I’ll be in New York, NY over New Year’s.
Archive for December, 2005
I enjoy life in Silicon Valley. A whole lot. The energy here is tangible. The people, the conversations, the constant flow of ideas, this pervasive sense of opportunity, the can-do attitude — it can really get you excited sometimes.
Makes me wonder:
What if we could somehow borrow some of this energy and spark something similar in Germany? What if we could grow an environment as nourishing as the one here, attracting the world’s best and brightest? What if we could create a climate that values entrepreneurship and rewards innovation — a climate that would put Germany on the map of cool places to live, learn and invent (and start a business)?
Now, while I know this won’t happen overnight, I’m pretty sure it can be done. At the very least, it’s definitely worth aiming for.
So when I had a chance to go back for a quick visit to Cologne (Germany) a few weeks ago, I brought along the idea for a Web Monday — an informal gathering of people already working on some of the topics related to web 2.0 (in the broadest sense). I was curious to feel their pulse, if you will, and find out firsthand if and to what extent the future of the web might actually be “made in Germany”.
I’m happy to say Web Monday went really well. First of all, the infrastructure (nice location, with Wi-Fi, beamer etc.) was in place, thanks to the many who self-organized via the wiki. Second, the turnout was simply huge! A nice mix of well over 80 people attended, among them bloggers (some of Germany’s top-ranked, in fact), podcasters, wikipedians, software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, senior business people, internet veterans, students, journalists etc. as well as a few newbies or otherwise interested bystanders. Some people came all the way from Frankfurt, Stuttgart, or even Brussels (Belgium). There were a total of four brief standup presentations of current projects that night. And to top things off, we even had sponsors for the first couple rounds of drinks for everyone.
All in all, a pretty neat get-together, given the one-week notice.
Feedback has been very positive overall. In general, people seem to have enjoyed the open format, to the extent that immediately afterwards there was already talk of a next Web Monday in Cologne to be held some time soon.
Just to give you an idea who some of the people in the audience were (listed in no particular order and far from complete):
- Stefan Kellner, co-founder of Plazes. The two Plazes founders were in Silicon Valley on business a few weeks ago. They are hiring!
- Oliver Thylmann, recent co-founder of Ormigo. Oliver joined the Corante Network in November and is making some market predictions for 2006.
- Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped. He did a nice follow-up interview with Siggi Becker, another Web Monday attendee. Philipp seems to have quite a few interesting things going on aside from his excellent blog (e.g. a new book as well as an engagement over at Performancing). Check out A Talk to Google’s Larry Page in 2038, or 15 Search Predictions for 2006.
- Thomas Wanhoff, journalist, podcaster and maker of German audio magazine Podcastschau as well as his science podcast Wanhoffs Wunderbare Welt der Wissenschaft (Wanhoff’s Wonderful World of Science)
- Oliver Wrede, professor/teacher for design and interactive media at Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Department of Design, as well as Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Department of Computer Science
- Marius Sixtus, journalist and blogger. He recently launched Die Dezentrale, a blog for German business daily Handelsblatt.
- Delphine MÃ©nard, Wikimedia Foundation
- Michael PÃ¼tz, co-founder of Passado, at over 4 million registered users one of Europe’s largest social networking platforms
- And many more…
As of today, there are two Web Monday meetups taking shape, one in Cologne and the other one in Berlin. I have heard some people in Hamburg and Frankfurt express interest in setting up local editions of Web Monday in their respective city or region as well — we’ll have to see how that goes.
The Web Monday wiki has proven to be an invaluable tool in setting up all this. Its doors will remain open, and anyone interested is more than welcome to contribute — on both sides of the Atlantic.
Thanks once again to everyone who helped put this together. I see a lot of potential going into 2006.
With that said, here’s to a happy and venturesome New Year!
Gene Smith gives a quick rundown on The Year in Tags.
A WordPress 2.0 Release Candidate is available.
Not only is the San Jose Public Library excellent, my newly upgraded membership lets me borrow 100 items at a time! Today, I made good use of it and picked up the following (all pretty good):
I’ve been shopping around for a car lately. It just occured to me that it’s the year 2005 and still no zero-emission, solar-powered, hydrogen-driven vehicles in sight. Come on, now! The technology has been around for years, last thing I heard.