Saturday, 2 February 2013

20: A Berlin life in Apps


Because being different in Berlin is an everyday activity, you'll need to make sure you have and use the right apps, social networks and touchpads on an hour-by-hour basis. The Berlin Start-Up Scene has become the go-to place for young technical innovators in Europe, a beacon of hope for IT whiz kids hoping to one day walk in the path of Jobs, Zuckerberg, Page &co.  While SoundCloud is perhaps the most famous start-up, others are booming in its shadow.

Most of this world is run on Beta and is still in development. The apps in question tend to have a larger evil twin somewhere on the other side of the world who has already done what they are trying to do, only better. To understand these new apps, it is best that you use a Congolese touchpad and network away from Facebook - at best using ResearchGate (2.4 million users, if you're into numbers) PocketLife, Flowsee, Vamos, Moped or any other Berlin-based social network.

Berlin-based art network Flowsee. 
Whatever you do, you should be looking to try and engineer the action through some kind of local start-up app. If you're thirsty, Buddybeers allows you to send a friend an invite for a drink in any participating bars. If you don't go to bars but are sat in your bedroom dreaming of playing your masterpiece sets to thousands of adoring fans, you could start marketing yourself with YouTunez.

Of course, most of these apps and start-ups are designed to make us more interesting by delegating responsibility for basic calculations to machines.  We become more interesting by spending more money or repeating the same or old ideas through new content management systems with funky designs. Why try on clothes in a mere worldly changing room, when your virtual stylist can find the latest items for you? Why throw a party when you could turn to Gidsy? Who would buy or sell on Ebay when you can sell hippy trinkets, "made with love" on Dawanda?

Send your kids to school? Why bother, Sofatutor will educate them for you. 

Many of the best apps simplify the neuron process to undertake basic actions. Libraries are redundant now that Foundd allows users to search for entertainment. Other personal recommendation engines, a polite term for external generator for tired brain, include Aupeo, personalised radio based on user history, or raidarrr, for regurgitated ideas.

Some of the start-ups, rooted as they are in Central Europe, capture a collateral dusting of German efficiency: ePortrait, for example, offers a plug-in to produce cheap biometric passport-size photos from the comfort of your own home. Pure magic and fun for the whole family. 

Perhaps one of the most satisfyingly efficient German start-ups is 6Wunder Kinder, a list organizer that helps you combine your priorities: what your work dates are, what's on your shopping list and what books you've promised yourself to read. The wunderlist works like a small inner angel, sending you reminders to catch up with your wishes and desires between bouts of procrastination.  

Want to track your performance while doing all this? These guys will do it for you.
Want to avoid the Wolkshochschule and learn German online? Look no further than Babbel. A break, I hear you scream? Try Wooga and Crowdpark for gaming.

One thing you must start doing when you get into the scene is having lots of wishlists: you'll want to categorize your desires and hopes in neatly tabled cells: once you've done 6WunderKinder, move on to Toast. Make sure you share these lists as much as possible.

If you feel you haven't yet absorbed enough advertising for the day and simply must see a new way to stuff content down people's throats with subliminal messages, try Xyologic.  If you've seen too much advertising and are feeling sick with the corporate world, find a good cause, buy art and make a donation at photocircle. If this isn't enough, you could ease your burden with a well-timed charity campaign run by Spendino.

Has all that wishing and clicking made you hungry? No need to cook: Lieferheld has finally brought food-delivery comparison to the German capital.
In fact, for anything you want to buy, there are the usual price comparison sites, of which Zalando, the trendy 'vintage clothes ebay' is the most well known. 

It's not just clothes-shopping these digital plug-ins advertise to solve for you: Bettertaxi (taxi ordering), BookItNow (hotels), Wimdu (hotels), Twago (professional services), Artflakes (poster shopping). Once you've bought it all, or even while you are still thinking about it, you can tell the world about your purchasing trends using thin.gs.

 On an international level, the Berlin Start-Up Scene has found its niche in a lot of products aimed at streamlining businesses. Do you have a business? Great! ezeep lets you print from anywhere with one click. Other sites provide the usual hosting,  software, CMS and digital content solutions revamped according to local tastes.  And you could microblog about it all at swabr.

Berlin is too creative to ignore the arts and there are plenty of apps that help you redraw your reality too.  There is Loopcam, which turns a series of images into brief animations.  If you think you know 'the best' chisel shop, the best nugget maker or the best way to eat corn, 'the best' anything in fact, then Amen is where you go to say it. Otherwise Tweek will let you share more of your favourite TV and film preferences (Because of course Facebook, Twitter and the dozens of other film sharing forums hadn't thought of that).  The Kindle should watch its back too: Txtr has announced it will release the Beagle, "a superlight e-reader" in 2013.

If you're an evil banker with an eye for a bargain looking to buy up the whole scene, then Companisto might be the right consigliere. 

1 comment: