020: Creating the Next Great American Sport with Spikeball Founder Chris Ruder

Chris Ruder is the founder of Spikeball. Chris knew early on he did not want a desk job which led him to get a photojournalism degree. After graduating, Chris had the realization there weren’t a ton of ways to make a good living with it and one thing led to another, and he found himself in sales. Chris was a successful salesman I should add, but he wanted to do more than just hit his next quota.

Learn how a trip to Hawaii with old friends sparked the idea to revive an old childhood game, and how Chris started Spikeball at night after his sales job with a wife and three kids at home. We also dive deep into his experience on the hit show Shark Tank and so much more…

On today’s episode, Chris and I discuss
  • His entrepreneurial influences growing up
  • Having the mindset of avoiding a desk job leading Chris to a photojournalism degree
  • Not having a lot of opportunities to make money with photography, Chris goes into sales
  • Having the recognition that he wanted more in life than just hitting quotas
  • A trip to Hawaii with a forgotten childhood game sparking the idea to bring it back to life
  • Why it took Chris 3 years to start the company after the initial idea
  • Chris’ advise for that critical first step of action
  • Growing the brand in the early days
  • Spikeball being more than a beach game, and the development of the Spikeball communities
  • Creating surprise and delight for the customer
  • Getting selected to be on Shark Tank
  • Preparing to be on Shark Tank
  • Chris’ time in the tank with the Sharks
  • Waiting to see if his segment would make TV
  • Getting an investment from Daymond John, but the deal ultimately falling through
  • The positive effect of being on Shark Tank
  • Overcoming Spikeball’s challenge transitioning into major big-box retailers
  • What Chris has learned about himself from starting Spikeball
  • Growing as a CEO
  • What it means to Chris to create what he has now with Spikeball
  • Future plans for the company
My 3 Big Takeaways
  1. A recurring theme pops up again, JUST DO SOMETHING to get things in motion
  2. Be humble enough to recognize what you don’t know
  3. Treating customers like actual human beings goes a long way

Spikeball Website: https://spikeball.com/

You can find Chris and Spikeball at:

Twitter: @spikeballchris

Twitter: @Spikeball

Instagram: spikeball

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spikeball/

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