☰ Being in Berlin

Last week we’ve been to Berlin. It’s not like I’m a big fan of the city, somehow it’s too fucked up for my taste. However, this is not about Berlin, in fact the weekend we’ve stayed there was quite nice, this post is about me and what’s going on and coming up in my life.

Some of you may remember myself about two years ago. Started to study illustration, not a real plan, but the urge to do something awesome. Stuff like Hallo Unbekannt, this blog and several small projects were built, nothing was really important, but everything sold in on what was coming up:

The idea for QUOTE.fm changed my life as much as nothing has before — and it was last weekend, that I realized what’s going on. This is not just another one of my small projects, this is not “playing” anymore, this is, as unreal as it feels, the real life. This is what I’ll do hopefully as long as possible.

We’ve been to Berlin to talk about the present and future of QUOTE.fm without being distracted by our everyday surroundings. Our plan was to talk about things like business plans, who’s going to do which job when the company grows, and here we are at the point I’ve tried getting to: Company. This is not longer about myself or this blog or some small project, this is about a company. Something with people in it, people that are not only my friends, but humans that make a living by working for the company I’m somehow responsible for.

Ben invited us to take a look around the 6Wunderkinder offices in Berlin and it was fascinating. Not the offices themselves, but the combination of rooms, people and the underlying knowledge that everyone is pulling the same string (I’m afraid I’m making up sayings here). I was stunned, I thought “I want to work here.” and then reminded myself what would be even better: What if I ran a company like this? A company filled with great people, people that are psyched to build something incredible together. That was the moment I understood what’s actually going on in my life right now.

The next day we talked about our goal, what we want to achieve with QUOTE.fm, what’s the “Why?” that drives us. We found it, we defined it, we talked about what we need to achieve it.

And that’s where stuff got serious. Not serious as in tie and suit serious, but serious as in “At the moment we’re four people, in two month we’ll be six and in March 2013, we’ve our own office and 18 people are working for QUOTE.fm.” That’s not a number we’ve pulled out of thin air, that’s the number of people we need to achieve our goal. That is: Let’s revolutionize the celebration of written text. We’re talking about discovering, recommending, reading and publishing(!) written stories and how to make money, to ensure that 18 people can make a living.

It’s not about playing around in Photoshop anymore, two weeks ago was the first week in which I only opened Photoshop twice. The first week in… years. The rest of the time I wrote e-mails and talked to people. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating facts. My life changes so drastically at the moment, it’s fascinating. It looks like we’ve found our next employee and he’s Brazilian, so we’ll talk English from now on, I’m not just the designer anymore, I’m talking to people from big publishers, because they’ve heard of QUOTE.fm and are thinking about how we could cooperate, I’ve to think about the big picture but also about small details, I’ve to think about investors and investments, presentations and seeding.

It seems like playing is over and life begins and it feels good. Somehow it’s like I’ve done everything in the last years to get where I’m now. And where I am is not even somewhere. It could just be the starting point of something much bigger.

I’m excited. In fact I’ve never been more excited and I’m so looking forward to learning so much new stuff, talking to even more interesting people and building many awesome things together with great people, that I’m incredibly happy and excited at the same time. We’re not in Berlin or San Francisco, we’re in Hamburg, but nothing keeps us from building something great in this great city — so we will.

Strange times. Incredible times.

Let’s bring “playing” to the next level.

☰ Things I've read and recommended last week:

I figured it’s a good idea to show what I’ve read in the last few days, so here is a collection of articles I’ve read. Feel free to follow me on QUOTE.fm, if you don’t want to miss any reading recommendations.

I can’t say that I understand 4chan in its entirety, but it’s somehow fascinating. I like how anarchistic it seems and I like moot’s approach of handling it as a hobby.

Don Lehman – an industrial designer – on those leaked iPhone prototypes. He thinks they’re legit and I think they look great. Looking forward to waiting in line in front of the Apple store. We had a lot of fun last year doing so.

Tom Chiarella started to smoke. He didn’t just started to smoke, no, he began with the plan to quit smoking after a month. This story covers his thoughts and intentions on why he did something everyone else would have considered stupid.

Andre Torrez decided to slow down.

Jason Stirman found himself in a situation you’d never want to be in. It’s sad how helpless one is in situations like this. You’ve done nothing wrong and suddenly you’re threatened by some dickheads who have nothing better to do but messing around with other people’s lives.

☰ We’re hiring (again!): Become an iOS developer at QUOTE.fm

Yours truly:

“Marcel”, they said, “Marcel, we need a job advertisement for a new iOS developer. Somebody has to write it.” I said “Yeah, go for it!” and got a “But I’ve no time, I’m writing code!” and there I am, writing a job advertisement about a topic I’ve no clue of.

Hi, do you want to work with us? We’re looking for an iOS dev. If you’re interested, read the advertisement over at the QUOTE.fm blog and contact us. <3

☰ QUOTE.fm: Updated recommendations, added Pocket and Readability

Yours truly:

In the last months, we’ve added so many new features to QUOTE.fm, that it’s possible that some of them run the risk of getting forgotten. Until now everything you could do with a recommendation was hidden a click away behind that little arrow icon.

That’s going to change from now on. We’ve added some new buttons to the grey bar, for example recite, embed and when QUOTE.fm Read will be released, the bar will also feature a prominent “Read Later” button. The few of you helping us test the beta will see it already, for everyone else it’s going to show up soon.

We’ve updated some stuff on the website. Make sure to try it: QUOTE.fm

☰ We’re hiring! QUOTE.fm is looking for a PHP developer.

QUOTE.fm is looking for a PHP developer to support building our backend.

We need more manpower. Or womanpower. QUOTE.fm is growing fast, we’ve many great ideas how to improve it and there is only one Philipp. So we need another one. You don’t have to be called Philipp, but you should know some of the stuff we’ve listed in the blog post over there. Oh and there have been some applications already, so don’t be shy, you may miss out on something. :comeon

☰ Markus Okur on our iPad app beta

Markus Okur:

I consider myself as a heavy user of QUOTE.fm. Reading good texts is my passion, call me a news-junkie if you want. I do read kilometres of them every single day. Reading texts on QUOTE.fm with my MacBook on the desk using the regular website was superb, but felt somehow a bit odd, if you know that there is also a nifty iPad in your room.

Markus is one of the testers of our iPad app beta and he’s written down some of his first thoughts. He seems to like it but the real mistery is how he’s got the screenshot of the animation between Read and Find.