The Engineering Hangout with Andreas Klinger: The way we manage knowledge work is broken
The Engineering Hangout is a podcast where engineers hangout and talk shop. Hosted by Chris Reeves, the show is brought to you by Templarbit. You can subscribe on iTunes, Breaker or anywhere podcasts are found.
CoinList is building the platform where the best digital asset companies run their token sales. CoinList was launched in 2017 as a spin-off of AngelList. CoinList is based in San Francisco, with another office in NYC. So far, the company has raised a total of $9.2M in VC funding.
Andreas’ career as an engineer spans over 15 years including time working for different startups in San Francisco. His time and experience at ProductHunt has impacted him the most as an engineering manager and product builder.
Born in Austria, Andreas also has some insights into the European startup eco-system and has actively been involved in the Austrian tech scene ever since.
During the episode you’ll hear:
- What is CoinList?
- Difficulties hiring in San Francisco
- How is working with engineers remote different than in-person?
- What are some things a young startup should consider when going remote?
- Day to day life at CoinList
- What is an Airdrop?
- Pros and cons of the Blockchain scene
- Development tools Andreas can’t live without
- The importance of finding your market niche
- What is the Austrian start-up scene like?
Learn more about Andreas Klinger at CoinList.co.
Full episode transcription below:
[electronic keyboard music fades in]
00:00:01;28 - 00:00:24;06 | Andreas
In my opinion having a co-located team and actually leveraging it is awesome. In my opinion being in the same place is better for innovation. Being In separate places is better for iteration. So if you can actually optimize for your own performance that’s amazing for iteration. If you can just like point at the white board and like to try to explain something with your hands, that’s better for innovation. In separate places is better for iteration. So if you can actually optimize for your own performance that’s amazing for iteration. If you can just like point at the white board And like to try to explain something with your hands, that’s better for innovation
00:00:28;09 - 00:01:01;14 | Chris
Welcome to Episode 4 of the Engineering Hangout presented by Templarbit. I’m Chris and I’m part of the team here at Templarbit. On today’s episode we have our CEO and co-founder Bjoern Zinssmeister talking to the V.P. of engineering at CoinList Andreas Klinger. CoinList provides compliance services for the next generation of technology companies. Andreas has spent a lot of time with startups throughout his engineering career. So he and Bjoern had quite a bit to talk about. Here is Episode 4 of the engineering hangout featuring our guest Andreas Klinger.
[electronic keyboard music fades out]
00:01:07;09 - 00:01:11;02 | Bjoern
Hello Andreas. Welcome to the Engineering Hangout.
00:01:13;06 - 00:01:18;06 | Bjoern
Hi Hi. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you up to at CoinList and how did you get here?
00:01:18;27 - 00:01:27;17 | Andreas
OK first up and little bit of an excuse to all listeners. You’re pretty much going to listen to two Germans talking English for at least 30 minutes. So sorry for that. [laughs]
00:01:30;24 - 00:01:31;27 | Bjoern
The German episode. [laughs]
00:01:32;15 - 00:01:31;27 | Andreas
The German episode. [laughs] The German episode. [laughs]
00:01:37;29 - 00:02:16;26 | Andreas
Let’s talk about German engineering. So anyway my name is Andreas Klinger. Until Let’s talk about German engineering. So anyway my name is Andreas Klinger. recently I used to be the CEO of a company called ProductHunt which is if you don’t know it kind of imagine the Reddit and the App Store have a baby. That’s kind of what we do. It’s a platform to launch new startups. We were acquired by AngelList which is kind of Linkedin for startups and I joined a spin out of AngelList which is called CoinList. Beginning of this year CoinList is essentially compliance as a service for anything related to crypto. So we manage ICOs, we manage airdops and we also work on basically an exchange for tokenized securities.
00:02:16;28 - 00:02:19;07 | Bjoern
Great. Where does everybody work at CoinList?
00:02:19;23 - 00:02:29;14 | Andreas
CoinList just has two offices one in San Francisco and one in New York. Whereas the one in New York is mostly compliance legal and the one in San Francisco is mostly product and engineering.
00:02:29;19 - 00:02:33;03 | Bjoern
Yeah. How many engineers are on the team today?
00:02:33;04 - 00:02:36;07 | Andreas
The engineering team is right now like six to eight people.
00:02:36;08 - 00:02:36;14 | Bjoern
00:02:37;04 - 00:02:43;22 | Andreas
We are constantly hiring right now. We pretty much started aggressively hiring a few months ago.
