Foo Camp


My first Foo Camp is over. Feels like a bit of a graduation thing, a rite of passage almost. Or maybe I’m just tired. Anyway, what an amazing crowd and atmosphere. The O’Reilly team really manages to pull off this event with some of the smartest people around while somehow establishing and nurturing a culture where there’s no ego to get in the way. At all. It’s all humble, curious, fun. And so conversations go from geeking out to letterpresses to neurophysics to apps to whisky and back in the space of five minutes, and it feels all natural. (At one point, we discussed in detail the end of the world, or at least the nation state, as you do.) One thing that stood out for me was the constant feeling that everyone in the room was way smarter than I; The other, that everybody else behaves like they feel the exact same way.

And so in between sessions and all the hallway conversations, there were all kinds of games and activities, like helicopter jousting, soldering red robot buttons, 3D scanning faces and the like. No chance of getting bored, or much sleep for that matter. And that’s well as it should be.

Most important, for me personally, is the feeling that I went in knowing a handful, maybe a dozen of participants, and left knowing a whole new bunch of super smart people to do cool stuff with at some point down the road. Building connections & cross-pollinating, this is what successful conferences are all about as far as I’m concerned. And if that can be done in a relaxed, familiar atmosphere, it’s all the better. Kudos for creating that atmosphere, where despite the high-profile audience no ego got in the way of things, and the participants were just themselves. It’s not easy to pull that off, and the O’Reilly team managed.

Congratulations, and thank you, Tim & Sara & Brady and all the others.

I’ll try to write up some my thoughts on some of the sessions that stood out for me over the next few days.

Thank you for a great TEDxKreuzberg



Last night TEDxKreuzberg was on, and I think it’s fair to say that it was quite a success. Sadly, my co-host Christoph was stuck in Zurich after his flight got cancelled. (Hans kindly stepped in as a moderator.)

Our four speakers, Darryl Feldman, Dmitry Paranyushkin, Ricard Gras and Michelle Thorne delivered fantastic presentations. And judging by the conversations and mingling going on during the break and after the event, the audience enjoyed themselves, too.

We’ll be putting up some photos and (hopefully) videos of the talks soon, too. Until then, feel free to talk to the speakers about their ideas – they’re all happy to share and discuss!

Thanks to the lovely Betahaus crew, who handled the on-the-grounds work despite some major last-minute changes, to my co-organizers Christoph Fahle, Igor Schwarzmann, Johannes and Hans Raffauf.

Photos by Igor Schwarzmann (CC by sa)

Save the date: TEDxKreuzberg, 9 Dec 2010



It’s official! There is going to be a second installment of TEDxKreuzberg. On 9 Dec (Thursday), 7-10pm, we will have a spectacular line-up of inspiring speakers at Betahaus Berlin.

Last year we had a fantastic time. I was really happy to hear that Christoph Fahle wanted to go into round two as well. So this time it’ll be a co-production of Betahaus and Third Wave Berlin.

For all the details please read the official announcement and follow the blog for updates as they come in.

Organizing TEDx Kreuzberg (10 Dec 2009)


TEDx Kreuzberg

I have an announcement to make that has me very excited indeed: We just got the go from the good folks over at TED to organize an independent TED event in Berlin. (Not familiar with TED? Check them out, you won’t regret it.) Our event will be called TEDx Kreuzberg and will be held at Betahaus, who are co-organizing the whole thing.

So please save the date:

Date: 10 December 2009 Time: 7pm / 19h Location: Betahaus, Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20, 10969 Berlin (show map)

For simplicity’s sake, let me quote from the event website that we’ve just begun building:

At 10 Dec (Thursday), Betahaus will open its doors to celebrate a night full of inspiring TED talks: Please join us for TEDx Kreuzberg! We will be providing more information over the next few days on the TEDx Kreuzberg website. Questions? The best way to reach us is via email: mail@tedxkreuzberg.org. More information on TED is available here or on the TED website.

So what’s the difference between TED and TEDx? Here’s the official explanation that explains things very well:

What is TED? TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa” and “a four-day journey into the future.” The diverse audience — CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists — is almost as extraordinary as the speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono. What is TEDx? (x=independently organized event) In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

We’re getting in touch with potential speakers now and are going to be sorting out the details for the event over the next few days. You can follow our progress on the official TEDx Kreuzberg twitter account @tedxkreuzberg.

We’ll start talking to a small number of sponsors. Sponsoring a TEDx is pretty special indeed as it is both a strong brand and a great, inspirational event. If you think you know the right company to be a decent sponsor for this kind of event, please let us know (mail@tedxkreuzberg.info). Thank you so much!

Last but not least: A big THANKS to Christoph and the rest of the Betahaus crew for co-organizing the event. This will be grand, and I can’t wait. Hope to see you there!