uberlin

Olive at Work

by James Glazebrook

chefstable

The company I work for asked me to share a photo of my desk, as part of a blog post giving “a small glimpse into our team — one built on a wonderful mix of cultures, interests, and personalities.” And, because no personality is more wonderful than Olive’s we thought we’d pop her in the photo. So, for no real reason, here’s an image of our unofficial office manager sitting at the Chef’s table in our coworking space. If you want to check out my colleagues’ workspaces in Basecamp’s Chicago office, their home, their Airstream RV (!), you can check those out here.

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What is überlin?

by James Glazebrook

I recently read a great article by Travels of Adam, in which he talked about getting back to the basics of blogging. It made me think about a fundamental and (for me) important question: what is überlin?

In short, überlin is a blog, coworking space and photo studio. The online part started when we arrived in Berlin four years ago, and the bricks and mortar followed last summer. For the most part, it’s just two of us – James and Zoë, a married couple who moved from London in search of a better life.

But that’s deceptively simple. For years now we have wrestled with an identity crisis, because, going into this, we never thought about what we were doing or what we stood for. We just wrote about our experiences, first privately, then for our friends and family, then for a growing audience who seemed to like what we were up to.

As the blog grew, we were called to think more and more about what überlin means. As people interviewed us, as brands pitched us and we approached brands, as we weighed up the pros and cons of putting all our money into a real-life business, as we struggled to justify keeping this thing alive on top of very demanding day jobs… As we did all this, we were forced to do the one thing that we’d avoided from the start: to define ourselves.

So we had editorial meetings. A lot of them. We had circular arguments that ended with a single piece of paper and these words: “IT’S A BLOG”. We struggled to decide: can we compete with other Berlin blogs run by bigger teams or people with more time? Do we even want to? Are we bloggers with a side-business, or a coworking space with a blog? So many questions!

And what have we concluded?

Mostly, that we’re going to stop worrying about all of this. We run the blog, and the space, because we want to – and that’s how it should be. The people who like us, just like us – our personality, our sense of humour, the fact that we say what we’re thinking. That’s why they read the blog, chat with us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up to come work with us. When we overthink what we’re doing we risk losing everything that makes us, us.

We’ve also realised that überlin is bigger than the both of us. The best part of running a coworking space is being surrounded by interesting people, and we think there’s room for other personalities on the blog too. While the core of überlin will still be Zoë and myself, we’re happy to share the “spotlight” with writers, photographers and interview subjects who offer a different point of view on Berlin.

This year, we’ve purposefully avoided thinking up resolutions for ourselves. But if we were to set some loose goals for überlin, they’d be: do more, worry less, be ourselves and ask for help. If you like the idea of helping to shape the direction of one of Berlin’s biggest English language blogs, or one of the city’s smallest coworking spaces, just drop us an email at contact at uberlin dot co. Let’s make it up as we go along, together!

überlin The ü

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In Case You Missed It: Snow in Berlin

by Zoë Noble

Olive and Adrian playing in the snow

The Iceman Cometh! Oh wait, that’s just James… So we may not have had a white Christmas in Berlin, but we had the next best thing – a pleasant drift of the white stuff a few days later, and then streets clear of sludge by New Year’s Eve. Just in case there isn’t more snow to come, we made sure to get out in it, with Olive and our awesome visiting friend Adrian in tow. Both of them seemed to have fun!

Olive in the sun

Tree branches covered in snow

Adrian and James walking

James in black and white

Maybachufer frozen canal

überlin logo in snow

Swan flying over Maybachufer canal

Admiralbrücke canal

Lens flare and branches

Olive in the snow

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Workshop: How to Become a Freelancer in Berlin

by James Glazebrook

How to become a freelance in Berlin

“How to Become a Freelancer in Berlin” is now new and improved! Based on the feedback from our first popular workshop, we’ve added in tons more useful information, and allowed more time for your all-important questions.  Because of this, the workshop will now last an extra hour and cost a few Euro more to attend. Given that you’ll learn pretty much everything you need to launch your freelance career, it’s still a bargain!

Since moving to Berlin, we’ve learned the hard way how to set ourselves up as freelancers in Germany. Every time we tried to decipher another letter written in Deutsch officialese, navigate the corridors of one more Amt, or (shudder!) do our taxes, we wished there was someone to explain what we should be doing, and why. That’s why we’re really excited to announce this all-important überlin workshop, in conjunction with the experts at ExpathHow to Become a Freelancer in Berlin.

