Two interviews: Likemind in NYTimes, Berlinblase on Trackback


Usually I don’t get interviewed often, but rather interviewing others, like for Berlinblase or Blogpiloten. So you can imagine I was pretty surprised to show up in two traditional media yesterday.

A brief, but fun email interview with the New York Times about likemind (which I had the chance to co-host recently – thanks Henrik!) got me a quote in the NYTimes Fashion & Style section, ranting about professional networking:

TO Erin Middleton, a 27-year-old brand strategist in Dallas, the word “networking” calls to mind “stodgy business types in suits,” who are “very uncomfortable and poor at engaging conversation,” she said in an e-mail message. Melissa Clark, an advertising account manager in Minneapolis, said there is “something smarmy” about the word. Peter Bihr, 28, a media consultant in Berlin, was even stronger in his denunciation. “ ‘Networking,’ as a word, makes me feel like I get a physical reaction, I hate the term so much,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “It sounds all like strategically talking to people and trying to be their friends. It’s not authentic.” So, what exactly, are these three doing at 8 a.m. on the third Friday of each month, meeting with other young professionals at their local coffeehouse? They are participating in likemind, a monthly kaffeeklatsch for creative professionals, held in 55 cities around the world, including Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Malmo, Sweden.

The article is a fun read: That Business Card Won’t Fly Here.

Then, Saturday evening I was invited over to Potsdam for an interview with Radio Trackback to chat with Marcus Richter about Web 2.0 Expo, Barcamp and, most of all, our collaborative content mashup Berlinblase. This was, I think, my first radio interview, and I loved the atmosphere in and around the studio. There’s not much going on at the station’s grounds, so it’s very calm and quiet, and everybody was quite easy-going. Anyway, you can listen to the interview here (roughly seven minutes from 5:40 to 12:20).

Also, here’s a pic I took while we got ready (more here):

Radio Trackback interview about Berlinblase

(Thanks, Marcus!)

Who Owns Our Shit? User-Generated Content and Online Collaborations


Mixtape by Flickr user bkingSorry about the very direct title. Let me explain what got us there: At Barcamp Berlin earlier today, there were plenty of great session. As Johannes Kleske pointed out recently, Sundays tend to be the more interesting Barcamp days: At that point everybody had time to catch up with each other, and the first-timers feel more comfortable with giving a session by then. (Watch coverage from the Barcamp on Berlinblase.)

Together with Clemens Lerche, I did a session about ownership of user-generated (or collaboratively produced) content. Title: “User-generated content and collaborative efforts: Who owns our shit?” We didn’t give any kind of presentation and instead focused on moderating a discussion about the chances, risks and implications of producing content on the web and putting it on web services. Think videos on YouTube, bookmarks on del.icio.us, messages on Twitter and the like. Also, think facts or additions on Wikipedia, or involvement like in Alternate Reality Games (like the ones Amos of vm-people talked about in his session before).

What we tried to go for is a rough guideline, telling companies what is legitimate and what isn’t, regarding the content the users produce. So far, it’s sadly fairly common for companies to wrap very one-sided deals into their end user license agreements (like the rights to distribute and sell users’ videos); users, on the other hand, tend to click the “accept” button without reading the agreements because these licenses are usually very long legalese texts.

In the end, we did get to three key findings – not only for the companies but also us users:

First, transparency. Companies, give us a simple, brief summary of what your plans are for our content. Just like Creative Commons deeds, developing a set of icons for certain policies or ideas, or even a simple executive summary could work wonders here. How can we trust you if you don’t play with open cards?

Second, quality sites should be rewarded. Sites that encourage sharing content more openly (for example through setting the licensing default to Creative Commons), services that encourage and support open formats, and companies that are transparent both in their user agreements and their plans for the future (including what would happen if the service ceased to exist).

But third, and thanks a lot to Ian Forrester of the BBC for stressing this point, users need to get better about their part of the deal, too: We need to read these agreements, make sure we understand them, and base our judgment on them too. If we see a service that has an unfair user agreement, make sure not to use it. What’s more, as the digerati we are we have the obligation to share our educated judgment with our less techy friends so they can make their educated decisions, too.

Photo by Flickr user bking released under Creative Commons (by-nc-nd).

