Marc Thiele

"Maintaining servers can't keep me busy, they just have to work. That's why Host Europe is the right choice for me."

Marc Thiele - Beyond Tellerrand

Marc Thiele has a long history with Host Europe. He was a client of the company when it was still called One-2-One GmbH. Today, Thiele relies on Host Europe’s services to help him run a series of web design and web development events called Beyond Tellerrand in Dusseldorf and Berlin. His path to what he does today began at the end of the 1990s, when he got involved with the online networking community Flashforum, which was at the heart of the German tech scene for 17 years in total. Thiele started running warm-bodied meet ups for the community and the rest is history. We caught up with Thiele to talk about everything from doing what you love as your profession to the value of blending the digital with the analogue.
How would you best describe what you do for a living?

I've been hosting a full-time community event called Beyond Tellerrand for six years now. More than 500 visitors come to our events, which we organize in Düsseldorf and Berlin. People especially appreciate the excellent atmosphere of the event, which is not typical for every event in the web industry. When it comes to ticket sales, I see that 50 to 60 per cent of people have already attended a Beyond Tellerrand event. They obviously like it and like coming back, sometimes with the whole family.

What do you enjoy about your work?

For me, my work is also a bit of self-realisation. But many factors come together. On the one hand, organizing events is something that runs like a red thread through my life. I used to organise children's holiday camps for a scout association, later parties and then the first Flashforum events. I’ve always found it a lot of fun. Of course, you take a risk doing things like this as the father of a family. Fortunately, my wife supported the idea, even though I earn less today than in the past. But the bottom line is that it's enough and I'm happy.

Is it not a contradiction for you that the digitally networked Flashforum became an analogue event that connects people locally?

No, I don't think that's a contradiction at all right now. That's also something I stress again and again: sometimes pushing the computer away and getting out and meeting people is really important. Personal contact with people can sometimes offer so much more than anything that happens behind the computer, behind these screens.

How did it happen exactly that Beyond Tellerrand emerged from the Flashforum?

Through the Flashforum I got to know Sascha Wolter and helped first as a moderator, later as an administrator. In 2001, we had the idea to hold a meeting, and with the help of Macromedia, which was later purchased by Adobe, it became a conference with 250 visitors. We then organized the annual Flashforum conference in changing cities until 2011, and up to 600 people came to our events. Sascha eventually withdrew from the organization and the Flashforum, and in 2011 I decided to go a different way, too, and created Beyond Tellerrand. After an intensive conversation with my brother who had cancer, I realised that organizing the events was what I enjoyed the most and what I wanted to focus on, and I decided to do it full time.

"Host Europe made it easy for me to use the technology from the first month."

How big is your team and what are the challenges for you nowadays?

There's no such thing as a team. I do everything from A to Z myself. I usually meet potential partners (sponsors) at other events, and the closer an event gets, my wife Tanja and my very good friend Guido, who I played in the sandbox with as a small child, help and take over certain tasks. During the event there are 15 to 20 volunteers in action, who are very happy to do this and of whom a core team of about ten people has been with us for six years. From a financial point of view, one of the bigger challenges is the constant fear that an event will be a financial failure. From an event point of view, I always want to attract interesting people to the stage so that the audience really gets something out of it.

What role did a hosting provider like Host Europe play in your work?

Host Europe made it easy for me to use its technology from the first month. It starts with something as banal as setting up an email address, which is quick and easy to do. And if there were problems, for example with the Flashforum, I could always rely on the support. In addition, I simply don't have the interest or the time to maintain servers on my own. That must not keep me busy, but must simply work. That's why Host Europe is just the right choice for me.