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…has many starting points. Most of German start-ups choose something like this: Come up with a brilliant idea, write down a proper business plan, open up an office in Berlin, look for an investor – and get started!

That’s what we initially had in mind as well: To create a platform for mobile guides, in a city that – in our opinion – is the place with the most interesting start-ups, people and topics. In short – the place where it happens right now. Berlin – our dream destination.

The truth is, after our last project we got stuck in Frankfurt – with family, friends, apartment and everything that attaches one to a certain place. That’s why we moved in temporarily – as we thought – in the office of an agency in the Frankfurt Bahnhofsviertel called VIER FÜR TEXAS *Ideenwerk GmbH.

We don’t believe in prevision. What we do believe in is the fact that no station is in vain. That is why, we finally decided not to go the above mentioned start-up way with our new project – the GuideWriters App.

This means, that at first we didn’t go for the classic business angel or the venture capitalist initial investor but for VIER FÜR TEXAS, among other things because of their extended network.

Bootstrapping: Roll up your sleeves and go!
More important than a high initial financing for us was the possibility to start doing business right away. Roll up our sleeves and just do it. The creative advertising agency VIER FÜR TEXAS will help us, translating our tech product into reality.

Berlin or Frankfurt? We still haven’t figured that one out yet. But we’re sure, we’ll manage. After all, finding good ways is our business.

The world is full with interesting places to observe and new things to experience. When you travel the world it brings with it a chance to gain new perspectives, an opportunity to learn from a new culture and attempt to accomplish things you’ve never done before. We met someone who has dedicated his life entirely to travel the world and to share it with his readers. Mark Wiens – better known as Migration Mark on his blog www.migrationology.com. He just finished his first guide on „101 things to do in Bangkok“.

Hi Mark – Who are you and what’s the idea behind migrationology.com?

Originally I am from Phoenix, Arizona. I have always loved to travel, so I set out in 2008 and I’ve been able find a sustainable approach to living out this lifestyle. Right know I live in Bangkok. Initially I just wrote the blog for myself – in order not to forget all the wonderful things I experienced on my trips around the world. It wasn’t even meant for friends and family, more as a personal thing. But after a while it became more and more popular and now I like to share my adventures with others.

Can you live from the blog? How do you generate income?

(Laughs) I can – by living in a cheap place like Bangkok of course. I do some small advertising on the blog and I also sell an e-book, the „Eating Thai Food Guide“. Occasionally I work as a freelance writer for websites or magazines.

What was you motivation for a guide?

I liked the idea very much of having a list of interesting things to do or to see on a mobile device. It is a very useful tool to have this kind of information on your fingertips, especially when you travel.

What would you say is so special about Bangkok?

Bangkok is a city that caters every possible interest. It has for example a very unique and strong Thai culture, as it has never been colonized. It’s the over excitement of everything: fantastic food, friendly people and great shopping possibilities.

Who is going to buy your guide?

I think the guide is mainly for vacation travellers that have time to explore the great things that Bangkok has to offer. And of course expats living here as well.

Do you have any other guides in mind?

Yes, I would love to do another guide – this time a monothematic Thai Food guide. The variety of excellent food we have here is just amazing – all over Asia, actually

What’s your favourite place to eat in Bangkok? And which dish can you recommend?

Kuang Sea Foods (กวางทะเลเผา หูฉลาม) has been at the top of my list for Thai seafood for a long time now. The restaurant provides an extensive, easy-to-order menu, packing in the finest seafood dishes Thailand has to offer – at very reasonable prices. You should definitely try the steamed fish in soy sauce – it’s delicious!

How did you find the pizza?

Life’s a search, so we think – and of course so does Google! And we’re glad that we’re starting to pick up on the  Google listing – of every single place of every free guide published via GuideWriters. Only shortly after a guide is published or place is added it will be automatically indexed.

Take, for example, a lovely Pizza Shop called Pazza Pazza. Andreas added this to his Red Light Lunch Guide, and it soon appeared on the first page of google when entering this search. That’s because our platform has a technically sweet integration of all things that are important to index search – and we’ll continue working on making everybody’s search worthwhile.

 


Of course we do love Frankfurt – it’s where we currently work for most of the time. But every once in a while do have the urge to go even a bit bigger and go back to where we come from – the city of Berlin. So last week we went on tour and took the chance to present our idea to other start ups in Berlin, in order to get some feedback, e.g. during the Betabreakfast – a weekly community breakfast where creative minds and start ups met at the at betahaus, a coworkingspace in Berlin Kreuzberg which also has dependances in Cologne and Hamburg and others planned in Barcelona and Sofia. We enjoyed the atmosphere and took home a lot of interesting tips.

Our visit to the Coffee Circle was quite successful – not only did we get an amazing cup of freshly brewed and fair traded coffee – we also agreed on co-writing a guide on where to get the best coffee in town, including a “How-to” section which can easily be included in any of our guides.