Barcamp Berlin 3 (day 1)


Live from Barcamp Berlin 3, I just set up base in the T-Systems Berlin HQ. (Thanks to T-Systems and the other sponsors.) I’ll be blogging both here and on Berlinblase, twittering (follow me on twitter), and shooting some video (which might show up here, on Berlinblase or on Blogpiloten.de).

My first impression? It all looks very professional, and extremely well organized. Thanks to the orga team for the great job! Even wireless seems to be holding up and there’s plenty of power and LAN outlets.

By the way, if you haven’t got a ticket for Web2Expo Europe, we have a ticket to auction off through Berlinblase, find the details here.

If you can’t be here today but you’d like to follow what’s going on, there’s also a Hobnox live stream (here’s the session schedule).

Berlinblase summarized in one Moo card


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Berlinblase is back. But as of now, we have a Moo card that says it all:

berlinblase.de. live, raw and uncut by Flickr user dotdean Image by dotdean, licensed under Creative Commons (by-nc)

Not enough info? There’s (a bit… work in progress…) more on Berlinblase > About, as well as a brief intro to the crew.

October is web season in Berlin (come & play!)


Just as last year, this October Berlin will be home to a whole bunch of great web events. Most notably, O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Expo will be in town, and no doubt will attract all the movers and shakers of the Web 2.0 world. Last year it was a blast. (One of the fun things: Asking Tim O’Reilly how he’d tell his mom what Web 2.0 is, a video that also was featured on the expo frontpage for quite a while. Here’s how.)

Also, BarCampBerlin goes into its third round. If you haven’t been to a BarCamp, put your name on the waiting list right away, I promise you won’t regret it. Where Web 2.0 Expo is all business, BarCamp is all about community. It’s just so much more intimate.

The awesome folks of Pl0gbar will organize another Pl0gbar (19 Oct), I already reserved the whole upper floor of Sankt Oberholz, Berlin geek crowd’s favorite coffee shop. Just follow the glow of the white Macbooks.

Of course, there’s more, like the Facebook Developer Garage, EduCamp (organized by Steffen Büffel), Girl Geek Dinner (organized by Nicole Simon) and, last but not least, a TechCrunch Meetup (from what Mike Butcher told me, Thursday the 23rd is the most likely date).

A good overview of the activities can be found on BerlinWebWeek.de. (Hey, they even have the fancy cover flow thing going on!)

my moo cardI’d love to meet up if you’re in town, make sure to say hi! Also, feel free to connect on any of these channels:


On a side note, a few friends and I will kick off a little side project I cannot talk too much about just yet. Just two hints: Remember (ironically-named = “Berlin Bubble”) Berlinblase, a spontaneous mashup of all things web 2.0 to cover the expo? (Links: Tumblog, video, Twitter.) Well, let’s just say we’ll try to push that a little further, plus are gathering a fun little geek team to rock SXSW as well. (Sponsor applications will be accepted soon.) Stay tuned.

Update: Got no Web 2.0 Expo Europe conference passes yet? As part of a blogger outreach program, Cordobo/Andreas has a registration code that’ll give you a 35% discount.

Berlin Web Buzz This Fall: Web2Expo & BarCampBerlin 3


This fall, Berlin will be buzzing with web stuff once more: O’Reilly’s Web2Expo will be in town, and it’ll be surrounded by a lot of smaller events. Most notably the way-more-intimate BarCamp Berlin in its third installment, aka #BCB3. Last year, this meant a week or so full of web events as the Twitterati flocked to town. For me, it was Nerdvana.

I had a great time at Web2Expo and Barcamp Berlin last fall, geeking out and doing video interviews with both speakers and attendees. My personal favorite? I asked Tim O’Reilly how he’d tell his mom what Web 2.0 is. Here‘s what he* said:

(*Yes, I realize the movie start screen doesn’t show Tim O’Reilly himself.)

If you get a chance, make sure to say hi. To coordinate, why not just connect through the BarCampBerlin Mixxt Network or on Twitter? Also, Web2Expo will surely put up their own conference social network Crowdvine again, but it doesn’t seem to be up yet.

And, just because it rocks, here’s the BarCampBerlin logo, designed by Kosmar:

BarCampBerlin3, Logo designed by Kosmar (kosmar.de)

It’s still early, but if you like to follow the process, BCB Soup and bcberlin3 on Twitter are a good way to go.