☕️ Coffee with (interesting people)

☕️ Coffee with …

“Coffee with…” is a collection of interesting people and the links that they think the readers of my newsletter should know about. I love it because it gets me exposed to different and new ideas. Check it out by yourself!

The entries are sorted from the oldest to the newest chronologically. If you click on the name, you will jump back to the top.


Nastia Gussewa (#96)

Nastia is one of my go-to sources for everything HR and has helped me find and connect some of the best people in HR in Berlin. Here is what she prepared for you:

  1. If you never heard about Kurt Tucholsky – you should get to know him by reading this essay in English about Berliners. He is witty and sarcastic; he is Berlin. Surprisingly, 100 years later – nothing has changed. Well, almost nothing. A great author with a tragic destiny.
  2. If you speak German, here is my favourite podcast: Macht und Millionen. They cover a lot of big fraud cases, offering well-researched podcasts with valuable insights about European and global fraud cases. For instance, stories about Signa or AviMedical.
  3. A website, Gratis in Berlin, has an extremely ugly design but great events that you can visit for free. For example, I had a chance to visit some of the events of Berlin Fashion Week or a lovely tomato festival in Kreuzberg. 

Graham Strong (#95)

I participated in the Substack “Go” program, where we worked together in smaller groups. After it ended, some of us agreed to have weekly writing sessions. Everyone but Graham slowly dropped out, and we’ve been going strong for two years now. His newsletter To Write with Wild Abandon is about writing, and I recommend it to everyone interested in the art of writing. This is what he has prepared for you:

  1. Are you a rock music nerd? Do you love podcasts? Discord and Rhyme takes a deep, deep, deep dive into some iconic – and some not-so-iconic – rock albums from across the ages and sub-genres, including the Beatles, Brian Eno, Jefferson Airplane, and Moody Blues, with which the podcasters are strangely obsessed…
  2. TED Talks always spark intellectual conversation. This one might be the exception. Are you tying your shoes the wrong way?
  3. Hunter S. Thompson, who became known for Gonzo journalism with The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved and later Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, started writing long before that. This article on Big Sur, California, shows the seeds of what would grow into a whole new style of journalistic storytelling. More importantly, the writing is gorgeous.

Tina Searle (#94)

Tina is the second tour guide in Berlin featured here, and I can say she really opened up my perspective on street art in Berlin. I warmly recommend her, and I think we’ll do it together again soon. Here is what she has prepared for you:

  1. The Digital Cosmonaut is my favourite blog about Berlin! This particular article is about the former State Council building of socialist East Germany, which I love to visit with guests. 
  2. Rosa Luxemburg is a key figure in Germany’s social-democratic and communist history, but one who was deeply opposed to the use of violence and terror and restrictions of freedom. For her dedication to Marxism, she paid with her life. This BBC Podcast is a great starting point for anyone wanting to get to know this significant and, in my opinion, deeply loveable woman from Berlin’s history.
  3. Speaking of significant women in Berlin’s history who are often forgotten, my next link is a video biography on Lisa Meitner. This genius scientist was overlooked for a Nobel Prize, despite being nominated FOURTY-EIGHT TIMES!!  

Lena Arkhipova, How to Berlin (#93)

Lena is an experienced community builder & manager and an expert in transplanting people to Berlin. She is my go-to resource for anything Telegram and communities. Here is what she recommends for you:

  1. ‘London Bridge is down’: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death— I love this because of how thought to the minor details and how complex the plan is. I would love to learn to think about my projects the same way.
  2. Bumble Founder: World’s Youngest Female Self-Made Billionaire— former Bumble Founder interview. I love her passion, her view on good and evil, her ability to rise from ashes, her ability to keep human face in business, and her drive to create something that improves how the world works.
  3. Paul Graham: How to do great work — Super-relevant, motivating, and helping to structure things for me now. I also love all his essays.

