Thanks & Happy Holidays: 2009 Wrap-Up


Happy Holidays!

It’s almost the end of the year, and that means it’s the time to take a minute to think back to what happened during the year, and remember the good stuff, so to speak.

As is always the nature with this kind of posts, it’s more interesting for the author than the readers, so like I said in last year’s post:

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 ;)

So, here’s my 2009. A year which I’m sure will always remember fondly. For me it was a year full of political campaigning, coworking and events galore.

Work-related, I had the chance to work with many new and old clients and partners, and it’s been great. Thank you all – I really feel privileged to be able to have the kind of live I have and get paid for doing stuff I love to do, and I’ve been having an awesome time working with you guys. Thanks, thanks and thanks!

One project I found particularly interesting, and I spent a good deal of time and energy on it: Together with Thomas Praus & Panorama3000 I helped Jusos (the youth organization of the Social Democratic Party, in short SPD) run their federal election campaign. It was, as far as I know, the first time that the Jusos ran their own campaign independently from the party. Even though the election results were disappointing in the end, we experienced a great community of politically engaged young adults and we all learned a tremendous deal.

What else? According to Dopplr, I went on 25 trips in six countries. One of them was to New York, where I spent the whole month of May, working from the great Brooklyn-based coworking space The Change You Want To See. (My friend Matthias, who designed the waving cat xmas motif above, also spent some time there.) The community at The Change inspired me so much that upon return to Berlin it didn’t take much convincing to be one of the first members of a new coworking space in the making in Berlin-Neukölln: When we were introduced to the location, it was a matter of weeks until Studio70 opened up.

At Studio70, a great crowd ranging from fashion designer to tinkerer to journalist and many more gathered, and it wasn’t long until it became clear that an event needed to be held to celebrate this mix. Atoms&Bits Festival was born, and within just a few months we pulled together the whole thing that in the end had reached out to some 30 locations in several cities. It was a lot of work, but also very rewarding to see all these different scenes and subcultures mix and mingle. Atoms&Bits culminated in a weekend of events the same day as the federal elections in Germany, so the weekend of the 26/27 September 2009 was kind of a big day for me. If I had a paper calendar, this weekend would have been circled in a thick, red circle. (But I don’t, and Google Calendar doesn’t do this kind of stuff, so it became just another weekend ;)

Right after Atoms&Bits and the elections, it was time for a little break, so off to a vacation I went. Luckily, a good friend and former housemate from my university time in Sydney happened to get married just then and I had the honor to be one of the brothers/best men, and even more luckily he lives in Singapore, so the destination of the trip was easily decided. After a blast of a time there and seeing many faces I hadn’t seen in years, I came back to Berlin, just in time to receive a notice from the TED crew, informing me that our request to run a TEDx event was approved. So we putTEDxKreuzberg on the map, to be held at, and more importantly with, Betahaus. Again, great fun, and we’re still processing all the things we heard and saw there. (And the videos, too.) And just like last year, we had a monthly Likemind kaffee klatsch at good ol’ St Oberholz. Thomas and I have been having a great time with this and we’ve both met so many cool folks, we’ll definitively going on doing this, so make sure to drop by (3rd Friday of the month, 9am).

To finish the year off, the most recent turn of events led me to Strasbourg, France, where I’ve been spending the last couple weeks (and until some point in January 2010) at Arte, a German-French public TV station, doing some behind-the-scenes concept work.

So that was my 2009. Definitively not bad. And since 2010 always has been the start of the future, we’re bound to see another cool year in just about a week. Hope to see you there.

Image: The lovely xmas motif was done for me by Matthias Pflügner. (Thanks!)

Life updates: Domains still moving, SPD / Juso election campaign, Internet Bill of Rights


Domain Name ScrabbleJust a brief update on what has been going on here. First up: The move to my new hosting service provider Mediatemple is still going. Mostly this is due to the amount of domains that I had registered on my old account. My old partner in crime Thomas Lacher and I have had this old server for about ten years. And just like a good basement, a server is something that kind of fills up organically. It was time to clean up and throw out a lot of stuff. And once you start digging, you find things that you hadn’t thought abot for a long time but that are valuable or dear in some way nonetheless. This, and the coordination required for transferring domains to several people and domain hosters is taking somewhat longer than I had hoped, but it’s all coming together. Still, this feels like playing domain name scrabble, and this site might be down for a little while if something goes wrong. No worries, we’ll fix it as quickly as possible. There’s plenty of other ways to get in touch. You’ll find one, I’m sure.

Second, great news. In Germany 2009 is called “Superwahljahr”, a super election year. There will a European election, federal election as well as a whole bunch of state and regional elections. (A German list of the elections can be found here.) I’m excited to be part of all this as a strategic consultant to the youth campaigning team of the SPD, the Jusos. I’ll be working directly with Panorama3000, who I’ve been working with a lot lately and who I also share office space with. Since this is a paid gig I want to be completely open about this up front. Also, over the course of the year it will always be an issue of mixing my blog and other personal online accounts with the campaigning activities. This is something that I’ll have to re-consider regularly. From today’s point of view I’ll try to stick to a simple rule of thumb that has always served me very well: Full disclosure at all points. Simple as that. If I find something really cool I’ll talk about it; if I find something particularly bad I’ll talk about it. Mostly I’ll try not to make a big deal out of it, and I’ll always play with open cards on what’s going on and why I’m writing what I’m writing. (Feedback on this? Please share.)

Third, more good news. Max Senges (who I’ve also been friends with for a long time and have worked with quite a bit) has been very active in the Internet Bill of Rights coalition (IBR) and has invited me to join in and help out. The mission of the IBR is incredibly important – roughly speaking, the goal is to write down rights and duties of users (or rather: citizens online). Think United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the digital world. I’ll try to organize the blog and all related activities. (Thanks for the invitation, Max!) This is an open coalition. If digital rights and ethics are something you truly care for, please consider joining this effort. Drop me a line and I’ll hook you up with the folks who know much more about the details than I do at this point.

Image: Domain Name Scrabble by polaroidmemories