From an intern to Managing Director. From an IT start-up to a public company. From buying companies to selling the company. From customers in Germany to customers worldwide.
During my professional career I am constantly being part of an ongoing business adventure. Let's start from the beginning: Parallel to my studies of computer sciences I started as an intern and software-developer at a small IT start-up company in Munich, Germany. The business grew quickly and along this line, the garage company changed into a mature company with departments and subsidiaries in the UK, US and Asia. At the peak we employed about 300 IT professionals in various countries.
Right after our successful IPO at the German Stock Exchange in 2000 I became a board member and executive officer in charge of Marketing, Sales and Acquisitions. Later on, the area changed to the general responsibility of the company's core business "directory solutions for telephone companies and service providers". After a change in the shareholder structure in 2005, the majority wanted to reposition the software company as a service provider in the internet. This was the right time to sell our profitable core business to a competitor in the US and I went with it.
Now I found myself being part of a large multi-national, multi-billion-dollar company with a corresponding long chain of command. Here I got new experiences when we had to merge our German facilities with the European subsidiaries of the new owner in the UK and the Netherlands. Cross-border teams and development labs in US, UK and Germany as well as combining the sales organisations and at the same time keep the customers confident and happy. Sometimes it was a somewhat bumpy road but finally it worked.
In 2008 our mother company acquired an US corporation dealing with phone line subscriber listings data and I took over the responsibility of its business outside North-America. Managing and selling content instead of running a software company was a true game changer to me. I found myself being a publisher of directory content. The traditional business of this company was to provide up-to-date phone book data to Directory Service Providers in Europe. As this business was very much in decline, we started to transform it to act as an internet publisher.
So we developed cool stuff on web services and Apple's iOS platform for international markets. More importantly we experimented with different business models to monetize our phone book databases more efficiently. Working as a publisher with Google, Apple and other affiliate partners in the area of on-line advertisement is exciting and got me a lot of new insights. Optimizing our various web services in multiple countries to provide most relevant content to local search results at the major search engines is another area of expertise which I got here.
End of 2014 the business was sold to an US Private Equity company and in 2015 I moved on and left the company. Since then I am drilling deeper into the exiting and growing business areas of web services and mobile applications.
Developing my projects...
Developing my projects
On to the cloud
Modern Cloud Services decouple you from a tidious hardware purchaching process, installation and 24/7 operation. All costs are tighten to real traffic needs and no penny is wasted to pay for idle hardware capacity in your own computing centre.
However, there is no free lunch. I've been quite busy to deal with all the various capabilities of the Amazon Web Services arena and adapt my software architecture to cater with all the benefits.
A completely different approach in Project Management is 'agile'. I liked the SCRUM framework for managing software development from the first minute on. It empowers the development team and focused to achieve true incremental results every few weeks. Happy to keep a Professional Scrum Master certificate from scrum.org.
Projects can be quite complex. So, I thought visiting this area as well to update my skills with current best practices in Project Management.
At first I looked into the traditional waterfall approach and achieved the PRINCE2® Foundation Certificate in Project Management. But to be honest, it was not real thrilling. Quite formal and static. Not my thing.
After decades working for the directory industry in business development and general management I wanted to refresh my technical skills as a software engineer. So I completed a six-month training on C++, Java, iOS and Android app development. It was real fun to do hands-on projects again and it helped me a lot to keep synced with the latest technology trends and development environments.
Just watch it...
As innovative people often like to play with the latest gadgets, we couldn't overlook the launch of the Apple Watch in spring 2015. And we have been prepared:
LSSi's iOS app TANKradar, a real-time information portal for German petrol prices, was supporting Apple Watch from its first day.
For the UK and US-Markets we launched a new "around-me" app called 800yards which of course is supporting all possible iOS devices including the new Apple Watch
Volt Information Sciences sold its Volt Delta business to SkyView Capital. This includes VD's European facilities VDI and LSSiEurope. Things are changing.
New Services and 1st Mobile App
TANKradar is now also available as a Mobile App for all iOS devices. A new Platform was developed to provide further European directory portals to the Web.
Development and launch of our North American business listings portals USplaces.com and CANplaces.net. And for the first time we published a residential listings portal to the Web too: USpeople.info which includes all published US residential listings. All three portals sum up to more than 100 Mio listings.
...your car with the lowest petrol price near to your location. TANKradar.info provides you with pricing information of all German gas stations in real-time.
Best places in UK
As my company LSSi Europe Ltd was based in England we maintained a pretty good classified business listings directory for the United Kingdom. Our customers, who have been large directory assistance service providers, are using our database to provide up-to-date information at their "118xxx" Directory Assistance phone services.
As their business was constantly in decline we decided to enable our premium database for a secondary use and publish it directly at the web. UKplaces.com was born and it was a true game changer.