The year started with lots of drama in Switzerland with the Swiss central bank allowing its currency to free-float with a bang on January 15. Since this day in my personal view the Swiss business world finds itself in trouble: what has been an expensive country to buy in, live in or travel to became even more expensive. Many of my friends working in hotels, restaurants and the like have suffered setbacks since then.
Doodle itself is effected too, however we rely on three main currencies: the Swiss Franc, the Euro and the US Dollar with our advertisement and premium Doodle revenues, so we are able to counter measure some of the effects of a higher Swiss Franc.
In February the founding of Doodle Deutschland GmbH with its office in Berlin proved to be a great step to make Doodle part of the European start-up community. It was a smooth set-up and we quickly established ourselves a name in what is seen the most interesting city in Europe. Based in Berlin Mitte in the midst of the European start-up epic centre and close to the Hackescher Markt, we enjoy views from the top of our building on Alexanderplatz and East Berlin. The cream of Berlin’s start-ups are located within a 10 minute bike ride, smack bang – Doodle has landed in Germany’s vibrant capital.
And then the big names in our industry announced what we had been experiencing ourselves: users were moving mobile. European fashion giant Zalando showed it’s >50% share of mobile usage and even the more traditional Doodle users were telling us: get your mobile business in order, your old apps suck.
We made these Apps cost-free and delivered two new Apps. We designed, built and constantly improved the iOS and Android versions thanks to our new App development team in Berlin. The icing on the cake was the recognition we received by Google when they awarded our Doodle Android App one of the best Apps of the Year 2015, globally. Simply Awesome – all of this within a few months!
October brought a highly rewarding trip to Korea for me when I was invited as a speaker at the renowned World Knowledge Forum, the Asian answer to the World Economic Forum in Davos. I was able to speak about Doodle as a Disruptive Business Model and met with Digital Greats such as Airbnb Co-Founder Nathan Bleckarczik or the many politicians, professors, publishers, thinkers and business people from Asia. A true highlight for both: Doodle as a global success story and myself on stage with such great professionals.
I also experienced great talks with Asian start-ups founders – a topic which has been on my mind for many years. Most of my readers know that I am a big supporter of entrepreneurship, I have been advising a few start-ups for quite some years now.
Talking about entrepreneurship and productivity: in November we launched the Doodle Productivity book, in my personal view one of the true highlights of the year. The eBook is a testimony of 30 productivity experts from the US, Canada, the UK and Australia about their time-management, about how they stay productive and about real insights of what they teach the top CEOs and companies of this world. These guys showed in their interviews a real personal side to time-management, the eBook contains lots of valuable advice and I am so humbled by their openness. Thank you all for sharing your insights with us.
And what is left to say: I am grateful of so many people: our awesome Doodle team in both cities, Zurich and Berlin and all the millions of Doodle users. Our 30 productivity experts from around the globe, who all opened their diaries to share their tips and tricks on how to work smarter, not harder. And last but not least to my wife and children, for allowing me to spend most of my time away from them. Let us make 2016 another special year, all of us, we can make this happen.