What if action sports were more like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater or SSX Tricky?
Join the WOO Sports community and join the world's largest, live action, interactive, online action sport game
To find out more behind how WOO Sports got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews WOO Sports co-founder, Leo Koenig
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with WOO Sports founder Leo Koenig. WOO Sports is the world's first attempt at turning the action sport industry into one giant game; think live action Tony Hawk Pro Skater but, across multiple sports. In this episode of the ReddyYeti Podcast Leo Koening, one of WOO Sports founders shares with us how he broke into the industry, built WOO from the ground up, shares personal stories, and praises the value of failure and how important it is for growth!
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out WOO Sport’s website
- Pick up a WOO of your own and join the BIGGEST online action sport game
- Follow WOO on Instagram and Facebook
- More about the inspiration behind WOO Sports
- A great read and recommendation for some entrepreneurial inspiration - Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
What is WOO Sports all about?
“We’re very often seen as business that builds a device that tracks certain metrics and at the end of the day it’s a necessity for us to then create a game around something that is happening in real life…”
How did you get to the point where you decided to create WOO Sports?
“Just like with everything and any founder you’ve talked to, it’s essentially a life long story that leads you to a point where you realize that working for a corporation and working in a 9 to 5 job and wearing a suit everyday isn’t for you. That’s a realization I had early on in my career…”
How did you get into kiteboarding?
“In terms of upbringing I grew up in the middle of German and there’s definitely no kiteboarding...in 2005 or 6, some of those days where I was studying in mechanical engineering in a small town in the middle of Germany...I met a guy, ironically, at an outdoor swimming pool. We were the two that were always not attending class and reading on our own at the swimming pool and teaching ourselves...we literally looked at cheap fights we could get and we found Capetown in South Africa…”
You said before that you believe traveling is one of the best things a ceo or founder can do. Could you elaborate a little more on that?
“Part of this comes from my own experience, having traveled a lot and having my own experiences. But, I really do believe as a founder and CEO that you need to have a very diversified perspective on things, meaning that you can view things from a very far distance even though your mind is caught on day to day things and in the weeds…”
What was the prototyping process like to develop WOO?
“It’s a very very long journey...there’s not straight line or cookie cutter recipe.. I think a lot of it has to do with being willing and able iterate very very quickly... If you asked me to literally recite the whole story of how we got from nothing to a product we can sell to consumers, I could probably write a few books on that…”
What was the process in starting and building WOO to the point of having a larger network of people that you can compete with?
“WOO is very much a community where lots and lots of people come together to compete against each other. Obviously the more people are involved the more fun it is...I think the path there for us was a very authentic one...we were pretty tight for cash for long parts of our journey so, we had to be creative. We had to find ways that once we gave a WOO to a person in our community that they would be excited enough to tell their friends to get one so they could play together…"
Did you have any mentors that helped you build WOO into what it is today?
“I think there were quite a lot...one thing I will say is there’s an infinite amount of mentors and resources available to everyone and that’s simply by reading books. There’s so so many people who’ve walked the walk and gone down that path and have built companies…”
What is the manufacturing process like for WOO Sports?
“It’s a very difficult part...manufacturing bares a couple of really big problems and inherent risk for your business. For one, things never turn out the same. Every product to a degree is unique...you’re constantly fighting against and managing perfection…”
What has it been like building the culture within WOO Sports?
“I think, in our case, what glues us together is a common passion for what we do and a common drive to fulfill our mission as a company. That’s essentially what creates some true north for us that lets us run in the same direction…”
What have been some of the hardest parts about starting WOO?
“I think the hardest part about starting WOO is literally the mental burden that it takes on your when you start a business and all of a sudden no longer walk into an office and say ‘I’m going in there at 9 in the morning and leaving at 5’...you do not have that type of freedom as an entrepreneur…”
What would you say are some of your biggest fears and how do you manage them in regards to WOO?
“I think a big fear is, for lack of a better terms, go out of business. You feel that tremendous sense of responsibility that comes with the success we have...That in itself creates a type of fear...You’ve convinced so many people to go along with you and so many customers that paid money for a product that you built…”
What have been some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made?
“The biggest mistake, for sure, has been a little too much enthusiasm and a little too much optimism...we thought things would be much easier...another big mistakes that I made early on, personally, is for a while in the business I thought it’s ok to only share good news…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?
“The biggest fear that many people have is of failure...So many people are worried something bad will happen and that they will fail. One thing I’ve learned is that failure is a beautiful thing because it teaches you tremendously powerful lessons about life and yourself…”
Where do you see WOO headed in the future?
“Our premise always was to turn life into a game and we don’t just do that for the sake of it. We really do believe games are incredibly powerful...if in ten years from now we at WOO can say that we’ve affected a lot of people on the planet where they can say ‘WOO has really enriched my life because I do spend more time in a community’ then we’d consider ourselves a success…What we really want to do is capture that emotion and capture that experience and bring it to the world...”
What would you say is the best part about running WOO?
“The best part about running WOO is that I get to work with really really cool people in a really really cool culture and, whenever it’s windy there’s no questions asked every meeting is canceled and we go out kiteboarding…”