This discussion contains an extensive review of film recommendation systems that would be extremely interesting for folks engaged in building Web 3.0 systems. All in all, the story is quite fascinating!
Sramana: Tobias, let’s start with the beginning of your personal story. Where are you from? What is the background that gave roots to your entrepreneurial journey?
Tobias Bauckhage: I was born and raised in Central Germany. I grew up in a town close to Hamburg where my father was a professor of mechanical engineering. I focused on Math and Physics in my late high school years. I also played a lot of role playing games when I was younger. At one time, I wanted to become a journalist. I wrote for many magazines including student and youth magazines.
When it was time to go to college, I originally wanted to study mechanical engineering. I found that I was too far away from the media world to stay interested, so I dropped out. I had two options at that time. I could go to a German school in Munich or I could go to Berlin and study economics. I had friends in Berlin at that time, in 1995, and it was really an exciting place. The Wall had been down for eight years and the city was filled with young people, politics, and open spaces. I decided I had to go to Berlin no matter what.
I moved there in 1996 and decided to study economics. I concentrated on data-driven and number-driven aspects of economics. I was excited to be in this city, which was driven by illegal clubs, night life, and very interesting initiatives. I really loved it a lot. That was during the first Internet phase in Germany. It was before the dot-com craze. A lot of startups came about in 1998 and 1999. There were a lot of copy cats there. There were a lot of entrepreneurs there. It was hard for me to stay in school, but I did.
Everything I learned in the business school classes were fit to be applied in the startup world, but I found that the startup world had its own set of rules too. It was very hands on and not all that text book. In 2000, the bubble burst and that is when I finished my studies and received a masters in economics. I wrote my thesis on the impact of digitalization on the media industry. After graduation, I wanted to go into the media industry to apply the findings of my thesis to the real world, but unfortunately the whole industry was down after the bubble burst.
I then had to pursue plan B, which was to join Boston Consulting Group where I worked for three and a half years. I was basically waiting for the tech community to gain momentum again. I wanted to prepare myself to start my own company.