Working on, a social network for outdoor enthusiasts

8. May 2013 § Leave a comment


It’s been quite a while that I wrote the last entry to this blog. The reason: While still running The Nunatak Group, a digital consultancy located in Munich, I got involved in a social media start-up:, a network for mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts. We have close to 5,000 members now, all of them active hikers, mountainbikers, climbers or backcounty skiers – and it has been quite a ride to get there. Our users can plan their trips, find partners, share photos, discover new destinations and (soon) book commercial offers within the platform. My partner in this project is relentlessly powerful Olympic silver medalist Peter Schlickenrieder. We both grew up in the same area in Southern Bavaria, close to the Austrian border, with mountains just behind our backyards. So, the project is something we feel very passionate about, as we are enthusiastic mountaineers ourselves. This fall, we plan to launch an international version of Stay tuned! For German speakers – check out our blog for latest news.


How is the “WildTrip Brazil” App doing? Some first-hand experiences…

14. April 2012 § Leave a comment

Last December, I uploaded “Wild Trip Brazil”, my first own app for iPhones and iPads, to the iTunes app stores allover the world. The app includes 300 high-quality photos of Brazil’s most important sites (from Rio to the Pantanal), personal travel stories, integrated maps, social sharing, and some other neat features – something like a virtual coffee table book. I didn’t expect it to become a blockbuster: It’s focused on one destination only, and it is something you enjoy and might wanna use to get inspired for your next trip, but you don’t necessarily need it. The photos were stored on my hard disc anyways, copy text could be pulled from my recent book (in agreement with my publisher Malik/National Geographic), and some friends and colleagues helped with editing, design and programming.

Nonetheless, the app did fairly well right after its release. It hit the Top 100 in the iTunes travel category in several countries. It was featured by Apple in the “What’s new?” section on iTunes (see photo above, in the upper right-hand corner). And it got excellent reviews in many countries, e.g. 15 five-star ratings and some great comments in Germany. This motivated us to constantly improve the app: We’ll upload the first upgrade next week, with an improved user interface, a new, more colorful logo and some other improvements.

We now stand at several thousand downloads from all around the world, many of them paid, but a big chunk downloaded for free during our carneval and ITB travel exhibitition specials. Currently, we’re in talks with several publishers and travel destinations that might use the technical framework of the app and adjust it to their needs and corporate identity. If you’re interested, check out our ITB presentation on Scribd or write us at and Also, if you want to check out the app – it runs at a reduced price tag until the end of this week.

“We’ll not carry a wallet two years from now” – John Donahoe, Ebay #DLD12

24. January 2012 § 1 Comment

Ebay’s CEO John Donahoe predicted big changes to the way we shop in the near future. “We’ll not carry a wallet two years from now”, he said at the DLD conference in Munich. “This is all going safely and securely in the cloud”, Donahoe added. “This means that there will be more change over the next three years in how people shop than overt the last twenty years.” The line between offline and online is blurring so fast that consumers will be getting “what they want, whenever they want and where they want it”, in a multi-channel commerce world. Donahoe explained that Ebay will be partnering with retail to compete in this “technology-driven environment”. He was quite frank about a lack of innovation within the company over the last decade.

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“We’re not a perfect company” – Groupon CEO Andrew Mason #dld12

23. January 2012 § Leave a comment

Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Groupon, was quite frank during his conversation with journalist David Kirkpatrick at the DLD Conference in Munich. “We’re not a perfect company”, he replied when asked about the negative press the company received ahead of its IPO in late 2011. “We’re constantly reiterating.” However, he added, “a lot of the criticism was unfounded”. Before, people were uncritical in their praise previously, and then it just turned around, he added. At the time, news pieces had appeared questioning the sustainability of Groupon’s  business model and quoting merchants that were becoming unhappy with the local couponing service. “It is true that the business model is easy to replicate and the barriers to entry are low”, Mason stated. “But barriers to success is high.” He credited the German Samwer brothers, early investors in Groupon, of having had a big role in making Groupon operate successfully. “I read articles about them having a reputation for cloning, but the idea is easy part, execution is the hard part. They are the best operators around, they are over-human”  In terms of business strategy, Mason said that real time commerce was the next step. Regarding relations with merchants, Mason said that they will be armed better with data and advice. “It’s something we’ve  learned and gotten better over time.” If Groupon provides ROI data, the satisfaction level is higher “and we make merchants happier”.


