Our content-strategy expert Peter Springett has just relocated to Berlin. In this article he posts his first impressions of life in the German capital and the business opportunities around the city.
By Peter Springett | @PeterSpringett
Someone once described Berlin as the largest collection of villages in the world. And they were probably right. I’ve been lucky enough to live and work in Brussels, Amsterdam and London. But nowhere else do you feel such a strong sense of purpose from centre to outskirts. Sure, there’s a ‘Mitte’ to the city, but rather than gravitating inwards, the identity of the place seems to radiate outwards to dozens of equally dynamic districts.
Perhaps that’s inevitable. Ever since the end of the cold war and the infamous wall, Berlin seems desperate to look outwards after decades of enforced seclusion. The feeling you get is of a city that accepts its history, but at the same time looks forward with confidence at a time when uncertainty and doubt grip other parts of the world.
It might also be why the city has a habit of attracting rebels and outsiders. Bowie arrived in the mid-70s and ended up producing three career-defining albums. For novelist Christopher Isherwood, the city’s liberal and hedonistic outlook was equally attractive in the 1920s. Rufus Wainwright, and of course U2, are other musicians for whom Berlin has been home at some point in their careers.
My incentives are a bit more prosaic. Berlin is fast-becoming the start-up capital of Europe, with new businesses attracting investment both from dedicated venture capital, and household names from the global manufacturing sector. Aside from the career opportunities, I also have a long-term affinity for the country. My wife, German through naturalisation, is working with a well-established tech business in the Mitte district. A few years ago, we lived and worked in Bonn.
East and west, past and future
Today, home is in the Pankow district, part of the former East Berlin. When I take the tram to find a co-working space (there are dozens, growing by the day), I cross back and forth across the path of the old wall. Sometimes the only way to know if you are ‘west’ or ‘east’ is by the pedestrian crossings where cheery red and green Ampelmann remind you that you are in the old GDR.
It’s an exciting time. With strong connections in the country – combined we’ve lived some 20 years in Germany – I’m looking forward to carrying on the DLA mission, supporting businesses as social moves to the centre of their sales and business development efforts. In my case, I also bring a heavy dose of content strategy and wider digital marketing experience as well.
Which reminds me. Collaboration is everything. Being part of DLA means being able to call on experts in many different fields of digital transformation: social selling, artificial intelligence, and customer experience to name but three. If these are the areas where you think your business can benefit from some of the leading experts in Europe, then get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media Strategy, Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.
Picture credit: By Olivia Jamin [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons