Education, Frivolous Friday, Little Known Fact, startup

A Blast from the past – An internal memo from my last startup

After pitching Steve Blank at SxSW 2012, co-founder Kit left, Arne right

After pitching Steve Blank at SxSW 2012, co-founder Kit left, Arne right

This morning, I accidentally stumbled on an internal memo from me to my co-founders and advisors from my last all-in startup venture, getGauss.com, from almost exactly four years ago.

“Gauss – The People Magnet” was one of the very first social discovery apps for the iPhone. For the more technical inclined, it was also a freaky cool cloud backend to mine people’s interests and networks to combine new insights with proximity and context. It took us through a roller coaster ride, from the front pages of The New York Times, CNN and TechCrunch to almost personal bankruptcy in the course of about two and a half years.

In the name of radical transparency, I thought I’d share it without comment with the public. I’ll let it be a testament – for good or for worse – of my startup CEO communications skills. I’ll let you be the judge. Anyways, it’s an interesting time capsule from a startup in the midst of the exploratory phase. At this point, we were three months in and already had an MVP and  constantly experimenting with new features and learning what users were doing and wanted to be doing and all the while trying to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Foursquare API changes that where rampant back then.

Here it goes:

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entrepreneurship, Failure, Lessons Learned, Little Known Fact

Where do we go from here? A message in a bottle.

This is a message to my future self. I’ve set this post to automatically publish one year from now in the hope it will find us both in better times.

Hello world,

I’m not doing so well.

Today is June 19th 2013 and I’m sitting poolside in a fancy neighborhood in Atherton, Silicon Valley. It’s 7am and I’m about to pedal down to Stanford University for another day of lectures with Steve Blank and Jerry Engel.

I should be happy. And in some ways I am.

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This is where I’m staying: The Blackbox Mansion in Atherton, Silicon Valley. I’m writing this from the table center left.

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entrepreneurship, Little Known Fact, startup

On Startup Weekend NEXT Cologne

Startup Weekend NEXT is an intensive three week educational program to help more startups survive by having the startup teams getting out of the building and into the real world applying the knowledge we now have about what makes startups succeed or fail.

There are two personal stories behind my involvement in Startup Weekend NEXT Cologne that I want to take a moment to share.

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Continue to the two stories

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Lessons Learned, Little Known Fact, News

The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Repentance and Apologies

It’s no secret that I’ve been out of the online and offline loop for over three months.

I’ll eventually tell you why, but the theories and rumors surrounding the absence are probably more interesting and entertaining than the actual truth.

No, I was not hired for the Obama Campaign. I did not help establish the future political platform 2.0 to turn America around. Barack should still feel free to call, though.

No, I did not lose it all in the great Crunch. Credit Crunch or Tech Crunch 50, I never get invited. I don’t discriminate.

No, Pownce did not hire me. That fail train already left for euthanasia station without me.

The actual factual truth is that I was busy keeping a company afloat, thinking forward and expanding at a time where time and resources were getting record scarce, saving and securing workplaces and business for the future.

It paid off, though. We’re solid. Golden. Sorted. Awsun, akshully.

However, I’ll drink that glass of champagne with you later.

It’s hard to be enthusiastic left with a head stuck through several brick walls, wondering what the hell life is all about, desperately in need of a timeout.

I do honestly and sincerely apologize to anyone who tried to mail or call me in the last months. I feel like human manure. I’m finally getting around to you. I am so sorry that I did not tend to you earlier.

I am getting back to you. You mean a lot to me. No, seriously. You do. Hold on to that little speck of trust that you may still have in me.

If anything, I’m proof positive that information do indeed flow back out of black holes.

Update: I’ve posted some of the lessons I learned from the experience.

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3D, Hardware, Little Known Fact, News, Software, video

NewTek at the IBC 2008

Some of you may know NewTek from the good old Amiga days, the golden era of the VideoToaster and LightWave 3D. I certainly do. I’ve been a fan and user of LightWave 3D over the years.

So, it was with a certain nostalgic fervor I made it over to the NewTek stand at the IBC 2008. It turned out that I was in for a surprise. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that none other than the legendary Kiki Stockhammer is back at NewTek. Have a look for yourself in the video and picture below.

For those of you who might not know, Kiki at one point used to be the figure head of NewTek of sorts.

I lost Kiki off the radar way back when she left NewTek for Play Inc. in the mid to late 90s and was marketing a product called Trinity, a competitor of sorts to the VideoToaster of the time. Now as luck or faith will have it, it looks like Kiki Stockhammer is back with NewTek helping marketing a product named TriCaster – a product not at all unlike the Play Inc. / Trinity – if memory serves me correctly. I’d love to know for a fact if there’s an actual lineage or connection there.

In further cool trivia, Kiki Stockhammer appears to have a star trek sci-fi post punk band called Warp 11. I’d love to check them out if they should ever happen to play gigs in Europe!

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