In this post, we’d like to introduce you to Ray Abel, our CEO, who spearheads the business side of Xogo. Ray wasn’t always involved in this field, though. His career started in sales, but Ray said he soon realized he wanted to do something more meaningful. “I knew I wanted to do something better with my life,” he said.
That’s when he found the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Ray said, “I knew they were a good organization and I wanted to help others.” While working with the MDA, Ray discovered a passion for serving people with disabilities. He particularly enjoyed working at the MDA’s summer camp, where he saw children with muscular dystrophy bond together over games and activities.
Thanks to his work with the MDA, Ray developed a passion for working in the disabilities field. Now, he’s combining that passion with his love for technology at Xogo.
Ray said technology has always fascinated him. Being able to share his love for tech with people who may not have been able to use it before is one of Ray’s favorite parts of working with Xogo. “It’s hard when you realize there are people who have never been able to play a video game,” Ray said. “I can’t imagine what that’d be like if I was doing that for the first time right now. Seeing that joy is awesome. That gets me every time.”
Ray looks at his work with Xogo as a way to help people with disabilities connect with the world in an equalizing way. He explained: “One of the equalizers we have in society is games. It’s usually an activity that gives people a sense of belonging. Video games are a chance to level that playing field. When you’re playing a video game, you don’t need to be the fastest, you don’t need to be the tallest. Those things don’t benefit you when you’re playing video games. It’s already an equalizer. When you can allow people who haven’t been able to play those games before to connect with friends, it starts opening the door. Now, we’re playing against each other, we’re joking with each other. It builds up friendships. That’s what drew me to it.”
Seeing people use Xogo is the reward Ray gets for his work. He said he particularly enjoys watching people use Xogo to connect to new technology for the very first time. “We’ve had a child that was flying a drone with his wheelchair. And you just see that look on his face and the smile—it’s the awe of being able to actually control these amazing tech devices,” Ray said.
While seeing Xogo’s impact on people’s lives is his favorite part of the work, Ray said he also embraces the challenges of running a startup. “Running a startup is not for everyone, but I love it. I feel like every day is something different. You never know what’s going to happen, and no two days are the same,” he said, adding that he finds satisfaction in tackling major challenges when they inevitably arise.
Another aspect of Ray’s job involves getting other people interested in our work. He maintains a network of people who help generate ideas and offer feedback. “A lot of it is partnerships and relationships—making sure that we’re building a network of people who care about what we’re doing, so when it’s time for us to try something new or get feedback or launch something, then we have people readily available who are very invested in what we’re doing,” he said, adding that it’s easy to get people excited about Xogo because it’s such a great cause to support.
As CEO, Ray’s always looking towards the company’s future success. “We have the opportunity to do a lot more than video gaming,” he said, “which is why we’re building a platform to allow people to connect to smart homes, drones, cable boxes, toys, and tech that hasn’t even been imagined yet.”
Ultimately, Ray said he strives to ensure Xogo will have a lasting impact. He said, “For us, we’re not a typical startup where our goal is to create some short-term product. What we want to do is build a sustainable company that is actually helping people.”