Nathan Gilmour, BFS (#92)

I met Nathan, editor-in-chief of @Berlinfoodstories, after he grilled my jerk chicken for Canada Day. I think I impressed him with my MK4 Thermapen. Anyway, he knows his way around food, and we’re experimenting a bit with a new segment… three restaurant tips from a kenner: this time for the cool kids.

“Are you ready to feel confident recommending the coolest restaurants in the city to your new friends in Berlin, or finally be the first to offer a suggestion to your new Hinge connection instead of just saying, “you know, wherever you like to eat…” You’re better than that. We’re better than that. Here we go:

  1. Maiyarap – For the aspiring, scrappy Klub Kid wearing flame shades purchased in Dong Xuan Center, the Tossakan crew brings the heat at their most recent foray south of the river – get there before the masses take it over this summer with lines longer than Kitty. 
  2. Trio – Maybe you’ve recently had your first back injury (it’s better now), and you’re ready to feel fully adult, but with a little goddamn styleLook no further than an evening at Trio, with elegant German Hausmannskost served by the loveliest floor staff this side of the Rhine. 
  3. Hallmann & Klee – You don’t sweat it when Frau Netto is ringing you up anymore, and you’ve got your Miete on auto-withdrawal. You can’t remember the last time you asked your partner or a date a request to split the bill, and it’s time to flex a bit. Take her to Hallmann & Klee and have your cumulative minds blown by their exquisite service and phenomenal care with their ingredients. 

Anne-Kathrin Gerstlauer, TextHacks (#91)

Anne-Kathrin Gerstlauer is no stranger to good writing. She has a great newsletter for writing improvements with a telling name: TextHacks. I’m a regular reader to work on my German. These are her suggestions for you:

  1. Weekly Filet – 10 years ago, I got my recommendations for surprising or niche articles from X/Twitter. Now I get them from the best-curated newsletter. 
  2. Think again by the psychologist Adam Grant – my Favorite book of 2023. You learn how to question your own beliefs and influence others (no, saying or shouting they are wrong or stupid does NOT change their opinion). He also writes a newsletter: I recently liked the post about the sandwich compliment and why you should no longer use it.
  3. Speakerinnen – Now I have recommended two men. Shame on me. If you do not wanna be that person at your event, book your female speaker on this platform. If you are a female yourself, register yourself today (and don’t think you have nothing to say!). 

Lalai Persson, Next Day Berlin (#90)

Lalai is one of the people I cannot wait to finally meet in person. She is the co-author of the excellent weekend cultural guide “The Next Day Berlin” and the lifestyle newsletter “Espiral” (in Portuguese). Here is her excellent selection for you:

  1. Boys Club (podcast/newsletter): I’m a big fan of this club. These girls behind it started the club as a podcast discussing the crypto world, but now they delve into the future of culture, tech, and commerce. Don’t miss their summit if you’re attending SXSW this year.
  2. Watch This Guy Work, and You’ll Finally Understand the TikTok Era (read Wired): How to make someone go viral on TikTok and turn them into a celebrity overnight? It’s a long read, but this interview is a fascinating masterclass about Ursus Magana’s strategies, a talent manager navigating the ups and downs of the creator economy, with a frenetic formula for gaming the algorithms.
  3. ‘In the Eye of the Wild’ by Nastassja Martin (book): One of myfavourite readings of 2023. In this autobiography, the author recounts the bear attack she endured in Siberia in 2015, resulting in the loss of part of her jaw. It’s about collapse and reconstruction. Short, intense, and beautiful.

