After Effects

For better, for worse

In the course of the semester we all had ups and downs, more work-load or less work-load, more inspiration and less inspiration. Yet, a blog lives of consistency and vitality and looking back at all that we have done, we think we have it all pretty much together. How is that possible? The key lies in group work:

We were present on almost all Wednesdays to ensure that we were on the right path or looked for the light to find one. But what would the path have been like without our different machetes and instincts? One thing we certainly figured out is to find our strengths and weaknesses and use them to divide our work. Who has the instinct to find water, who has the expertise to start a fire, who is quick enough to catch the fish and who is brave enough to calm the others and fight against the bears?

Speaking of bears. We all lost our fear of technology. Not that we were particularly scared in the first place. But maintaining a blog does require effort and optimizing it did require us to experiment with (uncomfortable) new tools that became our machetes.

And last but not least we learnt that inspiration doesn’t come by itself. It comes by conversations, observations, news, events in life, certain encounters and persons. Every moment offers an interesting story, even more than one if you look at it from different perspectives. That’s why we found our team work experience very enriching and different from other team work because our path was really long this time.

6 Responses “After Effects” →
  1. Out for AHA

    Before…

    Reading my first post just makes me want to push the delete-button. It reads like a mixture of a school-summary and a big question mark, standing for the very vague idea I had from the writing style of people discharging their minds on blogs.
    I had never thought of startups in Berlin before but chose the topic because it seemed reasonably close and offered enough variety to enable me to find my way.

    Lights, camera, ACTION and AHA!

    The advice to evoke action was one I could relate to. The Gründerbus gave me a ride to my first AHA, being that action can be a significant outcome of a blogpost. It was also the first time I contacted a blog author to get some more insight, which led me to my second AHA: blogging is about communities, networks and contributions!

    Team spirit’s wake-up-call

    Writing “When words work” I realized that I really liked blogging and that startups really do interest me. In “Behind my words” I documented my writing process of that post. It wasn’t the outcome that brought me further but the documentation itself: I understood the importance of structure for my train of thoughts.
    Using that new structure I suddenly saw a bigger picture with interrelations to my group’s topics as well. Yeah, we had actually become a good team and could benefit from each other’s strengths. I learnt from Lucas about blog design and all those different widgets and other neat features I would have never even looked up in a dictionary. Lili helped me to remain calm in times in which everything got crazy. Nico was great for having inspirational conversations. And I really enjoyed working with Emily because she really is from the scene and always knew what’s hot and what’s not.
    Inspired by all those diverse influences from my team I chose “Spotted!” as my personal wake-up call, determined and enthusiastic about paying more attention about stuff around me.

    Inspiration and Davenport

    From then on, I didn’t lack of ideas as in the very beginning. I found inspiration in everything and everyone, which multiplied with memories from my past. My head was full. So I gave Davenport a chance and it saved me not losing my way when I wrote my next posts.

    AHA Davenport is even cooler

    Back in real life I again was about to struggle with the sales clerks at my cell phone store. They just kept sending me wrong bills and nobody felt responsible. That time, I just wrapped my complaints up in the Davenport model. And guess what, they finally understood!

    BUT careful with maps..

    I appreciate models like the Davenport model because they allow me to wrap my thoughts around them. That way, I can use them as maps, which guide me through my path of writing. BUT after receiving feedback about my post about mentality I realized that it’s important not to hold them too close to my face because they would just limit my sight. The AHA for me in that case was to be more open to all kinds of sources even if they don’t fit into my preconstructed map and explore them deeply.

    The power of crowdsourcing

    Another AHA I had, was when I discovered the power of crowdsourcing. I became aware of it for the first in the lecture about background music, but ok that was passive. Then, I paid attention to it and was amazed by how it added value to Emily’s post Stop Whining. Using the same technique it also enabled me to find my Lessons From A Crime Boss. And again, back to real life: As I started to get involved into real world-startup-marketing I could finally step over the Google-boarder and get all the information, trends and statistics to do my work properly. That way I got the chance to experience what we had been writing about…that working for small startups really meant that you could see your hard work become a real thing.

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  2. When it clicked.

    Progression

    Reading my first post and comparing it to the last one makes me wont to delete it too. This is what Larissa and I have in common. What we unfortunately don’t share is the feeling about big progression. My first and last posts are basically written in the same pattern. Ok, the scheme has been a little different since I have learned how to use the A3-Modell but in the end the writing is almost the same, which made me wonder. Why can’t you see as much progress as you can see in Larissa’s posts?
    This leads me to the most important awareness I had lately.

