Rapid sightseeing: Amsterdam, Prague

Flying is terrible. It’s not the part when you’re actually in the air, that’s fine. Terrible is getting to and from the airport, staying in endless queues, drinking overpriced coffee in shopping-mall-like terminals with nervous people around.

Whenever I can therefore, I choose the train. And trains in Europe are awesome! They are fast, comfortable, rather spacious, have onboard wifi and power plugs. Even when the ride is 8-10 hours long, I consider it being a rather nice workday: get on board, work a good few hours, find the restaurant car, and continue after lunch. Most trains serve coffee at your seat.

Rapid Sightseeing in Prague

The best days are when I can find a ride with a connection at an unknown city. Amsterdam, Cologne, Prague, Vienna, Milan – you can actually discover quite a bit of a lot of towns in 1-2 hours, starting from (and returning to) the main train station.

My latest series in Yakuzuzu Magazine is a rapid tour guide. I write about the cities you can discover in 60 minutes: what to see? Which route to cover to see the best sights? Is it even a smart idea to try?

  • In Prague, chances are that you will get terribly lost without a good map and good sense of directions. If you succeed though, you will take amazing photos in one of the best looking medieval cities in Eeastern Europe.
  • In Amsterdam, you can get a good glimpse of the city, seeing almost all important tourist sights. Get a flat white, and have a fantastic walk around the canals and beautiful buildings!

(Photo: Unsplash.com)

This is how I pitch (and why)

There is the promise of the Internet that if you sell online, you never, ever have to see the person you are selling to.

Now that might be true, but then I just have no idea how it works.

As luck would have it, I got a demo spot on the last Berlin Tech Meetup to introduce Appwoodoo. It turned out that pitching in front of 200 people is scary.

jQuery EU Cookie Law popups

The EU Cookie Law does actually seem to apply to most of our websites — we are based in the UK and are using Google Analytics, so there is no way out. Useless as it might be the e-Privacy Directive, the worst part is the scam-like pages that offer “solutions”. Instead, I just went ahead and created a plugin that can be installed by adding 4 lines of code.

An easy-to-install jQuery plugin to create EU Cookie Law popups.

Supports multiple layouts out of the box. Works well with Bootstrap 3. Easy to customize markup and CSS.

IBM is not Nerdwana

So when I get offered a $2000 visitor pass for a tech conference plus a flight ticket and accommodation in Las Vegas, then I say yes and start packing my bags. Even if IBM Interconnect does not particularly sound fun, and even if I could point out almost infinite number of better things to spend that money on.

IBM used to be the place where you send your resume only if you don’t consider technology being especially precious. Their products are as uncool as Windows XP was for OS – but where Microsoft developers are crazy awesome hackers, IBM seems to exclusively hire sales people. And now, the Big Blue gives the world Watson. The one-stop shop for artificial intelligence. That is a solid, fun, innovative thing to do, and mind you: it’s not a startup building AI-as-a-service first, but people from the Dilbert strips.

I’m with one of the first startups here that can get their hands on Watson, so I’m very excited to visit all workshops and see what is there to learn.

This is chess, and this is boxing

Two people face each other in the box ring, full of muscles and full of tension. Sweat is rolling down on one guy’s face and blood on the other’s, as they are: hunching over a chess board.

The two opponents have noise-cancelling headphones on to filter out the classical music we hear, and I wonder how much a headphone can do about the blood rush in the head. Because one of the guys does not look great. And he has about one minute left to win this game by chess mate, before the fight music returns, and his opponent begins throwing uppercuts to his head.

This is the wonderful sport of chess boxing.

We went for a real mens’ night out with friends a while back, and discovered chess boxing on an “Intellectual Fight Night”. The full article I wrote after the event continues on Yakuzuzu.

Kickstart any app idea: our recipe

It’s easy to be in the centre of attention if you have something cool to offer. Developers are a hot asset now: every now and then, someone wants our agency to do a mobile app for revenue share, a website for future profit, or me, in person, to be the CTO of a new gig.

I love all these projects.

No, really, I do.

Let’s create something impossible

Flipped through this hip ebook, listing 100 startup people from Berlin in 2014. Hundred people, that’s a lot. Hundred startups, that’s, yeah, a lot.

A lot of ideas a hundred, not a surprise therefore that most of the ideas are very similar. But then, if all these startups are going to fail, or at least the better part of them, why are the ideas so similar and mundane? Why not starting something actually exciting, that makes you want to wake up every day?

Startups, why don’t you learn from corporates?

Right on, you got the title right. While I’m helping large companies implementing startup techniques in their work culture, it always leaves me surprised how young upstarts have an attitude towards learning from anyone else.

If you are a startup though, you shouldn’t forget that corporates are entrepreneurs too – they are just a bit different. And those differences are not necessarily all that bad; there are at least a few lessons you can take away from them.

So what secrets can startups learn from a big mammoth? Here are my favourites.

How I messed up being vegetarian

Being vegetarian is awesome. Living with a smaller footprint and in harmony with the environment, contributing to a more sustainable life while taking good care of your health. Who doesn’t want this? This last New Years Eve I tried to remove meat from my diet altogether – just to find myself in misery a few months after.

Bitcoin to save Prague (and tourism overall)

Do you know how much a coffee costs in Prague?

£5,40. That’s almost twice as much as it is in London.

Thanks to the snow and a missed connection, I’ve had unexpected hours to kill in Prague. I’ve bought some cakes, wrote this article – and realised the true value of Bitcoin.