Jonny Whitlam (#89)

Jonny is a good friend and undoubtedly one of Berlin’s most famous tour guides becasue of his massively successful Instagram channel. He was kind enough to explain video production to me, but as you can see, it didn’t stick. Here are his links for you:

  1. Katja Hoyer’s Zeitgeist – Katja Hoyer, an accomplished historian and dual citizen of the UK and East Germany, offers insightful commentary on German politics and history in her blog. Her analysis of the current situation in German politics, I’m talking AfD, is really valuable.
  2. Kreuzberged by Beata Gontarczyk-Krampe – Beata does deep dives into Berlin’s lesser-known history. It’s a great resource for exploring the hidden corners of Berlin, and it goes beyond just The Wall and WWII.
  3. Lumix G9 II on Peta Pixel – As a photography enthusiast who carries gear all day on tours, I appreciate compact gear like the Micro 4/3 system. I’m super excited about the Lumix G9 II, which will be arriving and helping me create content super soon!

Maja Voje (#88)

Maja is a friend I’ve only met online and the first Slovenian featured here. She’s a Go-to-Market expert with a recent best-seller on the topic. This is what she prepared for you:

  1. Atomic Habits – one of the rare books that changed my life. Developing and stacking habits, building routines to get closer to long-term goals, and developing a mindset that “done is better than perfect” guided my writing journey and significantly contributed to the quality of my life, relationships, and well-being. Check out his newsletter, too.
  2. Six hours of Mozart – for my writing flow and deep work. His music does something wonderful to human brains. I used to write for the whole length of the playlist.
  3. Modern Wisdom Podcast – I believe that interdisciplinary knowledge is the best – knowing some psychology and neuroscience and learning about evolution and productivity presents a wonderful opportunity to get outside the box in our thinking and get a fresh perspective on some things we may take for granted. Since technology is evolving so fast, it’s great to keep up with social sciences and related areas. 

Manoj Pandey, Gezellig Sessions (#87)

Manoj is an experienced builder of communities and the founder of Gezellig Sessions, a series of concerts in his living room (the next one is happening this Friday, so get your tickets on the link). Here is what he has prepared for you:

  1. Wait But Why: Long-form blog by Tim Urban; you might have seen him at this TED talk around procrastination. Typical posts involve long-form discussions of various topics, including artificial intelligence, outer space, and procrastination, using a combination of prose and rough illustrations. All his articles are great, but one that can help many readers might be this one: How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You).
  2. Kevin Kelly, founder of WIRED, writes beautifully about many topics. When he turned 70, he published a series of advice in a book. But if you’re interested in the article, the internet has preserved it here: 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known. He also wrote the infamous piece called “1000 True Fans” where he says “To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You need only 1000.”
  3. Pudding is one of my favourite digital publications because of its visual journalism. They wrote a super cool data-backed article, “Is TikTok helping artists become commercially successful, or does the medium present a new opportunity worth pursuing?” 

Verena Weber (#86)

Verena is a NLP expert and Generative AI consultant who loves learning and is also active in the Berlin AI community. This is what she has selected for you:

  1. Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck (book, read) – a book that truly changed my perspective on how much of excellence can be attributed to talent vs practice and discipline. Previously, I believed skills were mostly innate, but now I’m certain that with enough effort, I can master any skill (growth mindset). It also offers valuable insights into fostering a growth mindset in children.
  2. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Happiness and Wealth by Eric Jorgenson (book, read) is a complete guide to life, and I loved the combination of happiness and wealth – usually, books are about one or the other. Impressive clarity and precision.
  3. Fast & Curious by Lea-Sophie Cramer and Verena Pausder (podcast, listen) is my favorite podcast. It’s a great mix of business, inspiration, and entertainment. I love the hosts’ authenticity—they inspire me to take more (calculated) risks.

Nicolas Bouliane, All About Berlin (#85)

You know him even if you think you don’t. Nico is the creator of All About Berlin, one of the cleanest, no-bullshit websites you’ll ever see. Sort of a Wikipedia for Berlin. This is what he has for you:

  1. A brief history & ethos of the digital garden – I long-form for a cosy, personal, imperfect, work-in-progress web. I also love Maggie Appleton’s illustrations.
  2. How to do nothing – A quirky, meandering ode to experiencing the world at a slower pace.
  3. An app can be a home-cooked meal – It’s damn fun to build software when you eschew growth and scale. Software can be a love letter to a very small crowd.

