Yesterday the 14th Web Monday took place. IBM was our host and really spoiled us with a great location and apero, thanks a lot to Sid and his team!
We had a great variety of speakers:
Siddhartha Arora, our host, presented IBM's Global Entrepreneur Initiative, which aims to help start-ups capture new business opportunities. Under this new program, IBM provides access to its research community, sales, marketing and technical skills. We were the first to hear about this initiative in Switzerland, as the IBM Switzerland marketing machinery hasn't started communicated the initiative yet. Interested startups can already apply here.
Amir Suissa presented his brand-new start-up DeinDeal, which has been launched a couple of weeks ago. DeinDeal is a group buying website that offers a daily coupon for the best deals in your town with savings of up to 70% on restaurants, wellness, beauty, sports and culture. Amir told us in more detail what DeinDeal is and clarified that it is just another copycat of the highly successful GroupOn model from the US. Copycat or not - we wish them lots of success!
Till Quack from Kooaba held a very interesting presentation on the history and future of visual search and presented two tools in more detail: Paperboy and ShootingStar. These help you explore, share and remember things you see by recognizing your snapshots.Last but not least Mark Melnykowycz presented his art work: in his group "Web Portraits Zurich" he creates cool images and portraits of the people involved in the web and startup scene around Zurich and Switzerland. Here some impressions! Join the group if you want to be one of the next models!
Last night saw another installment of the Marketing Chuchi meetup, the first one actually that involved some rudimentary form of cooking (aka heating up deep frozen, but yummy, stuff in the oven). Wuala hosted the event and Tao Tao of GetYourGuide.com presented their Marketing strategy.
GetYourGuide is, in a nutshell, a market place for event providers in touristic destinations. The traveller can, after she has decided upon the means of travel and accommodation, book something to do on GetYourGuide. We got the impression that the team is well set-up and that this is a company very likely to succeed, if they manage to become a big player in their niche as quickly as possible.
As far as their tactics are concerned, they seem to apply a very down-to-earth mixture of Marketing & Sales. The advantage of GetYourGuide is that there aren't that many players in their field yet, that the biggest competitor seems to be a bit slow-moving (our impressions, not Tao's words!) and that they have a clear revenue model.
If you are working in Marketing and live in Switzerland's Zurich area, feel free to join the Marketing Chuchi group!
Wow, this Re:Publica (my first one, to be honest) flies by faster than a volcanic cloud! The last three days were quite packed with input, meeting people and exchanging ideas. Unfortunately Internet connectivity has not always been our best friend, but this is one of only few downsides of the conference.
The subtitle of this year's Re:Publica is "nowhere" (which turned out to be funnily true, but more of that later), which obviously consists of the words now and here. Real-time, of course, is a big buzzword, but also, nowhere can read as a hat tip to the other buzz of the hour, cloud computing. Pretty meta, all that.
Wednesday's highlights included a very well presented train of thought by Austrian publicist Peter Glaser about our online lives and the ever-so energetic, inspiring (if not always agreeable) and funny Jeff Jarvis, who talked about penises, saunas and prostate cancer.
The day was rounded of by a great talk by American Melissa Gira Grant on Sex and the Internet and what society, sexuality and gender issues are dealt with on the Web. Towards the end of the talk in front of some 300 listeners she suggested to go to Chatroulette, since she, so she said, had never checked it out before. If you have heard of Chatroulette, you might know what she (and all of us, for that matter) were in for. I'll leave it at that, but let me assure you that it was hilariously funny.
Yesterday saw me in some panels on Online journalism, Community Management and Sexism on The Internet, with a nice one-hour rant about "Things we hate on the Internet" by some fellow bloggers. Today it's more Social Action and consumer technology. Overall, the range of panels seems pretty wide and well-balanced, from serious to controversial to simply quite funny issues. With a conference this big (about 2,500 Websters from the German-speaking countries are attending), of course there are brilliant and not-so-brilliant sessions, but in general the quality seems to be sufficiently satisfactory.
Plus, there's tons of interesting people to meet and old acquaintances to catch up with. I'd say: Well played, dear organizers! (And it has to be said again: Johnny from Spreeblick is the best dressed man at the conference!)
Based on his crunching and mapping the team could divide the web's heavy users into two surprisingly homogenous groups, each showing an opposing set of values: 1) the digital residents who love the social web and know it's important and 2) the digital visitors who don't love the Social Web, but use it because they know it's important. Let me not waste your time - enjoy his (German) slides and presentation...
About 160 people met at Sihlcity's "Papiersaal" in Zurich yesterday to learn more about the soon to be introduced SuisseID. Among them Amazee's Michi and my humble self, who are always curious when there is innovation ahead.
It's really a big innovation, Christian Weber and Urs Bürge, who are the general and technical project leaders, presented: SuisseID will be the first standardized electronic proof of identity in Switzerland.
Three main functions will be provided by SuisseID:
- Electronic proof of identity (Eg: Yes, the guy who wants to buy my car is really the guy he pretends to be)
- Qualified electronic signature (Eg: Yes, the contract he sent to me via email has really been written by him)
- Electronic proof of function (Eg: Yes, the guy who wants to buy my car is really entitled by his boss to buy cars for the company he works for)
As Urs Bürge emphasized, they'll focus mainly on Business to Business cases when they start their service on May 3 and don't expect many private users yet. But as soon as more platforms will introduce and accept SuisseID authentication (easy integration for the most used frameworks will be a crucial premise!) and the costs for the end user will drop significantly, I see quite a big potential for the private user as well. Just think about, for example, auctioning platforms such as ebay, e-voting and e-participation, or, as it was suggested at the event by an attendee, the submission of your tax computation ...
