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Rouven Kasten

"It came to the point where I had to work more professionally and also needed a proper technology partner. That's how I got to Host Europe."

Rouven Kasten - Gestalterhütte

Rouven Kasten was introduced to the internet for the first time during his civilian service, when a colleague showed him the AltaVista search engine homepage. Kasten was immediately enthusiastic about this new medium. After taking an adult education course on HTML, the text-based basis of the World Wide Web, he decided to pursue a career as a web developer. More than twenty years later, Rouven works for an ethical bank, where he’s responsible for the online offering of the communications department. Technology also plays a major role in his private life, enabling him to run his personal blog and calendar and to oversee the website of the sailing club where he is managing director. And for both business and personal needs, Rouven chooses Host Europe. We caught up with him to talk more about the way technology is woven through his life and why he chooses to rely on Host Europe.
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Tell us a little bit more about your professional role

At the moment I work in the social-ecological GLS Gemeinschaftsbank. GLS stands for Gemeinschaftsbank für Leihen und Schenken, which translates as The Community Bank for Borrowing and Giving. It’s part of the ethical banking sector. I work in the communications department and am responsible for the online offering. That means I develop and maintain the website, our blog, take care of social media and also manage our connections with bloggers.

How important is it to you to work for a company with moral standards?

This is very important to me. I never imagined that I would ever work for a bank. Then my current colleague Johannes Korten told me about his employer and, since I could identify myself with the idea behind GLS Gemeinschaftsbank – the concept of achieving something good together – I began to consider working for them, too.

What fascinates you about communicating digitally with other people?

My first steps on the web were chatting. I already found this interesting in amateur radio at school. During my community service a colleague showed me the internet and showed me that it could be even more beautiful and easier to communicate with other people. That gripped me so much that I wanted to do it professionally and started to build websites, first in an agency and then later also as an independent web developer.

What challenges did you have to face as a self-employed person?

I was lucky, because the first internet bubble had already burst and many of the customers I looked after in the agency at the time went on with me. That helped me a lot. In Web 2.0, strategy was suddenly more important than building classic web layouts. Then there came the point where I had to work more professionally. This meant finding a proper technology partner. That's how I came to Host Europe.

How did Host Europe help you with your business?

I tried different server models, but at the end, I always had the impression that the offers and services of the providers didn't match my requirements. That was different at Host Europe, I could tailor packages according to my needs. But a huge plus for Host Europe was the telephone customer service, day and night, seven days a week. I was also able to pass on this reliability to my customers as a promise.

"Choosing a server is now almost like choosing a dentist or hairdresser. If you've found a reasonable partner, you'll stay there."

What demands do you make on hosting services these days?

During my self-employment, the performance, functionality and flexibility of contract packages were very important to me. And it had to be easy to use, because I didn't want to have to worry about hosting. I think that choosing a server is now almost like choosing a dentist or hairdresser. If you have found a reasonable partner, then you stay there.

And how much do you depend on servers nowadays as a private person?

I have Gestalterhuette.de, which used to be a platform for my independent work and is now my private blog, my private calendar and my private email traffic on a server, just like my wife. We synchronize our data on all our devices ourselves. And I have the website and member administration of the sailing club, of which I am the managing director, in an OwnCloud on a server. For a self-determined life in the digital world, my own server is essential, both privately and professionally.

How will technology change our lives and work in the next 20 years?

First of all, a great deal of educational work is needed. I hope that the digital elite will pick up the average Joe internet user a bit and integrate him more, so that the technology moves into the background and becomes less visible. Personally, it would also be important to me that technologies, such as server farms, become even smaller and more energy-efficient.
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