“We’re on every single block in New York” – Brian Chesky, AirBnB, #dld12

23. January 2012 § Leave a comment

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of AirBnB, put out some amazing numbers at DLD conference in Munich today. The platform now lists offers for private accomodation in 19,000 cities and more than 100 countries. “We’re on every single block in New York”, he said. “We have 10,000 homes in New York and each one makes an average of 21,000 dollars per year”.
However, Chesky tried hard to show that AirBnB is about more than making money off your flat. “Travelers have access to people and places they never had before.” Most of his talk was rather visionary, focusing on the concept of the “sharing economy” where people use online services to share their offline lives. “Sharing really is a better way to live”, he said. “If we’re successful, we’ll live in a better world.” Quite ambitious…

More engagement, more acquisitions, more advertising – Twitter’s Jack Dorsey #DLD12

22. January 2012 § Leave a comment

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey used his appearance at #DLD12 in Munich (one of the leading media and tech conferences around) to reinstate his idea of Twitter as a news service, rather than a social network. The biggest value for any user, he said, “is discovering what’s going on in your world in real time”. His paradigm: “You don’t have to tweet to get value out of the service”. Driving this message home has been his key mission recently – obviously motivated by the desire to attract more low-tech users and make the service more interesting to advertisers. “We’re always looking for how to get more engagement around the platform .

Asked by Holger Schmidt, a leading German tech journalist, about the Summify acquistion, he confirmed that the target pefectly fits this purpose. Summify, he said, helps filtering news and delivering relevant information in real time. There might be more acquistions in the near future: “We’re always looking for amazing team, and if it’s an acquistion, than that’s the method and the vehicle”.

Interviewed by both Schmidt and David Kirkpatrick, Dorsey was keen on making clear: “Our business model is working”. There was 3-5 percent engagement on promoted tweets and trends recently. “Revenue is not just a destination, it’s oxygen”, he said, quoting one of his co-founders at Twitter.

Dorsey called 2012 a “pivotal year” for Twitter in Europe. An team is currently built, and the company installs an office in Hamburg. The goal? No surprises here: “We want to tell poeple that you don’t need to tweet to make use of Twitter”, he said.


“Viel Zeit bleibt uns nicht mehr” – Ringier-CEO Christian Unger über Digitalisierung und Diversifizierung

29. November 2011 § Leave a comment

Manager von Medienunternehmen neigen auf Panels und Podien gelegentlich zur Selbstverteidigung und reden ungern über ihre eigenen Versäumnisse. Nicht so Christian Unger, CEO von Ringier, dem größten privaten Medienunternehmen der Schweiz (Umsatz weltweit: ca. 1,2 Mrd. €). Auf der Kress Konferenz in Hamburg tat er sich heute mit offenen Worten hervor: “Wir befinden uns in einer digitalen Medienrevolution, die die nächsten Jahrhunderte prägen wird”, sagte er. “Die Zukunft gehört ganz klar den digitalen Medien, die Verschiebung dorthin findet jetzt statt.” Medienhäuser seien am Nabel dieser Entwicklung, die “vergleichbar mit der Erfindung des Buchdrucks” sei, “aber haben das nicht so recht verstanden.”

// “Digitalisierung und Diversifizierung sind überlebenswichtig” //

Unger zeigte ein Chart, das die Anzeigenumsätze von Ringier (und die Gesamtumsätze) mit der konjunkturellen Entwicklung verglich – das eindeutige Bild: Die Ausschläge liegen zeitlich immer näher beieinander, und das Anzeigen-Minus übertrifft das konjunkturelle Minus jeweils um ein Vielfaches. “Wir sind in einem äußerst zyklischen Geschäft und sind abhängig von einer Entwicklung, die wir nicht steuern können.” In diesem Umfeld liege “die Kunst des wirtschaftlichen Überlebens in der Anpassungsfähigkeit.”

Der Trend gehe zu Crossmedia und der Ausweisung einer “total audience” als “überschneidungsfreie Nutzerzahl aller Medienprodukte”, wie sie die Blick-Gruppe in der Schweiz bereits vornehme (noch ohne mobile Kanäle). Das Selbstverständnis der Medienhäuser müsse sich ändern, integrierte Newsroomms seien zu schaffen. “Die Verwerfungen sind heftig. Viel Zeit haben wir nicht mehr, wenn wir nicht Technologieunternehmen das Feld überlassen
wollen. Das Veränderungstempo ist rasant.”

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