    Ohne Fleiß, kein Preis or No pain, No gain.

    The preconditions were, that I am sometimes not as motivated as I should be. I thought I wouldn’t have to make up a date to write a post because you can’t force inspiration to come. Working on this blog made me see this a little different. Sometimes you need to force yourself to move your head into a certain topic to experience it. When I wrote my personal favourite post “into the wild” I was inspired but only because I have thought about the blog while watching the movie. Funny that I realized this at the end of the class but this awareness will hopefully not only be necessary for writing a post but to get where I want to be in life.

    Group dynamics

    Besides this experience I have learned a lot from the group and a certain dynamic every single one inhabits. Every time we met we talked a little about the topic. You do this, you do that, etc. No offense just dividing work and/or inspiring each other.
    Larissa’s ambition inspired me a lot and gave me a bad feeling about my own achievements, which was really necessary at times. Lili showed me how information can evolve a better conscious about a topic. Nico showed how you can struggle but get finally pushed by the group and Emily, Emily showed me where I could be if I was a little more ambitious.

    Methods

    The opportunities we were given for research were almost endless so we had to find our own way. Concerning this I agree with Larissa. I have learned that crowd sourcing is much more powerful than a stupid Google algorithm no matter how advanced it is! Technology, computers and machines are the future but! still it is insufficient without humans. I thank god for this awareness. Technology is not taking over yet.

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  3. * On the way to enlightenment: The beginning

    When I decided to blog about start-ups in Berlin it was because the topic really interested me, but at that point I hardly knew anything about it. As well I had no idea how to actually write a blog, which is also reflected in my first posts. I am happy to say that I improved with both – the knowledge about start-ups as well as the skills how to write and structure blog posts. But much more important for me was that in the course of blogging about start-ups I changed my perception of my business studies in general and identified some interests and fields I could imagine to work in later on.

    * The greatest AHA

    The greatest AHA-effect that I experienced through this BusApps class was that I got an idea of what opportunities the studies of IBMAN offer for my future life. Actually I always wanted to study medicine. I used to have this wish to have a kind of job, which is valuable and beneficial for the society to see a sense in my work and as I am very interested in the human body and brain, medicine suggested itself. But I couldn’t get in right away and therefore had to look for something else to do and finally ended up doing IBMAN. More or less by chance…

    In the first semester I felt like the studies of business were not the right thing for me, which was frustrating and besides the social attributes of the HWR – my fellow students and the student life in general – I did not enjoy studying so much.

    Now, at the end of the second semester I think differently. I realized that the business fundamentals could offer me many chances for my future career, as everything else is related to business. I didn’t see that strong connection between business and all other areas before and discovering this dimension provoked an important change in my mindset. Studying business and afterwards earning a degree in medicine could open up a lot more doors than just going to medical school. Or if I change my mind again about medicine, there are so many other possibilities and so many ways to go.

    The important change for me is that I now feel that I’m heading in the right direction and that matters a lot to me, as well as it affects my motivation for my studies in a positive way.

    * The blogging

    While I had some difficulties in my first posts to consider a lot of things like e.g. a clear structure with subheads, using reporting verbs when citing different sources, linking the content to other blog posts of group members, I realized that this became much easier, after having done a few posts. When I did my last blog posts, I didn’t need to remind myself of implementing subheads and referring to group members anymore. It was more like it made no sense not to do it.

    But not only through the writing of posts I could feel myself getting more into it, also reading the posts of my group members or fellow students was a good source of inspiration.

    I saw what I, as a reader of their posts, especially liked about them and tried to implement these elements in my next posts as well. For example I started giving an overview about what the reader is going to be informed about at the beginning of my posts, after having read and appreciated this in someone else’s blog post.

    Another thing that I found out is that I have more “trust” in blog posts of people who support their findings with many linked sources and try to analyze the topic from different point of views. It just offers a more professional appearance for the reader and therefore I tried to do that myself in my latest posts.

    Also the business models of the case studies we treated in class turned out to be helpful in the end, as they provided a precast structure that could be adopted for our blog posts and help us to structure them a bit better. In my post “’Kitchen Networking’ or ‘How to teach a man how to fish’” I applied the Toyota A3 model and in the end I was surprised how much better structured my post was. Easier to read, nicer to look at, better understandable.

