>_ Handing in my Badge and my Gun


I’m pretty excited to share that after almost four years I have decided to leave Google and start working on something new.

This is a pretty big change for me: Working at Google has been a childhood dream of mine. I vividly remember when I got access to my first Gmail Beta account back in 2004. I was really into building and designing websites back then and was blown away I was by the simplicity and playfulness of the interface. This was when I first decided that I wanted to work for Google one day. I wanted to work in a fast-paced environment with exciting products and alongside the smartest people possible.

Ten years (and many unsuccessful job applications) later that dream became reality. I spent the vast majority of my time at Google managing partnerships with mobile app start-ups. I got the opportunity to build user acquisition campaigns for some of the biggest taxi and fin-tech apps in Europe, help gaming studios acquire more valuable users and consult subscription businesses on how to improve their UI and UX with behavioral insights. I was lucky to work with and be mentored by some of the brightest, nicest and most passionate people from all over the world. Joining Google has been one of the best decisions of my life.

However, there has always been one thing I missed: Building something that’s my own.

So this is what I’ll be doing from next Monday onwards. I have had an idea for a product for quite a while and will try to build this into a company.

I’ll share more about my new adventure in the next few weeks.


Excited to finally give Revolut a try. I’ve been an N26 customer for more than two years and am pretty happy with it, but I guess it can’t hurt to test some alternatives.

>_ Form vs. Function


The Sense is still one of my all-time favourite product designs. It reminds me a lot of the Beijing National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron.

Unfortunately, the Sense never delivered on any of its other promises: The app UI wasn’t great, the personalised sleep insights & recommendations didn’t feel right and they never released the API they promised in their Kickstarter campaign. A few months ago the company announced it was shutting down. The email with instructions on how to export your data? I’m still waiting for it. My Sense is now nothing but an expensive paperweight.

There seems to be an interesting trend with quantified self devices: They either look great but don’t perform well (see Sense, Jawbone Up, Vessyl), or they perform well but lack good design (see Garmin, Zeo, Fitbit).

Fitness trackers in particular will need both great design and additional functionalities beyond step tracking to stay relevant, which is why the latest Fitbit release was so disappointing: The Ionic is not exactly a stylish piece of fashion. The form follows function approach would be okay if the watch had any ground-breaking new tracking capabilities, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either.

The winner seems to be the Apple watch, which both looks nice (I really like the Nike+ version) and offers pretty decent fitness tracking. Then on the other hand: No proper sleep tracking since the battery doesn’t even last 24 hours …

I’ll keep waiting for a device that gets both form and function right.

>_ Thoughts on No-Ads Subscriptions

Fred Wilson published a blog post last week in which he argues that “low-priced subscription offering[s] that remove ads” are a good monetization model for free apps.

I tend to disagree.

The best subscription offerings add value in form of extra functionalities or content. “Remove ads”-subscriptions don’t add value – they remove a disadvantage. Adding something positive is a better sales pitch than removing something negative.

Additionally, most users don’t mind ads. Music apps are the only exception that I can think of since audio ads are more intrusive, but even these companies don’t use ad removal as their only subscription benefit. Instead they list it together with premium features that add value such as offline listening, multi-device support or exclusive content (see Soundcloud, Pandora).

That being said, I do agree that it can make sense to offer a no-ads subscription tier as an irrelevant alternative (or decoy price) alongside other subscription packages, to positively influence the price/value perception of more lucrative subscription offers.

>_ Media Consumption (August ’17)

Summary

Read 1 book (-66% MoM) and 31 long-form articles (+3%).
Listened to 546 songs (+53%), 2 audiobooks (+100%) and 7 podcasts (+133%).
Watched 2 movies (+100%), 7 soccer matches (+500%) and 25 TV episodes (+108%).

Books

Shoe Dog (Phil Knight)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓ Progress: 95-100%

Homo Deus (Yuval Noah Harari)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░ Progress: 0-90%

Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-4%

Recommended Articles

How Two Brothers Turned Seven Lines of Code Into a $9.2 Billion Startup (Bloomberg)

How Peter Thiel’s Secretive Data Company Pushed Into Policing (Backchannel)

Where is the Web Going? (Nir Eyal)

Uber’s New CEO (Stratechery)

Where should you fear private internet censorship the most? (Marginal Revolution)

Recommended Podcasts

From 4Chan to Charlottesville (The Ezra Klein Show)

Music

Top Artists: Arcade Fire, James McAlister, Philip Glass, Hans Zimmer, Radiohead
Favorite Song: Hans Zimmer – Supermarine

>_ Media Consumption (July ’17)

Summary
Read 3 books and 30 long-form articles.
Listened to 358 songs, 1 audiobook and 3 podcasts.
Watched 1 movie, 1 soccer match and 12 TV episodes.

Books

A Wild Sheep Case (Haruki Murakami)
░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 65-100%

The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead)
░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 5-100%

Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1) (Jeff VanderMeer)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Shoe Dog (Phil Knight)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░ Progress: 0-95%

Recommended Articles

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Spreadsheet (FiveThirtyEight)

Most coworking spaces don’t make money; here’s how they can adapt to survive the future (Levels.io)

Silicon Valley’s First Founder Was Its Worst (Backchannel)

Marc Andreessen answers questions from Stripe Atlas founders (Stripe)

Trump’s Russian Laundromat (New Republic)

The Next Disney Will Come from China and Its Name Is Tencent (Backchannel)

Successful Solo Founders (Rosie Haft, Medium)

The Inside Story Of SoundCloud’s Collapse (Buzzfeed)

Recommended Podcasts

Silicon Valley should think like Spider-Man (Reid Hoffman) (Recode Decode)

Music

Top Artists: Radiohead, Phoenix, Zoot Woman, 2raumwohnung, James McAlister
Favourite Song: Radiohead – Man of War

>_ Media Consumption (June ’17)

Summary
Read 2 books and 42 long-form articles.
Listened to 979 songs and 13 podcasts.
Watched 1 movie, 1 soccer match and 8 TV episodes.

Books

A Wild Sheep Case (Haruki Murakami)
░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░ Progress: 12-65%

Tools of Titans (Tim Ferriss)
░░░▓░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 20-25%

Recommended Articles

A Golden Age for Dystopian Fiction (The New Yorker)

How to Make $80,000 Per Month on the Apple App Store (Johnny Lin, Medium)

His Kampf (The Atlantic)

Amazon’s New Customer (Stratechery)

Thoughts on BAT and ads (Sriram Krishnan)

A Proof of Stake Design Philosophy (Vitalik Buterin, Medium)

The Meaning of Decentralization (Vitalik Buterin, Medium)

Recommended Podcasts

The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency — Nick Szabo (The Tim Ferriss Show)

>_ List of things I want to do in 2017

  • Start a blog again
  • Write at least 12 blog posts
  • Learn how to swim (front crawl)
  • Go for a swim at least once per week
  • Swim 100km in total
  • Quit ████████
  • Start ████████████
  • Move to a new country
  • Read 15 books
  • Meditate at least 5 times per week
  • Don’t eat meat more than 2 meat dishes per month