A lot of people know that most parts of a startup including a lot of the ideas change quite significantly, especially in the first years of business. However, often times there’s a core idea or vision that always stays the same. This vision is what guides the startup through the ups and downs of the real world and what keeps it on track, while dynamically iterating on and validating its business model.
I haven’t been writing as much as I wanted lately, and even this piece I’m writing on the plane back to Germany. I had planned to write more in my three-week vacation after attending a workshop on cyber security in Beijing as I still have a backlog of drafts for this blog. Instead I took some time off, slept a lot, met a lot of old friends, had good food, and even partied a little.
However, I didn’t completely switch off. Even before I went to Beijing, I was planning to get back into the startup scene there – For those of you wondering why I write “back”: I used to live in Beijing for about two years and was already a bit involved in the startup scene back in 2009, the days of Web Wednesdays and Mobile Mondays.
Anyway, I assumed even a big metropolis like Beijing must have its core events and with that some core people, who keep the events and community running. I posted open questions in startup related LinkedIn groups and contacted some of the more “central” people directly on Twitter, Weibo, or even good old Email. As it seems to be the case with most startup communities I got quite some positive feedback and open invitations for coffee/lunch. I met most of those who replied and even many more who I either met on events, in coffee shops, was introduced to by others, or even knew from before.
As some of you might have seen I made several changes to my blog throughout the last weeks.
The most obvious change is the new design of my blog. I put away with the silly header image and switched to a responsive design. I was nearly going for the Svbtle theme for Wordpress, but that was a bit too minimal and confusing for me, so I ended up with the awesome and free Origin theme by DevPress. To stay true to the more minimalistic design I removed the social media buttons from the excerpts and switched the Twitter widjet in the sidebar from Juiz Last Tweet Widget, which is very nice I have to add, to the official Twitter widget, which is lighter and nicer to integrate with the theme.
Recently, the Cologne startup scene has been discussing how the startup ecosystem here can be further developed and what is missing to make Cologne more competitive nationally (against Berlin), but also internationally. This is how the new Facebook group Cologne Startups, which already has more than 500 members in less than two months, started.
In the last week Thomas Grota kicked of a discussion there titled “Thoughts on my balcony: ‘what’s next?'”, which is already around 100 comments long. Furthermore, we also discussed the case at the last Hacker News Meetup in Cologne (short summary can be found on Francis’ Blog). In this post, I will try summarize both discussions to give a better overview to people joining.