In case you haven't already heard, Waboba turns the big 1-5 this month! In honor of our milestone birthday, we sat down with our founder Jan and his son (+ our current CEO!) Axel, to learn more about the beginnings of the company and where they hope it will go in the future. Check it out below!
What inspired you to start Waboba/create the Waboba ball?
Jan: One summer in the late 80s, while standing in the water to cool off, I threw a frisbee upside down and watched it skip across the water. It made me think, ”Well, that could be fun! How can I make something that can bounce on water to play with?
This year we celebrate our 15th Anniversary. What thoughts come to mind when you think about that?
Jan: All the fun I have had playing Waboba. All the people that have enjoyed doing it, and still do.
What were your visions for the company in 2005?
Jan: I knew it would be a business success if we fostered creativity, stayed honest, focused on efficiency, and kept having fun.
In what different ways have you seen Waboba grow over the past 15 years?
Jan: Waboba has matured. The company has a lot more know-how, talent, and efficiency now. The same idealistic "do good and have fun" spirit though, but so far from the first five years when everything was new and improvised. Waboba has grown in so many ways - number of products and product lines, number of countries sold to, number of people involved in the business worldwide. But company growth is not always a good thing, you need to remember who you are. Waboba has kept being Waboba.
Describe what Waboba means to you in 15 words or less.
Jan: Sharing something beautiful, creative, and exciting with my family.
How does it feel with your son now as CEO of Waboba? Do you feel like you have passed on the torch?
Jan: It feels great. The best thing that could happen to the company. It's not my torch he is carrying though, I am glad to say it is his own. And I love the way he does it.
PS: Can you see the resemblance? Young Jan, and Axel today.
Since your Dad invented Waboba, what was it like testing the first Waboba ball when you were a teenager?
Axel: It was awesome! It was just like skipping a stone but you could catch it and throw it back. Me and my brothers played for hours the first time in freezing cold water. We just couldn’t stop.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Axel: Creating new products or way to do things with all the great people working at Waboba. It’s incredible to see a vague idea grow into a product and then see that product inspire people to play around the world. And it’s just as incredible to see how a minor change in a process can lead to fundamental improvements in our supply chain.
Share one memory of a funny situation/scenario that you’ve encountered, thanks to Waboba, over the last 15 years.
Axel: My three brothers and I set up a Waboba World Cup a long time ago - we saw it as our great chance to officially become the best in the world at something. We started looking for a worthy opponent and found a team that had the main qualification: they had never seen a Waboba ball in their life. We had a test match just to show them how to play and they were horrible. We knew we were just a few days off securing our world champion title. In order to make it a bit more official we had some local advertisement for the match and on the big day a hundred people or so had made it to the beach to see who would be come world champion in this obscure sport most of them hadn’t heard of.
Once we started playing it was very apparent that they had spent quite a lot of time practicing. They were significantly better than they were before and much better than us. And that’s how I ended up a silver medalist in the official Waboba World Championship.
What do you see as Waboba’s biggest accomplishments since 2005?
Axel: I think our biggest accomplishment is inspiring so many great people to join our team, and then stay with us for a long time. Waboba is the sum of its parts, and that sum keeps growing exponentially.
What do you believe to be Waboba’s greatest strength?
Axel: The passion for what we do and the passion to always do it better.
Where do you hope Waboba will go in the next 15 years? In what ways do you want it to grow?
Axel: I hope we will keep our passion and energy that is so fundamental to everything we do - while having a significantly bigger suit so we can do much more of it.
Describe what Waboba means to you in 15 words or less
Axel: Waboba means everything to me
Cheers to a bright future ahead!