In order to do what I wanted, I had to go to court at 16. I wanted to start my own business, and that's difficult in Germany when you're under 18. The parents actually have to sign everything. That was out of the question for me. I wanted to be responsible for myself if I make mistakes. So I applied to the court for my early business ability and then registered a trade in marketing and tech. I don't think many of the forms I needed were ever seen by the employees at the city of Hildesheim.
The impetus for starting my own business came during a year abroad in India. I flew there with the idea that I would like to provide development aid. There I realized that I still need a lot of development aid from my Indian school. Because the students there learn to program from fourth grade onwards, that fascinated me. I have found IT exciting since fifth grade. At my humanistic high school there was not even the subject of computer science.
The topics at school didn't interest me for the most part. I did the big Latinum, but I wrote a six in ancient Greek. For this I started programming apps early. For example, one that prioritizes homework and tells me what to do. That was not valued at school. It was said: focus on what we're doing here. At some point I thought: It can't be that I should only learn Latin vocabulary.
At first my parents were not so enthusiastic that I started my own business and would therefore neglect school. But they knew they couldn't appeal.
Getting my first marketing orders was difficult. For this I had to clean handles: I wrote emails to everyone I knew from my part-time job as a cameraman at a marketing company. I wanted to shoot, program, and develop interactive advertising videos. I was often not taken seriously in meetings. I was the nerd, the spinner. It was said: grow up first! I had a childish voice, was small, talked flippantly and was therefore quickly labeled as naive. I was frustrated that it wasn't about my work, but what I was: a 16-year-old boy. I had to give up some projects because of it, like an app in which you archive and share memories. I tried to fund the app through foundations. But they didn't trust me enough because I was so young. I can no longer hear the phrase "Good luck on your way". It always resonates: I go the way, but not with you. Often, my counterpart also assumed that what I do is a kind of internship – and that you don't have to pay money for the work of young people. That's why I worked for free or for a very low fee.
I tried to look more adult by expressing myself more selectively and wearing shirts instead of sweaters. It was nonsense: I wanted to do marketing for young people and get companies to rethink.
It took me a while to reflect on myself. In the meantime, I don't care how I speak to business partners again: If I talk flippantly, people have to deal with it. The working world needs us young. The shortage of skilled workers is a problem for the world of work, for our generation it is a luxury. We are confident because we know that we can choose freely. Nevertheless, there was a lot of pressure in front of my high school diploma: many were overwhelmed by the possibilities and did not know what to choose.
In 2018 I finally found a partner that I always wanted. I met the founder of Orangery – a start-up that advises other companies and offers coworking jobs. He did not convey to me: I come from above and you from below. Instead, he made me an innovation manager at the Orangery. Since the beginning of 2019, I have also joined the management as Chief Technology Officer and as a partner.