News, Rants

Featured in “Die Welt”

So it turns out there was a journalist from “Die Welt” at my recent talk at FuckUp Nights Duesseldorf and here’s the resulting piece.


On a side note, we need to keep educating journalists on the difference between “Existenzgründung” (lifestyle business founder and freelancers mostly exchanging their hours for money) and startup founders. One doesn’t equal the other.

That the journalist writes I had a “Karriereknick” (career bend, in the negative sense) also goes to show that they have little knowledge of the world of startups. I’m a startup founder. Risk of failure is assumed as real. Not an office hero, chasing the 9-5 career. One does not equal the other. The failure I spoke of was harsh, but it was the best learning experience I’ve ever had so far. If anything, it was a career bend in the positive sense upwards and onwards.

And I was wearing a OnePiece Onesie, not a track suit. Let’s get that straight too. :)

entrepreneurship, News

Named one of the most important people in the German startup world

So a journalist from Wirtschafts Woche, the best-selling weekly business publication in Germany, was in the audience at my recent talk about what startup investors are looking for and wrote two pieces about it.

And this quote just happened to be in it:

“[Vidar Andersen,] one of the most important persons in the German startup scene.” – Wirtschafts Woche, April 2015Wirtschaftswoche-Logo.svg

Well, thank you for your recognition.


Clusterfuck for PayPal Germany in Progress?

TL;DR PayPal Germany is most likely in deepsome trouble. Story still evolving.

UPDATE: TNW breaks the story and PayPal Germany confirms mistake on Spiegel Online.

This morning I got this email in my Gmail account:


For those not versed in the German language, the mail states in no uncertain terms (no disclaimers even) that I have won 500 Euros in cash from PayPal and that the money should already be on my account when I log in.

Oh, I can haz 500 Euro from PayPal just like that?!! ZOMG!?11! Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

As I’m currently running an educational campaign on IndieGoGo, I already had the PayPal account window open in my browser and lo’ behold – there was no 500 Euro there from PayPal. Surprise, surprise.

I immediately tried to call the German PayPal customer service, but it could not be reached. I tweeted @paypal and left a comment on their Facebook page. Now over four hours later, I have yet to hear anything from them.

Google did not mark it as suspicious, but obviously I did check it for the tell-tale signs that it would be a scam or a phishing attempt. I have yet to be fooled or tricked. It looked pretty legit and I now have it from trusted sources that Kaspersky Labs has verified that it is indeed a legit email.

At this time I suspect human error or a very high-level security breach. In fact, I’d bet on the former. Either way, I think it is safe to assume that someone lost their job today somewhere at PayPal.

German law basically dictates that if you tell someone they won a prize, you have to give them that prize, no ifs or buts:

§ 661a Gewinnzusagen
Ein Unternehmer, der Gewinnzusagen oder vergleichbare Mitteilungen an Verbraucher sendet und durch die Gestaltung dieser Zusendungen den Eindruck erweckt, dass der Verbraucher einen Preis gewonnen hat, hat dem Verbraucher diesen Preis zu leisten.

Either way, I think it is safe to assume that this is most likely a clusterfuck for PayPal Europe in the making. Bring popcorn.

entrepreneurship, News, startup

Bringing the Best of Startup Education from Silicon Valley to Cologne


And in less than 12 hours! WOW! This means Cologne will now get the Lean Launchpad curriculum! The Cologne (and German and BeNeLux) startup scene ROCKS! (And remember, you can still contribute: Every extra cent goes to sponsor the Cologne Startup Weekend 2014, not into my pocket, and there are still tickets left for my exclusive one-time-only evening seminar (with free beers!) that I’ll hold when I get back!)

Thank you SO MUCH for contributing and for helping sharing this campaign with the world! Sharing is caring! <3 — I have news. Awesome, epic news.

I’ve been invited to receive the official Lean Launchpad Instructor training and certification at Stanford, California from professor Steve Blank, one of the godfathers of Silicon Valley, the father of Customer Development and the grandfather of the Lean Startup movement!

And I have also been asked to also hold a talk at Stanford about our startup ecosystem in Cologne, what we’re doing over here and what makes us unique!

So I’m taking decisive action to help build us one of the important pillars of a successful startup ecosystem – outstanding entrepreneurial education – by going to Silicon Valley and Stanford to bring home the official Lean Launchpad curriculum from Steve Blank himself to us in Cologne and to build an official bridge from us to the Valley and Steve Blank. I have taken canadian online casino sites it upon me to teach the best available startup education taught at Stanford and Berkeley to our students here in Cologne.

And I’m asking you to be a stakeholder with me in this endeavor as this is a much bigger thing than just one single person going over the Atlantic and back. I believe this should be a community effort and I hereby invited you to claim your active role in making it happen!


Hanging out with Steve Blank at SxSW in Austin.Hanging out with Steve Blank at SxSW in Austin last year.

entrepreneurship, Events, News, startup

Announcing the very first Startup Weekend NEXT Cologne ever!

W00t! The startup news of Cologne just keeps on rolling. Only recently Startup Weekend Cologne was announced and it seems we (Lukas Strniste (@yeromee), Puja Abbassi (@puja108), Till Ohrmann (@tohrmann) and me (@blacktar) together with Startplatz (@StartPlatz) were stupid crazy enough to bring Startup Weekend NEXT to Cologne too. And that already NEXT WEEK!

Startup Weekend NEXT is a non-profit, but there’s tickets you’ll have to book to help cover the costs of this 3 week intensive educational program.  We do however hope to be able to join up with some of the local startup patrons to subsidize your tickets.

Startup Weekend NEXT is only open for teams of 2 or more people and is a 3 week intensive educational programme involving a lot of hard work for the participants. This is a program for dedicated startup entrepreneurs.

So what the heck is Startup Weekend NEXT?

tl;dr – Something freaking awesome for startup entrepreneurs!

Now read on to find out why!