Michele Rudelli, CEO of YWOW Games: “Dream big, plan ahead, then go for it.”

By Wantedly Hong Kong

Being a Caucasian working in Hong Kong, with a steady life as the General Manager of a huge toy company, Michele Rudelli decided to do something different, something bigger.

▲ The (incomplete) team of YWOW Games

“If you don’t take a risk now, you might never do so”

Born and raised in Italy, Michele worked all around Europe including Netherland and Switzerland after graduating with an Economics degree. Amongst those years, his working experience in the toy industry impacted him most,

“Many seniors told me: once you’ve worked in the toy industry, you can never switch to another, which is true to me. The satisfaction of witnessing the initial idea of a toy to become an end product is huge.”

As Michele had stepped foot into the toy industry, at the age of 25, he had a chance to work in Hong Kong and later became the General Manager of that toy company.

Working in a company with thousands of staff, why did he give up this secure life which is a dream of many people?

“I’m more like the recent generations, I want to do something more in my life, instead of working for a company for the rest of my life. As I just turned 30 years old, I thought to myself: Even if I failed, I could simply go look for another job opportunity, so why not?” said the 32-year-old Italian, with an almost carefree beam on his face.

▲ One of the bestsellers by YWOW Games, with 1.2 million pieces sold throughout the last quarter.

Striding towards the 2nd anniversary of YWOW Games, Michele is very proud of his team when talking about what they have achieved, “In less than 2 years, our products are being sold in 37 countries with some bestsellers, like the Pringles Mini Puzzles.” But Michele is far from being satisfied at this stage.

“We’re opening a new subsidiary in Amsterdam by the end of this year and looking to double the team size to around 30 people in a year,” he said smiling. “Because I want to invest in Hong Kong local talents, not just benefiting from Hong Kong itself.”

When asked about how did he build his dream team, Michele stressed the importance of being a team player.

“My definition of a team-player is being open to ideas, which relates to the willingness to communicate. If the team doesn’t communicate often, it’s impossible for the company to be successful,” Michele continues. “Working in a startup, which is always composed of a small team, being able to help each other out and listen to what everyone brings to the table are crucial. That’s my very first criteria when I started bringing team members onboard for YWOW.”

On top of being a team-player, the mix of the team is also the reason why YWOW Games is so successful as a toy startup. Michele said, “Our team members are from very different cultural and working backgrounds, ranging from the UK to Hong Kong; TESCO to fresh graduates. With these combinations of talents, we always generate fresh ideas with experienced veterans to lead our projects.”

To picture YWOW Games 5 years ahead in time, Michele showed his rational side instead of the “risky” him,” Many people don’t know that toy industry actually worth billions worldwide. With the composition our team and skills, I believe 40 million (HKD) is achievable in 5 years,” he added with the same confident smile, “It’s difficult but it’s definitely possible.”

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