Christoph Fahle
March 26, 2012

By Your Own Bootsraps #1: Anna-Lena Schiller

The winning team of the next betapitch not only gets to move into betahaus | Berlin and become a part of the betahaus community, but will also get a package of services and products to help them develop their business further. The package is solely put together by people from inside the betahaus community. In this series we want to introduce some of these friends that will help you pull yourself up ‘by your own bootstraps’. First in line is Anna-Lena Schiller.

The winning team of the next betapitch not only gets to move into betahaus | Berlin and become a part of the betahaus community, but will also get a package of services and products to help them develop their business further. The package is solely put together by people from inside the betahaus community. In this series we want to introduce some of these friends that will help you pull yourself up ‘by your own bootstraps’. First in line is Anna-Lena Schiller.

Anna-Lena Schiller describes herself as an “information architect” and “visual sense-maker”. Having noticed the importance of clear visual communication in the success of a business, Anna-Lena – a freelance consultant on visual thinking – works with clients to help simplify their often-complex ideas into simpler ones, while adding an eye-catching visual element into the mix. As part of this year’s bootstrapping package, Anna-Lena will be offering the winning startup team a consultation on visual thinking.

In general, how do you go about helping someone translate whatever complex idea they may have into a simple image?

It really depends on the individual or company with which I work. Some companies are already really structured, and know exactly what they want to translate into pictures. Sometimes, however, I have to try and understand exactly what they want to communicate. I usually start by asking people to describe their idea verbally, and from there, I apply a process of analysis and structuring, and eventually translate their words into images. There isn’t really a specific blueprint for this process, as the outcome is almost always different.

The images I help clients come up with can be simple, such as a logo, or something representing a more complex process, or a series of ideas – something like a comic strip or series of storyboards.

Do you think it is a common problem among young startups to be unable to express themselves with images?

I actually think that many companies – especially startups – are good at pitching their ideas verbally, and expressing what they want and what they have in that way. Where they often struggle, however, is with visual expression, and that’s where I try and help them out.

Do you find yourselves working a lot with any one field in particular, or do your clients come from a variety of different fields? Is there any field that you find is more often in need of assistance in visual communication than others?

Good question. I work with clients from all kinds of different fields: from tech startups, to the health sector, to even school boards. It doesn’t depend so much on any one industry itself as it does on the cultural environment in which these clients work – on just how much of a role visual representations already play.

Lastly, what’s one thing you expect to see this year at betapitch among contestants?

One thing I’d like to see is less PowerPoint presentations! I like to see a visual presentation that’s both innovative and effective, and makes use of an original medium. Too many people use PowerPoint these days, which is a shame, as there are plenty of other ways in which one can express their ideas visually.

Want to become part of the betahaus community? Find out how !

I’m currently in Sende - a great coworking and coliving space in Spain, very close to the Portuguese border. I travel pretty often and the idea of being out in the Galician countryside, around other creative, entrepreneurial people sounded like a good idea. I’m currently doing a sort of high-level "Design Thinking" appraisal of my business, rethinking what I’ve learned so far in this first stage of business and how we can improve our services to better benefit clients and artists. The rest of the time I spend on music-making, and mixing the next batch of my own music for future release.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

To be honest, I sort of fell into it. I was always working somewhere between content marketing and the music industry and around seven years ago a friend of a friend was searching for someone to help him curating music for his boutique surf spot on the beach in Costa Rica. The owner was a big music fan, but he just didn't have time to keep all the music up-to-date. So I got introduced to him, we shared similar tastes, and agreed that I would do the music for his space - curating it and updating it with new music on a regular basis.

This for me was a dream come true. I could finally work with music all day, and at the same time, I could help create an awesome experience for the guests. I saw people's reactions when they heard a song they liked. I saw them dancing, getting a little closer to each other at the bar and that for me was really rewarding.

This was the moment when I realized that there is something special about this idea and I got interested if there is actually market out there. I did some market research, and a lot of interviews with different hoteliers people in the industry trying to get more feedback. And the idea started growing more and more. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



Interesting is the story of the last years winner in the category “Creative”. Hamburg based headraft literally took music experience to the next level by creating the world’s first AR Music Video for the German band “die Fantastischen Vier”. Designed for their song “Tunnel”, the cited app unfolds a virtual story world once the track starts playing, giving fans the opportunity to go on an interactive journey with the band rather than being a passive viewer. 

Applications are now open! Finalists will be awaited by a curious jury of five leading industry experts. Among others, Kathleen Cohen who was already taking part in the first year will be in the panel of judges again. With a 25-year multiplatform career history under her belt, she is one of the most regarded in the field. As a digital experience expert, she has successfully implemented projects for DreamWorks Interactive and IBM Innovation, to name a few.

Needless to say, the yearly AUREA Award is definitely the place to be. Apply and become a member of the community bringing together all the promising products and solutions in the AR/VR sector.

Photo by AUREA Award

OKAY BUT HOW IS BESPOKE SOUND DIFFERENT THAN PLAYING MY "DISCOVER WEEKLY’’ OR ANY OTHER AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED PLAYLIST ?

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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