    * A 3D experience of start-ups

    Coming back to the topic of start-ups: Shortly after having started to blog about start-ups, I felt myself by chance confronted with that topic in two other forms, which gave me a three-dimensional experience of the subject.

    The first one was of course the online research about start-ups in general and the blogging about start-up-related topics in the BusApps class.

    The second interconnection developed when I joined a student’s business consultancy two months ago and in the course of that worked together with a start-up firm. While helping to set up the business plan for the start-up I could then experience the things I simultaneously blogged about, like e.g. how working in a start-up is like.

    The third connection to the topic “happened” to me when I met a social entrepreneur a couple of weeks ago, who is really active in the scene of social entrepreneurship and start-ups. Conversations with him made me curious about the field of social business and I started researching into that direction. You can see what I found in my latest posts that treat topics like social entrepreneurship and non-profit businesses in general. Also, this encounter made me become active myself: Through him I was updated about actual events in Berlin’s start up scene and in that context I will attend a workshop next week, organized by Linking Talents. (Have a look at my very last post for more information).

    * Summary

    All in all I think that every member of our blogging group, including Lucas;), made significant proceedings. In my case, I learned some nice new features (thanks to Lucas for that) about how to maintain and design a blog and in general I developed a kind of feeling for blogging. How it can be done, how others do it, what kind of styles fit to which topic and so on. Even though, more relevant for me were the findings I had about what I want in life and why studying IBMAN is maybe not the worst thing in the world to start with!

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  4. The a-Ha!

    A-Ha! effect one occured the day when it was up to us to choose the blog topics. All of the sudden everything got very confusing and hasty. People scurried around and flapped their mouths. I just sat there, like in trance, the sounds were cushioned. Decisions, decisions, decisions. What do I want to write about? a-Ha! There was a lot popping up but nothing seemed to offer enough substance or to interest the others who had already mingled in little groups.
    A-Ha! I do not know what to write about. Maybe my drowsy brain didn’t know. Still I wasn’t a step further. What now? I can’t just write about stuff that doesn’t drive me.
    At first, this a-Ha! situation created an uncomfortable frisson. ‘Disable the paralyzation right away, get your ass up and deal with it!’, said some voice in the depths of my head. Just sitting there, ignoring it. Can you relate? Just simply sitting, ignoring, staring and in some terms enjoying the whole situation. Still frustrating. It’s a mess. Slowly, the simple task to think about what to write about opened my sleepy eyes. Not in terms of what to write about but what I want from life and what I can give back. Now don’t get me wrong. The daydream did not show me the final destination. Much more, it clearly showed me to really focus on my strengths. Strengths I can simply use in daily business. Strengths, others struggle with.
    Anyways, there was no light shed on what I want to write about. Something else was in the foreground. The a-Ha! effect. To seriously think about what my strengths are, how I can use them in the future. Basically, the a-Ha! effect did not have anything to do with class, but class helped me to get one.

    The Progress

    As I kept struggling with the topic, I did not open my eyes properly and did not look in different directions. There was just this big sign in my mind, saying start-ups, in big bold letters, trying to tell me something. One day, as we sat in class, Mr. Spear told me, ‘Hey, why not write about art?’ Second a-Ha! effect. Write about art. I was too focused to write about the Berlin based start-up scene. I might not have made a lot of progress in terms of blog design but I can tell you with good conscience, I made personal progress. Of course, good design is important, still it is a formality. That is why I’m glad to be able to explain myself. Maybe my last blog post does it in quite a good way.
    I did not just make personal progress; I figured out that writing about a topic of personal interest can really be a source of inspiration. Not just for me, but also for all of the others. Interesting people, writing about interesting topics.
    Reading and commenting the posts of my fellow students was just great. While reading a post, I reflected my opinion on a certain topic. The reflection created a-Ha! effects as well, because I have never thought about certain topics in a way I did when I read the posts. New thoughts and ideas were created and got linked to the knowledge I already had. For the biggest part, it turns out that commenting, reading and the collection of new information was the best experience besides the a-Ha! effects.
    Nevertheless, writing and researching art and art projects was really a lot of fun and I had fun to tell people about it. That is what is important. I had a good feeling while publishing. Just to provide something of my field of interest. I recognized that basically everything is connectable. A tool like the web, which is already connected helps to find the missing links. For me, working with the web has changed in a manner which I would have never expected. It takes me so much less time to research and understand stuff. Simply because of connecting and creating links in between topics, for example art and business. The opportunities are endless.

