Berlin at the web 2.0 Expo 09 in San Francisco – review

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The third year in a row Berlin has had its booth at the web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. I think I remember Berlin being the only German booth as well as being the only economic development agency there in the past. Counting all companies there now I come to approx. 10 from Germany and their majority from the Berlin region. With this I think the German constituency seems to be the largest but one cannot be sure, since the origin of exhibitors cannot be searched. I do not know about the percentage of Germany attendees, I however met several and suppose they constitute the largest group from continental Europe. The Berlin booth was organized by Berlin Partner, Brandenburg was represented by the Zukunftsagentur (both economic development agencies), Solidground (BizDev) and Ralf Otto (TaxConsult) offered their services. Berlin @ web 2.0 expo The highlight turned out to be Metaversum or rather its project twinity, a real life 3D model of Berlin. It attracted many visitors which were curious about the project and gave a us a good starting point for discussions. I am not sure how the founders would like to see it described, I’d call it a mixture between Second Life and Facebook, taking the best things out of each (i.e. the 3D animated world only with “real” cities and the social network with real names and “real” avatars).  They will roll out Singapore and London next, I suppose the US will be tackled then. However, Zanox, who last time shared our booth had set up their own now and Germany Trade and Invest (the former Invest in Germany) had their own large booth, sharing it with the Fraunhofer Institute and Sachsen-Anhalt. Coremedia from Hamburg had a booth as well. Having been there already a  couple of years one could see the recession, I guess the exhibition area was rented out by 30% less and there were 2.000 visitors less. However, the glass was half full in my opinion: most of the exhibitors seemed to have returned and most of the attendees as well (10.000 last year). I share Jennifer Pahlka’s optimism – the vibe was good despite the economic downturn. We were able to show steadiness in our approach with the booth to market Berlin as the ideal investment location for a European expansion of US entrepreneurs. Of course we tried to bring our message across about the digital side of Berlin – we had the chance to talk to Sean Percival (twitter), founder of  the lalawag magazin about Berlin and our intentions. The lalawag covers tech culture, events, gossip and news from Los Angeles.
Another interesting encounter happened with Stuart Schulzke, director from FORA.tv who gather the  “web’s largest collection of unmediated video drawn from live events, lectures, and debates going on all the time at the world’s top universities, think tanks and conferences”. They know now about my choice between the iphone and Blackberry and, of course, about Berlin
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