This is the workshop for you if you’re thinking of going freelance, or if you already have and don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Maybe you’ve moved to Berlin from outside of Germany, and want to know how the country’s laws affect you. Or perhaps you’re working cash-in-hand and want to “get official”, lest you get locked up or deported or something (just kidding!). Or maybe you’re just wondering: do I really need all this insurance?

Join our workshop to get an expert’s answers to questions like these:

  • What kind of health insurance do I need?
  • What other insurances are a good idea?
  • How do I get a tax number and invoice clients?
  • How do income taxes work?
  • What is VAT and do I need to charge it? Are there other taxes I need to know about?
  • What is the difference between freelancing, self-employed and being a Gewerbe?
  • What are the special German laws regarding marketing, advertising, your website etc?

How to Become a Freelancer in Berlin takes place on Saturday January 31st, from 1 – 5pm in our beautiful coworking space. It will be in held *in English* and costs €35 (plus VAT) to attend. Sign up here.

Happy freelancing!

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Happy Christmas!

by James Glazebrook

Happy Christmas from überlin and Olive

Olive wanted to pop by to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and to thank everyone who supported us through a year of big changes, and occasionally tough, yet rewarding, times. She rightly pointed out that überlin would be nothing without our community, and thought we should remind our coworkers, readers, followers and friends: we love you all.

A special ”paws up” to Free Your Stuff Berlin for donating a kostenlos Christmas tree (we promise to stop trolling you so hard!) and to Shinola, the Detroit product designers who made the luxurious dog bed that Olive is modelling so beautifully here. To all our überliners, Frohe Weihnachten and Guten Rutsch!

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Workshop: How to Become a Freelancer in Berlin

by James Glazebrook

How to become a freelance in Berlin

Note: our first workshop is now all full up! If you’d like to attend a future workshop, please drop us a note at contact@uberlin.co and we’ll let you know when we’ve set a date. 

Since moving to Berlin, we’ve learned the hard way how to set ourselves up as freelancers in Germany. Every time we tried to decipher another letter written in Deutsch officialese, navigate the corridors of one more Amt, or (shudder!) do our taxes, we wished there was someone to explain what we should be doing, and why. That’s why we’re really excited to announce the first ever überlin workshop, in conjunction with the experts at ExpathHow to Become a Freelancer in Berlin.

This is the workshop for you if you’re thinking of going freelance, or if you already have and don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Maybe you’ve moved to Berlin from outside of Germany, and want to know how the country’s laws affect you. Or perhaps you’re working cash-in-hand and want to “get official”, lest you get locked up or deported or something (just kidding!). Or maybe you’re just wondering: do I really need all this insurance?

Join our workshop to get an expert’s answers to questions like these:

  • What kind of health insurance do I need?
  • What other insurances are a good idea?
  • How do I get a tax number and invoice clients?
  • How do income taxes work?
  • What is VAT and do I need to charge it? Are there other taxes I need to know about?
  • What is the difference between freelancing, self-employed and being a Gewerbe?
  • What are the special German laws regarding marketing, advertising, your website etc?

How to Become a Freelancer in Berlin takes place on Wednesday November 19th, from 6 – 9pm in our beautiful coworking space. It will be in held *in English* and costs €30 to attend. Sign up here.

Happy freelancing!

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Five months of coworking: An überlin update

by James Glazebrook

uberlin-01

It’s hard to believe that our coworking space has already been open for five months! It seems like just yesterday that we announced our new venture and started collecting furniture, equipment and, most importantly, awesome people with which to fill our space. We’ve kept things pretty quiet since our super-successful opening party, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. Zoë, myself, and the wonderful community we’ve gathered around ourselves, have been plugging away, producing, promoting and photographing awesome stuff from within our converted biscuit factory.

uberlin-02

Here are just a few of the great things to come out of the überlin coworking space and studio in its first five months:

  • Berlin Besetzt, an interactive map showing the development of Berlin’s squatting scene, a work in progress by developer Eike
  • Cumulus Diaries, a beautiful blog by Aussie expat Rachael, all about design, style, people and adventure
  • Our resident startup, Descape, which offers brief getaways into exciting professions. You can even sign up to spend a day with Zoë and find out what it’s really like to be a photographer!
  • Speaking of which, Zoë’s been using our studio to shoot for clients like EtsysisterMAG, Alpha Cruxis and Ableton, as well as her own fashion editorial shoots (check them out here)
  • Freelance recipe developer Sophie has relaunched Das Brunch, a pop-up breakfast experience (nom)
  • And Arielle, Desi and the INgrooves team have distributed a bunch of awesome records from Berlin labels Hotflush and Seppuku, and our personal favourite – Octave Minds, a collaboration between Boys Noize and Chilly Gonzales. Here’s a selection for your listening pleasure:

Want to join us? We’re adding a few more desks into our intimate little coworking space. If you’d like to be in the best place to do your best work – or to rent out our photographic studio – just drop us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Photo Diary: Berlin in Autumn

by Zoë Noble

Last Sunday I was severely hungover and debating whether or not to leave my bed. Olive gave me her best “I’m going to shit on your floor” face, so there wasn’t much choice really… thankfully it worked out good for both of us and I had the most amazing day!

The weather was perfect. PERFECT. The trees and buildings glowed a magical golden colour that made even the most hardened of Berliners smile maniacally. People were frolicking in the waters or lazing in the afternoon sun on the banks of the Landwehrkanal. It was like the whole of Berlin was outside, soaking up what might be the last of the good weather, enjoying the city.

On days like that I feel so grateful for living in such a wonderful city.

Halloween pumpkin in window People sitting on banks of Maybachufer Autumn leaves in the sun People canoeing underneath bridge in Kreuzberg Looking through bridge in Kreuzberg Changing leaves on building Chalet alongside canal Building in the sun alongside the Spree Olive siting next to Spree  The Molecule Men in the Berlin Spree

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Happy Herbst!

by Zoë Noble

Graffiti smiling face

Changing leaves on wall

Leaves on building

Red sunflower on Maybachufer

Butterfly on sunflower

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überlin Official Opening Party

by James and Zoe

20140811-205228-u

Wow, that was a blast! Last weekend, hundreds of friends, fans and randoms joined us and raised a glass/bottle of craft beer to the opening of our brand new coworking space and photographic studio. We were overwhelmed with the sheer number of people who came, the all-round positive wibes, the fact that people stuck around long after the booze ran out, and the many opportunities to catch up with – or meet IRL for the first time – the people who’ve supported us all these years.

At the risk of getting all Oscar winner on you (it was an honour just to be nominated), we’d like to say thank you to all the people who helped make the party such a huge success. In no particular order…

Everyone who came, drank, tweeted, ‘stagrammed, tagged our postbox, chatted, laughed and played Cards Against Humanity (you wrong ‘uns).

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Our cotwerkers, for putting shots in us, generally being lovely and reminding us why we decided to do this in the first place <3

Our bartender Julia, for keeping her cool and keeping the drinks flowing, and to Maj, Christian, Mike, Ana and Hannah for helping out when demand got, well, ridiculous.

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The people who provided the drinks: Schoppe Bräu for the Kreuzberg XPA, Brau Sturm for the Prototyp, Our/Berlin vodka, Berliner Sommer and Thomas Henry. Special thanks go to Kiera from the Global Craft Beer Festival, Lucy vs. the Globe and Sina from DESCAPE for the hookups, and Marcus from Alchemist Gin for distilling a delicious and exclusive “übergin” (with freshly foraged mirabelle, juniper, coriander and a touch of black pepper nomnomnom).

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überlin resident INgrooves for their generous sponsorship (and the emergency Jack Daniels!).

Sarah from A Color Bright and Hannah (again!) for the event tips and advice.

Olli for coming through with the last minute branding touches and installing our “ü”s and that “überlin” lightbox that blew everyone’s minds on arrival.

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Kathy Kunz, who introduced some much-needed interior design details to the space. Oh and for putting the final finishing touches on it – flowers for our vase, and a bow for Olive’s collar :)

Chris, for taking these wonderful photos, and letting Zoë take the night off!

Our neighbours from inside and outside the Haus, for turning up and prosting our new venture. It’s nice to know that not everyone thinks we’re ruining the Kiez ;)

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Everyone who shared the event beforehand, including a certain someone who let the “free drinks” cat out of the bag early (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE ;) ). And NotMsParker from Kreuzberg’d, for writing up this sweet review.

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Extra special thanks to my wonderful wife and partner Zoë, for hustling to put together such an awesome event, looking amazing in a jumpsuit and for keeping her head when I was losing mine!

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Photographed by Cristopher Santos.

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