This week I started work in Potsdam at Derdack, a company that develops enterprise alert software. From Charlottenburg it is about a 30 minute ride on the S-Bahn, so the commute is not terrible. Before Monday, I did a practice commute so I would not get lost or arrive late. After finding where my office was, I did some sightseeing. Around my work there were a couple streets full of little shops and restaurants. There also happened to be a big outdoor flea market and food trucks. I am curious if they do that every weekend.
On Monday I showed up to work around 10am as I was told to. The ride on the S-Bahn was fine. After getting off on the right floor, I tried to walk in the door, but it was locked. There is supposed to be someone that sits at the front desk, but they were on holiday. Fortunately, a coworker with a key arrived just as I was trying to figure out how to deal with the situation. I tried to introduce myself in German, and then he realized I was the new American intern. He walked me in and introduced me to people around the office. After being directed to my seat I chatted a little bit with the women I sit by. I was still surprised about how well people speak English here.
My main person I report to at my position is the CEO, Matthes Derdack. I was not very surprised by this since Derdack very small business with no more than 30 people. As of now they also do not have a whole lot dedicated to marketing. One lady follows up with partner companies, sends promotional materials to interested customers, and does some social media. Besides her, there are not a lot of marketing efforts currently. I sat around for a little bit before Matthes arrived. It was pretty funny as I was trying to figure out how to get my computer set up but everything was in German. The “z” and the “y” keys are flipped for some reason as well. Eventually I found out how to put some things in English, but I am really just learning on the fly. It is probably for the best.
Matthes was very kind when I met him. He was very excited to have me on board. My big project over the next week is to work on the positioning of SIGNL4, our new mobile alert application. I spent some time doing some more research on the company and our competitors to focus on what makes us different from other products that integrate enterprise software to deliver mission critical alerts in real-time. I met with Matthes at the end of the day to give him some direct feedback on the app and what I thought of the customer onboarding process. I also told him what I had in mind as far as tasks that I could complete this summer. We decided that for at least the beginning of my time with Derdack I will be writing SEO blog content, creating training videos, and continually updating the website. I think this is a good start, and work has been coming along well so far.
The office is so quiet, so I get so much done. People only talk a little bit, which was weird at first, but I adapted quickly. The cool thing about the German people is that it is quiet simply because they are there to work. My coworkers seem to be really nice people, but I couldn’t tell you for sure because I hear nothing about their personal lives. There is a real split between work and play, which I have developed a respect for… different, but most certainly not bad. Looking forward to week 2 of work.
On the recreational side of things, I am still figuring it out. There is so much to see. I keep asking people for recommendations for food, clubs, cool areas of Germany to check out. This upcoming week I am planning to write out on my calendar places to go and things to do. I need to get organized so I can make the most of my weekends. This week I went to my first techno club. I have never seen anything like it, but I definitely get why people are into it. I also had my first doner. Basically, it’s an elite gyro to satisfy your late night cravings. On Saturday I went to the East Side Gallery with other Pitt students to check out some art on a chunk of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. It was a big tourist destination for sure. It was very humid, but we still had a good time. I do not think we have had a big rain yet, and we really need one.
More updates to come. Bis später!