Re:publica and Gründerszene were also part of the visit and we are really looking forward to possible projects in the future.

How do digital inventions change reality? How will we discover cities in the future? These central questions ­ and of course a lot more were asked today by a group of master students from the Goethe-University in Frankfurt. During their course “Geographies of globalisation” the students deal with the development and promotion of the creative industry of Frankfurt. Therefore, they came to visit us in our office in the Frankfurter Bahnhofsviertel. The most interesting thing for us was to experience how our idea of Guidewriting was reflected by our audience which, with an average age of 25, really can be called Digital Natives. For them, it´s just natural to share places and things they like with their friends, mostly via social media. So the idea of guides which lead to places that are not merely places of interest but which help you to discover a city exactly the way you want it seems like a logical consequence to most of them. Many of the students also showed great interest in the technical specifications and wanted to learn more about the app and how to create a guide.

Of course we hope that we managed to inspire our visitors to become so called local heroes themselves and share their favourite places with us!

Wanna go vegetarian?

Life’s a journey and there are as many destinations as there are people out there. Once in a while we’re gonna talk to one of our guides on what they’re up to and what’s driving them.

Today on our list is Nadine Vicente Schaadt who’s currently working on a vegetarian guide in Frankfurt which is almost done. She’s a PR-Pro and discovered GuideWriters when working for the agency which is doing our Corporate Design.

Her guide will be available on the 5th of May 2012, downloadable as in-app purchase at the price of 0,79 EUR on our GuideWriters App.

GuideWriters: So Nadine, you’re writing a new Veggie Guide for Frankfurt – you’re obviously a vegetarian?

Nadine: Yes, I am “one of them”. I stopped eating meat at the age of twelve when I read a poem of Heinz Erhardt (a German comedian) called “The calf”.  It really appelled to me and I was curious to see how long I could stand without meat or fish. In the beginning it was kind of hard – but by now its just part of me.

GuideWriters: Is it easy to eat meat-free?

Nadine: When I stopped eating meat and fish it was quite hard to eat vegetarian AND nice. Most of the times you had to be satisfied with a salad or a combination of sidedishes.  Today it is easier – especially when you know where to go. If I travel for example, I always check out the vegetarian restaurants upfront.

GuideWriters: Is Frankfurt a veggie-friendly city?

Nadine: At a first glance it isn’t. The amount of strictly vegetarian or even vegan restaurants, shops or places is really limited. But there are a lot of lovely places where Veggies get what they are looking for.

GuideWriters: Why did you decide to create a mobile guide for your special interest?

Nadine: I’m a vegetarian but I am definitely not missionary. I don’t like closed communities as “the vegetarians” are seen sometimes. I want to open up vegetarian lifestyle and make it easily accessible for everyone. That is the reason why I wrote the Veggie Guide Frankfurt – so Veggies and Non-Veggies can easily find nice places to eat, shop etc.

GuideWriters: Was it difficult for you to write a guide?

Nadine: Well, it does take some time of course. Not to understand, because the system is really easy to handle but it’s more the collecting of all details you need to have, inventing categories e.g. But it’s fun to see it growing bigger and bigger. The good thing is you can always add or change things afterwards – to make sure your guide is always updated.

Sure, guides are designed to bring you sound and safe to your specific point of interest. But hey – aren’t the best journeys the ones where you end up somewhere else than you originally planned? In that sense creating a guide is a fantastic journey, too. While making a guide you will learn tons of new things about the places you want to guide people to (though sometimes this quest might feel a bit overwhelming). But you’ll manage! Along the way you’ll also find that you get to know many new people and that you will be known to many new people as well! That in itself is a terrific destination; at least that’s what we found.

So let’s get lost in a new project …

We’re about to start with a new guide on the Frankfurter Bahnhofsviertel (the area of the main station in Frankfurt) – using of course our tool to get it published on mobile device (German).

Einer für Alle

Jason Fried und David Heinemeier Hansson gaben ihrem Buch Rework den Untertitel CHANGE THE WAY YOU WORK FOREVER. Wir wollen mit GuideWriters die Art und Weise wie Du Cityguide-Apps auf Deinem iPhone verwendest verändern – und auch das forever.

Sich zu einem Städteführer für Rom eine App zu installieren macht Sinn. Was jedoch keinen Sinn macht, ist eine jeweils andere App, und ggf. sogar von einem anderen Anbieter, für Paris, Mailand oder Berlin zu installieren. Oder würdest Du Dir gerne eine App fürs U2 Album und eine andere für das neue Rammstein Album installieren? Wo soll das enden? Apple bietet Dir daher eine App für Deine ganze Musik. Apple bietet Dir auch eine App für alle Deine eBooks. Wir bieten Dir eine App für alle Deine “Guides”. Read the rest of this entry »