Last night was the second Hacks|Hackers Berlin event, held at the great co.up working space in temperatures that seemed to rise and rise. Six intrepid innovators came to pitch their ideas, products and betas to around 30 coders, activists, entrepreneurs and start-ups.
The presenters were:
All six pitched their idea six times, to small groups with a time-limit of five minutes, in the now time-honoured speedgeeking tradition of Hacks|Hackers Berlin. So, what did we learn?
Both Squadmail and Pngbx are cloud-based services that work on bringing other web services into one easily manageable and sharable place. In the case of Squadmail, it's email folders, and for Pngbx, it's movie libraries. Both have interesting implications for newsrooms of course - journalists are always looking for easier ways to share media and communications resources across the newsroom.
Transparency is today's hallmark of web-activism and has been for some time. What's interesting now is not only how the wisdom of crowds is being used to assess legal speak, but how software development methods are being deployed to help the process. We saw this with the fantastic BundesGit project, but also with ToS;DR whose founders were present last night.
Doing the same presentation six times can be exhausting. What's interesting is how different people approached the task. Some innovative presenters treated the session as six lightning focus groups. In order to maximise the opportunity, they even tested out six different presentations in an extension of the classic marketing A/B split.
There has been a real entrepreneurial spirit at both meet-ups so far. Even if not pitching, start-up founders and technical teams have been attending the meetings, even if they don't have a direct connection to news. Some are just there to promote other dev groups, or beta launches or to find a new CTO, but many just seem to be into seeing what else is out there. What's clear is that Berlin's start-up scene is reaching critical mass. But what happens next?
We're still struggling a lot to balance up the Hacks vs. Hackers ratio, with many more coder-types than journalists. I'm interested to know why this is. I suspect it's because we not quite hitting the networks and places that German journalists hang out with promo about the meet-up. It could also be because the event is in English, not German (the term 'hacks' means little in German). Not enough girls too, for that matter...
All in all, another great session with some great energy and ideas. If you want to be involved in the next one, keep an eye on the meetup page. If you have any feedback, or insights as to how we can attract more journalists to engage and present, feel free to leave a comment below or ping me on Twitter!