27 October 2016, By Yalp

It’s Thursday, October 27th, the day I have to convince the jury of the World Trade Center Export award in a two-minute speech. I climb on stage and grab the wireless microphone to ensure there’s nothing between me and the public and start with the words: “Steve Jobs, now widely appreciated, but was that also the case in 2000?”

It’s Thursday, October 27th, the day I have to convince the jury of the World Trade Center Export award in a two-minute speech. I climb on stage and grab the wireless microphone to ensure there’s nothing between me and the public and start with the words: “Steve Jobs, now widely appreciated, but was that also the case in 2000?”

I aimed to start my presentation surprisingly with a great idea. The first slide showed the following quote: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”. A tough statement in my opinion. After this introduction I continued with our interactive products, which we have developed from scratch. Briefly I  tried to explain how challenging it was to create products that are fun, but also vandalism proof.

After that I mentioned that we have achieved a lot in export and I explained this by three points. Because I have learned from Steve Jobs that you have to mention a maximum of three points, as the rest is mostly forgotten anyway. Within these three points I’ve mentioned our statistical success in export, that we export to 26 countries and that 25% of our turnover is realized abroad.

But I realized that just figures are not enough. People want to know why you do the things the way you do. Very briefly I explained that just a swing is not enough to play outside anymore these days. And that playing outside is very important.

My pitch was followed by a jury deliberation which after the chairman of the jury presented the envelope. And the winner is…. Yalp! With a jump of joy I showed up on stage. Filled with joy I received the WTC export award. The jury praised our innovation, Dutch design, the applicability of our products in various sectors and its contribution in solving social problems.

So many nice words, after which I was given the opportunity to say some words of thanks. I gave thanks to my colleague Harrie Kerkhof, who had signed up Yalp for the contest. I thanked Andrew Lohmeijer of KITT Engineering, who developed the electronics for our products. I gave thanks to Ms. Zhou from Pureland, our Chinese distributor. And last but certainly not least, great thanks to my wife Irmgard for her strong support.

Afterwards, I gathered with my colleagues at the bar and throughout the evening we’ve looked back at an amazing experience. When I came home late that night, I went to the society with the award in my hand to celebrate this joyous moment with my friends. I was congratulated and everyone enjoyed my enthusiasm, as I the appreciation and interest of my friends.

Now, a few days after the award, I returned to reality. Export turnover is not something that happens automatically, hard work is needed. Currently we are busy with developing a new international website and we’re attending two exhibitions, in Sweden and Beijing. We’re also visiting the UK and Turkey for important events. This with a lot of self-confidence partly thanks to the export award. I would like to thank the jury for their trust, we will do everything we can to make it happen. Because we are eager to reach our goal and believe it is important.

Ben Admiraal