    The Group

    Group work with my group was a very inspirational experience. Since we are five, there was a lot of input and information shared. Everybody came up with new ideas every time we met. The great thing about our group was the motivation, which seemed endless. An amazing source of energy. From Lucas I learned not to give up and to keep my head up. A tight compadre to laugh with, even if the times are shitty. Larissa, I totally agree with you. The inspirational conversations were awesome, especially when they were about farmers. Lili, I really appreciate your comment on my last post. It means a lot to me, especially because we had conversations about where the journey will go to in the future. I know you really understand my situation.
    Emily, we already know a lot about each other. Thank you for the input about start-ups and Haiti. You are on the right track. I hope I could support you with a little bit of motivation when talking about art, creativity and not giving up the things you love.
    We had a great time, and I want to thank all of you for your support.

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  5. What did I learn in this semester of Business Applications?

    Let me start with the beginning and I am completely honest here. I didn’t know what the hell this course was about and didn’t think I’d learn anything at all. It didn’t get into my head what this blogging was about and why we should read those pages and pages long case studies and write reaction posts.

    The Group Effect
    It might not be an AHA effect, but teaming up in a group made me realize that blogging, creating the wordpress blog, thinking about a concept and giving feedback wasn’t merely about me but the whole group. Which gave me sort of responsibility that evolved into a motivation to write. Our group dynamic worked really well for me. When we sat together and thought about topics I began to feel excited, the discussion made me see different points of view which helped me a lot to write my posts.
    We are all different types of people with different working methods and this made me reconsider my opinion on the subject.

    My Posting
    My first post was awful. Really interesting topic but written just to get work done. I didn’t yet get the purpose of researching deeper into a topic to show all sides of it.
    Fortunately we have chosen a topic I am passionate about. I am interested in startups and how everything worked, since I have some experience there. But that was one of my weaknesses in the beginning: thinking I was kind of an expert and being taught in school to present everything from the it-is point of view. However: might-be, can-be or will-be is much more interesting. Looking at something from different points of views and perspectives made myself broaden my view and see how little I actually know.
    My second post I wrote in a similar manner, but it was inspired in a different way: knowing I had to write my next post soon I kept my ears and eyes open for interesting topics. Then, sitting in the office, listening to a presentation I caught the idea that exactly this will be interesting to others as well, inside knowledge that can inspire you as it did me. I love success stories, because they motivate and teach you to listen closely and adapt what suits your life’s situation.
    Going further I had a “creative blackout” couldn’t find a topic that I wanted to write about. So I started following several start-up blogs on Facebook to keep updated and skimmed through the freshly published articles. And YES I found inspiration: a topic that really interests me about startups: HR! Thus I started to research and write about it for my next three posts. For me this was really awesome, since for every post I could write from a different angle and thereby learn more about it and deliver this knowledge to the ones reading my posts. All of a sudden I found myself sitting in front of my laptop for hours reading through bog post, going from topic to topic and reading more and more; I developed a passion for it. And funnily the time I started liking to write, more people commented on my posts. I had made it! ☺
    From here on I used the inspiration I got a work, from friends, picture or articles I read for my posts and it stopped feeling useless. That was my biggest AHA effect: I like to put effort in something where I can see a sense and what I’m passionate about.
    And it made me feel different about reading blog posts, I could suddenly see the effort in it and understood that it makes you feel good about sharing your thoughts and researched background knowledge with an audience.

    Reaction Posts
    To be honest I only did the reaction posts very late since I didn’t think writing them was compulsory and being overwhelmed with work anyway I just ignored them in the beginning. However, reading all of them and writing reaction posts slowly made me see the connection between business application, writing and the research. If I had seen this in the beginning, I would probably have been more motivated, but rather realize it late then never, isn’t it?
    Especially the Post about Delta Airlines impressed me since it stands for so many current problems and offers an innovative solution. It combines management, technology and clever decision-making. Now those are attributes, startup leader also needs! Wow and now we have everything connected!

    AHA
    This whole semester wasn’t really easy for me and starting off looking at everything of work was a real bad start. Now I know I should have attacked it as a challenge and be more openly about the whole course from the beginning. It took me quite some time and effort but now I am actually proud of my groups blog and I think we have done real great work altogether. The blogging has been a wonderful experience of and I am actually thinking about continuing to do it. It has not only broadened my horizon but also taught me to write differently than I learned in school. The feedback I got was honest and constructive. It isn’t easy to give god feedback, but receiving it can show you what you can improve and where you can change something, which you wouldn’t normally be told.

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