Behind the scenes at Gidsy, from the eyes of the freshly arrived American intern

Abby Carney 2012-09-13 1

Abby Carney is new in town. She’s young and brimming with positivity and ideas and came here on a creative whim – in many ways she sums up the new influx of young international talent to Berlin. Recently graduated from Georgia State University, she moved to Berlin to pursue an internship on Gidsy’s Community team. Here she explains what brought her wandering feet here and what it’s really like working for one of Berlin’s best-known startups…

headshotIt all started when I saw a Tumblr post a friend linked to about Berlin startups. And there was Gidsy in all its glory. I emailed them right away to tell them how wonderful their concept is, that I loved it, and hoped they’d keep up the good work. I was shocked to get a prompt and cordial response from the CEO, Edial Dekker. First impressions, they’re crucial. So I started following Gidsy from Atlanta.

A few weeks before my graduation they posted a summer internship for Community Manager. So I decided, “I’m doing this”. I’m all or nothing. With no promise of getting the job, I purchased a one-way ticket, sold my things, and moved to Germany. Everyone thought I was crazy…

The Hollywood of tech, astronauts of innovation

Sometimes working in the startup scene seems a little like the Hollywood of tech to the outside world. We’re the astronauts of innovation and community catharsis. Especially when one of your investors is Ashton Kutcher, a literal Hollywood celebrity, it’s easy to be glamorized by it all.

Let me take you behind the scenes at the Gidsy HQ, and show you what it’s really like to work as an intern on the Community team for Phil and the Brothers Dekker.

gidsy bikes

We work in a stylish open Kreuzberg loft, a space we share with friends from Third Wave and Tumblr. The building is bursting with personality. On any given day, you can find someone running around with curious items like clothing racks and makeup (Perfect Props, a company that specializes in props for movies is located just beneath us on the fourth floor). There is a collection of bicycles and a fussball table to greet you when you enter The Maker’s Loft. The large “Keep Exploring” decal on the wall lets you know you’ve come to the right place.

The characters: Including myself, there are 12 of us in this bunch. To break it down, among us there are four with the Y chromosome, three from the Netherlands, four native Germans, three Americans, one Canadian and one Austrian.

We are eclectic and culturally diverse, so it’s a great breeding ground for ideas. Everyone has a unique and interesting background, which is really important as a global company that’s all about embracing diversity, exploring new places, and trying new things.

cookie gidsySome days Phil’s [Philipp Wassibauer CTO & Founder] dog, Cookie roams the office and walks around with a stick in his mouth, imploring us to throw it for him. We share a fair amount of cat and sloth gifs, and hilarious memes to keep things interesting. Sometimes an impromptu dance party breaks out, and there is beer for all at the end of the week meeting called, “demo time.”

Coding, James Pants, and espresso machine called Rocky

Take a step closer and you’ll notice there’s a flurry of activity taking place throughout the office. There’s a lot of tippity-tap on our keyboards: a lot of code being written; a lot of tweets being tweeted, and a lot of customer support messages being answered. It’s quiet, except for some James Pants or Bon Iver playing faintly in the background. The frequent groaning of the espresso machine, (affectionately named Rocky) also sets the mood for making magic happen at Gidsy. It takes a lot of caffeine to keep this place running, and there are quite a few espresso masters in the office who are serious about their coffee.

gidsy lunch

We eat a community lunch around the big table every week, Monday-Wednesday, and it feels a bit like being at home, sharing a meal together like that. Breaking bread is a simple thing, but it has a way of bringing people together like nothing else, and it’s an important part of the day for the team.

Behind the scenes is just a small group of intelligent and innovative people who care a lot about each other, and the community. The people at Gidsy are not so much motivated by creating revolutionary gadgets or technological advancements as they are by the ability they have to completely change the way we do things, the way we explore, and discover. Behind the scenes is a team of highly passionate and curious people beseeching you to keep exploring, keep learning and to remain always curious…

For related posts, check out:

Hiring wars – is it really so tough to find tech talent in Berlin?
The backpacker’s guide to Berlin – essential apps and services to get it right

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