00:02:44;10 - 00:03:02;27 | Bjoern
Yeah. Hiring in San Francisco seems to be an issue. I talked to a lot of younger startups coming out YC and other accelerators and everybody’s sort of trying to figure out how to do hiring in San Francisco right now. It seems to be very expensive. Google and the other big brands are throwing a lot of cash around…
00:03:02;29 - 00:03:03;02 | Andreas
00:03:03;12 - 00:03:05;27 | Bjoern
Makes it hard for guys like us.
00:03:05;28 - 00:03:51;26 | Andreas
Yeah my POV on this and is like I used to do a lot of hiring at ProductHunt and now a lot of hiring a CoinList. At ProductHunt as a remote team and hiring anywhere between West Coast to Eastern Europe and everything below in Latin America and Africa. And to be honest like I was a little bit spoiled like I was kind of at this point very like okay this person has like four to five years of experience but using Python or Rails so maybe let’s look at the other of twenty five interesting candidates first and get back to this person later. In San Francisco it’s much more okay you seem to program let’s talk let’s see if there’s something into this. You know like you got referred to somebody I know. Please let’s meet. You know it’s much more, you or you’re, it’s very different let’s say.
00:03:52;02 - 00:04:22;11 | Andreas
The good thing in San Francisco. You can get like really really experienced people so people who’ve worked on Google scale let’s go this way. But like in general I personally prefer hiring remote because you can even poach people from San Francisco companies by just telling them hey you would earn a fair salary but you can move back to your family in the middle of America and work from there. And that’s very often the really interesting way to actually approach people who are currently at Google.
00:04:22;17 - 00:04:29;25 | Bjoern
Yeah. So at ProductHunt you guys had a remote team. I know some of you were here in San Francisco like a small bunch…
00:04:29;26 - 00:04:30;08 | Andreas
00:04:30;10 - 00:04:36;02 | Bjoern
but how was remote different from working with engineers in the room and what are some of the challenges?
00:04:36;04 - 00:05:30;07 | Andreas
Fair enough. So ProductHunt we had roughly, let’s say, we still have like roughly 20, 25 people from Bulgaria, Belgium, England, France, several parts of America and so on and so on. We even at the last hiring sprint realized that we have amazing candidates coming from India and then actually said like maybe west coast to Eastern Europe is actually limiting our potential. And then started hiring people from India which turned out to be an amazing idea because like we have some of our best new employees actually coming from India. There are different challenges. Let’s call it this way. In my opinion most of those challenges originate actually that because managing knowledge works hard and we like society haven’t yet really figured out to properly do it.
00:05:30;07 - 00:07:00;26 | Andreas
We believe we do. But we actually don’t. We use many of the patterns we know from factory work and just apply them to something we’re basically knowledge work and a lot of this stuff just breaks apart but we are able to I call it like monkey patch. All of these problems by just like having a quick meeting if we’re in the same office and just casually discussing everything again right. This is a big advantage of a co-located team. You can just like something is a little problem even big or small you can’t just like quickly talk and monkey patch. The downside of this is that many co-located teams tend to have meetings of meetings of meetings and so basically this little monkey patch solution similar to engineering becomes like this pile of complexity really quickly when more and more people are monkey patch and monkey patches. In a remote team I usually say you have five facts that complexity. So basically you need to plan if you have five people in a co-located team you get by by just like talking on the spot and maybe having a meeting once in a week if nobody forgets about it. If you have five people in a remote team you need to act like as if you would be 25 people in a co-located team. So you need like a strict meetings for each project you need like meeting notes you need to communicate publicly in slack, you need to automate things and so on and so on. There is a lot of things that make remote work easier and if you actually approach them properly you realize that all of this stuff also makes co-located teams more efficient but sometimes you just get by without.
00:07:00;29 - 00:07:25;14 | Bjoern
What are some of the some of the things that a young team maybe a startup of about 10 people should have top of mind if they are approaching a point where they basically give up hiring in San Francisco and are considering a remote team or at least a part of the team or a remote location. What are some of the two major things they should look out for?
00:07:25;17 - 00:07:27;02 | Andreas
Okay so yeah, yeah [laughs]
00:07:28;13 - 00:07:31;08 | Bjoern
Concrete examples like use Slack to do this..
00:07:31;09 - 00:07:40;26 | Andreas
No Fair enough. I like how you ask me like so when people give up what should they do. I’m like holy shit [laughs] what a daunting question.
