What is your name, age, location?
Anna Yukiko Bickenbach. Still 29 >_< and located in Berlin, Germany.
What's your background?
I’m American-Japanese and grew up in Germany. I can best describe my cultural triangulated’ness by stating “My passport is from the US, my mind from Germany and my heart from Japan.” I hold a double B.A. from the University of Washington, M.Sc. in Integrated Natural Resource Management from the Humboldt Universität and attended the Hasso-Plattner School of Design Thinking.
What inspired you to become a founder of Ecotastic?
My two co-founders, Fabian and Ralf, approached me with an “idea”. Since the two were finishing up their M.Sc. in Software Engineering at the HPI, it was pretty clear that this was an opportunity to create real change with talent. I was very fortunate to become their third wing-wo(man) and serve the environment.
Please walk me through your day, what do you do at your company?
Morning check-in with Ralf and Fabian. Coffee. Quick email check. Partner acquisition. Marketing material. Social-media marketing. More coffee. Partner acquisition. Finish emails. Brainstorm to-do’s. Interviews. Translations. Fun startup evening events, usually in the social-entrepreneurship sector.
Can you see yourself in ten years doing the same thing you do now?
Surely, “times are changing”, but I’m pretty sure that whatever I’ll be doing, I’ll be satisfied. Actually, in 10 years time I will be working on my chili venture. I want to become a sustainable hot sauce connoisseur (just writing that makes my mouth salivate!).
What is the best advice you ever received?
My father always told me “Take care of number one!” & Girl Scout’s taught me “treat others the way you want to be treated”. Thus combining the two, it’s important to be happy, healthy, and passionate- sometimes you have to be a bit selfish-, but also be open to revive others, reflect and respect their journey.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last year?
Emotional stability and test that business plan.
And what are your plans for the future?
The world needs to be ecotastic’fied.
Focus on the product and stabilize the German market for 2014. In 2015 we’ll be scaling with cooperation projects, jumping across the Atlantic to give the US a taste and finally give the iOS crowd an ecotastic app.
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
To be honest, not much, or I wouldn’t be here right now and I’m very satisfied with where I am. Perhaps, learn to say “no” more often.
Any advice for your local/global Geekettes?
Whatever it is you’re working on make sure to, literally, lurch yourself into feedback territory. Listen to what others, especially your users, have to say. Don’t argue, don’t make excuses, just listen carefully and nod. You need to learn to accept different opinions and to reflect on those later and not in the heat of the moment. The art of listening should be mastered by all. Input equals output.
Ohhh and don’t forget to download the newest version of the ecotastic app! Reward yourself for being sustainably awesome!