Find more information in German here, discuss about the concept in the project on Amazee, or, if you are a techie and plan to introduce SuisseID for your platform, download the specs in English (direct pdf link).
Thanks to SIMSA, the Swiss Interactive Media and Software Association, for hosting this very inspiring event!
The fourth installment of the Re:Publica Web conference will start tomorrow morning in Berlin, Germany. Since we are avid conference-goers, this one of course is not one to miss! So, if you are also attending Re:Publica, make sure you say Hi to either Dania, Greg or me if you happen to bump into us (check out our mugshots right here for later identification).
Both Dania & Greg are already in town as I am writing this and are probably hanging out at the St. Oberholz like good websters do, I will take the night-train to my old homebase. We are looking forward to three days of exciting talks and discussions, and of course to meeting you! If you'd like to get in contact, just leave a comment below or tweet us up at @amazee, @gregster, @daniagerhardt and @mmmatze.
Our friends from the Startup Weekend Association are organizing a Startup Weekend in Zurich, which will take place from 14th to 16th May. It aims to bring together 100 students and support these in developing a business model out of an idea. The event will be held in German - see the flyer below or the website StartupWeekend with infos on the event. Have fun!
Today the third Social-Media-Gipfel (Social Media Summit) went down in Zurich. It is a remarkable meetup for two reasons, mostly: It starts eeeeeearly in the morning, at 7:30 a.m. (last time a presenter assumed it could only be at 7:30 p.m. and therefore missed the event), and at the same time it is booked out every time within hours.
The reason for this is of course that it is good! The organizers, Marcel Bernet and Peter Hogenkamp regularly manage to attract interesting presenters. Today it was Matthias Lüfkens, Social Media architect (!) for the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Till Quack, CTO for Kooaba, who do business in Augmented Reality.
To be honest, Matthias did not present much that would be totally new to the Social Media savvy crowd, but everybody took one important learning from his session: The WEF is using Online Social Media to engage in conversations about the Forum and the issues it deals with.
Of course the WEF is an institution often criticized for its actions by the opponents of Globalization, but it seems Matthias and his team hardly have to deal with such criticism in the online environment – they are simply not there, he says.
I had the chance to speak with him afterwards (I was playing devil's advocate by suggesting that he doesn't really answer to critical comments, and he approached me – so much for taking Social Media seriously, kudos for that!), and it seems to me that this head-on approach is probably the best strategy for an institution like the WEF: If you are likely to be scrutinized and in the center of public attention anyway, engage in open communication and thus take control of the conversation. It will be interesting to see how far the WEF will go with this, or how far the WEF will be driven, respectively.
In the second half of the morning, Till Quack gave a short introduction into Augmented Reality afterwards. For those who don't know: Very basically, it is an enhancement of your environment using digital mobile devices which work with special programs (correct me, if I'm wrong!). Like Kooaba's iPhone application Paperboy, for example.
With this handy app you can take snapshots of articles you read in a paper or magazine and it will find the digital version for you to keep and share. Currently, Kooaba is cooperating with Swiss newspaper 20Minuten, whose Hansi Voigt also spoke of the benefits of this collaboration.
There seemed to be a lot of interest in the crowd, but a lot of skepticism, also. Understandably, as Augemented Reality is still quite new and it has yet to be shown if there are convincing models for application and, as usual, monetization. But Kooaba seems to take steps into the right direction, they are definitely a Zurich startup to follow!
Once more our thanks go out to the organizers! The next Social-Media-Gipfel will take place on June, 2. If you want to make sure you don't miss a thing (especially the short signup period), you should follow the event on Twitter. Also, you can find pictures of this morning's installment on Michael's flickr page.
Last night I had the rather pleasant task of attending the kick-off meeting of the Hub Zurich group. The Hub started out as an idea in just a few minds, last night, however, showed that it is an idea well-received by the social entrepreneur scene of Zurich.
So, what exactly is the Hub? It is a network of co-working venues all over the World especially designed for so-called social entrepreneurs. To give you an idea who this could be, you might want to check out the ideas of some of the people who presented briefly last night, DooGoood.com and Aiducation.
What was especially appealing: This night was not only about having ideas presented, but to work on thoughts and ideas collaboratively. Basically, it was like Amazee, only in real life! If you are interested in becoming part of the Hub Zurich (or any other Hub, for that matter), check out Hub Zurich's Facebook fan page or the Hub website. Hub Zurich is opening in the late summer, we are very much looking forward to it!
Some of you might know it: We regularly go on team retreats to the beautiful town of Gstaad in the Bernese Oberland. Usually we spend the weekend together with various in- and outdoor activities (this time it was merely long strolls and a short swim) and afterwards work for two and a half days on the future of Amazee, reviewing and readjusting strategies and tactics.
Last year, I had written a few thoughts on the importance of such off-site events. This time we have a pretty tight schedule but we are confident that all important topics will be taken into account and we'll return from the mountain top with fresh ideas to further spur your happy collaboration. So, here's some impressions from us working hard and eating even harder (with me having turned quasi-vegetarian, this is a pretty much meat-free workshop).
Michael & Marco working away.
CEO Greg, clearly reflecting his position in the number of computers.
Marco, Dania, Lucas & Mathias discussing.
The well-earned dinner.
For more pictures, which will be uploaded over the next days, check out our flickr account!