Photo of marble top tables, bar and windows in Cafe Florianihof Vienna.

6.  Platz Presse

By Andrew Nash

Episode 1: Vienna Woods    … Episode 2: Bunker Business   … Episode 3: Red Herring Keller   … Episode 4: The Physical Network   … Episode 5: Time and City Spaces 


Suddenly five very big guys were in the room and a short guy was asking who’s in charge.

Andrea started to explain they were a team, no one was in charge, they made decisions collectively.

“Don’t give me that commie BS little lady!” said the short guy.

“Hey squid brain” said Maria, “Lay off the tough talk. What do you want?” Heads turned; this was a side of Maria they hadn’t seen before.

“OK, since you asked so politely” replied the short guy, who did kind of look like a squid, “We’re here for your physical networking app. You can sell it to us – Sand Hill Road will pay big bucks – or we’ll just take your laptops and blow town before the coppers know what hit’em.”

They looked at each other – did people really talk like that in San Francisco? But there wasn’t time for an anthropological discussion.

“Yeah, and just how do you plan to steal our idea? It’s in our heads, you can take our laptops, but we’ll just develop it anyway,” said Andrea, before realizing exactly what she’d implied.

Graffiti painting of rich business man smoking a cigar (Karlsruhe).“So, little Miss Marxist has some big plans,” – they would have laughed if Arnold Schwarzenegger had said it in a movie – “but naturally doesn’t know how venture capital firms work in the real world.”

“No, please elucidate us – if you know what that means, Mister mini von Hayek” answered Maria.

“We got lawyers. Once they get their hands on code it’s as good as ours. We patent it and sue your behinds if you try to use it. But, like I said, if you want to sell …”

Suddenly, a flash filled the room. A guy with a camera and a woman filming with her handy rushed in.

“We’re from the Falter, and we’re doing a story on the app these folks are building. Who are you guys?” asked the reporter.

“It’s not important Miss Newspaper-lady,” answered, naturally, the short guy, “Our clients will be happy to buy your poor excuse for a newspaper. People don’t usually turn ‘em down.”

“Not likely Mister moneybags, our paper’s committed to making the world better, one story a time. I’m sure your clients will love seeing your pictures on the front page of next week’s edition. Who did you say they were again?”

“It’s not important. We were just leaving,” replied the muscular one, pushing the short guy out the door as the others dashed out.

“Smile for the camera boys” added Maria. Maria!

Francesco walked in. “It sounded like you might need some back-up, so I called the Falter restaurant critic, who was here last week for a review, and asked if they’d be interested in the story. He said the Falter-Morgen people were just wrapping-up and he’d pitch it.”

“Yeah, it sounded like something we’d like, especially when Florian mentioned the coffee,” said the reporter.

They had a lot of work to do, now they’d be competing directly with Sand Hill Road VC mercenary coders – the best of the bunch – but they had a head start, and maybe a Falter story would help them get a grant for the new work.


The story continues … in San Francisco … Coffee in bed