How a Berlin-based collective redefines the hacker
Think hackers are destructive? Think again. Enterprise software company Hackerbay specialises in AI solutions for the global market. In Berlin, bridging the gap between technology and people is a central topic and this local startup has a new approach, using the philosophy of ‘optimal interoperability’ in ‘Hacker Culture’.
We catch up with Roman Rittmann from Hackerbay to learn how these slick software specialists are using hacker techniques to improve the world and build products for some of the biggest brands globally.
Name: Roman Rittmann
Position: Head of Demand
You work with top companies like Google, Twitter and Lyft. How did you convince these types of companies that hackers can be a force for good – and help them?
It’s not really about convincing companies that hackers can be used for good, it’s about convincing them to share their challenges worth working on.
We’re the first company committed to using hacker techniques – or the mind-set of infinite possibilities. We invite companies to give us their hardest problems, then bring together the world's best hackers to solve them. We’re helping companies create software that drives real business value and gives people the freedom to make smarter decisions.
You have an office at Factory in Berlin and Palo Alto in the US. Why did you choose to have two offices? And why these locations?
When we formed Hackerbay, we wanted to create the first company committed to using hacker techniques to make the world better for everyone. We brought together the world's best hackers and invited the world's biggest companies to give us their most intractable problems. For us, the two most promising cities that could achieve our vision were Berlin with its unique mentality of redefining what is possible and Palo Alto with its mentality of hacking and scaling software.
What do you feel the key differences between the two IT metropolises are when it comes to lifestyle and work-life balance?
Personally, I feel Palo Alto is mainly a software city and therefore a place for solving challenges and implementing visions. It also includes one of the most interesting community of people.
Berlin is different, it has a lot of Palo Alto’s components, but it’s also one of world’s most exiting cities for lots of different interests. Lifestyle and work-life balance constantly change here depending on the people living here.
What are other perks of being based in Berlin? What benefits does the city offer startups like yours – especially compared to other tech cities like London or San Francisco.
I think of the most important perks is Berlin’s global appeal and its increasing reputation for technology. Most people that have been here feel positive about the city, whether it’s about living here, work opportunities, fun, education – or even the food. Berlin is also great for developing – and it has lots of international highly-skilled people, which is ideal for growing companies who have access to top talent.
What’s the biggest myth and truth about hacker culture?
The biggest myth about hacker culture is probably the fast-evolving definition, which was once considered to be a negative thing. The truth is hacker culture is a mindset, a methodology, a bridge between two worlds, legacy and the promise of technology.
Hacker culture depends on key factors that evolve. People may try to set boundaries for hackers, but probably the biggest truth is that it’s something that will always need to change to keep achieving promising outcomes.
When Hackerbay first moved to Berlin, how did you get started and settle in? What was the biggest challenge, and what was the easiest part?
Speaking from a startup perspective, Hackerbay moved to Berlin, connected, got the opportunity to join coworking space Factory Berlin, which was the perfect office for our hacker and customer needs. Then we went for it – shifting into full execution mode. One of the biggest challenges in the city not to hide in plain sights. In Berlin it’s about standing out. Each company and startup has to figure out their unique way of doing it.
Factory Berlin is a private members’ club for technological and artistic industries in the city. They provide space for innovators at Mitte and Görlitzer Park in Berlin and are part of the large coworking space network Berlin offers. Factory means it’s easy to bring business to the city without having the hassle of looking and leasing office space independently. The coworking space offers room to network, work, develop, socialise and relax. Startups, freelancers and established corporations use this service because of its easy access. Learn more about Factory Berlin and the services and events on offer.
Hackerbay shows that being connected globally and available in different locations – or even across continents – is worth the effort. As a strong global startup hub, Berlin offers diverse opportunities to new businesses ready to get started and network. As a central European capital, it’s a centrally-located startup ecosystem, that’s ideal and easy to get to and from. Learn more about Berlin’s talents and success stories at Login.Berlin and Reason-Why.Berlin.
Text: Trish Elms for Uhura Creative Media
Headerphoto: © Factory Berlin, Community Space on the Ground Floor at Factory Berlin
August 10, 2018