Photo Set

Impressions from the TV Show “Wirtschaftstalk” with Ralf Juergens

Link How to turn your startup into a 'Hidden Champion'

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hermann Simon explains why the German”Mittelstand” thrives and survives crisis after crisis with his famous “Hidden Champions” framework. With his latest article he also addresses Startup environments with the HC framework.

Photo Set

Internet und Startups in Deutschland
Lars Hinrichs organized that great event in Berlin with Angela Merkel and 150 outstanding founders and investors.


Sir Jonathan Ive (Interview)

Here are some highlights of his latest interview:

Q: What makes a great designer? 
A: It is so important to be light on your feet, inquisitive and interested in being wrong. You have that wonderful fascination with the what if questions, but you also need absolute focus and a keen insight into the context and what is important - that is really terribly important. Its about contradictions you have to navigate.
Q: Why has Apple’s competition struggled to do that?
A: That’s quite unusual, most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new - I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us - a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different - they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.
Q: How do you know consumers will want your products?
A: We don’t do focus groups - that is the job of the designer. It’s unfair to ask people who don’t have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design.
Q: Is it easy to get sidetracked by tiny details on a project?
A: When you’re trying to solve a problem on a new product type, you become completely focused on problems that seem a number of steps removed from the main product. That problem solving can appear a little abstract, and it is easy to lose sight of the product. I think that is where having years and years of experience gives you that confidence that if you keep pushing, you’ll get there.
Q: Can this obsession with detail get out of control?
A: It’s incredibly time consuming, you can spent months and months and months on a tiny detail - but unless you solve that tiny problem, you can’t solve this other, fundamental product.
You often feel there is no sense these can be solved, but you have faith. This is why these innovations are so hard - there are no points of reference.
Q: How do you know you’ve succeeded?
A :It’s a very strange thing for a designer to say, but one of the things that really irritates me in products is when I’m aware of designers wagging their tails in my face.
Our goal is simple objects, objects that you can’t imagine any other way. Simplicity is not the absence of clutter. Get it right, and you become closer and more focused on the object. For instance, the iPhoto app we created for the new iPad, it completely consumes you and you forget you are using an iPad.
And finally my favorite statement:
"I think that people’s emotional connection to our products is that they sense our care, and the amount of work that has gone into creating it."

2011 - a very relevant year

The PC and Web is dead

I still remember a team meeting in 2007 at ip.labs:

"The PC will die very soon, we have to shift our power and focus to smart devices." Most of my team thought: again this rushy, emotional fan-boy.

2011 is the year that everything changed: Consumer have bought more smart devices than PCs (incl. Windows, OS X, Linux). And in 2011 people have already spent more time in Apps than using a Web-Browser.

It is already the fastest adoption in human-history; but trust me, this is just the beginning and it will change the rules in our industry.

Some thoughts:

  • My mother can now choose and run trusted 3rd party Apps
  • The Web is dead!
  • Everybody will spent more time with these devices than with anything else
  • Finally always connected (3G, 4G, WiFi)
  • The World Wide Web is the last platform you should worry about

For me this is the break-through we where hoping for in 1999. But the time is now and we will see many new billion euro companies in the next 1-3 years.

Steve Jobs

Only very few people change our life deeply and everlasting.

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle defined most of the underling framework for our system today. The three where groundbreaking and without them we could not achieve all the other great stuff we have build on top of their system.

Steve Jobs has done exactly the same: He created a groundbreaking technologies, systems and concepts that will change how we life forever. He leapfrogged normal  development/optimization cycles and changed the rules. More astonishing, he did this with several industries. I know many do not like the hype around him, but I totally disagree. We will see and feel his true power in the years to come. And I know today that he will give me inspiration, emotional-power and much more until the day I die.

Some thoughts for 2012

I feel a positive change in Europe:

  • The Startup Eco-System is growing and becoming more connected
  • More people want to build companies based on passion, technology and design
  • Berlin is a great hub that is growing every day. It helps us a lot!
  • Great funds have no problem finding LPs
  • More people understand: Copycats are no real Startups

I hope Oli will become the Keynote speaker of the biggest Franchise Conference and tell people how to execute and do channel marketing for e.g. building the biggest Burger or Outlet chain in the world. He is a brilliant business man and executer. But for me Startups are about passion, technology and risk.

In 2012 I will work with amazing people to hopefully create great disruptive products. I’m incredibly lucky and will work hard and focused. 

Link HackFwd Blog: Werner Vogels: Amazon and the Lean Cloud


We were honoured to have Werner Vogels, CTO, give a talk at HackFwd’s Build 0.7 event in Berlin on the how and the why of Amazon’s cloud business. In the talk, Vogels covers Amazon’s history, design principles and learnings from building a world-changing cloud services business….


Why copycats are OK

Creating a copycat is better than being unemployed.

You are building a business and it even might creating short term value. That is much better than doing nothing. You could call it a Franchise+.

But in the long term Europe will loose the Software-Game and our next generation will suffer.
Furthermore it simply feels wrong to build a company based on a business-modell copy - forecasted for Europe.
We need passion and pure enthusiasm to build something outstanding. A foundation that will generate value in the long-term. We are establishing a paradigm for the next generation of founders and I believe it must be: think out of the box, go the crazy path, challenge the status quo, follow your passion!
It must be clear to everybody:The real heroes are innovators with an unbeatable Pioniergeist!


What drives you as a founder?

Yes, there is a big market, crazy profits and the Excel-Hockey Stick looks sooo beautiful; but in my view this is what founding is about:

When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through. - Steve Jobs”

Love your product and team! You can be sure money will find you :-)