00:07:41;06 - 00:08:15;26 | Andreas
So in general in my opinion having a co-located team and actually leveraging it is awesome. In my opinion being in the same place is better for innovation being in separate places is better for iteration. So if you can actually optimize for your own performance that’s amazing for iteration, if you can’t just like point out the white board and like tried to explain something with your hands, that’s better for innovation. So that’s a huge distinction. So even remote teams need to meet each other regularly like worst case every three months.
00:08:15;28 - 00:08:16;04 | Bjoern
00:08:16;17 - 00:09:17;22 | Andreas
Maybe not the whole company but the team. So that’s the worst thing that can happen is that you have a co-located team and a few poor folks are remote. So you have like this one guy in the Ukraine and this one guy in Serbia who like pretty much like the only people so you are like let’s say five people, let’s say 10 people in total, internally you have the organizations style for 10 people. The people externally the group organization is tied for roughly 50 people. Again it’s completely different like expectations they need like planning and all this kind of stuff which you don’t usually indicate in the one office. So you end up with this information silo in the office and like people feeling alienated and burning out when they’re remote. So the worst thing that can happen is being like this weird hybrid setup. What works well in my personal opinion is being like a remote first company so for example ProductHunt has a San Francisco office but there’s like a small amount of people here. And even if I could let’s say like at worst like 4 people here. Even they tend to have a remote first mindset. So you discuss stuff in Slack first.
00:09:18;10 - 00:09:46;23 | Andreas
You actually have meeting notes. You actually try to even if there is for example 3 people and only one person remote you maybe try to just casually try to push it more to a hangout discussion by one of them or two of them just maybe the project lead actually by accident joining from home you know so that that the meeting by itself is like still hangout focused and not becoming this discussion where you know like people talk in a room with the one person remote is like can you repeat that I didn’t understand that. Ya know.
00:09:47;07 - 00:09:47;21 | Bjoern
00:09:47;26 - 00:10:30;14 | Andreas
So this is like the remote first mind. So there’s a few in my opinion tricks and tools you need to do. The biggest one the most important one from my point of view is optimizing what I call single player mode. So you need to get to the point that somebody at your 2am is capable of making decisions small and big to move on. Small in the sense of that they need to be able to know if the code they are actually doing is the right way. You can do this with like automation, you can have automatic code formatting, you can have automatic complexity scoring, you can have tasks that just tell the person if they mess up and dozens of other things.
00:10:30;25 - 00:11:38;03 | Andreas
But also on a higher level that they actually understand where the product is going and they understand why the product is going this way. What the company’s actually higher level goal is so they can make up its rush decisions in this very moment. Like is it worth to invest another 3 hours to get this right or can I just like hey maybe have a different idea or two different idea. Right. It comes down to the fact that the person who codes needs to decide. And this is very weird for our monkey patching factory management kind of society where like the person who is like it, even looking at a diagram speak of like the lowest in the diagram, decides is weird but usually this person knows the most about the implementation, knows the most about the customers. So actually even up thinking of them in a hybrid diagram of being lower and below somebody else is actually wrong. Should be actually the other way around like this person should make all decisions they can and just move basically higher level decisions away so like there’s a strategic level decision that I alone can’t do. There’s a vision decision I can do. There is a communication problem I can fix.
00:11:38;04 - 00:11:53;07 | Andreas
So it becomes to this point that actually management is a bit different and this feels very strongly in a remote team like you know in a remote team or lacking any knowledge work team management isn’t about telling people what to do.
00:11:53;17 - 00:12:39;15 | Andreas
It’s much more about defining processes and facilitating communication whenever these processes fail and that’s everything that management is and there’s of course like this aspect of team leadership where it’s much more about the people and motivating them and finding good paths for them. But like management itself it’s just processes and facilitation of communication. And you feel this in a remote team very quickly if you don’t do that you feel really quickly if you have a very competent senior person making fast decisions and all of a sudden needing to like ping somebody else and waiting for a reply. In a co-located office this can be like just shouting under the table, in a remote team can be four hours because that other person isn’t up yet. So every problem like this every communication input output becomes like multiple times more expensive.
00:12:39;28 - 00:12:52;18 | Bjoern
Yeah that’s a great perspective. Awesome. Let’s change gears a little bit. CoinList is operating in a pretty forward thinking industry.
