Today we are joining Creative Director Anastasios Voulgaris on his journey to work, talking about Aenne Burda's legacy, changing consumer needs and his first failed DIY project.
It’s 8:30 am in Munich and -7°C. A bitingly cold winter day. Passers-by wearing layers upon layers drag themselves to work. As I watch the cars with frosty, half-scraped windscreens, Florian Weiß, CEO of Jameda, suddenly appears on his bike. Good morning!
Today I am joining Florian on his ride to work – my own bike is still hibernating, so I’m using a city rental bike. Florian has had his bike for decades: “My grandma gave me this when I was 14 as a confirmation gift.” Florian is remarkably tall, and must have been a tall child because the bike frame still fits his body.
Space to enjoy the moment
Time to go. We start on the Isar Bridge on Baldeplatz, passing the bare trees along the riverbank. We are practically the only ones on the wide cycle path. At times like this, Florian likes to simply be in the moment, with no music or podcasts to disturb the rush of the river. “Digitalisation has allowed us to optimise every free minute. And that’s a good thing. But it leaves little space for coincidence or to enjoy the moment.” He explains that “transit routes”, like the journey to work, can be a great opportunity to spend a little time alone.
Networking and optimising
You could say that, as manager of Germany’s largest doctor recommendation service, “optimisation” is Florian’s main job. Through Jameda, he is constantly optimising the doctor/patient relationship. The platform searches for doctors, processes appointments and arranges video consultations in just a few clicks. And the team behind it all is growing as fast as their user numbers. New Jameda sites are currently being set up in cities such as Frankfurt, Cologne, Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg.
I ask him how such a rapidly growing team can be made to commit to the same company vision. After all, he can’t be everywhere at once. He answers with a quote from a book he’s currently reading: “You can’t get a penguin to climb a tree by kicking it up the arse.” He believes it is important to deploy people where they can dedicate themselves to their task and give their best. Inadequate performance is usually caused by the wrong fit between task and person. Even then, business success isn’t a sure thing: “We try to create an open and transparent culture in which strong opinions are heard and controversies are welcome. True agility needs workers who know the overarching vision and strategy and take responsibility.”
The road gets steeper as we head up the hill. Florian’s first obstacle of the day. We keep on pedalling. Jameda had quite a few obstacles of its own to overcome as a new start-up. But now a change in thinking is clear to see, and Jameda has certainly played a major role in that. “The technological developments of the last 10 years have enabled today’s company founders to effect real change in healthcare with limited investment”, he says. Today, innovations tend to be the result of “grassroots development” rather than major political projects.
After a steep climb in the morning, he simply lets his bike roll downhill in the evening. “Sometimes I manage to cast off thoughts of the day’s work as well”.