Meet the people behind Startuprad.io. Here you can meet Chris, our man in New York. He writes from New York three newsletters every night for Europe, including one on startups and mobility. He lives as a freelance journalist in New York City.
The interview was conducted in the library of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in May 2018.
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00:08 Interviewer: Hello and welcome everybody this is Joe from celebrator diode. This time we have a very special interview because we are right now here in the City University of New York at the journalism school and do you have Christian, with me who does on a regular basis the startup news together with me and we thought it would be interesting for you guys to really learn something about the people who bring you on a regular basis the news including the facial expression so that’s why you don’t see me and there’s Chris.
00:37 Christian: Yes, hello everyone welcome to the research center here at the CUNY journalism CUNY Graduate School for journalism where I work as a teacher and where I’ve been student myself in 2014.
00:51 Interviewer: and can you tell us a little bit more about your way here because you’re very interesting guy you not only do this you have a large German newsletter you’re writing for how-to reporter it’s a crowdfunded journalism project and you’re also writing a nightly newsletter for a startup block
01:11 Christian: Yes. So well the way it is right now is that my life here basically means I write three newsletters a day for a German audience. So, for the German morning I write it here at night and I work as a freelance journalist here who has a couple of steady gigs all around so I don’t shop around every story I do I write and on top of that I work here at the teacher I work in Germany as a teacher sometimes as a consultant and for some additional stories but the way it started was I was just watching a YouTube video at home and I saw
01:47 Interviewer: Really?
01:47 Christian: Yes, I saw that I was planning or I was dreaming about going to New York and I thought I want to live in the city one day for long a period of time so I started researching what kind of journalism school opportunities exist here and basically in New York you have three big journalism schools Columbia, New York University [NYU] and you have CUNY and when I clicked on CUNY I also saw that they have a program here in entrepreneurial journalism trying to bring together um entrepreneurship plus journalism. So, basically it’s about getting some sense for the business side of things into the journalist and the guy who runs it um professor named Jeff Jarvis who wrote a book which is also somewhere behind us I guess what would Google do is also pretty well renown within German media as a consultant and as a forward thinker so when I saw the video about the program with Jeff Jarvis in there and with a couple of other teachers and the students I knew this is what I wanted to do. And so I got here I think for the first time in 2012 as a guest listener one of the classes I wanted to be part of it even more than and then I got home back home to Germany I opened my computer and opened the folder named New York 2015 and I put all my thoughts in there how I can make it work here and then I thought you know what screw this and let’s make a 2014 and so I moved here 2014 and now this is where we are four and a half years later
03:23 Interviewer: That sounds pretty cool and actually um we got to tell our viewers here we actually did collaborate on the startup news for quite some time before we met I do believe it was back in 2015 15 when we’ve been here my wife and I for Thanksgiving and that’s where actually we met for the first time at all I think we’ve been working together for more than a year on the regular startup news?
03:50 Christian: Yeah, yeah, that seems about right and then I mean the new reality of things maybe.
03:56 Interviewer: You first found the gem podcast and then you talked to me and we realized I do English podcasts and your impression from the United States especially since you’re doing such a lot of newsletters you keep track of all recent events and all of this stuff that really helps the people to understand what we are actually doing there.
04:17 Christian: Yeah, I think also it’s sometimes interesting to see what different perspectives people have and especially what the Americans think about the German market and whether some topics here are as important as they are in Germany or for example when we see what kind of trends from the US trickle down to the German market like the food deliveries or mattresses. Old mattresses.
04:40 Interviewer: Mattresses. Yeah, you’re most favorite topic right?
04:44 Christian: It is. I have a Casper mattress myself.
04:47 Interviewer: This is not sponsored by Casper
04:51 Christian: And I also now have a couch that I bought on the Internet I have a backpack I got from an Instagram. I’m a total victim for all things like if you really want to target me then it’s very easy to get me to buy something online.