00:12:52;19 - 00:12:54;04 | Andreas
00:12:54;04 - 00:13:01;13 | Bjoern
What’s the day to day like at the company and do you think there’s a lot of forward movement in your day to day processes?
00:13:30;24 - 00:13:50;05 | Andreas
Day to day for example, I personally I’m VP of Engineering but I strongly believe that if an engineering management in a small team you need to code. period. You need to lead by example.
00:14:02;14 - 00:14:50;25 | Andreas
So the main aspect would be like my immediate day to day life is actually I would say project management plus actually implementation. And it has to do with the fact that we are in a fortunate position that we have by far more demand and traction than we have like capacity in the sense that we for example like when we do an airdrop it’s like we can work with some of the best companies in the crypto space. And for example we do like airdrops with l like a quarter million of people. So it is like really interesting and big projects where I am in this position where I have to just like as an engineer be as good as I can but also as a manager be as good as I can which is for me personally I love it a lot.
00:14:50;28 - 00:14:53;27 | Bjoern
Explain an airdrop for people that have not heard of it.
00:14:54;18 - 00:15:24;14 | Andreas
So the easiest way to explain it like in crypto there is a concept of a token which essentially if you think about it it’s like a coin in the real world. And the idea of an airdrop is that you are incentivizing your community to actually become closer to you or incentivizing your first customers to actually use your token or actually just follow the project more closely help contributing and so on and so on by giving them tokens.
00:15:24;28 - 00:16:15;09 | Andreas
And this is sometimes completely random just in a sense of like I want to give this out in the hope that people appreciate it you know or it might be as a reward. So there is a project that works with us that have for example they are rewarding early community members who did open source contributions. There are already for example incentivized back bounty programs with this kind of stuff and so on and so on. This is what we facilitate here is actually the legal aspect of it. So making sure it is as compliant. As everybody knows like right now crypto it’s a little bit moving target how to regulate or what actual regulations will be and what we try to do is try to provide guidance and like basically bold polls that take that you have some sort of trust that you would like least best effort for doing the right thing.
00:16:15;10 - 00:16:28;23 | Bjoern
Great. Let’s talk about blockchain ICOs a little bit just a little bit more. What do you think are some of the cool things of that scene and what are some of the bad things about it?
00:16:32;07 - 00:16:38;24 | Andreas
Yeah I seem to be unable to have any coffee talk nowadays without actually talking about blockchain stuff.
00:16:39;18 - 00:16:40;29 | Bjoern
Yeah seems everywhere.
00:16:41;26 - 00:18:03;02 | Andreas
So to me the thing that’s interesting personally to me is what you can facilitate with, but not necessarily blockchain, but like if the centralized systems that have some sort of like immutable history is that you can make an exchange explicit so you can say there’s a certain service that I offer and you pay and when you do this you actually have this explicit transfer without any middleman. This is for me personally super fascinating to actually not facilitate what you would call a marketplace but facilitate a whole market. So for me personally it is extremely interesting for example a simple example let’s say you have a house with a solar roof. Right. And because you have like the latest technology you actually are capable of generating more electricity than you need yourself. So what can you do? You can sell it back to your electricity provider and hope this person gives you, this company gives you the best prices or you can sell it to some middleman like some some price comparison site and hope these people give you the best price. Right. Or you can go to like a price comparison price comparison provider that actually says like hey we have all these different price comparisons you know and like we make you to get the best price and so on and so on.
00:18:04;26 - 00:18:35;11 | Andreas
The core idea is let’s say let’s call it blockchain technology is that you actually say I have this electricity who right now is willing to give me the lowest price and I don’t care like there’s no middleman who is currently willing to give you the best price. It can be one of these price comparison site can be one of the actual electricity suppliers. It doesn’t matter and the exchange also facilitates facilitates the exchange of like value to me like money. The same is true for a lot of other industries.
