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!
This weekend "Amazee science" feat. Ana is in Berlin at the PolitCamp10. A two-day conference where politics meets the internet community. The schedule looked very promising including sessions around the topics of data security, politics and Web 2.0, e-participation, campaigning on the internet and more.
The event is taking place in a nice old industrial building right next to the Spree. Unfortunately the weather is quite awful… so no enjoying the sun outside. But I'm here for the sessions anyway!
Looking back at the sessions held on Saturday "Myth e-Participation?" attracted me the most. Matthias Trénel and Klas Roggenkamp approached the question whether e-participation is in fact happening already or not. A lot of interesting questions aroused during the session like: Who are the people participating on the existing e-participation platforms? Does e-participation really have an impact on politics? Should there be more direct democracy and can e-participation platforms encourage and inspire also citizens who normally would be abstinent from politics?
Of course the 45-minute session was much too short to answer all the questions in depth, but it has been a great inspiration and I think it’s absolutely worth investigating time to look at these kind of questions. We will do so, since with the Zurich based Politforelle there is the perfect event for this!
So long, Grüsse aus Berlin!
The Web Mondays in Zurich are really becoming a capacity test for startup offices: Last night about seventy Web worker, Upstarts and young entrepreneurs attended the 13th installment of Zurich's most important meetup for small Internet-related business. However, the masses were well accomodated by the still fairly new Wuala offices (thanks again for hosting!)
The presenters, Hyperweek of Geneva as well as iMusicianDigital and Oskope from Zurich, who also provided snacks and drinks, used their moment in the spotlight well to introduce their products. Raphaël Briner presented the Community solutions provider Hyperweek with a shot of extravaganza, while Shigs Amemiya of iMusicianDigital gave a brief, but enlightening overview over the history of digital music. Their service provides distribution of digital music files to many online stores for musicians. The presentations part was rounded of by a short introduction of the image search engine Oskope by Alain Leclerc.
Before and afterwards the really nice Wuala office was bustling with chitchat of the startuppers. It's been a good night once more to exchange and catch up with everybody. And with the attendee numbers being high as they are, it seems like the Web Monday is definitely here to stay. The next event will soon be set up, of course you will hear of it on Amazee.
Last Friday Amazee launched its second customized platform, Intergeneration.ch. The President of the Swiss National Council Pascale Bruderer Wyss is the patron of the new platform that aims to connect generations. Or in her own words:
"Wherever young and old meet, the enormous potential within our society is especially evident. It is wonderful that so many towns, organisations and even individual people have recognised this fact, and devote their time – mostly in a voluntary capacity – to this issue. As a result, there are many fascinating projects going on in Switzerland that encourage communication between the generations and provide all sorts of opportunities for exchanging ideas.
On this site you will be able to discover the inter-generation projects that are on offer in your area, and how you can get actively involved. But that’s not all; you will also be able to learn about projects all around the country, assess their value, exchange ideas about them with other people, make new acquaintances and launch new ideas together."
If you're interested, found out more on Intergeneration.ch!
On Friday we announced the platform at a press conference in the Bundeshaus in Berne. It was an interesting and a nice experience to sit on the podium with some great women! :)
Above you see Pascale Bruderer Wyss, President of the Swiss National Council and Annemarie Huber-Hotz, President of Schweizerische Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft, who is the owner of the new platform.
Here the entire podium...
... and here is Monika Blau, Project Responsible at Schweizerische Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft next to me.
Thanks a lot to everybody involved! We are very happy and proud that Amazee is part of this positive project platform for Switzerland. Thanks also to Sandro Huber for the pics!
As most of our blog readers will know, Amazee is working on a major redesign (startpage, dashboard, project setup). Yesterday night we presented the first prototype to our UX Chuchi colleagues. And if you've been at an UX Chuchi before, you'll know: the feedback round was toughly instructive and after three hours of sweatshop style scrutinization we had a bag full of condensed change requests. A big thank you to all collaborators - again I'm amazed how much value the UX Chuchi has brought to our product development - bit of a UX Gucci indeed (quotation Rupert). Find some pics over here
It's only lunchtime and we're already a bit excited! Tonight we're going to see another installment of the UX Chuchi and it's Amazee who's going to get grilled. We'll be presenting the draft of our new startpage, dashboard and a rough version of our new project setup process. Join us if you're in or round Zurich! More infos over here.
[pic by blyzz]