Bring the valley!

Oct 18, 2013 • Ole Michaelis

I will make the valley know, that Hamburg is way more awesome then Berlin!

This is a quote from the So Coded Conference after party. And this, for me as one of the organizers, is one of the biggest compliments we could get. Many people asked me: “Why do you do this?” Well, that’s an obvious question, right? And with this blog post I will try to explain why, especially in relation to the quote above.

I love the Valley, or more specifically, I love the hacker spirit around there. So many cool tech companies want to change the world we all live in. In every café you enter, you will find nerds sitting in front of their MacBooks, hacking on new things. So what’s cool about this? These people don’t do it for the money or the fame they might get. They do it because they believe! They believe in the things they build – they believe they can change something. It’s the hacker spirit I love and it is tech people like us that are creating this.

So when I came back to Hamburg again and took a closer look at the few startups around, I quickly realized that these startups are different, different in a bad way. Almost all of them are founded by business people just trying to create the next Facebook and earn a shitload of money. Some just want to create a cheap, shitty copy of Y and get some money. This fact really bugs me. So what to do?

One possible option is to just move to the Valley. I guess almost everyone of us had, at some point, thought about this. And never say never, but for the moment Hamburg also has some upsides for me. My wonderful girlfriend, my family, and the wonderful city itself. So there must be another option.

If I can’t go to the valley. The valley has to come to me!

Pushing the tech community in my hometown was one of my personal goals that I wanted to achieve with the So Coded Conference. Running a conference is obviously only one aspect of it. It’s more about enabling people. Giving them permissions, the permission to build awesome things, the permission to change the world, and the permission to just be awesome, as Adam Brault stated on the closing keynote this year. Thanks buddy, this keynote was very inspiring to me

What’s the point then? Well I need your help! This isn’t my mission, it’s ours! Running events like user groups, giving them a place to happen if your office allows it, or organizing free programming lessons for interested people. So many great examples are around already, and there are so many organizations that exist to support you if you want to pitch in! So many companies are willing to help! And at this point, I just want to say thank you to all the people and companies making this happen. And of course this does not exclusively apply to Hamburg, if you feel your city’s tech community should improve, change it!

Coming back to the initial quote, X is way more awesome then Y? That’s not the point I wanted to make. It’s just that I was overwhelmed by the feedback we got in general. This really empowered my desire to continue my mission.

In closing, I just want to say thank you to all the people inspiring me to do so!