00:18:34;22 - 00:20:38;18 | Andreas
For example one of my favorite projects is a company called Filecoin. What they do is think of like all these data centers which have excess storage. So imagine there’s like a little data center in the middle of Europe. They have like a lot of customers but they constantly need to like just like buy more hardware to be like ready you know and or like a big customer just disappears next day. Right. So they always have some excess capacity which is like just there. Filecoin the main idea of them, Filecoin is basically saying what if there’s a secondary secondary market for storage? So these companies like these storage data warehouses they won’t work with the box dot com to Dropbox to Microsoft or Google of the world. They won’t work with them because they’re too small of a fish. It just won’t work. But if there’s like a standardized protocol, a standardized like let’s say contract, where I can’t just say I have this excess capacity who right now is willing to give me money for this. And you have this market literally everybody could work with them it doesn’t matter. Like all the other small fish it’s become a big fish together. And so you facilitate market swiftness. This is for me personally extremely interesting. There’s a lot of problems that relates to this. There’s the question like how do you actually make use of the centralized authority so that there’s no single player getting leverage. How do you make decentralized decisions and so on and so on. I personally believe if you actually managed to look forward to the end if you figure out how to manage decentralized companies how to incentivize different teams to work together on a bigger mission you actually figure out how to manage the next generation of Googles. The Googles of the world are several 10000 people with complete teams have completely different incentives and like to actually incentivize these kind of large companies to work together. I think the biggest learnings here would come from like decentralized systems like a blockchain technology startups.
00:20:38;25 - 00:21:12;03 | Bjoern
That’s really cool. Let’s talk about ProductHunt from a perspective of somebody that looks for products and somebody that’s an engineer. I’ve actually asked this question at some of the previous episodes. Usually I want to know what are some of the tools specifically maybe dev tools or SAAS apps that you absolutely love and since you worked at ProductHunt I think you probably have a pretty good understanding of what’s out there. But what are some of the tools that you keep bringing back into your workflow.
00:21:12;22 - 00:21:33;27 | Andreas
Jesus. First of all I have like this principle of like my own workflows like I do not like changing it. I hate changing process. It might make my day to day work like anything that potentially just plays with my stuff I’m like freaking out. [laughs]
00:21:36;12 - 00:21:39;06 | Andreas
Yeah sorry for that. [laughs]
00:21:39;20 - 00:22:47;18 | Andreas
So to me personally, let me think, like most are different. Okay. Things I would recommend personally. If you work for example on anything related to web technology or front-end or mobile apps obviously React nowadays, well like React or VGS, it’s an open discussion, but like for me personally it’s React for the simple reason that you can isolate concepts and enable basically less interdependency between teams and components and projects and that kind of stuff. And like clear boundaries which anybody who knows code based management boundaries is like where it’s at. But more importantly how do you actually manage state and react apps. And I’m a huge fan of a company called, like a product called, the Apollographql. They basically did a Craft QL client that also handles all the state management which sounds like a basic thing. But anybody who ever did like an app with Redux knows if you talk to it wrong you end up in Hell.
00:22:47;18 - 00:22:48;25 | Bjoern
00:22:49;20 - 00:23:42;02 | Andreas
And what they basically do is they have completely take away the whole concept of state management and just like nicely wrap it together like this API layer where you just fetch data and cache automatically. So I’m a huge fan of that. Part of that I’m obviously a huge fan of anything related to monitoring. Might be stuff like Skylight or New Relic might be in database space. I’m a huge fan of a company, which nobody knows, which a company called pganalyze. They do nothing else but analyzing databases and just tell you where you can just optimize little things. This is not a big problem if you’re like a small startup but this becomes a big problem if you do like things like logging into your database and like having just like databases become bigger and bigger. It’s actually founded by like one of our previous employees so I’m a huge fan of what he’s doing.
00:23:42;16 - 00:23:42;20 | Bjoern
00:23:42;20 - 00:23:47;07 | Andreas
It’s called pganalyze dot com and this is like a free ad for them [laughs]
00:23:48;17 - 00:23:58;28 | Bjoern
Some of this stuff especially the database scalability of winners that come out of the early days of ProductHunt when you have to go from a small thing to a large thing.
00:23:59;06 - 00:24:47;12 | Andreas
Yeah. So personally I think almost like the only problem the only hard thing in web development is usually complexity and usually the complexity comes out of legacy or scale so that you basically have to all of a sudden you have to treat something that’s just like 5x the traffic and you kind of need to figure it out and you don’t really have to time to architect so you just like fix it. Right. These kind of this is usually the kind of complexity that makes web development hard. So like all of a sudden you have like this large code base with interdependencies where you had like three or four different generations of beliefs how codebases should be done. In my personal experience a lot of the scaling issues you can actually solve by just doing your homework.
00:24:47;12 - 00:25:06;04 | Andreas
What I call like doing the basics proper. And at some point you end up in a situation where you can’t do the basics proper anymore because you have to look back and look like in your history you had to do some custom solutions or whatever. This is where usually stuff becomes hard and like a lot of things going up.
