If you’ve ever looked around downtown Klagenfurt, you’ve probably noticed the yellow stickers with the black X scattered throughout the city. Where do they come from? What are they good for? We went to the bottom of these questions and spoke with Bruno Hautzenberger, Head of Platform Solutions. He is not only responsible for these stickers, but also for many other projects and tinkering. Find out what drives Bruno and what else he does at Anexia in this JOR interview.
As a small child, I wanted to become an architect. Yet, personal experience has shown that as a left-handed person with terrible handwriting you can’t draw any better with ink. So, because of my motor skills, that didn’t happen. (laughs)
At the age of 14, it was clear to me that I would end up somewhere else. At that time, I didn’t know yet where that was going to be, but luckily, I ended up in software development.
Yes, I was the founder and one of two managing directors of Xamoom, a start-up Georg Holzer and I founded in 2014. With the start-up, we also won the Bank Austria Art Prize, among other things, which still surprises me today.
Because I’m not an artist. I can’t sing, dance, paint, make music, or anything like that. I am many things, but not an artist.
I’ll have to elaborate a bit. Back when NFC-enabled phones came out, we ordered NFC tags on Amazon, only to find that there were no use cases for NFC-enabled phones. So, we put them into stickers and tinkered with software.
To make sure that someone would notice, we stuck 70 of these stickers all over the city of Klagenfurt, at bus stops, etc. This took place during the “Days of German Literature”, where the Bachmann Prize is awarded.
These were simple yellow stickers with the face of Mrs. Bachmann on it, on Pingeb.org you can also find a map on which all stickers are listed. Here and there we also sent them by mail, and some of them ended up in Berlin!
Then I wrote a piece of very ugly software, through which we distributed public domain books. For example, you could hold your cell phone on a sticker at the Lido and download a book. I could also fill this infrastructure from the outside, which means we could change at any time what you download with any of these stickers, without having to go there. At some point, we started to promote Carinthian artists, for which we won the Bank Austria Art Prize – for art promotion. That’s where the art prize came from, even though I didn’t do anything artistic for it.
If I had a secret to success, it would be that it always happens when you don’t work towards it, this is the only thing these prizes had in common. None of the prizes were forced, they just happened.
It always happens when you don’t work towards it.
Many. (laughs) Otherwise, it would be boring. I’ve been in a role like this before, but in the scope of a 6-person company, not Anexia. That was a challenge. But what benefited me in that situation were the processes that were very well established in our department.
In our team, we work on the Engine, which is Anexia’s central management platform, and that’s where everything comes together. For us, this platform is the biggest challenge every day in its operation and maintenance. But of course, I also have a vision of how the platform should develop. My goal is to keep everything together and to design the future in a meaningful way.
I am very happy that I got the chance to do this, but I am also aware of the responsibility. I know that there is a certain expectation on the entire platform and therefore also on me as a role, which is not the smallest. That’s something you must deal with. I would be arrogant, if not stupid if I said it would run itself. (laughs)
My goal is to keep everything together and to design the future in a meaningful way.
I know I’m easy to stalk. I like programming, but only fun stuff that entertains me. If the process entertains me, I don’t care about the result. For example, the shopping list printer. It’s a pointless project that nobody needs, but if you buy a little too much from Adafruit as I do, you’ll eventually have a printer like that lying around. Then you just need to add an Arduino, build a small web interface and then you can… print shopping lists. That’s how I started small games from scratch, without any framework. I used Python to stumble something together and then drew the stuff including animations on my iPad, which is the most complicated way to do it.
And since I’m not pretty enough for social media, I make pretty food. (Laughs) Cooking is something I’ve always loved to do. I almost became a chef, but I wouldn’t have physically survived that. With my wife I now have a simple division of labor, I mess up the kitchen, in return, she has to clean it.
And with all these things, I somehow have the urge to immortalize it on my social media channels.
It always goes the same way: one of the craft stores I follow on Instagram comes out with something fun new. I quickly click together an order with no idea what to do with it. Eventually, when I’m putting it back together, I wonder what I can do with it and then things like this come to mind.
Quoting again, I’m not pretty enough for Instagram, so all my social media channels have no traction, which I don’t care about. Whereas – on my photography channel. I do care, because I put a lot of work into that, if only for fun.
But my photography hobby is what I like to do most in my free time.
I don’t write for the sake of writing because I am very solution oriented. That’s why my tutorials are always about problem-solving.
…where I’ve already started to write 7 articles without publishing one because I just don’t get around to doing it.
But even if nothing is coming, I have many topics in the pipeline. Mostly they are technical tutorials, where I take parts from my hobby projects and write about them. I don’t care if anyone reads it, it’s more like writing a diary. Every time I’ve been puzzling over some problem for days trying to find a solution to a sub-problem, I write it down. Maybe someone who has the same problem will find me or ideally, I will find myself in 2 years. I don’t write for the sake of writing because I am very solution oriented. That’s why my tutorials are always about problem-solving.
If you also like to tinker with problems and their solutions and want a strong team at your side, take a look at our job offers!