✌️ What have you missed in the last year?
As handpicked turns one here is what I found in the archives for you...
I sent the first handpicked issue on the 2nd of May 2022 to 21 subscribers. A good year later, we are almost 3.000. This is good but not great; I could have done more on social channels, but hey, it’s a hobby.
Thank YOU so much for your support and that you let me be a part of your week this way or another. I do it for you.
This post is a selection of the topics from YEAR ONE and is text-heavy, but so are books! It’s worth a read because of all the small treasures inside and will be useful for recent/new subscribers; curious to discover what they’ve missed.
Feedback and likes are appreciated. 🥳 (#number is a reference to the issue)
🌟 Award acceptance speech
📈 Facts and numbers
🅱️ Berlin, Berlin, Berlin
💸 Money, Money, Money
💡 Snippets revisited
🚀 Startups, scale-ups and others
🌟 Award acceptance speech
Thanks to everyone that helped me grow organically by spreading the word. My favourites include: my colleague telling me about my newsletter and listening to people talk about it to others on our meet-up.
Special thanks goes to 20 Percent Berlin for a shoutout on the 16th of September 2022, which actually motivated me to continue.
Others help(ed) me too:Berlin Events Weekly, a great sparring partner;with a shoutout; and that featured me.
At the end of December, I also published a website with this lovely Testimonials section.
🥰 Thank you! ✌️ *applause*
📈 Facts and numbers
In one year we had:
Over 1250 roles, out of which 64 were submitted by the readers! I know people found jobs this way, and it feels great!
400-500 career pages of recently funded companies. I can't give an exact number, but a BIG MAJORITY were companies from Berlin and Germany.
Countless inspiring and relevant links with 50 memes at least I found funny. Hah.
1244 upvotes for my handpicked related posts on r/berlin, the world's toughest crowd.
🅱️ Berlin, Berlin, Berlin in the first year of handpicked
The Berlin club scene had problems because of rising costs and a serious lack of workforce. This news went well with the excellent documentary Techno House Deutschland where someone mentioned that clubs are a 1.5B industry in Berlin alone. (#18)
In 2021 police investigated 799 street racing cases, and here is an interesting doku from RBB. In summary: Races are random; idiots cruise around to find another idiot to race, usually in dubious rented cars. (#25)
The 2023 Numbeo cost of living index places six Swiss cities at the top in the EU. Berlin ranked #41 globally and 4th in Germany. It stands at #106 for restaurant prices, which… is good news? (#34)
🚌 Why is my bus named M19? Lemme try: M = metropole, 1 = each 10 minutes, 9 = Hmm. Not sure what I am missing; try it yourself. 140 worked better. (#43)
Here is the website to deal with stuff you forgot on public transport. Unclaimed (6-week period) items are sold at a quarterly auction. See you at Auktionshaus Beier in July because I need some AirPods. (#49)
🚃 Newer S-Bahn trains are without the legendary TANAANAAAA sound. This is to make trains more accessible for people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility EU-wide. (#41)
🧹 In 2022, we were breathing THE BEST AIR EVER. This was the year with the lowest emissions since the 1980s and 1990s. (#40)
❤️ Based on a survey of 20k people in 50 cities, we have the best public transport in the world! (#47) Slightly related, BER Terminals 1 and 2 are connected, meaning you can pass the security check at either. (#49)
Berliner Zeitung had a good article (🇩🇪) about how to buy an apartment. Price drops seem unlikely because Berlin is still cheap compared to other big European cities. 6-10k per sqm! 😅 The other part of the equation must then be the salaries? (#40)
↘️ Prices of real estate in Germany were falling for the first time after 16 years. But mortgages will cost you much more today than last year. On top, “falling” at this point means 1.6-2.9%. This is not really a sale, is it? Related, Germans love to rent. (#45)
🏘️ Berliner Zeitung's interview with a real estate agent discussed Charlottenburg's 150m queue apartment viewing disaster. Shocking, but a decade ago, landlords offered €500 IKEA vouchers to attract tenants. Tips to get a flat today included a well-organized application and a concise introduction email. (#47)
🛹 Building housing on Tempelhof became a topic again, which is great because we can now all have strong opinions (exhibit 1, exhibit 2, exhibit 3). 🤡 Before forming one, think like a scout: “Is this true?” instead of “Can I believe it?”. I wrote a book summary about how to think like a scout. (#43)
⚽️ This beautiful documentary about Union Berlin from RBB is well worth your time. ( #26)
Berlin’s: 24 Michelin restaurants (#21); interesting grocery shops (#19); hidden gems (mostly food) under 10 EUR (#20); less cliché symbols (#23); bars with unusual activities (#32); best spas (#33); bootcamps review (#38), good places for beer (#39); Eckkneipe slang (#42), short trips outside Berlin for Easter (#46).
