uberlin

Pro tips: shop at IKEA like a BOSS!

by Guest Blogger

By Danilo Sierra.

Going to IKEA is a pain in the butt, but it is a necessary evil, especially for any manager of an office or coworking space. If have a wallet as deep as the Mariana Trench, go ahead and get everything from somewhere fancy like Modulor or Minimum. And if you have endless amounts of time, get thee to the Trödel shops. However, the rest of us need to prepare for a quest.

Here are some tips on how to tackle your IKEA trip like a pro  <ahem, like James, Zoe and I!> and make the most of out of going there:

1. Be prepared.

Do your research. Make sure you are going to the IKEA closest to you. And measure the space you are buying for, because there is nothing worse than hoarding – especially IKEA furniture.

Use their shitty website and read the notes below each item, which describes its exact size. If you are some kind of retro oddball, use the paper catalogue. But go with a list already made!

Bonus points: add the article numbers (in this format xxx.xxx.xxx) to a printout of a mood board-style wishlist.

2. Measure up!

IKEA think they are helping by giving you those tiny pencils and paper tape measures, but they are complete shit compared to a proper aluminium or wood I’m-a-construction-worker-who-drinks-Sternis-at-9-am kind of meter. You know, the ones that cost two Euros in Bauhaus.

Using a proper meter will help you to measure accurately, check your angles, get a sense of the volume of your space, and save you tons of time.

Pro tip: bring a floor plan drawn to scale. Then you can be sure you’ve bought everything you need, and left space for important things like fire exits and humans.

3. Do it from behind <hehe>

You need to know exactly how much time you have, including the commute. If you have two or more hours, go ahead and run the maze like IKEA suggests/forces you to. But if you followed through on points 1 and 2, you should be able to cheat and start from the back.

Walk in through the out door and go directly to the warehouse. This is the best way to avoid the unnecessary showrooms, impulse-shopping, student-parent combos, new families (gross!) and their strollers. You are here in a professional capacity.

Pro tip: if you do find yourself in the maze, look up the short cuts (yes, they do have them).

4. Use self-checkout.

It is way faster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. TREAT. YO. SELF.

Have meatballs for dinner. And if you’ve left yourself tons of time, have meatballs before you shop, and hot dogs after.

As well as these culinary delights, treat yourself to a taxi, Möbeltaxi or delivery service. IKEA do same-day delivery through another company, with the cost based on how much you bought. If you don’t mind waiting something stupid like three weeks, buy online and pay them to assemble the stuff for you. That way, there are fewer things for you to mess up, not least your back.

6. Stay loyal.

Consider signing up for a loyalty program, like IKEA Business or IKEA Family. You will get proper invoices, gift cards, and a not-that-bad user interface which you can use to track your business relationship with IKEA (and download the old invoices if you lose them). It works, bitches!

Try these tips and track how fast you go from UGH to NOM! Meatballs!

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Survey: what workshops would you like to see?

by James Glazebrook

Following the success of our first workshops, “How to Become a Freelancer in Berlin”, we’re keen to host more educational/training events in our space. If you could take a couple of minutes out of your day to let us know what you’d like to learn about, that will help us provide workshops that people really want. Thanks – we really appreciate it!

Create your own user feedback survey

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Berlin Stag Dos and Don’ts

by James Glazebrook

You may know them as stag dos, bucks nights or bachelor parties. We know them as a scourge on Berlin. Every time we fly back from the UK, we share an easyjet with at least one group of “lads” in t-shirts with a crudely drawn cock and balls on the front and a nickname (“TIGHTARSE”) on the back. As with most tourists, true Berliners like ourselves ;) would prefer they stay away altogether. But if you are planning to invade our city to drown yourselves in beer and regret, please make sure to follow our Berlin Stag Dos and Don’ts.

DO stay out of our way

Rumour has it that the city is considering plans for an easystagvillage somewhere in Brandenburg, accessible by that international airport we might one day have. Of course, this is Berlin, so we expect those 100 acres of brothels and beer flumes to be completed some time in the 22nd Century. Until then, please restrict your movements to between Kreuzberg’s Schlesisches Strasse and the RAW complex in Friedrichshain. Oh, and get the fuck out of the bike lane, Arschloch!

DON’T try too hard

Forget the mankinis and matching slogan shirts in lurid colours. Here’s what you need to wear to stand out in Berlin: not black. In fact, you could be dressed in head-to-toe monochrome and we’d still be able to spot you a mile off, with your banter, your shit-eating grins and your sloppy drinking habits.

DO pace yourself

In Germany, beer is cheaper than water, and it’s a perfectly acceptable breakfast drink. Your only hope of making it to the queue for a club that you probably won’t get into is to pace yourself. Take our word for it: drinking a shandy (Radler) doesn’t make you “queer” – at least, no more than the enforced nudity and piss-drinking you’ll engage in after Beer 15.

DON’T book go-karting

Your taxi rides to and from the airport should provide plenty of high octane thrills and near misses. And, depending on the value you place on human life, they’ll work out cheaper too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO try to get into clubs

Go on, give us a laugh. The queue for Berghain is a big one, so we need some entertainment to pass the time. You lot will do, practising your shitty German and getting off with each other to appear acceptably gay. Who knows – maybe splitting up will work, and the bouncer won’t connect the 11 pink polo shirts dotted throughout the line? As long as you’re going to spend your nights stood outside of our clubs, we’ll be happy to see you try. Go on my son!

DON’T go to a strip club

The old excuse about your fiancée being the last woman you’ll ever see naked just doesn’t fly in this age of ubiquitous porn and Nicki Minaj videos. Besides, there’s precious little point in seeking out a strip club in a country whose mainstream media is smothered in naked breasts. If you want to see some tits, just turn on your hotel TV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO experiment

If this is your last night of freedom, why not go really wild? If, by some miracle, you make it into Berghain, you’ll be surrounded by gay guys in various stages of undress, who’ll be happy to show you more than that painting of an arsehole. Think of it like prison – whatever you get up to won’t leave these concrete walls, and it certainly doesn’t make you homosexual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T

Just don’t. The beer is cheap here, but this isn’t a piss-up paradise like Prague. The clubs are amazing, but that’s mainly because they don’t let people like you in. And Berliners won’t even attempt to conceal their contempt for you and everything you represent. If you’re looking for somewhere to remind yourself how shallow and depressing your single life has been, we can recommend our hometown, Newcastle upon Tyne. The locals will welcome you, speak (something close to) your language, and can’t wait to join in as you spill vomit, blood and no small amount of piss all over its streets. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 ĂĽberlin?

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 ĂĽberlin?

In short, ĂĽberlin 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 ZoĂ«, 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!

ĂĽberlin The ĂĽ

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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

ĂĽberlin logo in snow

Swan flying over Maybachufer canal

AdmiralbrĂĽcke 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 ĂĽberlin workshop, in conjunction with the experts at Expath: How 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 April 4th, 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 ĂĽberlin 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 ĂĽberliners, 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 ĂĽberlin workshop, in conjunction with the experts at Expath: How 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 ĂĽberlin 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. ZoĂ«, 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 ZoĂ« and find out what it’s really like to be a photographer!
  • Speaking of which, ZoĂ«’s been using our studio to shoot for clients like Etsy, sisterMAG, 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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