I recently had the pleasure and honor to cover the Hy! Summit in Berlin, Germany, which brought together top industry executives, innovative startups and investors to further advance the digital transformation of Europe’s economy.
Notable attendees included PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Kickstarter co-founder Charles Adler, Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman of BOSCH, German Federal Minister Alexander Dobrindt, and Mathias Döpfner, CEO Axel Springer AG.
The event was held at Radialsystem V along the Spree, and provided a top notch location for this medium sized event.
The opening evening highlight was Peter Thiel’s talk, but I found him to be in stark contrast to one of his PayPal founding partners, Elon Musk. Whereas Musk is an animated and confident public speaker, it’s very clear that Thiel relies heavily on data, as his talk was a series of numbers and figures slides, and he seemed a bit nervous in front of the crowd. He praised the Berlin startup scene, but also dove into why there hasn’t been a big exit:
“It is not so much the fear of failure that is the problem in Europe, in Germany or Berlin, but I think it is the fear of success. It is frightening to be successful and many people feel more comfortable to drop out way before that”, said Peter Thiel
Bookending the event, Kickstarter co-founder Charles Adler was absolutely riveting. He retold his journey through Kickstarter, his process of leaving the company, and about his current “walkabout.” I particularly enjoyed his comparison of Berlin and Detroit, and we had a chat about Ritchie Hawtin at the after party. Good Times!
All in all, I think the Hy! Summit was a success. The crowd was diverse and the number was just right. Not too few, and not too many people there. Hats off to Benedikt and his tireless crew for pulling it all off. Again.
Until the next shoot – Dan