Today was the first day at the SmarterCities forum in Berlin, being held in the Grand Hyatt hotel.
We are staying down the road at the Marriott, which is a good job as the walk between the two hotels is the only time we have seen daylight in the last two days. We get a little in the room we are in between sessions but it’s not much. Coffee and water on tap makes up for it and keeps us going. Have to say the breakfast was great this morning, lots of fruit, juice, meat, fish and lovely bread.
Sam was late to kick off the event today because of a problem with the plane he was on but Martin Jetter took over and did a great job not just opening the event but also taking on Sam’s speech.
One of the things that got me today was the feeling of pride coming from the Berliners that the event was being held there. I guess an easier option from a language point of view would have been London. But the reasons for holding it Berlin are all around. The building, innovation and growth. I really like anywhere that has cycle lanes which are for cycles, not for people to wander around and knock you off your bike.
So back to the pride, we had Dr. Richard von Weizsaecker, former President, Germany and former Governing Mayor, Berlin, which to be honest started off a little like a history lesson, and a lesson one had heard many times. However, it turned out to be one of the funniest, most interesting and engaging talks I have heard from a politician, former or current.
In the backroom, on the w3 / social media side of things we have an international crew, Me from UK, Rebecca Reyes from USA, Thorsten Zoerner from Germany and of course, Charlie Ung from Canada who is always at these events sorting out the video for us.
Day two is an early start, apparently we have to go to rehersal for the breakouts at 7am!