Eva Stark (#84)

Eva works as a general legal counsel at Cavalry Ventures and founded Venture Ladies, a network of women working in the field of VC. Here are her links for you:

  1. Weird Crimes – Podcast by Ines Anioli and Visa Vie. The funniest, thrilling and informative true crime podcast with a sweet foot fetish twist and two brilliant and hilarious hosts. It’s an absolute must-hear experience.
  2. MUYA Chocolates – Literally the BEST pralines invented on earth, hand-made by the Berlin-based Pastry Chef Marie, who learned and trained with the best Chocolatiers in Paris (available also at KaDeWe and some selected Walter-Stores).
  3. VIVA Yoga Studio in Charlottenburg – The perfect after-work calming down and relaxing experience is to join Jennifer’s YIN YOGA & SOUND class. You will feel relaxed, re-balanced and grateful after her class – I guarantee it!

Steve Ewin (#83)

I found Steve based on a recommendation from a friend. He does great videos (Insta) about Cold War Berlin/DDR. I love his style, the content and, of course, his football shirts. This is what he recommended:

  1. Behind the Bastards (podcast) – I would recommend this entire podcast, but the six-part series on Henry Kissinger is a must-listen to understand not just whyKissinger is derided, but what he influenced. And if you disagree, it is a delightful avenue to pick apart that viewpoint.
  2. Brewing Socialism (book) – What can coffee tell us about East Germany, and what can this tell us about our current world? One of the most important beans in world history, it helped to both build and bring down the East German state. Kloiber goes into how both were possible.
  3. Did the Japanese offer to surrender before Hiroshima? (article) – Alex Wellerstein illustrates with this two-part article what the average person doesn’t always see: how do historians engage and evaluate the past? And further, how do historians engage with work that disagrees with their conclusion?

Mikel Mangold (#75)

This week my guest is Mikel! He, among other things, is a published author and an admin of a Whatsapp group with tech events in Berlin. Here is what he suggests:

  1. What do startup accelerators really do? (read) — People are confused with the definition of a startup accelerator, and it is being misused in the industry: a reminder of what an accelerator is and what it’s not.
  2. The Leadership Odyssey (read) — what skills do executives struggle to learn, and what learning strategies pay off? 
  3. CEO decision-making in the age of AI (read) — IBM’s Institute for Business Value has identified five key areas that CEOs and executives must actively address in the era of AI. A report is a summary of interviews with 3,000 CEOs from 30+ countries.

Christian Näthler, lol/sos (#74)

Christian, a freelance writer, is one of the subscribers with his own Substack. I have previously promoted him and asked him to share three links with you this time. Gorgeous long reads; read them yourself:

  • Quitting the Paint Factory by Mark Slouka: The author laments our rapidly diminishing belief in the value of unstructured time and criticizes the pervasive culture of relentless work. In his canny takedown of the “grindset,” – from 2004! – Slouka extols idleness for its power to inspire contemplation, joy, play, renewal, and presence. 
  • Stone Skipping is a Lost Art. Kurt Steiner Wants the World to Find It by Sean Williams: You’re not supposed to read about a man who exiled himself from society to spend his entire adult life skipping rocks and think, I could see myself doing that. And yet…
  • The Art of Dying by Peter Schjeldahl: Whenever someone asks me what they should read, I immediately recommend this article. It’s a moving meditation on a remarkable life, written in short, witty bursts, by the New Yorker‘s long-time art critic after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  

Tino Schmutzler, Startups for Tomorrow (#72)

We are back this week with Tino—he is a well-known name in the Berlin startup scene and is the founder of Berlin Startup School, currently also active at Startups for Tomorrow. Here is what he thinks you should check out:

  • Learn from a Milk Shake (YT, watch) – This is the only video you need to watch as an entrepreneur. In less than 5 minutes, you will understand how to develop your products to become successful. 
  • Drop your product! (read) – Honestly, I have never read the book, but I know the essence of it REALLY well. So make sure you know it, too (or read the book). I have seen quite a few entrepreneurs fail because they didn’t talk about their product until it was ready. You will understand why this is the biggest mistake you can make. 
  • More focus for you (Spotify, listen) – What helps me the most to get into deep work is music. Here is an inspiration for you to get more things done.

