World championship in firefighting (1. part)
They say, „You can’t win them all.“ As per usual, Salibandy took this saying to heart a little too much and the desired wins have not happened yet. Luckily, „everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out yet, then it's not the end“- and Sali's determination and patience are infinite. We're actually more like professional firefighters, given all the fires we've had to put out. So we welcome you, dearest Salifamily, behind the scenes of our „American dream“. A dream about a Czech company exporting its products worldwide, communicating with leaders of the floorball associations, visiting Czech embassies in countries it wants to expand to and planning to bring floorball to the United States. From the Czech Republic. Again - they say, „You can’t win them all“- and for honesty we've decided to share with you the many times when we ended up on the floor. Even if it may seem like we're dancing through a rose garden.
All those fails of ours had actually started before we even met as two friends and soon-to-be founders. One of us was told by his partner at the time that floorball was neither a proper job nor a proper hobby, and she left to look for something better. The other was caught in a loop of his prejudice against everything that wasn’t football or its offshoot, and threatening to break the ‘dumb hockey stick’ over the heads of classmates who voted to play floorball over futsal. I think that situation was far from what could be called an ideal mix of experiences, worldview and setting that could bring the right ideas for starting an internationally operating floorball company. Fast forward a year and the two met. One with ruined knees, which meant the end of his career as a player. The other with a bad conscience for giving up on his football career before the dream could become reality and with newly gained fondness for the ‘dumb hockey stick’ and a love for the hard work of an entrepreneur.
Still not a great starting point. All we had then was determination, dreams and ambition and it turned us from two acquaintances into friends. We became such good friends that it took about thirty meetings for us to even start thinking about the company’s name, instead of our usual banter over beer/wine and trying to convince everyone around us that we were actually working. Our first idea for the name never got used since it was too complex and perfectly unrelated to our final plan – ladies and gentlemen, ‘BPD eqpmt’ was the height of our creativity at that point. Let’s applaud ourselves for having the courage to share this. So we signed up for an accelerator programme at a co-working center in Ostrava, where we got a dressing down for all sorts of things. Both of us founders are trying to convince ourselves that it wasn’t because we were unprepared, but rather because we’re so handsome that the panel and the tutors just couldn’t take it.
But now on a more serious note – it was a great experience, as we met with a different worldview there. Some things we agreed with more than others, some things were a piece of cake, some we didn’t give a shit about and at times we felt a bit lost. Most importantly, there was always something to do and we were learning. Nonstop. However, in line with our past and future steps, it resulted in a perfect failure when our project, then already renamed Salibandy, took the very last place on the final evening. We clearly accepted it without losing our sense of perspective when we told ourselves the judges were just grumps with no entrepreneurial spirit and proceeded to spend a ridiculous amount of money at a nearby fancy restaurant, hoping it would help us forget about our bruised ego. Guess what. It didn’t help and our wallets were much lighter on top of that. :-)
If you are interested in our story, you can read part 2 of our article here.