00:25:06;04 - 00:25:22;08 | Andreas
We had a lot of problems at the beginning with databases and we constantly just like optimized and like did our homework as I call it. And we also had the fortunate situation that we have. We are able to hire some of the best people we know no matter where they live.
00:25:23;21 - 00:25:25;11 | Bjoern
Yeah yeah that’s awesome.
00:25:25;17 - 00:26:01;15 | Andreas
But let’s just get this under record. For me personally and I was also told just like every engineer who joined ProductHunt and ProductHunt isn’t a company where you go to for technical problems. It’s a company where you go to for more like product problems like the hard thing is here is not so much to keep a database from exploding it’s much more from getting it keeping a community engaged. Actually like basic social safety problems like figuring out like basically launching something and then iterating like 20 times until you go freaking crazy just to figure out if one variation that actually works in the way you need it.
00:26:01;19 - 00:26:02;16 | Bjoern
00:26:02;17 - 00:26:05;09 | Andreas
This is the kind of problems you usually face with consumer apps.
00:26:05;16 - 00:26:28;18 | Bjoern
I think now you also face that same very same problem even in more enterprise applications because we now have a market where for any given let’s say SAAS product that you want to buy. There is a ton of competitors. And so nailing that right product approach and maybe even the business model on top of it is super hard. It requires a lot iteration.
00:26:28;18 - 00:27:09;13 | Andreas
There is. I strongly believe we are now in this phase of global niches so that you will launch a startup that will make you really successful but it won’t be any maybe not even a VC case anymore. It will be like a multimillion dollar company or like even more than that easily but it might not be an interesting VC case anymore. And SAAS like a perfect example of what it’s like nowadays you understand enough of the contacts that you even early stage with that data can make predictions and you have an extremely competitive market where you basically need to say no no we are the back-end solution for tax accountants who need B C A. You know whatever that means.
00:27:09;15 - 00:27:10;11 | Bjoern
Yeah super niche.
00:27:10;25 - 00:28:02;07 | Andreas
And you need to go niche and niche even closer and you need to dominate this niche. But like on a global scale all of a sudden so you like this one supplier like a friend of mine made a lot of money by building one plug in for back in a day like for Apple Mail for like one weird use case it only happens if the other people use whatever other e-mail client which is very common in enterprises. And he was like a global niche he made like serious money with this. I never really understood what it’s actually doing, file conversion I think. But like he made serious money with this like little niche but like on a global scale you know. But like SAAS obviously by far bigger but it’s still the same vein like you find your niche globally and you dominate this niche and you hopefully managed to extend this niche to other areas and so on and so on.
00:28:02;10 - 00:28:14;03 | Bjoern
Yeah I think that’s totally accurate. I know a guy in Frankfurt that drives very expensive cars and all he did is he sold WordPress Themes.
00:28:14;08 - 00:28:14;24 | Andreas
00:28:15;03 - 00:28:17;08 | Bjoern
00:28:17;17 - 00:28:29;17 | Bjoern
So let’s talk about where you come from. Obviously this is the German episode. So let us spend some time in the Old World. I’m from Frankfurt Germany. Where are you from?
00:28:29;18 - 00:28:35;29 | Andreas
So I’m born and raised Vienna Austria. I used to live in Berlin and London.
00:28:36;16 - 00:28:47;26 | Bjoern
Wow. Berlin, London, Vienna and San Francisco. If somebody put a gun to your head and you had to decide to live the rest of your life in just one of these towns what would it be?
00:28:47;28 - 00:28:51;29 | Andreas
I mean if I have to the problem is that I think of myself as a European.
00:28:52;02 - 00:28:52;13 | Bjoern
00:28:52;14 - 00:29:09;24 | Andreas
And I would love for Europe to have the same mentality of like moving to different cities for work that we have here in America. So somebody from Boston moves to New York or L.A. for work. That’s completely normal. And I would love to have the same in Europe so like actually being put my gun on the head I would say like can it be Europe?
00:29:10;02 - 00:29:10;19 | Bjoern
00:29:10;26 - 00:29:22;29 | Andreas
If this is not an answer I would most likely cave in and move to wherever a family is just for the sake that they don’t bother me every weekend because I chose the other city. [laughs] But I personally am a huge fan of Berlin.
00:29:23;08 - 00:29:27;15 | Bjoern
Berlin is great. What do you think is the startup scene like in Austria? Are you involved at all?