On r/berlin the funniest comment of the year was “Datenshutzultras” (#43), closely followed by a potential reply to a compliment "Aus dem Weg du Scheiß" and not "You have beautiful eyes". (#28).
I mean, look at all this cool stuff. Make sure not to miss it by subscribing for free:
💸 Money, Money, Money aka salary stuff
Morgenpost's kununu-based report (#10) ranked Berlin #22 in German salaries at €45.858, trailing Stuttgart's leading €56.149. Top Berlin earners were at IBM (80k), Pfizer (77k), Boehringer Ingelheim (76k), SAP (73k), and 50Hertz Transmission (71k). The same newspaper also published an interesting graphic comparing salaries in Berlin, Cologne, and Hamburg for jobs with 100+ respondents. (#14)
💸 If you are single and earn more than €3.850 net monthly (🇩🇪), you are part of the top earners in Germany. Here is the calculator from IW Köln so you can see if you should laugh or cry. (#34)
Handelsblatt suggested jobs in sales, electro-mobility engineering, management, and data science with leadership potential are likely to pay over 100k in the first five years. (#19)
💸 Here is a great inflation calculator by RBB. (🇩🇪) You can determine your grocery inflation rate, which is a good start. The inflation rate is very individual, but this fact is always neglected. Another interesting comparison is that it makes more sense to buy tomatoes than ketchup. (#40)
💡 Snippets revisited
I published hundreds and decided to repeat a dozen:
Google reviews are fake, and you can buy them, for example, at fivestar-marketing.net (#2)
🚛 If you are moving cities in Germany, it is cheap to send stuff to yourself by DHL. Up to 31.5 kg will cost you €16.50. (#14)
According to ADAC, the most cost-effective times to refuel your car in Germany are between 20:00-22:00 and between 18:00-19:00. (#16)
🌍 Jerry Seinfeld kept photos from the Hubble telescope in his writer’s room for cosmic perspective: “It would calm me when I would start to think that what I was doing was important.”
How about board games as gift ideas? My former colleague recommends Exploding Kittens, Seven Wonders, Splendor, Istanbul, Pandemic Legacy, Camel Up, and Food Chain. (#27)
🍻 Beer lovers were warned about price hikes owing to inflation and rising ingredient costs. Stefan Fritsche of Brauereiverband Berlin-Brandenburg suggested a beer could reach €7.5 by year-end. (#38) I say bluff, but close.
👨🏻🍳 I did a lot of research on how to make an excellent Cacio e Pepe, so you do not need to. (#41)
How much would you need to pay Russian soldiers to defect for EU citizenship? $100k would cost $20B. An interesting thought experiment. (#46)
📫 I used a mobile stamp for the first time. You simply buy it with an app and write the code on your letter. And we complain that Germany is not digitized?! (#39)
🚰 You can save a lot of money (€100+) by changing your shower head. But first, you must get access to the Stiftung Warentest test. (#47)
A fine article and Substack discovered randomly: Why do women have breasts? (#48)
Why is Germany a rich country? (🇩🇪), a great wake-up call and a case for humility from 5 years ago. A fun fact: Made in Germany was considered shit in the 19th century, a cheap copy-paste of the products from the UK. (#46)
🚀 Startups, scale-ups and others
In May '22 (#1), tiny Estonia (pop. of 1.32M) had ten unicorns. Flink purchased French Cajoo (#4) for under €100M, signalling future consolidations. The main worry for Tier’s CEO Lawrence Leuschner at the time (#4) were electric scooter dedicated parking spaces in Berlin (23k scooters in total).
The first big layoffs started (#5): Klarna, Nuri, Uncapped, Getir, Gorillas, Zapp & others. This was also the time of the “alumni” spreadsheets trend, which had completely disappeared. While Gorillas struggled and expanded its product portfolio (#6), Knuspr (part of the Czech Rohlik Group) said it was almost profitable (#5). Fast forward to today, they still aren’t, but they, like everyone else (!), plan to turn profitable by the end of 2023.
🔥 I linked to this great article on the cash-burning unit economics of grocery delivery services like Gorillas & co. Spoiler: unit economics are absolute shit. (#35)
On the other hand, the convenience of food delivery is a promising business and is here to stay. This trend of restaurants gaining share from grocery stores is described in detail here. People simply cook much less? (#42)
Cariad, VW’s software arm, was already struggling to deliver a new operating system (#7), and it took almost a year to make bigger changes in the board. Trendyol, a Turkish fast fashion company, was planning a big expansion in Germany (#7), but I could not find much data to see how successful they were/are.
AWS had big plans to add 600 positions in Germany (#11), but I am not really sure how that went since Amazon laid off 27k people in 2023. Deutsche Bahn was struggling with the worst delays in history (#11), while Deutsche Bank was developing a white-label BNPL solution (#12), which is still in development, judging by not hearing about it again.
Handelsblatt was right about the vertical farming company Infarm back in the day (#16), saying they were almost broke. It turns out they were and have recently left Europe. The same newspaper (+Tagesspiegel) told us that the bubble of instant delivery companies is bursting (#18), and it did.
Handelsblatt also analyzed (#29) the current position of unicorns with a strong presence in Germany. Based on the rating, the worst rated were Gorillas (spot on!), while they thought Flix, Mambu, SumUp, Taxfix, Trade Republic, wefox, Celonis, Commercetools, Personio, Staffbase, Sennder, Grover, Sunfire, and Enpal are the best bet for the future (gut or sehr gut). The rest were so-so. Only time will tell.
Of all the companies that raised money, Mietz, which raised €1M pre-seed (#22) to do Tinder for flats, caught my eye. The app has poor reviews so far. I was also looking for a flat and prepared a small Google doc that did not work (#15), and somehow got it after nine intensive days (#17), mostly because of a gorgeous final application.
QMWare and IONOS landed an undisclosed amount from the German government to develop SeQenC, a quantum computing platform (#28). I googled and did not find anything new on that.
Rewe started a new “Pick&Go” experiment at Schönhauser Alle 130 , where you simply walk out of the store without stopping at the cashier (#28). I still did not go.
Summer is almost here, and Klarna should be profitable anytime soon as declared last year (#30). Thirteen weeks later, we (#43) could also read that losing $100M monthly was not THAT crazy in the hyper-growth times. 😅
I told you about Dream Security, a company former Austrian Wunderkind Sebastian Kurz co-founded (€20M seed). (#24) Now they have a website.
I also mentioned layoffs just after hiring: Trade Republic (#7), Coinbase and Wayfair (#18). But to be fair, sometimes the hiring pipeline takes ages (six months or more), so I can partially understand it. Still, extremely painful for everyone involved. A relevant resource related to layoffs: what to do if you lose your job or get fired at arbeitnow (#39). In short, double-check and do not sign anything too fast.
💔 If you are counting on a big exit with ESOPs or similar programs, you could be in for a surprise and printed out with a big fat zero. This happened to Bonify employees (🇩🇪, sold to Schufa), but at least they will get a barbecue. 😅 More on liquidation preference from Investopedia. #45
This was it for the year, folks! Thanks for reading, and thanks to Zaki and Filip for proofreading. If you liked it, press like ❤️ or drop an encouraging comment.
This is INCREDIBLE!! Congratulations on the one year anniversary of handpicked. This is a huge milestone and you are an inspiration. 🥳
Great overview and so much external links to checkout for more info, thank you!