Likemind Berlin: 4 Dec 2009


likemind berlinPhew. It seems to be the day of organizing events. Besides TEDxKreuzberg (see my blog post), it’s also time for a brief update on Likemind Berlin (Facebook page).

The next Likemind will be off schedule. Instead of the regular third Friday of the month, the November and December installment of Likemind will (globally) be merged into a single event on Friday, 4 Dec. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I think it won’t be too much trouble for anyone, eh?

On the other hand we’ll be working with the good folks of Transmediale for the next two Likeminds (that’s December and January). As I’m sure you know, Transmediale is a very special art festival in Berlin that has been dealing with new media art since that term was really edgy. No, that sounds wrong – what I’m trying to say is: Transmediale has always been on the cutting edge of media art, and has an international reputation that drives people from all over the world to Berlin every time. It’s really that good.

I sat down with Clemens Lerche of Transmediale earlier today and afterwards he gave me a brief interview in which he gives us a glimpse at what to expect at Transmediale 2010. The theme of the festival is Futurity Now, and it’s about nothing less than shaping the future (the video is in German):

Interview: Clemens Lerche / Transmediale 2010 from thewavingcat on Vimeo.

Hope to see you at Likemind!

Likemind Berlin featured on taz.de


Likemind Kicking off Likemind Berlin at St Oberholz. Left: David Noël (featured in the taz.de article), right: Thomas Praus, Likemind Berlin co-organizer.

At the most recent Likemind Berlin, freelance journalist Johannes Gernert dropped in to talk to freelancers and startups about the state of affairs, what with the economic crisis and so forth. Today on taz.de his article is online and features Likemind prominently: Neustart in Zeiten der Krise (German original version) / Restarting In Times Of Crisis (English version via Google Translate).

An excerpt (first the original German version):

[Markus Pohl] passt damit an diesem Morgen ganz gut ins Café St. Oberholz, wo an jedem dritten Freitag eine Veranstaltung namens Likemind stattfindet. Die Internet-Kreativen aus Mitte treffen sich zum Kaffeetrinken. Es sind viele Freiberufler, Programmierer, Marketingmenschen, Strategieberater. Leute, die es sich leisten können, um 9.30 Uhr erst mal ein bisschen zu smalltalken, bevor sie mit der Arbeit anfangen. Likemind ist eine gute Gelegenheit, etwas darüber herauszufinden, wie die Krise Berlins IT-Mitte trifft. Als vor fast zehn Jahren die New-Economy-Blase geplatzt ist, hat es viele Start-ups in den Straßen, um den Rosenthaler Platz herum richtiggehend zerbröselt. Das war zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts. Im Jahre 2009 scheint das anders auszusehen. Zwischen 2006 und 2008 sind 128 Start-ups in Berlin gegründet worden. So viele wie in keiner anderen deutschen Stadt. Danach folgt München, mit 118 Gründungen, Platz drei belegt Frankfurt. Die “spektakulären Ausfälle”, bei denen vermeintlich viel versprechende Projekte insolvent gegangen sind, seien nicht in der Hauptstadt verzeichnet worden, sagt Alexander Hüsing, der als Betreiber des Portals deutsche-startups.de regelmäßig Statistiken herausgibt. Man hat gelernt. So richtig schlimm, sagen viele im Erdgeschoss des St. Oberholz, trifft es vor allem große Werbeagenturen, die für Autofirmen arbeiten oder für andere Großkonzerne. Die würden aber gar nicht so sehr in Berlin-Mitte sitzen, sondern eher in Düsseldorf. Die Start-up-Kultur dagegen, das beobachten auch viele, habe sich geändert. Dass es für eine gute Idee von einem Investor einfach mal ein paar Millionen Euro gibt, um zu sehen, was daraus wird, sei ohnehin längst nicht mehr der Fall. “Es wird weiterhin gegründet, wenn auch seit 2008 etwas weniger”, sagt Hüsing. “Dafür sind die Konzepte durchdachter.”

Google translation, slightly fixed by me:

[Markus Pohl] fits in well at this very good morning to the Café St. Oberholz, where every third Friday at an event called Likemind place. Internet creatives from Mitte meet up for coffee. The Internet creatives from mid meet for coffee drinking. There are lots of freelancers, programmers, marketing folks, strategy consultants. People who can afford to have smalltalk at 9.30 before they begin working. Likemind is a good opportunity to find out something about how the crisis in Berlin-Mitte meets IT. As nearly a decade before the New Economy bubble burst, many start-ups in the streets around Rosenthaler Platz downright crumbled. That was the beginning of the 21st Century. In the year 2009 it seems different. Between 2006 and 2008, 128 start-ups have been founded in Berlin. More than in any other German city. This is followed by Munich with 118 founded, Frankfurt comes in third. The “spectacular failures” in which supposedly promising projects have gone bankrupt, were not in the capital, says Alexander Hüsing, who as the operator of the portal German-startups.de regularly published statistics. People have learned. Many on the ground floor of the St. Oberholz say it is bad rather for large advertising agencies, who work for car companies, banks or other large corporations. But those aren’t so much in Berlin, but rather in Düsseldorf. The start-up culture on the other hand has changed. The idea that it might be good for an investor to just throw in a few million to see what will happen is no longer the case anyway. “Companies are still being founded, even if slightly less in 2008”, says Hüsing. “But the concepts are more though-out.”

Join us at a Likemind near you. They take place every third Friday of the month all around the world. The next one will be 21 August. In Berlin, we kick off at 9am at Cafe St Oberholz, Rosenthaler Platz.

Photo (Creative Commons) by Henrik Berggren, who founded Likemind Berlin

New York City Roadtrip (let’s meet up)


It’s the first morning of my New York stay, and boy, am I looking forward to the next four weeks. I packed my laptop (plus two cameras and a ton of chargers and cables) and will be working from here. Thanks to friends I’m staying in a great location right in SoHo (thanks, Parker!) and had an incredibly warm welcome here.


And of course on my mission to explore not just the city, but also the NYC geek scene, my schedule is filling up quickly. First up: Likemind NY, the original Likemind, where I’m looking forward to meeting founder Noah. (Thomas and I have been hosting Likemind Berlin lately.) Then there’s OpenEverything NYC. Then there’s OpenEverything NYC and a NYC Tech Meetup coming up. Also, there’s Coworking Brooklyn to check out. If you’re at either of those, make sure to say hi!

I’m getting away somewhat from my initial idea to crash at some companies’ offices for a few days at a time and am tending more towards setting up base at a coworking space, but I’m trying to take this as it comes.

Likemind: Friday, 9am


It’s the 3rd Friday of the month, and that means: It’s Likemind time! Over free coffee (donated by a gracious, yet-to-be-determined sponsor) we’ll have great conversations and meet interesting folks who work for the internets & in the creative field.

Ever since Henrik Berggren and the Soundcloud Crew kickstarted Likemind in Berlin a few months ago, it’s been a great occasion to have a really good start into your Friday. (Thanks, guys!) Henrik moved back to Sweden, so Thomas Praus and I are stepping in. We’ll be organizing Likemind Berlin from now on, and I’d love to see you at the next Likemind. Which happens to be this Friday, starting at 9:00 (in the morning, that is).

See you Friday!

What: Free coffee & great conversations Where: St Oberholz Where exactly? Here. When: Friday, 20 March 2009 Can I connect any other way? Yes, you can. Here’s our Facebook group.

ps. If you’d like to sponsor this round (it’s really not a major expense), please drop me a line (peter at thewavingcat.com). You won’t regret it.

Likemind Berlin Wrap-Up


Earlier today I had the pleasure of hosting Likemind Berlin along with Thomas Praus of my office neighbors Panorama3000. Great coffee and even better conversations – if you get a chance to go to your next local Likemind, make sure not to miss out. From my experience with the last Likeminds, the crowd is mostly a mix of web and music folks, and those working on the intersections of both. In other words: a real fun crowd, and always a great international mix.

This was the third installment of Likemind Berlin. As Henrik Berggren of SoundCloud told me, in Stockholm Likemind has been around for more than two years, and it has been quite a global phenomenon. So if you’re in a new place, check for Likemind every third Friday of the month.

Thanks a lot to Soundcloud for setting up everything!

Sidenote: Patrick Rathke, also of Panorama3000, was wearing a brand new I Work For The Internets shirt (which I’ve been printing through Spreadshirt in cooperation with M.T.), and boy did we get feedback on those. (Four people ordered them: Maybe we should have those thingies produced professionally?*) Good fun indeed!

Alex Ljung, also of Soundcloud, also kindly gave me a quick rundown of what Soundcloud does – after all, they went out of beta last week, I’ll post the video here in a little while, and their service seems to be a great tool for music professionals. (Apologies for the sound quality and the typo in Alex’s family name: It’s Ljung, of course, not Jung.)

What’s Soundcloud? from thewavingcat on Vimeo.

  • Just for clarification, my wording here was very awkward indeed. The shirts we’ve had printed through Spreadshirt were great so far. What I meant was: Maybe we should print them in bulk. Sorry if that caused confusion.

Music 2.0 Dinner in Berlin


Last Friday, I was very happy to get the chance to attend the first Berlin Music 2.0 dinner. (Thanks a lot to David of Hobnox for organizing it!) Over yummy pasta & wine a fun crowd of people discussed where online music is going (and how sad it is to see the RIAA shooting down another great service, Muxtape).

So who was there? At the table were Eric of Soundcloud (Soundcloud also sponsored the first Berlin Likemind recently), Anthony and Taylor of the HypeMachine, Thomas of P3000, and EJ, the head behind The Next Web. More folks and friends joined in later.

Three things connected all of us there: We love music; we work for the internets; and we share a passion for Berlin. Make sure to check out EJ’s post about why Berlin is one rocking start-up city. (Hint: Low rents are one point, but not the most important one.)

It was good fun, and showed me again that there’s so much going on in Berlin, we just need to meet up more often. So I’m looking forward to round two of both Likemind and the Music 2.0 dinner. If you’re in town, make sure to drop by.