05:06 Interviewer: That is pretty nice and we also tell our viewers and listeners now we’re working on doing like a video hangout on a regular basis so moving our start-up news from audio only to video and we hope we’re going to do accomplish this during this year and admittedly I then have to dress a little bit more appropriately for the start-up news.
05:31 Christian: Well, I’ve the hoody so I’m good so far. Sort of cliché
05:33 Interviewer: Yeah, you’re good you’re good don’t worry very soon I’ll have the same haircut because the more I work the more I run start-up radio as a side project the viewer hairs I have left so.
05:46 Christian: So, I read when it starts here like a monk then its stress. When it’s everywhere then it’s genetic. So, you decide where it started for you.
05:54 Interviewer: Definitely stress. I’m not going to say more about it since my wife is in reach behind me. How do you see um the view of the German startup scene here now? Especially in New York because we’ve been just downtown a few days ago and talked to the German accelerator program it’s like a handful of startups a handful of people they are trying to make it then but I don’t think it’s known all over the tristate area or even all over the United States that they were there so most of the time people just know rocket internet and Berlin and that’s about it.
06:36 Christian: Yeah, I still think it has a lot of catching up to do and I still think that one of the impressions of the German market definitely that it’s still a bit underfunded maybe. Definitely more people are talking about Israel and the start-up scene there as being probably the most prominent example from Europe slash the region and yeah I think Germany isn’t known for the industries that Germany is known for in general so the engineering the cars maybe FinTech coming up and yeah I think these are a couple of the of the I’m just like a couple of spotlights that exists or a couple of opinions that exist about the German market and I think it’s very hard to get into the market here also because I think we are used to very different numbers than the Americans here so yeah.
07:28 Interviewer: Yeah, the valuations are much lower the funding some so much lower but I do believe Germany is catching up. Also including the Rhine mine area where just o’clock had the highest round series be round for intro tech all over Europe so congratulations to the guys there again.
07:47 Interviewer: Yeah, I mean that’s definitely true that I think a lot of the stuff that’s happening on a German market is not necessarily the b2c stuff that everyone is talking about
07:57 Interviewer: Totally
07:57 Christian: Or that it’s not something like some consumer solution like getting a food delivery or I don’t know. Online dating whatever but more stuff that happens under the radar where people um but where people can still make a whole lot of money probably just not as sexy sometimes but I mean again it’s probably is something about German entrepreneurship in general. Or German company culture in general.
08:23 Interviewer: And you’re an insider on that you worked in big manufacturing companies down in Stuttgart for everybody who’s not from Germany that’s the area where Bosch Porsche and mercy this is headquartered and you’ve also been tear very you’re originally raised in northern Hessian so basically you’ve seen the country all over?
08:43 Christian: Yes, like the yeah more. I guess you could say the more rural parts is where I grew up where there’s not much happening except a German championships for cherrystone spitting [Laughs]
08:53 Interviewer: Oh really?
08:55 Christian: Yes
08:55 Interviewer: That’s exciting.
08:57 Christian: That’s all so I mean it’s a very long
08:58 Interviewer: We can anticipate?
08:59 Christian: It’s a very long I’m very bad at it but it’s a very long side note it because it also kind of got me here
09:05 Interviewer: [Laughs]
09:06 Christian: It was one year. There was we had a doping case more or less at the championships for cherrystones bidding because someone took the stones cut them in half put some ayran in it glued it back together and so that they would roll further. And from it’s like doped cherry pits and from that year all the records had to be had to be taken away from the winners and I had written about this for the German newswire like The Associated Press equivalent in Germany and the regional correspondent from the region where I was from then went on to become the regional correspondent from New York. So, when I moved here I could tell him I want to work for you as a freelancer by the way I’m the guy from the cherrystones bidding and he said yeah sure I remember you and so yeah it’s like 5% of what got me here.
09:55 Interviewer: That is pretty interesting. Well, I’m looking forward to have a few more years with you. Hopefully we have some more exciting news. Some video content and I get the opportunity to stop by more frequently here.
10:13 Christian: In my living room. Let do this. Bye, Bye.
10:20 Interviewer: My pleasure