00:29:27;15 - 00:29:59;27 | Andreas
Yes I am. I’m very closely with the Austrian startup scene. It’s in my opinion a really interesting scene because it’s a little less hype than it’s in Berlin. But you have a lot of strong international players that just managed to find a global niche. So there’s like I mean there’s a lot of really big successes that mostly nobody knows. There’s one which is a consumer app which is a big success which is basically it’s called Runtastic which is like a run tracking app…
00:30:00;29 - 00:30:01;22 | Bjoern
00:30:01;24 - 00:30:55;19 | Andreas
Yeah they’re huge. There’s a few other consumer apps that a little bit more known but like the big successes usually tend to be B2B. It doesn’t matter too much how much access you have to consumer media or to consumers and you don’t have this classical problem of scaling you have in Europe you know like this constantly and I talk to every media in my country and that’s like 8 million people here. So now I to talk to everybody in a neighbor country that’s another 50 million yay. And you constantly hit these borders. Like in B2B if you are actually focusing on let’s say global niche you might be very successful like one of my favorite wants is a company called PS PDF Kit. What they do is literally plug-ins for iOS app but also a lot of WAP for displaying and utilizing PDFs properly. So if you have an iPhone you have at least two apps on your phone that actually uses their plugin.
00:30:55;26 - 00:31:16;28 | Andreas
It’s like Dropbox and all you name it like everybody. And this is what they do. This is what they focus on. And it’s not small it’s like anybody who’s worked with PDFs knows it’s like it’s crazy complex right. If you actually did it properly but you would never hear of this kind of company. You know this is not a thing that you are actively that this is not on Wired magazine cover.
00:31:17;15 - 00:31:18;17 | Bjoern
Totally under the radar.
00:31:18;18 - 00:31:24;15 | Andreas
Yeah totally under the radar totally global niche but like immensely successful company.
00:31:24;22 - 00:31:40;23 | Bjoern
If I am a curious startup guy from America and I want to take a trip to Austria, what is the one event I should go go to like a conference meet up. Like what should I do to get a taste of that community?
00:31:40;23 - 00:32:53;15 | Andreas
So there is basically three events I would recommend. The number one is Pioneers which is a huge conference about future technology. So it’s not so much so much only about startups it’s much more about like flying cars and nano robots and like crazy crazy stuff like rockets and you name it. But also startups like classical labtech startups. The second one is conference called We Are Developers. It’s like the largest, developer centric conference it’s much more about recruiting. But it’s one of those few conferences where in Europe where developers can go to and listen about weird edge case problems with POS Kresse or whatever. And the third one is actually meet-up called React Vienna. Some of the best folks and in the React scene are actually from Vienna. It’s like completely unknown again like rockstars sitting in Vienna and they did like for example also like they do a lot of stuff like around React obviously hence the name. But they also did like a conference around Reason, Reason ML, which is like the next big hype thing they did like a lot of stuff around Alexia and so on and so on. It’s a very very very active developer scene.
00:32:53;17 - 00:33:21;12 | Andreas
One of the interesting things for me personally it’s like I can easily staff a better engineering team in Vienna than for example in San Francisco, easily. The only problem is like people who have like product experience and like experience like this constant albatross decisions like this needs to scale, this needs to launch tomorrow, like how do I whatever you know. Or we’re hitting this insane scale like who can I you talk to or the team becomes like 100 people I need to know how to execute this. These kind of people you find here.
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00:33:21;29 - 00:33:31;28 | Bjoern
Yeah. Awesome. Yeah I think this was it this all the questions I had. Thank you so much for being on the show.
00:33:32;02 - 00:33:33;28 | Andreas
Likewise Thanks for having me. Really appreciate it.
00:33:34;02 - 00:33:34;16 | Bjoern
00:33:34;23 - 00:33:37;12 | Andreas
And thanks everybody listening to the horrible German accent for like half an hour.
00:33:37;12 - 00:33:39;13 | Bjoern
This was the German episode [laughs] I hope you enjoyed it.
00:33:41;09 - 00:33:41;16 | Andreas
00:33:44;22 - 00:34:03;29 | Chris
That’s it for episode 4. I’d like to thank Andreas Klinger for being our guest today. You can find out more about Andreas and CoinList at CoinList.co. You can subscribe to the Engineering Hangout on Breaker, Apple Podcast or anywhere else podcasts are found. On behalf of the team here at Templarbit. Thanks for listening.
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