Thank you, New York.


coney island

New York, you’ve been very kind to us. Again.

It’s great to just dive into the flow of the layers that make this city what it is. In my particular case, on this particular trip, those were the layers to do with the web & urbanism. But it’s not about the events, it’s about the people you meet.

So a big thank you to all of you who made our stay so excellent: Noel, the Roadify & Don’t Eat At & Sportaneous and the other #BigApps teams for the great #OpenNY meetup. Adam & the Urbanscale crew for the hospitality and Urbanscale Friday. Claire for the lovely conversations. Bob & Chris for inviting us over and showing us the Dumbo watering holes. Sam & Mike of Undercurrent for great discussions & a fantastic view. To the lovely baristas at Stumptown, Ninth Street, Gimme, Cupp, Housing Works and Virb for well-needed caffein shots. And of course to Igor for being a great travel partner. And all the others, you know who you are. If any of you plan trips to Berlin, let me know!

Thank you, New York. And see you soon.

Image: coney island / the waving cat / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dispatch from the road [NYC]


Dumbo, park, sun.

Hardly a month ago I sent a dispatch from this same city. This fact alone is kind of odd, but exhilarating.

More mind boggling for me, personally, is the fact that this time it’s all about work. My company Third Wave has the first US client, a startup in stealth mode, where we’ve been diving deeply into early stage product development. This is super interesting in and of itself, and also on a meta level, as all three of us are really into working in an international context. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Berlin (I’m still deeply in love with the city), but there’s so much cool stuff happening around the globe that can inspire and inform us on many levels that we all are actively looking for good, work-related excuses to spend time in other cities. And New York has always been high up on my wish list.

So here we are, hacking away after a couple days packed with brainstormings, mockups, discussions, click paths, and general brainpicking. I love it.

Also, we happened to get into town just in time to catch Fridays at 7, the weekly Urbanscale meetup at Temple Bar. If you are interested in urban computing and the politics of technology, or would just like to meet a whole bunch of smart folks in a relaxed atmosphere, I strongly suggest you get in touch with Adam and check it out.

All that said, there’s more stuff on the horizon that we’re plotting. More on that once we’re back and had some time to process. See you after Friday in Berlin, or if you’d like to meet up before in NYC, ping me. I’m in town till Thursday morning.

Image: Dumbo, park, sun. / the waving cat / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dispatch from the road: NYC


NYC grit

As I’m sitting here in our temporary HQ, a lovely little apartment in the East Village, and it’s pouring down like there is no tomorrow, my mind is buzzing. It’s been a few quite intense weeks, and no end in sight. For weeks, my mental horizon (planning-wise) was Cognitive Cities (CoCities). Naively, I thought things might slow down a little after that. Of course this turned out to be complete nonsense, and instead the followup and our current trip to NYC and Austin for SXSW is just as intense, in a very different way. Exactly one year ago, Igor and I were on basically the same trip – first NYC, then Austin – but over the course of this one year, everything changed. Igor was here for his former employer, I was here as a freelancer. It was here that we first thought that working together might be a great opportunity, and from here that we first started the conversation between Igor, Johannes and myself that eventually (and rather quickly really) led to our starting a company together. And here we are, one year later and just about five months into this new adventure, a week after putting together a conference that hit quite a nerve, or so it seems, judging by the feedback we’ve been getting from the participants and speakers. (Maybe everybody’s just being very polite – but I certainly hope everybody truly enjoyed themselves and took away something for themselves.) Of course our secret agenda for coming to New York is to get some decent beans (Ninth Street ftw!). But in between, we also do a bit of work (hard to believe, huh?) and have the pleasure of meeting some fantastic people. So the last 24 hours already brought us a barcamp (Transportation Camp) and a number of great conversations – many of which bring us back to CoCities, and what we’re planning next. And that’s a kind of a big question, right? There are so many options: same event next year/bigger event/same event but different topic/smaller events/going more commercial/going less commercial (hah!)/going somewhere else/etc etc etc. Personally, I feel more concrete ideas emerging, but overall we haven’t really even had the chance to talk this over with the whole CoCities crew. During these conversations I’ve been learning something, though. (Many things actually, but let me focus on this aspect for the time being.) And that is how much CoCities helps us as a company: We’ve been working a lot under NDAs recently, so we cannot really talk about most our client projects. CoCities gives us something public, widely and openly out there, a manifestation of what we’ve been thinking about. It has, to some degree, become a focal point of our energy, but also of the way we’re perceived as a company and a team. To some degree that was to be expected, but the scope keeps surprising me. And so I can only hope that this conversations keeps going, and that more opportunities for collaboration will emerge from all of this, whatever shape they may take. We’ll be meeting many more people over the next few days in NYC and then head over to SXSW, where – if anything – it’ll get more intense. So for the time being, things won’t slow down. But that’s really ok. Because the way things are going now, I could keep going. Although after SXSW, a good night’s sleep might be in order. So keep those ideas for collaboration coming – let’s bounce ideas and see where we can take it from here.

New School: Crowdsourcing 101


At a recent meeting, Trebor Scholz, curator of the Institute for Distributed Creativity mailing list (IdC), host of collective.net and organizer of the Internet as Playground and Factory Conference, kindly invited me to give a brief talk at an undergrad class he teaches at the Eugene Lang College of New School University. So while I was in NYC I dropped in to discuss with his students questions of crowdsourcing vs wisdom of the crowds. Also, I had the pleasure of learning a lot about Wikipedia from Joseph Reagle, who wrote both his PhD thesis and a book about Wikipedia, and talked about leadership in the Wikipedia context. (Great stuff!)

For completeness’ sake, here’s my presentation, but it’s really quite basic:

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.

NYC Open Office Trip


I heart New YorkIn April/May I’ll spend a few weeks in New York. After all, what really makes a web freelancer’s life so good is the ability to work from wherever there’s an internet connection. So I’ll be working from NYC, and of course I’d love to meet up with as many of you in the tech and web scene as possible. If you happen to be located in the city, drop me a line (peter at thewavingcat.com) or get in touch via Twitter, and let’s meet up.

I’m not sure yet where I’ll be working from: My apartment, a coffee house, a co-working space? (Recommendations?) Taking a cue from the rockstars over at The Next Web, I tend towards doing something similar to their Open Office Trip. I love the idea of crashing at the office of cool web companies occasionally to get to know you, and get some work done. So if you have a spare desk, a chair and wifi for a day or two, you’re my hero.