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 Blogpiloten.de, 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 Berlinblase.de. 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, keingeschenk.de (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 Kiva.org. 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!

ePolitics: What’s happening right now?


I’d like to give an overview over the whole ePolitics space, from online campaigning to e-participation. Of course, that’s hardly possible, so I’m not even going to try. (If you have such an overview, please share in the comments!) Instead, I’ll just point out some things, projects & news that have struck me as interesting lately.

Pew Internet: The Internet and the 2008 Election The Pew Internet & American Life Project has published a new report on The Internet and the 2008 Election (PDF here) which shows that video is gaining traction, and that Americans gather a fair amount of politics-related information online:

A record-breaking 46% of Americans have used the internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views and mobilize others. And Barack Obama’s backers have an edge in the online political environment.

In other words: The web is getting more important for political campaigns. Expect more to see during the U.S. elections. Personally, I’m interested in seeing the development from here to the next German federal elections in 2009.

Google: Public Policy Talks Google, too, is getting more and more into politics and how they’re changed by the internet. On their Public Policy Blog and in a corresponding series of talks (YouTube channel) they discuss the first 21st century campaign.

Transparency tools online A whole bunch of tools and web projects aimed at increasing transparency and fostering online dialog is being developed as I’m typing this. Ameritocracy (my review here) is one of them that has already launched, it’s a platform for collaborative fact-checking. Zilino is still in the making (launch probably this summer), but judging from what maker Tim has been telling me, it’s going to be pretty awesome. Zilino is on twitter and of course there’s a blog, too. Same goes for the Partnership for Public Participation (PfPP), that will develop a toolkit for e-participation. Simon has updates on the project’s progress and e-participation in general. (Full disclosure: Simon and I share an office.)

Mashups and other fun projects Different players, different approaches: A YouTube channel covers the role of Social Media and the 2008 US Presidential Election, a Google Maps mashup visualizes the 2008 US Primary Results. All the big players have their extra U.S. election pages, like Pageflakes, YouTube’s YouChoose 08 or Digg’s Digg The Candidates. SexyPolitics is proof that politics can be smart, yet sexy.

What else should be on this list? Please share, I’m curious!

Upcoming: Valley Trip. Wanna meet up?


Most of you live in the States – that’s what my blog stats say, and that’s my experience from talking to you, too. Also, with quite a few of you I’ve emailed, chatted, or talked during the last couple of years. (I just realized: This blog is turning two years old just about these days.) It’s always good (and great fun) to get to learn the faces behind those blogs and screen names.

So, to cut a long story short: Starting 18 March, I’ll be on a trip to the Valley region. I’ll be staying in Palo Alto with a Stanford friend, but trips around the Valley are (yet to be) planned. (Exact dates, see the Dopplr badge below.) Wanna meet up? Drop me a line: peter@thewavingcat.com.

Also, which events are you going to that I definitively shouldn’t miss? I’m looking for all things along the line of Social Media Breakfasts, Twitter Meet-Ups, or great concerts. Again, please drop me a line to peter@thewavingcat.com. Thanks!

Looking forward to putting more faces to all those names.

ps. Connect via Twitter for easy coordination: http://twitter.com/thewavingcat

re:publica 08: Program online, ticket sales are on


As Markus pointed out, the (drafted) program for re:publica 08 is online and tickets are for sale as of now. This year the conference is subtitled “critical mass”, referring to the exponential growth of successful web services.

If you’re not familiar with re:publica, it’s a Web 2.0 conference in Berlin. Last year the conference was a huge success and a great opportunity for the community to get to know each other. National news Tagesschau called it “biggest German blogger convention”. This will be re:publica’s second installment.

(Most of the website is in German, but there’s basic info in English, too. Don’t worry about the event itself, there’s going to be a fairly international crowd.)

If you’re in Berlin between 2-4 April 2008, make sure to drop by and say hi.