What’s ahead in 2017

The new year just kicked in, and I’m very looking forward to what it holds. It brings with it quite some news on the professional side of things for me, so I figured this might be a good occasion to briefly update what I’m currently working on, what projects are in the pipeline, and what topics currently concern and interest me the most. Read more

What I’m up to these days

It’s been a bit quiet over here over the past weeks. After the dust around ThingsCon and GIG settled, quite a few personal and professional changes ensued (and kinda got me sucked up). Besides some product and advisory jobs, I spent my time working on some of the following:

  • Together with my dear friend Max I explored the feasibility of a ‚Digital Lab‘ at the intersection of education, research, and public action for the Technical University of Berlin. I’m looking forward to see what comes out of it in the future (as it’s no longer in my hands for now).
  • Last year I started to back up the team of AMPION, an NGO based in Berlin and Nairobi, as a program manager for the upcoming Fellowship Program, basically an early stage accelerator program for African Start Ups. I’ll be designing and implementing the curriculum. More on that soon, it’s a pretty ambitious and very exciting project for me and I look forward to opening applications soon!
  • I also did some public speaking, among others at IFA 2015 (on smart homes and user centric product dev), and at this year’s Connected Living Connference, an interesting (if not quite balanced) get-together of a lot of DAX companies, that are trying to address the consumer side of the IoT.
  • Many wonderful discussions with friends and (yet to be) colleagues, arose on what to do and start and try out next year. While most of the ideas are still a bit early to share here, they have to do with (social) prototyping, open and connected cities, critical making and art, and will include a series of cultural / creative events in the realms of the Ruhr (the Ruhrgebiet) – more on that soon.

Talking about new realms: On a more personal note, I moved – from Berlin to Cologne. While I’ll continue working for clients and on project in Berlin, I also look very much forward to explore what Cologne has to offer – musically, for now at least, I could wish for more. If you happen to be in town, holla!

So much from my end for now. 2015 was a year of changes for sure, some of them rather hard, some of them thoroughly wonderful. It’s also been a tense year, and I am grateful for some calmer days now. Also, I can’t wait for 2016 – huge things are waiting. First and foremost: Pakistan. (Oh boi!). I’ll share what I’m up to there soon! Onwards!

Spirals

After almost four years of countless ideas, struggles, small and big successes, learnings, and wonderful encounters, one of the most rewarding episodes of my professional life comes to a close. And I dare to say, that’s a good thing. We’re just about to wind down our first company knowable – and I’m okay with that. Really. Here’s why:

1. The idea didn’t hold up.

I guess that if we had to take this decision about a year ago, it would have been way harder to do so. Since day one we have been struggling to get everything we needed together in one place at the same time: 1) a proper team, 2) a concise vision & strategy, 3) sufficient time & capital. We always had some of these elements, but it was not until early 2014 that we had it all in place and we able to entirely focus on our product.

Now we took a step back and – egos aside – faced it: We didn’t nail it. Sure, we learned a lot: about collaboration and documentation, about team and project management, and accessibility, about execution, VCs, growth hacking, community building. And buzzwords. But in the end our community did not grow fast enough and embrace our platform as happily as we had hoped. And that’s okay – because we managed to factor out every other roadblock. It was all idea and evaluation. I can live with that. Because there’s a second reason:

2. The vision does.

The really believe that with shutting down the knowable platform(s), I’m not at all shutting down on the vision behind it. I’m actually taking it more seriously than ever and move on with it. If the big picture of knowable was to explore new ways of connecting people and helping them in joining forces to solve problems all around the world – well then I am incredibly excited to implement all our findings to existing projects, new initiatives, and future ideas. Some of them already learned to walk by themselves. Others are already in the making or yet to come.

I’ll share my thoughts, my work and my questions right here. This will include personal ideas, projects that I work on, wonderful people and stories that I encounter. And seriously, I can’t wait.

Feel free to join me along the way, I’d appreciate your company.