Berlin Events: Product Hunt Berlin Meetup coming up in March

Thanks to an invite on Facebook by David Nagy, I got to know of the next Product Hunt meetup at Aperto “in time”. March 11th might seem like a long time away for a meetup, but in case you want to go, you probably should get your ticket on Eventbrite soon. I got no info whether Andreas Klinger* (their CTO), or even “Ryan himself“, will be coming, but given that the first Product Hunt meetup in Berlin (at The Factory) was already very crowded from everything I heard – I missed it due to being in Vienna around Pioneers for some longer time – and the second one probably was as well, based on what I see on Facebook (did not hear about that one at the time), you might need to decide soon. I would not expect anything close to what happened in San Francisco in any case, but I suspect they might have started using tickets for a reason… So, whether you want to get on the PH hype bandwaggon, or rather want to critically evaluate the hype, you probably should make up your mind soon!

* Side note: Besides his personal website and blog, Andreas also has a cool site with some curated videos about customer development. The First Month of the “Re-Launch”

The month is nearing it’s end, which means I have been “active” on here for just above a month. Active means 11 articles, before this one, so around one every three days. The results are okay – not impressive, but also not terribly discouraging, considering the lack of “marketing” I did for the blog. There’s obviously more to a blog now then just writing about topics that (could) interest people. However, if I am honest, I did expect a bit more random traffic through organic search, for example, as I had a fair share of that when blogging in the past. The most important part is, in any case, that I did not stop enjoying to write yet. There’s been a few reactions on Twitter, naturally mostly from people or companies I wrote about,  and that’s also somewhat encouraging.

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freeCodeCamp – Part 2: Short Update / Try Code School & Pluralsight for free

My progress on freeCodeCamp has been “so-so” lately. I been busy with a linear programming project, basketball, and the usual random distractions. That’s also why I originally did not plan to write an update just yet, but rather in a week or so, hoping that I would have more to tell by then. Since there’s other news now, I will give a short update now already anyways.

I’m currently on challenge 14, learning more about Chrome Developer Tools. While this is not the first time I heard about or used Developer Tools, it’s definitely helpful to get a deeper into the topic, beyond trying to figure out what is broken on a page etc.. Compared to the lessons on jQuery, I find it a lot more interesting. Now I just need to find the time to make real progress on this. This challenge is originally a stand-alone course on Code School and therefore can also be done “independently”.

Talking about Code School, this brings me to the main reason for writing this post: A decent share of the challenges on freeCodeCamp are from Code School and thusfar, I am quite satisfied with them. Earlier today, Jonas has told me about the paid content on Code School being free until Friday (due to an acquisition by Pluralsight). Since this offer ends in about… 76 hours, at the time of writing this, I had to write about it now, to let you know in time! 😉

Pluralsight, who I had not heard of before, also offers free access until Friday. I do not know the paid content on Code School (yet) and whether it is really “worth it”, but this seems like the best opportunity to find out.

Berlin Startups: Shyftplan – a Blog Post from Bizarro World

Yesterday I worked on a shift planning model, using linear programming with the solver in LibreOffice, for a project. Nothing too complicated, about finding the optimal number of part-time and full-time workers, for a Kindergarden, over one working day, with a fluctuating number of children that need to be supervised. (More explanation of that might follow soon, in some upcoming posts.)

In any case, after I was done, I recalled that there’s at least one startup in Berlin doing something in this area. I googled something like “shift planning startup Berlin” and, sure enough, I found Shyftplan. The site looks fine, they also seem to be doing all kinds of useful things related to planning shifts, like helping you with payroll accounting etc.. Probably a bit overengineered for the project I was working on and apparently specific to the German market, so not applicable to the project in any case. What I found really interesting though, is a post on their blog …

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Berlin Events: Appcircus – App Pitch Competition

To give The Factory’s community efforts a chance (or because I did not have anything better to do), I checked out Appcircus in Berlin last Tuesday evening. After some introductory talk on what Appcircus is about and how it is related to Mobile World Congress and a talk about the Google Cloud (which in large parts I already heard before elsewhere, at Mobile Monday some months ago), it was right to the pitches. Six pitches, actually, instead of ten, as previously announced (which was fine though), were evaluated by a panel of judges.

