OBEN – from networks to ideas

The classical Eureka or rhetorical lightbulb moments might be somewhat simplified metaphors for having great ideas. An Aha-moment is not an isolated idea but rather the end of an incubation process of thoughts, experience and exchange with others. I am sorry to say, but unless you are a mathematical genius, the likelihood that a marvellous idea just strikes you is minimal.

Chance favors the connected mind“, Steven Johnson.

The space of innovation

However, there is a trick that might help us ordinary people. As Steven Johnson explains in his TED talk, through history ideas arose from networking and the increase in chance to bump into the right people. Thus networks and therefore ideas require an ideal space to form. What in former times was the coffee house, today is the internet and networking events. We need to interact with others, absorb new opinions and be confronted with the unexpected to stitch together ideas. Watch his TED talk to figure out what nurturing environment were crucial for great ideas like natural selection and the invention of GPS:



OBEN –  a new event to exchange ideas in Vienna

We recently discovered a new spot in Vienna to meet new people and increase your odds of fostering brilliant ideas. OBEN is an event series that wants to give creatives, investors and entrepreneurs exactly this space to network – in a relaxed atmosphere with a drink or two. This week the first event of OBEN took place, where else could it be than at the Sofitel loft on the top floor. We met with the host Julian Wiehl and asked him some questions about OBEN.


Julian Wiehl

Julian Wiehl

Q: You are hosting a new event series called OBEN. What is it about and who should join?

Julian: We created OBEN to celebrate entrepreneurship and visionaries. Creatives, Start-Up Founders and Business-Angels are invited to enjoy a good time with interesting people, awesome drinks and a spectacular view over Vienna. So you will not find the common speed-dates or elevator-pitches at OBEN. It’s networking on a new level – the high-class friend zone level.

Q: On the website it states that “the adventurers of our times are the entrepreneurs”. What do you think is the status of the entrepreneur in Austria today?

Julian: Frankly speaking I think it’s the new shit to have your own business. It fits the attitude of Generation Y where everybody wants to fulfill his and her dreams instead of getting a well paid job. So in Austria you earn a lot of respect if you have founded a company and earn your own money. Just don’t get bankrupt. That’s what Austrians don’t appreciate. When we started in 2009 with the VANGARDIST Magazine, some other friends founded their own start-up too and are now doing good business. Since then a real community for start-ups has been established and the foundation of Austrian Startups has been an important point to support the interests of founders.

Q: Who is behind OBEN? And how did you come up with the idea of this event?

TEDxVienna team at OBEN

TEDxVienna team at OBEN

Julian: OBEN was invented by the VANGARDIST Magazine, which is dedicated to progressive lifestyles. With OBEN we try to bring start-up business to a new level. Out of the garage or the co-working space to a high-class rooftop location. It’s not about being snobby but I think it’s time to value the efforts of these hard working creatives and founders with a good location and good drinks. (he smiles)

Q: What does “nach OBEN” mean to  you personally?

Julian: In my opinion everybody who is founding a company has visions and a lot of courage.
Start-up founders are dreamers and dreams are above us like stars. To grab them you need to grow up.
It’s not easy to get up there, but once you’ve made it, it pays off a lot.
That’s why we chose the German term for UP – OBEN.


Thanks Julian for the interview and here are some more impressions of the very first OBEN event:

Images from Vangardist and TEDxVienna (Dajana Doskoc)

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About Lisa Landskron

Being a scientist in the field of molecular biology & leading the TEDxVienna Blogger team, Lisa loves to do biochemical as well as digital experiments to create and spread ideas.

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