OpenCoffee Club Berlin

March 31, 2008


Originally uploaded by Stephan’s Place.

Last Friday I’ve attended at the OpenCoffee Club in Berlin, a place for monthly meetings with (mostly) entrepreneurs. The guy on the left side of the picture is Oliver Beste, a entrepreneur by himself who organized the meeting.
It was a interesting mix beyond my usually software stuff and therefore very inspiring to see the wide range of ideas coming to live.

Sleeping Beauty

March 24, 2008

Originally uploaded by Stephan’s Place.

This Easter Monday we used the nice weather to have a walk in the landscape behind Mühlenbeck in the Brandenburg March. Like in the romance of the sleeping beauty behind the Mühlenbecker lake we stumbled upon that forgotten manor-house “Dammsmühle”. It has seen during its history people like Napoleon, Wilhelm II. , Nikolaus II., Harry Piel, Heinrich Himmler and Hildegard Knef.
Now it’s abandoned and mostly forgotten deep in the forest. Too bad. But still a beauty.

For those who can read German here is a short summary of it’s history.

Your daily flickr photo slideshow

March 13, 2008

A nice entertainment during a break, especially for flickr fans: flickrvision shows the current uploads to flickr from all over the world. This endless slide show gives you a feeling for the size of the flickr community.  And (mostly) nice and random photos too.

Online Workspaces for the Masses

March 10, 2008

I’ve managed to get a Beta account of Office Live Workspace. That offers free upload of files to a workspace. The GUI is well done so far, but the upload has a strong limitation: no folder structures are supported. This might be the application I’ve so long waiting for, but that limitation shows me once again the big loss when Mindquarry was closed down. Synchronize your team files including the full directory structure with one click is a feature I’m still missing so much. That was the best solution ever.

Flickr in Windows Life?

February 1, 2008

So Microsoft finally akquires Yahoo. That means my flickr account (which is now a Yahoo aaccount) becomes finally a Microsoft account. When they rise the fees, I’m leaving the service. Time to think about backups.

A limit for ads

January 10, 2008

The FAZ, Germans “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” reported yesterday in their article: “XING meets the borders of growth” (German), that XING has removed it’s advertisements from premium customer pages after massive protests in their forums. Many customer extensively use Xing as their online business card, their virtually profile. So is happened f.e. that (invisible to them self) other users saw their profile with ads from (in worst case) competition companies.

I did always suspect, that plain advertisement in the web is overrated. It is just a contribution to information overload. And more and more people will treat it as spam. So a business model based on advertisement will work well as long as someone pays for it. But if customers start to systematic avoid ads, advertisement business will meet it’s borders. Anyway, there are better ways to promote things like reputation or referral models.

Amazon enters the payment provider market

December 12, 2007

Originally uploaded by lemonjenny.

Yesterday Amazon announced it’s new service, “BillMeLater“. With just your Birthday and your social security number you’re in and able to checkout your shopping. That teaches us twice:
First, the service is for US citizen only. Other countries perhaps even don’t have a SSN number.
Second, they get access to your SSN-files to send you a bill to your address. The last thing sounds a little bit scary to me, since every data related to my SSN number should be private, secure and well guarded.
But perhaps US citizens do not fear the loss of privacy that much Europeans do. Anyway, that means that this service will have trouble to scale as a worldwide payment system. So far, Paypal and others must not fear it by now. But Amazon is a powerful company and the service will be worth to watch.

Products are people too

November 7, 2007

Products are people too
Originally uploaded by cvander.

Today’s most popular keynote was from Jesse James Garrett: “Delivering Rich Experiences”. Garrett, known for his naming essay about the Ajax technology, is an evangelist for simple & smart products. In the picture he’s just talking about the mannerism, that people get a familial connection to good products (“I can’t live without my new [car/phone/ipod/…]”). And products become a treatment like real persons too (“Don’t make the elevator angry, he might stop”)

I think the world still needs more products with “personality”.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Tuesday keynote: Kathy Sierra: “Creating Passionate Users”

November 6, 2007

Originally uploaded by Stephan’s Place.

Kathy Sierra was one of the keynote speakers today, and as I think by far the most entertaining one. This might be obviously, since you read her topic, which is her mission too. On person I spoke after her keynote said, there have been no news in her presentation (to him). That might be true, but first she presents that in a really entertaining way and second, she does it in an intelligent way delivering things you already know with a new viewpoint.

One thing she was talking about, was the point how companies caring about her customers before and after they became customers. She compared for example a marketing brochure for a camera with the user manual (which is the brochure you get after you bought the camera, with your bying decision based on the reading of the marketing brochure). On the one side a delighting and inspiring artwork, on the other side a technical manual designed by an engineer for an engineer’s use. And that is really, what we mostly get. Companies woo to “strangers” and deal cumbersome to existing customers. I bet everyone has a own story to proof that! How often had you to wait in the support line? How often did you actually benefit from special offer any company (like telco’s) provide to new customers?

Kathy was asking that question:

“Can you imagine, how it would be if companies would shift the budget and the talent of people away from marketing to customer education”?

A interesting thought, isn’t it? Even when I would not agree to leave marketing without a budget, teaching the customers better to make the best use out of your product can really make the USP. And caring for customers in a way they don’t feel upset when dealing with the company.

But, as the guy said, this is all no news. But it was good to get it in those clear pictures as a packed and user friendly and entertaining message once again. I hope Kathy don’t stop to do this, even if we all know it.

Web 2.0 conference keynote session

November 6, 2007

Jeremy and Duane during keynote
Originally uploaded by Porsche Pilot.

Today there been a lot of interesting keynotes. As everybody can see, I (second raw, 1st from right) was fully concentrated on the speech. Independent what happened else. 😀