30. November 2011–
A start-up's office is like its home. Whether you're working from a 4-story loft or out of your brother's basement, with a staff of 30 or a staff of 3, what we sit on, what we look at out the window, what kind of coffee machine is in the kitchen, and whether there's a parakeet or not—tell us a lot about a company's character. Office Insider is where we'll show you the wide range of Berlin's coolest start-up office spaces: the people, bean bags, basketball hoops and (maybe even) big ideas behind them. First up is Moped.com, one door down from founder Schuyler Deerman's bedroom. I stopped in for photos and Q & A.
The Inside Scoop: Q & A with Schuyler Deerman
Where: Die Hackeschen Höfe
The Vibe: Three dudes, well-lit, balcony beer, DIY
What They're Working On: A sort of lightweight Yammer ("Twitter for the office"), with fewer features and an easy-to-use interface.
Stage of Development: Private beta
On the Windowsill: A license plate from Münster, where Deerman spent time in high school (He's originally from Alabama)
Neighbors in the Building: "The guy who runs Deutsch Magazine," Deerman tells me. "There are always models walking in and out for shoots. One time three hipsters showed up at our door."
Favorite Office Item: A cardboard HP box that sort of looks like a minimalist wooden coffee table.
Favorite Snack Nearby the Office: "There's a bakery on Sophienstraße that we like a lot. I don't know the name but we call it 'Old Ladies' because it's run by a bunch of old ladies."
URL Background Check: Before Deerman and his small team of programmers acquired moped.com it belonged to a moped afficionado in New Zealand. He had pointed it to a collection of moped photographs. "Branding is one of the most important things you can do for your company," Deerman told me in his small loft kitchenette, "I've always been interested in domain-wrangling." (His favorite: brandbucket.com and www.tucows.com)
Moving Shop: Deerman has a long history of moving around Berlin in search of the perfect apartment-office hybrid, before landing his current pad. He's even shared a flat with a pregnant woman. "I thought it would be a good experience so I went with it."
Bloody Good Story: Deerman was one of the founding members of the Berlin-based tech blog Silicon Allee, where he worked with Dave Knight and Travis Todd. In one of Deerman's many apartments there was a cat. "While we were working one day Dave tried to pick up the cat and it nailed its fangs into his hand."
Most Useless Item: A baseball mitt sitting on a stack of documents. "None of us ever use it. Oh and the junk food in the kitchen. One of our good friends brought chips, cheese doodles and the cheapest powdered ice tea to a party we had last week. I had to tell him: 'You don't bring cheap sweet tea to a Southerner's house.'"