Posts from "October, 2008"

Impressions of the BarCamp Berlin

The BarCamp Berlin3 is over now. It was a quite intense weekend with lots of interesting people to meet and some good sessions to attend. At first, I’d like to thank the orga team: well done! I don’t want to blame you for the fact that the sessions were somehow noisy. I liked that you could come and go without interrupting the presentation. Another thing I like pretty much were the 30min breaks between the sessions. They gave enough time to meet and network and I never had the feeling to be late for a session.

What I really liked was the Lounge area (see photos below). It was definitively enough space to host all the people. I pretty much enjoyed this event. However, one thing stuck out: until now we usually went to people telling them of pidoco°. At the BarCamp it was the other way around. People were coming to us, saying they heard of us somewhere and liked to get a demo, an account, or just had a question. That felt great.

So far about my first impressions right after the BarCamp. And now the pl0gbar at St. Oberholz…

How everything began…

It was the evening of the 16th of October 2006 when a group of students gathered in lecture hall 3 of the HPI building. Professor Wagner was teaching the first lesson of “entrepreneurship”. We were faced with the fact that throughout the course the students had to write a business plan in groups of two or three students. This should be a document describing how a fictive or real startup should be set up.

During this lecture I was not yet sure whether I really wanted to stay and write this business plan or maybe choose a different lecture. I had no clue with whom to do this, because several friends did this lecture the year before. However, right after the lecture I received an email of Tino Truppel. I barely knew him from his job as a student representative. He asked whether I wanted to attend the lecture and whether I would be interested in forming a group with him.

The next day I answered that I was not yet 100 percent sure, but we should definitively meet. By these two mails, the project was started. Well, not exactly as we had not yet any business idea for the startup. Though we had some vague project ideas that could be interesting, all of them proved to be not the big thing for a startup. After some weeks of inspiration and brainstorming we agreed on the fourth idea: some kind of prototyping tool where you could do some usability testing. Sounds familiar? Yes, in fact, it didn’t change that much since then.

After the semester we had a business plan, and we pitched in front of Eran Davidson, the VC of Hasso Plattner Ventures and co-lecturer. Having spent a lot of time into the project and being quite confident that it was worth a try, we convinced Silvan to join in and the lecture task of writing a business plan became a project that should lead to our very own company.

Today is the 16th of October 2008. It has been two years since that first lecture at HPI. I even found the initial mail of Tino somewhere deep inside my mail client. And at first, I couldn’t believe that it is already two years that we are working on the Prototype Creator. Time has passed so fast and we learned so much in these past two years, incredible.

And today, I would like to thank Tino for this initial mail, since it was the beginning of the best project I’ve been with and it lead to a team that is so much fun to work with. Thank you, Tino!

BarCamp Munich 08

Last Weekend I went to BarCamp Munich 08. BarCamps are social events where web-related people, bloggers, developers and others meet for a so-called “unconference”. You’ll find a lot of presentations, discussions and workshops there and every participant is invited to give a session himself, no matter whether it is about technical, social or other aspects of the web.

BarCamps are free to all participants. The organization of such an event is a big logistical and financial task. At pidoco° we support those events that strengthen the community and enjoy taking part ourselves, so we decided to contribute back as an official sponsor and as an active helper. So I spent a few hours at the coffee booth to support Sonntagmorgen, who could not come themselves but served the Barcamp with their delicious coffee.

At the booth – and all around the camp – I got to talk to a lot of people, new contacts as well as friends from past events. It was a nice surprise to meet a few people who already knew pidoco°. Later I managed to take part in some sessions, too. There was a quite interesting discussion about user experience in general (you’ll find a good summary in Hendrik’s blog in German language) and good technical presentations e.g. about scaling and monitoring web applications.

Two young Germans, Rizqi and Robert, impressed me with their talk about chain.js, an extension to the Javascript library JQuery. Using chain.js you can link Html-Dom objects with plain JavaScript objects dynamically: when an object changes a property, the linked counterpart will be updated as well. This automatism simplifies a lot of work for developers of interactive web sites.

To my perception the BarCamp Munich 08 was a big success with a top location and great organizers. Steffen and his whole team were always around and did an extraordinary job. Next week end there’ll be BarCamp Berlin 09. This time I’ll be there “just” as participant. So I hope to take part in more sessions this time and maybe give one or two myself.

Silvan

Events for this week

This week is packed with some interesting events i’ll be attending:

The Web 2.0 Expo Europe is coming up and the guys at lifestream.fm and at TechWeb thought it is time to party. One week before the official start of the Web 2.0 Expo there will be the Pre-Web 2.0 Expo Europe Drinkup on Tuesday evening in Mitte.

Thursday will be a very interesting event for all upcoming founders. The HPI.Connect student club is hosting a full day Startup Workshop with many speakers from a VC, several support programs for entrepreneurs, and a divers list of founders (including myself). This will give you a nice overview on the different ways of funding the first months of your company.

The weekend is the huge BarCamp Berlin 3. With over 600 registered attendees this one will be equally big as the BarCamp Block in Palo Alto last year. And I guess it won’t be any less fun. We’re still thinking about giving a presentation, maybe on some JavaScript stuff. We’ll see…

Whether or not we’ll meet this week, have a nice one!

A new face at pidoco°

Since today we are happy to have Philipp working full time from our office in Berlin. Although he has accompanied the company for a while, he was busy finishing his studies the past months. Working together in one place will ease the communication a lot.

Since our students are occupying the office during the next two weeks, he had to move to our kitchen. But it wouldn’t be a successful startup if the CEO doesn’t work at a kitchen table. 😉

Welcome aboard, Philipp!

EuroIA 2008

Last weekend I attended the EuroIA in Amsterdam. EuroIA 2008 was a conference about Information Architecture. Besides professional information architects the conference addressed project managers and application developers, too. These target groups often need to structure information or create taxonomies.

The conference was a great experience for me. Most talks and sessions had quite practical topics, which is why I learnt a lot during these two days. Being a developer I found many intersections with computer science. Often IA and IT examine very similar problems and just address them from a slightly different angle. I am sure that both of us can learn a lot from each other if we dare to look beyond our own nose.

Presentations ranged from very good overviews about current methods and techniques like Chiara Fox’s “Content Analysis” to cutting edge and future trends in personalization in “I’m not you” by Bogo Vatovecca. In the next days you’ll find most of the slides presented at the conference on slideshare tagged by euroIA2008. You’ll find some nice pictures in Stefans flickr stream.

Apart from learning I met a lot of exciting people and had some interesting chats. So thanks to the organization team for the conference to proceed so smoothly and to the IA community for sharing this informative event.

Silvan