THE VURGER CO
IN CONVERSATION WITH.....
Max Kufner, Co-Founder of Obby
We take a moment to speak with Max Kufner, Co-founder of Obby, a joint venture that himself and Tom Batting dreamt up back in 2015. On a mission to get everyone to re-think learning and with over a thousand unique classes on offer from a pool of talented teachers, Obby is now the place to go if you're looking for workshops and classes in London.
What have been the most important skills in your toolkit for making Obby a success?
I think its definitely too early to call Obby a success! That said, I would say my best skill is being able to work hard without getting burned out. I have taken my approach to work from Will Smith:
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple, right?”
A large portion of your business relies on the relationships that you have with your workshop leaders and teachers- how did you create and nurture these relationships when you first started out?
To start off with, that was all Tom’s work (my co-founder). Tom is great at meeting people and is very likeable, so when the business first started and we were trying to find our first teachers to work with, everything was truly personal.
Now that we are bigger and work with over 500 teachers and institutions across London, we make a conscious effort to connect with all our teachers on a regular basis by organising regular “Obby Teacher Experiences” where we have drinks, nibbles and hold talks on how to build successful teaching businesses.
What have been the main obstacles that you have faced so far in the process of building Obby from the ground up?
I don’t think there has one big thing, just many little ones. The biggest early struggle was persuading teachers to list on our platform when it was very obvious we didn’t have much going on!
Which country would you like to crack after the UK and why?
Too early to tell – London is massive :)
Which other businesses (big or small) do you look up to for inspiration and why?
Marketplaces specifically, it is definitely Airbnb - they have managed to build an incredible brand and customer experience!
My other favourite is Nike. I read Shoe Dog, the biography about Phil Knight, Nike’s founder, and it was a truly inspirational read.
Finally, Amazon – I urge everyone to read The Everything Store!
Your favourite class on the website at the moment?
Too many great ones to pick a favourite!
Which are your most popular classes currently?
Popularity varies by season. Pottery classes were very popular over the summer. Now we are seeing a lot of interest in Dance classes
What’s the wackiest class you have on offer at the moment?
I am not sure if it is Wacky enough, but this is definitely out there.
Is there a class that isn't on Obby at the moment but you wish it was?
I have been struggling to learn Norwegian for years now, so I would love to have a way to polish up on that!
How many of the classes on your website have you tried?!
I have tried a few (like 10), but my co-founder Tom has been on pretty much anything you can imagine.
“120” was Tom’s answer to “How many classes do you think you’ve been on?”.
Advice to anyone wishing to take up a new hobby and commit to it?
Starting something is easy, continuing with it is hard. That’s what we see at Obby. Lots of people take a beginners class and love it, but struggle to keep it up and invest the time to practice. That is the next thing we want to help our students with!
If you could offer one golden piece of advice to someone looking to start an online business, what would it be?
Don’t take advice from people on the internet!
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME MAX, WE'VE GOT ITCHY FEET NOW! WE'RE THINKING A VURGER CO. SALSA CLASS COULD BE ON THE CARDS....
CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE AWESOME RANGE OF CLASSES OBBY HAS ON OFFER.
UNTIL NEXT TIME!