friend who had access to history. Louisville history. He shared with me proof that the Greatest of All Time spent many hours training on the gym floor of our new office. He shared articles and pictures placing him in our offices in the early 60’s.
I took one of the pictures and blew it up, and blew it up BIG.
To not just honor one of the many gym’s he boxed in as a young man in Louisville, but to use his passion, strength, integrity, showmanship, fortitude and commitment and infuse it into our young startup. To somehow, channel his confidence and belief that if you set a goal, and you guide your desires by loudly communicating your intent and belief for all to hear — you can overcome any obstacle or adversity and you will ultimately win.
Building a software company in Louisville with the intent to become a global leader in non-desk worker communication, far from the comfort of the U.S. investment and tech hubs, was not only risky, it was flat out crazy. At the point that we moved into our shiny new office — looking for our place in the business world, we didn’t need necessarily need customers or capital — we NEEDED Muhammad Ali. We needed to believe.
A random 12 year old boy in the West End of Louisville who got his bike stolen rose up and became the Greatest of All Time (#GOAT). A world icon, ambassador, peace maker. We are lucky to operate in the place where “The Greatest” honed his craft and we now use his legacy to inspire us to help companies around the world, better connect their non-desk employees, strengthening companies and empowering employees everywhere.
Thank you Champ!