3. February 2012–
I decide to spend some time in Berlin at the age of 45. I scan the job market and unless I want to become a female assistant to a female magician there doesn’t seem a lot to offer for a last-generation creative like myself...One quick scan of the online employment pages tells me I’m not only the dinosaur; I’m the egg that bore it.
I can’t get past the phrase: ‘…must have a good knowledge of social media’.
As I travel my world with a Sony Ericsson T280i and Mac 10.4.11 you can probably understand why I come to a full stop. Based on this and the memories I have as a kid, which are starting to echo in my life, of laughing at my grandmother because she had problems with the TV remote control, I make the decision to smash through the screen and engage the tech world.
To Infinity and Beyond! Into the world of start-ups, apps, Twitter, Gidsy?
So I call the editor at VentureVillage and suggest a column. We have a meeting at which I give my full attention while she spends time distracted by a screen. What is this screen and why does she love it so much? With it competing, we find time to come to a premise and between sending e-mails, chatting to me, taking a photo and eating Syrian food all at the same time, and she takes up the idea and suggests my first task: Go get Gidsy. Or giddy. So now I have a general idea of my way forward. I tell her, "I am at your disposal for the next few months so send me where you like." I tell her:
I am open to all virtual experiences that do not involve the consequence of jail time.
A number of questions come to mind as I embark on what I will call my own personal start-up. Will this trip lead to a better quality of life? Will it progress me in any way emotionally or financially? Will it make me cool with my kids one generation removed from the TV remote? I hope that whatever transpires I will eventually be armed with the necessary technological savvy that I may be able to make informed choices. One of which might be that I wish to return to my old school way of life. Which leads to another question of how easy it will be to extricate myself should I wish to return from infinity.
A tweetless, Turned-off 45-year-old's Review of Gidsy
My initial impression after engaging Gidsy's home page was positive in that immediately I could see using Gidsy will get you out and about. It’s like a contemporary version of the pensioners’ coach trip to the seaside. A company offers you the wheels for a price based on a certain amount of take up. So a number of you get together, chip in what saving haven’t been guzzled by bankland and you set a date. Then Bob the driver turns up in his polyester shirt, with traces of sweat under the arms from the last trip, and drives you down to the coast. And while he snoozes on the back seat you shimmy off and enjoy a paddle in the water without losing your false teeth in the tide. It doesn’t work exactly like this but as it says on the tin: ‘Gidsy is a marketplace for authentic experiences’.
At first look they offer things to do in three cities – Amsterdam, New York and Berlin. The next time I log on they have added London and San Francisco and by the time this piece comes out will probably have stuck on Cape Town, Sydney and Ulan Bator.
Rent-a-Trabant? Berlin Beer Crawl? Bottom line: Any fool can use it
Getting further into the site led to my second impression of Gidsy, which was that any non-tech fool like me could work it. There was the city name and next to it a drop-down box with different categories of experience ranging from sports to historical. There was also one heading that read: ‘All categories’, and seeing that I was after something completely off my normal radar, I clicked here.
There were the expected like ‘Rent-a-Trabant’ or ‘Berlin Beer Crawl’. If it were Paris, ‘Visit Morrison’s grave’ would surely have been there too. There were also some pretty costly experiences. A two-day uber walking tour of tour hip places in Berlin, in Dutch, priced 139€. There was also cooking activities that, as the site grows, will without doubt be one of the more popular areas, as we all know cooking has become super popular in any village, town or city in the world where poverty hasn’t downgraded food to a necessity.
One feature that is quite clever about Gidsy, and this is back to the pensioners; you can book for others to join you as well. So if you wanted to take your whole family or those on your stag weekend Bouncing/Powerblocking or to an Open Workspace Sewing Class, then it is possible. However a block booking probably rules out one section of the population – the lonely – of which there are many in any big city and for whom a site like this could prove a far easier, cheaper and immediate way of meeting people than forking out 500€ for a flower arranging weekend in the South of France.
So I await my first Gidsy experience and will be reporting back accordingly with my newfound knowledge. So far it hasn’t taken a great deal of brainpower to move forward. It hasn’t cost a great deal of geld. And it has given me something to look forward to.
Surely as I progress there must be something negative to make me pull out what’s left of my hair?
Until next time,
Your Berlin Dinosaur
Image credit: flickr user Rosaura Ochoa.