Louis Pereira, Audiopen (#70)

I met Louis around two years ago. He builds online and is one of those who always reply immediately to emails. Impressive! Check out his Audiopen: a fantastic voice notes to clear text tool. Here is what Louis prepared for you:

  1. Understanding Abundance: We live in a world of abundance, and this essay (part 1 of a fascinating series) by Alex Danco explains some interesting implications.
  2. Familiarity and Belonging: A piece that goes against a lot of today’s ‘Instagram wisdom’, and hits home.
  3. Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule: An essay that helped me understand a problem I faced but couldn’t articulate – namely, why did I get frustrated for when I was asked to do seemingly trivial tasks by someone else?

Jaskaran Singh, The Social Juice (#69)

Jaskaran loves marketing and provides a weekly digest of the most important things related to social media and marketing. Here are his picks for you:

  • Attention (article) – This comes from my favourite substack newsletter. It tells a lot about how our attention span changes rather than declines.
  • 5-pager template for freelancers (template & podcast) – The best template to never lose a project by Jonathan Stark. He is one of the best freelance work-life educators, running the “Ditching Hourly” podcast.
  • Mel Robbins on Influence Building (podcast) – The episode finishes, and you start experimenting with what you learned from it—plenty of practical hacks for corporate workers of today. 

Darshan Gajara, Product Disrupt (#68)

Darshan does a great newsletter and resource page, Product Disrupt, which you should definitely follow if you are into product and design! Here are his suggestions for you:

  • Yo! Podcast by Rob Hope – Rob interviews prolific creators on his show. He does a great job of bringing out authentic stories & practical insights from his guests with excellent sound mixing.
  • Hard Truths about Life (Twitter) –  Sahil Bloom’s visual thread about hard truths he has learned through personal experiences. This is like a cheat code for getting better at life without enormous suffering.
  • Toxic Behaviors & their Remedies (Twitter) – This short thread is about how toxic behaviours can kill a partnership or a team. Matt breaks it down piece by piece and provides suggestions to avoid them.

John Ismailoglu, INSRD (#67)

This week I am hosting John, a bekannte from Linkedin with a good dry sense of humour and good content. He thinks you will like these:


Mirela Mus, Product People (#66)

We continue with Mirela, a founder of Product People. You should give her a follow for good quality takes on Product Management. I love her choices:

  1. 500 Million, But Not A Single One More (article) – I tear up whenever I reread this; it helps me regain faith in humanity.
  2. Romanian language songs (Spotify Playlist) for when I miss hearing my native language. I also have one I listen to ironically.
  3. The Player Of Games (bookaudiobook) is an amazing introduction to Iain M. Banks’ utopian post-scarcity society. You can also start with Use of Weapons, which gets even better on the 2nd reading. I suggest skipping Consider Phlebas, The State of the Art until there’s nothing left to read but The Hydrogen Sonata as they’re less “Culture-y” than the rest.

Amir Azimi, Pursuit (#65)

This is a new place—for people who deserve your attention. We start with Amir. He curates a fantastic newsletter you should subscribe to, and these are his three recommendations for you:

  1. The hidden cost of success (read) — One of the most powerful questions I use before committing to a new project or opportunity is: Do I want the successful version of this? What does the day-to-day reality of success look like?
  2. Shadows of your superpowers (listen) — Whether you’re a senior leader or an individual contributor, it is important to recognize the shadows of your superpowers and listen to contradictory feedback to rebuild the tools you need to succeed.
  3. Everything is practice (read) — Practicing and forgetting are all part of the process of being human, and we don’t need to prove anything to anyone. You can just be you, now.

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