Interview with Christian Ehl
Christian Ehl is an experienced Internet entrepreneur and expert for innovative digital business models, co-founder of Munich-based advertising firm Hillert & Co. His passion for technology and it’s impact on business, competitiveness and society are the focus of his work. Since 2012 he also co-founded Nemetschek bim+, the future of web-based building. Before bim+, Christian founded various innovative start-up companies and was the international marketing manager for Intel. Christian Ehl grew up in Germany and the US, holds an MBA of Wake Forrest University and studied electrical engineering at the TU in Munich, Germany. Christian is the co-author of the book “The Social Resource – Translating Social Media into Business” and a co-founder of Mobile Monday.
You are an active AI influencer and activist, what made you become so interested in this topic?
I was doing a startup a while back in the building industry for a cloud solution and I noticed there was a lot of mistakes in the data of the building projects. So I was wondering if there was any way to detect it so I started looking into AI to see if it could analyse the data and find those mistakes. I got really excited about that, and then I dived deep into the topic, I read a lot of about it, talked to a lot of people, I decided to write a book because that makes it very clear for myself. I thought it was a very important topic for the society so I went ahead a wrote a book, researched it for a year, I spoke to Google, Tesla, Microsoft, IBM, all those big companies and I looked at some startups, and then learned it’s one of the most important topics of our society in the future. I decided to move on even to become an activist meaning that I’m focusing on how to use AI for good and I’ve been working with the UN for a year on breakthrough innovations based on AI for the sustainable development goals. This is a little bit of my history with AI and I plan to spend my next 20 years on AI.
Please use the backcamera of your phone to show us how you begin your day?
Please introduce yourself, your background and the multiple ventures you lead in Germany?
My name is Christian, I’m a purposeful doer and a technology enthusiast from Germany. I have been working in tech my whole life and have recently discovered social entrepreneurship and working on projects that are positive for the society or for the planet. My background: I started as a programmer, I worked at Intel for many years, the big global chip company in Europe and Silicon Valley. Then I started an entrepreneur career, I founded 5 startups in different industries. A secure document solution, a travel app, a cloud solution in the building industry, an agency and a few others. Then I’ve taken some time off after those ventures. I was very fortunate and I spent some time biking over the United States. Then I started helping other entrepreneurs by investing in 10 start-ups, then I started working with the united nations and The Do School as an expert and a technology enthusiast. I became very active in the iSpace. I'm currently supporting multiple great ventures, and social entrepreneurs and working on some projects that are working to make society and the planet a better space, projects like Make the Planet Great Again, and a virtual assistant that helps older people live independently.
You've been working on an interesting book project, please give us some insights or a sneakpeak into what you will be publishing soon.
Yes, I’m currently working on a book, it’s called ‘Don’t Talk, Do’. It’s really focused on getting people out of the thinking mode, questioning, planning and discussing, and to focus on doing. When you do, it’s the only way to make a difference, for things to change and for you to learn. So if you just talk, plan and meet, you will not learn anything. I decided to bring in my energy, and my learnings from being a purposeful doer and I wrote a book. It’s 50 tips for purposeful doing, and its everything from what you have to do yourself, how tech can help you do it and how the community can help you to do better. It will be published at the end of May, and it also features some really nice case studies of purposeful doers that have a positive impact on society.