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Innovating for a Sustainable World

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Innovating for a Sustainable World

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Speaker Series

Stanford University,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Allbirds founder Tim Brown describes his entrepreneurial path and shares leadership lessons from his career as a footballer.

Editorial Rating



  • Visionary
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Since 2012, New Zealander Tim Brown and his co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger have built Allbirds footwear into a global brand that stands for comfort and sustainability. In a lively conversation with academic Ravi Belani for Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders speaker series, Brown discusses what inspired and frustrated his entrepreneurial journey and how his career as a professional footballer buoyed his success.


Tim Brown built the successful Allbirds brand on comfort, design and sustainability.

Kiwi Tim Brown studied design at the University of Cincinnati and then played professional European football for the Wellington Phoenix before heading to business school in 2012. He started to develop a wool shoe while still playing football, and in 2014, after putting six years into development and prototyping, he invested $700 to launch a Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter blew up: Within four days, sales hit $120,000.

Allbirds is known for combining comfort – Time magazine called it “the world’s most comfortable shoe” – with attractive design, and a dedication to sustainability. The company is a certified B Corporation and has over 1,000 employees.

Brown proved...

About the Podcast

Tim Brown is the co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds. Ravi Belani is a lecturer in the Management Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University. Stanford’s Speaker Series, Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders, hosts discussions with leaders who share their entrepreneurial journey of setbacks and successes.

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