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The Best and Worst of TechCrunch – Just a Day apart

Last weekend, I came across these two articles on TechCrunch:

  1. East of Palo Alto’s Eden: Race and The Formation of Silicon Valley by Kim-Mai Cutler
  2. Leaked Palantir Doc Reveals Uses, Specific Functions And Key Clients by Matt Burns

Hard to believe that both appeared in the same publication, if you didn’t already know, I think.

The former is an unusually long piece, with quite a bit of research and covering a lesser-known aspect of the “real world” in Silicon Valley. Pretty interesting, if you care just a little bit. Literally original content.

The latter is relying on some forwarded, supposedly “leaked”, document that strangely is all positive and builds the case for a high valuation of Palantir. Coincidentally, when Palantir is (allegedly) fundraising again. Critical questions? Additional research, for new information? Nope. Only unfiltered hype and some recycled bits. Good marketing. Bad journalism blogging.

freeCodeCamp – Part 1: The First Two Weeks & Prologue

This blog, I (re-)started before the end of 2014 already. The decision to start again I already made a few months ago, I picked a theme then, and finally in the last days of the year, I actually published the first posts.

freeCodeCamp I first read about some months ago and then was reminded of it by, some time later, by someone* else. I decided I wanted to give a try, but it took me until the beginning of this year until I seriously got started. Basically as if it was my New Years resolution to start with it – except it was not. Rather coincidence that I was still a bit busy before and then finally had time to get started. Now, to “hold myself accountable”, and to advertise or criticise freeCodeCamp – let’s see how it goes – I have decided to also write about my “journey” here, too. But before, I will also tell you something about my own history of learning to code.

* Jonas from Stackademy, if I remember correctly.

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The Long-Run: 1st Update of 2015 – Flixbus Mein Fernbus-Merger

Well, that happened faster than expected! This was my outlook for the long-distance bus market in Germany year, from about two weeks ago, in late December:

Outlook for 2015

Mergers, or further shutdowns of minor market players seem likely for the coming year.

And this week, we already had the first big merger. Actually, it was even the biggest possible merger, between the two market leaders, Flixbus from Munich and Mein Fernbus from Berlin. That’s probably why even reported on it, quite extensively. Initially, there was not much to say about this, beyond what was reported there, but now there are a few things.

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TechStars comes to Berlin – and no not need to fear the “Competition”

As TechCrunch lets us know (as well as the personal blog* of Managing Director Jens Lapinski), TechStars is coming to Berlin in June. In this context, Mike Butcher shows off his knowledge of the local ecosystem with an extensive (and almost error-free) list of other accelerators in Berlin:

There is hub:raum Berlin, Microsoft Ventures accelerators, Axel Springer Plug&Play Accelerator, Startupbootcamp Berlin, Berlin Startup Academy, MakeAStartup, YouIsNow, Founderslink, Wayra Berlin, FoundFair, Betahaus, V-Check, Founders Institute Berlin and probably more.

And then, to emphasize the point, he closes with:

TechStars Berlin enters crowded market, so it will be interesting to see if they can bring anything new to the party.

However, actually, it’s pretty obvious that TechStars has nothing to “fear” in Berlin. I will tell you why. (Even though it is obvious.)

* He’s got a great taste for blog themes, I think. 😉

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Startup Products I Use – Vol. 1

In “Startup Products I Use” I will regularly update you on the products of startups which I use… regularly. The rules are quite simple:

1. The organization behind the product has to be a startup.

2. I need to actually use the product regularly.

“Former startups” do not count and neither do products which I would like to use, some time, when I can afford them etc.. Therefore, it will be a rather short list, every time, which I will update every now and then. Quite different from most of the “10 products to do X”-posts you see on many blogs, I have actual experience as a customer or user, often over a longer term. So, let’s get started!

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Some thoughts on the first #BitcoinBowl

A week has passed since the first Bitcoin Bowl, on December 26th. Time for a first evaluation of the impact and the reactions to this event.

The Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl

Played for the first time in 2008, the event does not have a whole lot of pre-Bitcoin history. Unless you are a supporter of the UCF Knights, who had three appearances in the seven editions now, you probably did not hear of the St. Petersburg Bowl beforehand, especially if you do not follow (college) football. To make it short, the game itself was more or less interesting (at least judging from the parts when I paid attention to that) and NC State won 34-27 against UCF, this time around. As far as what was going on the field, there was also some complaints about the quality of the pitch. In any case, most of the audience following on Twitter rather cared about what happened off the field.

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