Thanks & Happy Holidays: 2008 Wrap-Up

The end of the year is always a good time to sit down for a few minutes and think back: What happened over the year, what worked out well (and what didn’t), what was surprising, new, mind-blowing?

Short version: It was an awesome year, thanks all you guys.

The longer version below will be more interesting for me than you, probably. If you skip this post I won’t be disappointed. I promise ;)

Waving Cats in Kuala Lumpur Waving cats in Kuala Lumpur. Some reserved: CC (ny-nc-sa)

So what happened this year? According to Dopplr, I went on 28 trips in six countries. My path has crossed with many a cool folks’ paths which I enjoyed a lot. (Still do, of course.) My sister got married, and several friends had babies (congrats!). The start of 2008 also meant saying goodbye to the small webdesign agency I had been running with my long-term friend and partner in crime Thomas Lacher. We had a great time, but after almost ten years it was time for both of us to move on and focus on our other projects, and I’m curious when we’ll be working together again. I switched to Mac, which even after, dunno, 16 years or so on Windows turned out to be surprisingly hassle-free. Oh, my blog got a new design and a custom-made logo. (W00t!)

And I’ve worked on a lot of projects with clients and partners old and new:

With the Netzpiloten I’ve worked on, a German blog magazine. There, I started out as managing editor, then I moved on to project lead and could win Steffen Büffel to take over managing the authors, which has been a great ride. Expect news from Blogpiloten soon. Also with Netzpiloten, we’ve been working on a number of other projects, most of which aren’t public yet, but one we launched in record speed was a website for famous German comedian Thomas Hermanns: Für Immer Disco is his site about Disco Culture. I’ve been working with Netzpiloten for a couple of years by now and it’s always been a pleasure.

At UOC, a Barcelona/Spain-based university with a focus on knowledge society and virtual teaching, I was involved in a couple of projects, most notably a workshop on Web 2.0 in Education at the UNESCO Chair for E-Learning. Also, Max Senges, Thomas Praus and I have been writing an innovation newsletter for UOC (published here), which will really take off in 2009. Really digging my teeth into E-Learning was great – I also learned a lot, and the teaching community in this field is awesome.

For Golf- und Landclub Berlin-Wannsee, Germany’s top golf club, I’ve prepared a major website relaunch in cooperation with Panorama3000. The site isn’t online yet, but will be soon.

For London-based social media agency We Are Social I’ve helped out with the blogger outreach for Germany for Ford’s new Ka launch campaign. Germany is traditionally a hard market for those talking to bloggers. (Sometimes it seems to me that the German blogosphere is still in its infancy, and I wish German bloggers would look more strongly for input from outside Germany. We’ll see where it goes 2009.) With Hamburg-based Colt Communications we’ve been brewing up a fancy new project not to be announced yet. In cooperation with Panorama3000 I drafted a strategy for the European and federal online election campaigns for Jusos, the youth organization of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD.

Thanks to my friends and office mates at Panorama3000, it has been a great year with you guys!

2008 was the year of liveblogging. I was hired to live-blog at SinnerSchrader‘s next08 conference, T-Systems MMSDresden Open Space and Deutsche Welle‘s blog awards The BOBs.

Speaking of liveblogging: Event coverage from insiders for insiders is what we’ve also been doing with Together with the rest of the crew, we went to Web 2.0 Expo Berlin, LeWeb Paris and several Barcamps and reported back to those who couldn’t join in. What started out as a little tumblelog has been growing into a full-blown site and team. What’s really great here is that this is a 100% passion project with no commercial interests. It just works, and the feedback has been great. (Thanks to the rest of the crew, and also to TechWeb, O’Reilly and LeWeb for the invites and your feedback!) In 2009 we’ll ramp up our efforts even more. Expect some cool stuff there.

Berlinblase also got a fair bit of media coverage. The other time I appeared on a media outlet was about Likemind, a monthly kaffeeklatsch I also just learned about this year and that I’ve been enjoying a lot.

Speaking of fun side projects, a few friends and I have been printing and selling shirts, mostly for fun, on two sites. First, (engl: “no gift”) is where we sell the designs created by my friend and office mate, freelance illustrator Matthias Pflügner. Even simpler (and feel free to clone away) is the geeky goodness of the I Work For The Internets shirts inspired by my co-conspirator Michelle Thorne. Good fun!

So where does that leave me now? I realized that this whole freelancing thing works well for me, I love my job. And even better, it also worked out from a business point of view. This is of course a great relief. So freelancing it is. For 2009 a bunch of projects is already in the making, it looks like it’ll be an intense and really interesting year. I feel particularly lucky and privileged that I can say this despite the recent economic slow-down out there. Again, a big Thank You to all those mentioned above, and also to those I haven’t mentioned but who made my year (you know who you are).

Now it’s time for a few days off over the holidays. There’ll be plenty of good food and quality time to spend with friends and family.

If you’re wondering how to spread some love, consider joining me in donating to Even small donations go a long way there. What better gift to give than the initial budget for an entrepreneur in a poorer country who can then start a business that’ll help feed the family sustainably?

Happy holidays and a good start for 2009!

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