The Third Degree: Martin Frindt of Crowdpark

By Claire Adamson |

This week in the Third Degree, our regular Friday feature where we quiz Berlin’s best and brightest CEOs, we spoke to Martin Frindt of Crowdpark about collecting vinyl in San Francisco and avoiding fancy food in Mitte. 

SILICON ALLEE: If you weren’t the CEO of a startup, what would you be doing?

MARTIN FRINDT: I’ve never worked in a normal company that wasn’t a startup. But if I had gone in a different direction when I was younger, I would have been a studio engineer or a developer. I started to do some sound design and studio stuff when I was younger, and then when I first started studying I studied computer science and media. But I always wanted to work in consumer, brand or Internet companies.

SA: What do you like about Berlin?

MF: People always say the same thing: everything is changing, and everything is still rough and not that pretty. I think the good thing about Berlin is that people don’t care about money and status symbols so much, or they just cannot afford them. I think that a lot of people don’t really care about big money and big cars and so on. Dresden (where I’m from) is prettier and everything is more fancy. It’s more like a tiny Vienna. Berlin’s rougher and not that polished. There are a lot of pretty places in Berlin but there are a lot of shitty places here too and I think people really like this.

SA: East or West Berlin?

MF: Of course for me it’s the East part of Berlin. In the Western part everything is pretty packed and not that open, and the architecture is different. I was born in the GDR as well so it feels more familiar. I was born in 1982, so some people say I am part of the last generation who can remember this time. I have a lot of memories, and the style of the buildings reminds me of a lot of what I used to know from the past.

SA: When you leave Berlin, where do you go?

MF: Some people say I don’t live in Berlin because I live outside the Ringbahn. I think that outside of Berlin you find a lot of nice places you can discover by bike and I really like to go there. When I go on holiday I really like chilly places, I don’t need the sun. So Sweden and Scotland and such places. The only place I like to go where there is sun is San Francisco, because it’s still not that hot. It feels like a European city, I really like the vibe there. And there are good record stores in San Francisco.

SA: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

MF: I collect music, physical stuff like vinyl and CDs. I produce music. When I go home I like to just get my old 12 inch records out and scratch a little bit. It’s really relaxing for me. I started running one year ago, I go running several times a week. I love running, it’s so simple. You don’t need anything, you just start to run and that’s it. I really love that.

SA: What is your favourite café, bar and restaurant in Berlin?

MF: For bars, I like the shitty places, so I would totally pick Kneipe, a bar next to our office in Friedrichshain. I love Sudanese food, so I really like Nil. There’s one in Friedrichshain and one in Kreuzberg. I always go for Arabic or Sudanese food. I don’t like fancy food, so I’m totally not into stuff in Mitte. I never go out to just to have a coffee, so I go to places around the office.

SA: What do you think the Internet will look like in ten years?

MF: I don’t think that the whole structure of the Internet or the content will change, because it always represents human civilization and behavior. So I think the structure will stay the same, but what is changing is the way we explore the content. I think it will feel more natural in the future. The Internet is like a mirror of the normal offline world. I think it’s more about new devices like touch screen interfaces that will change the navigation part of it, not the content or what you can do on the Net.