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Big, Bigger, Bits19: Our Bits & Pretzels Recap

At this year’s Bits & Pretzel conference everything was centred on impact. And who better to talk about impact than 44th US President Barack Obama? 

You could cut the tension with a knife in hall C1 before the opening of the 5th founder festival Bits & Pretzels.

Finally, the countdown began and the three founders Bernd Storm van’s Gravesande, Andreas Bruckschlögl, and Felix Haas entered the stage. They introduced this year’s topic – “Impact”. Felix emphasised that even one person is enough to start something big, and used Greta Thunberg as an example. “After Fridays for Future there should be Founders for Future”, he said. That made it pretty clear where the rest of the opening ceremony was about to go.

After three founders presented their social startups, the tension kept growing. Everybody was waiting for THE special guest of Bits19: Barack Obama. Would he wear the Lederhosen that Bernd, Andy, and Felix gave him? – Unfortunately I have to tell you that he didn’t, sorry 😉

What Obama Had to Say

After what felt like an eternity, the 44th US president entered the stage in his suit. He told the curious audience that he had at least tried the Bavarian costume and he might wear it for Michelle later.

Besides the joking, the conversation quickly moved on to more serious topics. Obama came back to Greta Thunberg and pointed out that she is an extraordinary girl, however, as a sixteen-year-old she shouldn’t have to carry all that weight on her shoulders. Then he turned to the founders in the room and encouraged them to work on digital and technical solutions, not only to stop climate change, but for a better and brighter future overall.

Besides climate change, women in business is also a topic Obama visibly cares about. He pointed out that just inviting women to meetings is not enough. Because men still did all the talking – even though they had nothing to say. So he told them to be quiet and listen, because then they could learn something, and not only things that are business-related, I guess 😉

Then, the former president was asked how he manages to stay optimistic. He said that if he had the chance of being reborn without knowing if he was black, white, male, female, straight, gay, Catholic, or Buddhist – among all times, he would still choose to live now. Because we have never been more enlightened, more liberal, or more educated than today. To the question of how he keeps his optimism he just said, “if your name is Barack Hussein Obama and you sit in the White House you have to be optimistic.”

Testbirds CEO Philipp Benkler Speaking at Bits & Pretzels

Besides Barack Obama’s opening speech that gave us a lot to think about, there was another highlight at this year’s Bits & Pretzels – at least for us. Philipp Benkler, Co-Founder and CEO of Testbirds had the chance to go on stage and talk about us and what we do.

Philipp talked about the idea and the concept of Crowdtesting and how it helps build products that perfectly meet the needs of your target group. He explained how Crowdtesting helps our customers handle the growing fragmented device landscape, localisation, connectivity, and particular user groups. He emphasised that the Testbirds crowd doesn’t only consist of middle-aged, male tech enthusiasts, but that there are also people like Philipp’s mum who only use certain apps. There’s a huge difference between an app for parents or for bodybuilders – but we have them both, in our crowd of 400,000 people from all over the world with more than 900,000 devices.

Philipp also explained our approach to projects, our views on a customer-centric approach to testing, and drew an audience much larger than Obama’s. OK, that last part isn’t true but we do have a lot of experience with working with a large crowd. 😉 If you’d like to know more about how we harness the collective power of the people, and if we can help you improve your digital product, our answer is – Yes We Can!



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