We had the good fortune of connecting with Wendelin Holz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wendelin, how do you think about risk?
Many people have wonderful ideas but are afraid of starting something new because the risk is too high. I am very happy to live in Germany, in a country where it is almost impossible to die because of a lack of money. Therefore, the risk which comes while starting a new business is not like a real danger. I am not afraid of risking all my belongings while starting something new. But I am very afraid of wasting many years of my life just working to get a stable income, which is needed to increase my personal safety. So, to reduce this risk I had no other choice, so to speak, to start my own business. Therefore, I did it. In Germany, we have a culture that tries to prevent all possible risks. On one side it gives us safety, on the other side, it inhibits our innovation, and inhibits adventurism. For sure, I could stop paragliding, mountaineering, and biking, because of my personal risk analysis. But I rather concentrate on preventing danger by being as focused as possible while doing something, instead of stopping it. We need the challenges to grow and to have fun. Doesn’t matter in business or in the mountains.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I was quite sad about the lack of geographical knowledge of the young generation. Today’s young people often know all the Netflix series by heart, but if you ask them about the points of the compass or the longest river in Europe, they unfortunately often have no answer. I had two options to improve it. First, work as a teacher for geography, or second, invent a product, which could spread out knowledge about geography. In this situation, I was already studying industrial engineering, so I chose the second option because it was closer to the profession I learned. After a lot of work, the toy brand Wendels Kartenspiele was born. In German, we say “Trumpf-Quartett” in English-speaking countries, Top-Trump is a well-known brand producing this kind of card game. When I started, there were already many topics on the market, f.e. cars and airplanes. But nobody was selling this kind of card game about mountains, rivers, cities, and countries of the world. Therefore, I did it. Now already a huge number of kids and parents love the card games of Wendels Kartenspiele and improve, while playing, automatically their knowledge about geography, which exactly hit my target. I am already working on the next project, which will be launched soon.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Welcome to Munich! Visit Marienplatz and enjoy the view from Alter Peter. Buy a frozen yogurt close to LMU and walk or bike through the Englischer Garten and watch the people surfing on the Eisbachwelle. Go shopping on Viktualienmarkt and definitely relax in a Biergarten, doesn’t matter where. Head over to Olympic Park, to be impressed by the view from Olympic Tower to the Alps. After this, choose your dream car at the BMW Museum. Apropos museum – you have to visit Alte Pinakothek and Deutsche Museum. To be honest, the best part of Munich is the surroundings: go swimming in one of plenty of beautiful lakes and definitely go hiking in the Alps.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Of course, there are plenty of wonderful people surrounding me. To thank them appropriately, would go beyond the scope of this session. Therefore, I would like to shout out some sentences of motivation: The awareness about improving our private lifestyle concerning sustainability and improving life on earth is already quite high, at least in Germany. But how would the world improve faster, if all people would focus on improving something while working? It would have a very big impact on the world because we spend so much time and energy on our jobs. If all people, especially the young well-educated generation, work for sustainability, for companies to increase efficiency, for new ideas, which improve something, all industries with a bad ecological footprint, destroying our future, can’t find employees anymore. So, these industries are automatically forced to rethink their business model. If you are dissatisfied with something, don’t just complain about it, or wait for a new law, which could optimize the situation. Do something creative to improve it by yourself. I would like to motivate all people to watch the impact of their daily job and question regularly how they could improve something.