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Christoph Fahle
February 25, 2013


The interview was made with Sebastian Rumberg, the Head of Communications of Blinkist.

How's the business going after one year of work?

Blinkist started in August 2012. In the beginning it was all about getting the first prototype done. We are especially happy with the way Blinkist developed over the last few weeks after the launch in January. Right now we are analysing the feedback we are getting from our users and plan the next steps.

The team has grown considerably over the last few months – including full-time and freelance writers, developers, a designer and PR and marketing manager we consist of nine full-time people. On top of that we are working with several freelance developers and writers.

Before the launching everybody's asking about the copyright issue. Was there any?

Our summaries are stand-alone works written by our authors. That’s why there are no legal issues. In fact, publishers are still looking for new distribution channels and we think that blinkist can be a great way to get books into the hands of people with little time. We are interested in building cooperations with large publishers and independent authors. That‘s why we started talking to big publishing houses and are working on new partnerships.

You are part of the hub:raum incubation program. What has the program given you so far?

Thanks to hub:raum we have access to great mentors that helped us a lot over the last months. We enjoy a lot of freedom in our decision making but get a lot of support at the same time, when we really need it. hub:raum supports us with a lot of shared services that we can use at a preferred rate.

What are the main difficulties you're facing right now?

Right now we are collecting a lot of user feedback and prepare the next steps. I think that it is always the biggest challenge for a startup to focus on the things that matter the most and not get lost along the way – while working with very few resources.

Future plans of Blinkist?

Our highest priority is the optimization of our core concept and analysing the feedback. All next steps will be based on the results of the upcoming weeks.

What do you find attractive about working from a coworking? Why you remained here after the hub:raum finished?

Hub:raum rented the first floor for their program, so this is how we got here. I think the biggest benefit is definitely the community that evolves around a coworking space. Feedback and new ideas are just around the corner with so many people from all over the world hanging out in the café – what else can you ask for as a startup?

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Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK

Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

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