22. March 2012–
Last night's first ever Berlin Tech Meetup was held in MobileSuite, a venue two doors down from my favorite Korean place. For the inaugural meetup, 236 "Berlin technologists" signed up and a quarter or so showed (pretty impressive for an event whose sexiest element was an open bar). Yes, the drinks were free, thanks to sponsor YouIsNow/Immobilien (who, heads up, is currently "looking to fund innovative, real-estate oriented companies"). The scene was lively, but not packed. There were six women present. The bar chalkboard was ever cool, and the pencils ever sharp.
Who came? The usual suspects- ie. all those developers you're friends with on Facebook, Julana and Hermann of Fashioni.sm, Hans (who organized the event along with Gabriel Matuschka and Florian Huebner) and new kid on the block from Barcelona Alex Napetschnig, all drinking Karalmalz and mulling around with their hands in their pockets. What else? A couple guys were entertaining themselves by taking turns writing on a single piece of paper (see below).
Aside from the open bar, why was this event unique?
This meetup's main selling point is that it's designed for developers, so all the presentations were 80% technical. It was refreshing to hear the back-end of familiar companies like EyeEm, Wooga, and "that keyboard shortcut startup" KeyRocket, that pitched to us at Twist. Five presenters (CloudControl, EyeEm, KeyRocket,Plista, and Wooga) spent five minutes each, beginning with a short pitch (many of which could have been bettered by SeedCamp) and proceeded to make transparent what their products do behind the scenes.
It didn't rock, but it offered something that other events don't. And it wasn't watered down. In fact, the bullshit was so far away we couldn't even smell it (sometimes a rarity in "pitch"-like places. Let's face it). Every person talking was himself a developer, and had detailed, seemingly significant information to offer the room of developers. Each was followed by an efficient, rigorous Q&A. Below are our three favorite presentations.
Did we dig it? Hell yes. Especially our free Club Mate.
First up was Thomas from CloudControl
Thomas kept it short and sweet @4 minutes, 59 seconds. "Why Berlin?" he opened. "You bring 150 people into a room to talk about your product and they all listen to you." For the Ruby crowd, this was a reason to laugh. "Who knows [a three syllable word that sounded like 'Hiroku' that I didn't know]? And everyone (except for me) raised his hand. "That makes it easy. I'll keep it techy."
Thomas alternated between a console and CloudControl's interface. "Whoopsy Daisy" popped up on the first try, and he went back to the console. Then "One Moment Please." We liked the casual language. It's why we fell in love with Bliss, SoundCloud, VitaminWater and HootSuite.
Ramzi from EyeEm, who we were impressed to see
"We built our filters once and we used them across all platforms," said Ramzi."In the beginning the designer would go on PhotoShop and build a filter, then pass it to the developer, who would develop it for the day. It was exhausting. We're trying to streamline that relationship." Now EyeEm's working on a way for designers/developers to edit filters in real time, eventually such that a designer can go into Photoshop, deploy it, and see it right away in the market. We're not sure where they're finding the time to work on that, but, hey, (in that mysterious sort of way) it's one more reason to love EyeEm.
And the KeyRocket guys, who promised to save us 10 minutes
As we know (and appreciate), KeyRocket is the Windows application that recommends keyboard shortcuts. These guys have been popping up all over the place, though we can't say we'd recognize them by face. What are they trying to do? Monitor your daily desktop routine so as to "save you 10 minutes." I'm not sure that's enough incentive for me.
My electric toothbrush saves me 10 minutes, and I would never listen to the makers of my electric toothbrush if they wanted to give a speech.
Another problem I foresee is the fact that they're not cloud-based. If you lose your hard drive, the system's gone. In the chance that this system inspired dependency (go figure), that would be a real bummer. "What other apps are you using to save you time, and how important is time-saving to you?" I asked them. "I'm obsessed with shortcuts. The first thing I do is check the shortcuts in any application." After a pause, he said, "I guess I'm just a normal nerd".
The room laughed, the most it laughed the whole time.
For more Berlin startup events this week, check out: