When Chris Met Markwith Chris Ruder
Chris Ruder, the CEO of Spikeball, shares a story about meeting Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban at a bar and committing a photo faux pas (a faux-to pas?), a year before he taped his Shark Tank appearance.
The Full Transcript:
Wailin: [00:00:00] Hi everyone. In a couple of weeks, we’re going to get Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson in the studio to answer your questions about workplace communication. So, if you need advice on talking to your boss or your employees or your coworkers about something, leave us a voicemail at (708) 628-7850. Or email us at email@example.com.
[00:00:26] Welcome to a mini bonus episode of Rework. Today we have a short story that didn’t fit into last week’s episode. It’s from Chris Ruder, the CEO of Spikeball, an outdoor game that’s like a cross between four-square and volleyball. We featured Chris on last week’s episode and we forgot to mention that Jason Fried is on the board of Spikeball, so we wanted to disclose that.
[00:00:47] Last week, Chris was on Rework along with two other businesses that had been on Shark Tank, the ABC show where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of famous investors. When Chris went on Shark Tank, he was really hoping to get a deal from nick Woodman, the founder of GoPro, and Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, but that didn’t happen.
Chris: [00:01:07] Yeah, they both went out real early, which really bummed me out.
Wailin: [00:01:09] The Mark Cuban rejection was especially surprising since Chris knew Mark was a Spikeball fan. Here’s that story.
Chris: [00:01:15] They cut this out. He owned Spikeball sets. So, he knew about Spikeball before the show. About a year before we filmed, we had a tournament in Manhattan Beach, California. Beautiful day, great tournament. We’re out. Rather late night, and this is like 2am at this bar called the Shellback in Manhattan Beach, which is right on the water, but a dumpy little place. And I look over, or, my cousin taps me on the shoulder, and he’s like, dude, Mark Cuban is sitting six feet to the left of us.
[00:01:43] I look over and I immediately go over there, introduce myself, and start pitching. Just like, Spikeball would be so great for Shark Tank. He was super nice, and just kind of like put his hands up. He’s like. Hey man, look, I’m sure Spikeball’s great, but understand I have absolutely nothing to do with—I have no influence about what products get on the show or don’t. He’s like, the first time I learn about the product is literally when the entrepreneur’s walking through the door.
[00:02:06] So, I lost there. Went back to the table, and then I was like, man, I forgot to get a picture. I’d really like to get a picture of him, so, I lift up my phone and without looking, just trying to be really sly, just take a picture of him, and I didn’t realize my flash was on.
[00:02:17] He looks at me and just kind of like rolls his eyes, and he’s just like really? And I’m like I’m sorry. And he had every right to be a complete jerk to me, but he wasn’t. He was like, you guys want a picture, and I just kind of like sheepishly nod my head, and he’s like, come on over here. And he like tackles us and we get a big group picture and he was super cool.
[00:02:33] So, after that I sent a couple Spikeball sets to the Mavericks head office. I had no idea how to reach Mark Cuban. I was like, all right, we’ll just get some free sets to him and hopefully he uses them, and we sent them and never heard anything again.
[00:02:44] And then fast-forward a year later, I walk through the doors and we’re doing Q&A, he basically yells out, “I love Spikeball!”
[00:02:52] And he goes on to say how he loves playing it in the backyard. He’s got pretty young kids. That’s how he’s been teaching them to play catch. You know, little kids trying to play catch with like a baseball glove. Little more difficult, but being able to track a yellow ball bouncing off a net is easier. Then the Sharks kind of started pushing him, like, oh, you’ve played. Like, where’d you get it? And then he kind of backpedaled a little bit, and he’s like, oh, my wife got it.
[00:03:13] Where’d she get it? Oh, like some store or whatever, and so part of me thinks that the reason he went out, was would the sharks think that like, he and I had some collusion or something, or like a deal that went on beforehand, or I have no idea what. Or who knows. Maybe he never got the Spikeball sets I sent, maybe he did buy them in a store. I don’t know.
Wailin: [00:03:29] Right, that’ll be an eternal mystery. Yeah.
Chris: [00:03:31] Yeah.
Wailin: [00:03:33] That’s it for this bonus episode of Rework. Remember we are interested in your questions for Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson about workplace communication. Leave us a voicemail at (708) 628-7850, or write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.