BerlinWebWeek: Open Coffee Club and Bizzin3D meetup

1. June 2009 - 9.47 pm Uhr

opencoffeeclubFriday morning, getting up after the Zanox Summer Party and heading straight to the Berlin Open Coffee Club in the Carras Café at Potsdamer Platz. The crowd was a little smaller than usual, due to the aforementioned party I think, but the networking was good. The idea is simple, existing more or less world wide, you arrive, grab a coffee and at some point the initiator introduces him/herself and then everybody else does the same. The aim is to meet at least three new people, because you know who is there you know, who you can talk to.
A lot of 3D and virtual world stuff was going on this weekend in Berlin, I missed the Second Life meetup, but since it immediately was followed by the bizzin3D meetup (organized by Tobias Neisecke from Youin3D), I got my fair share of what is going on in the 3D world. Roughly 80 people gathered and spent their whit sunday afternoon and evening together. I did not see many journalists, a shame since the who is who of virtual worlds was there and could have been interviewed: representatives from companies from the UK, Slovenia, France, Netherlands, Poland etc. The big worlds like Second Life (Linden Lab), Twinity (Metaversum), Habbo and others where on panels.
Clare Rees (Linden Labs), Michael Schumann (Second Interest), Mirko Caspar (Metaversum), Dick Davies (Ambient Performance)

Clare Rees (Linden Labs), Michael Schumann (Second Interest), Mirko Caspar (Metaversum), Dick Davies (Ambient Performance)

The first panel of the Bizzin3D meetup was titled “The Immersive Internet – Virtual Worlds and the Transformation of Business”. I enjoyed the honesty of the panel – the transformation has clearly just begun and it will take many years till there is a clear change due to virtual worlds (VWs). The change we see is due to new concepts in our digital age, a shrunken world (in distances), a bigger world (in possible experiences). However, having companies like Linden Lab and Metaversum in Berlin existing solely on Virtual Worlds and their service providers like Second Interest and Youin3D is already a change to the old world. The VWs user growth is now in children and youths, so a new generation is growing and using VWs, the real Digital Natives are born not longer than 3-5 years ago. I doubt that many users watched the events in Second Life and twinity, though I think it is absolutely necessary to do the streaming of course.
It’s all about monetisation in the end, so to the question why companies should move to a VW, Clare Rees basically pointed to “collaboration”, Michael Schumann stressed future advantages: “these are strategic moves today for a strategic advantage tomorrow” and Mirko Caspar showcased his Asian early adopter Singapur, who has great plans for their digital future. ..and I guess all three are legitimate answers and all true at the same time. The general agreement was that, if you are able to bring your own audience, you can start now.
But again, in my opinion it will take years till we are at a stage, where use of VW is widespread in the corporate world. I, however, believe VWs will be a major part of the future natural habitat of Digital Natives, since interaction there is much more natural than over mail etc. The question I wanted to ask Second Life, when they will allow the use of real names (since they have already real cities (newBerlin e.g.) could not be answered (“we are thinking about it”), I give them another 6 months max., till they do that, the need is clearly there.
If you are interested in a much more detailed view on this event, Mr.Topf a.k.a Tao Takashi was there and has published a review in his blog.

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

13. April 2009 - 10.11 pm Uhr

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 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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