Get to know Alexander
17 (semi-serious) questions for our co-founder & investor
1. phlow is a photo sharing app, but it’s different from social media. Tell us in 3 words what makes it different and unique.
Photos, curated by its community.
2. What is something that phlow users have to deal with that phlow wants to fix?
Today we are all swamped by a massive avalanche of information. phlow’s mission is to cut through this noise so that everyone can effortlessly see what’s relevant – whatever this might be.
phlow is based on human input, which we believe should be rewarded. Hence, we are working to expand our platform to include a reward system, distributing real value, not likes, back to our users.
3. How would you describe your role in phlow in just one sentence?
I founded phlow because I want to ‘see the world’, acting daily as an ambassador for all users sharing this passion, from photojournalists to readers.
Being the main investor, I never forget the importance of our commercial success.
4. What is your past experience and how is it related to your current role at phlow?
My interest in photography started from a young age, on the photojournalistic side. Initially, it was as a reader, but I went on to develop a deep interest that partly evolved into collecting as well. To call this a qualification is somewhat of a stretch, it is more so a passion.
My working career brought me to Frankfurt and London, working for global investment banks in structured investment products. I was also the co-founder of a successful investment boutique, taken over by UBS. Working in a highly regulated environment across derivatives, structured finance and investment products today are a great basis to built on as phlow moves into the cryptocurrency space.
5. What are the values that drive you?
No surprises here. When one founds a company like phlow, one clearly places oneself on the liberal side of the equation; wherein respect for the individual is of fundamental value and underpins the basic idea of being ‘liberal’. This may be best expressed in the quote “my liberty ends where yours begins”.
When it comes to work, I want to work with people who believe in what they are doing, ready to go the extra mile when needed, result driven and passionate. Counting hours and covering up for mistakes – which we all do – are the two events in work life that I hate.
6. If you could appoint a superhero to do your job in phlow, which one would it be and why? Which superpowers would be required to do your job?
I have to pass this question.
7. You are an international, distributed team with members from Venezuela, Italy, UK, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Austria, Germany and Portugal. What is it about your own culture that helps to make phlow so special?
I have lived in 7 different countries on 3 different continents, realising that I do not like perceiving people in terms of which nation they come from. This tends to somewhat reduce the person. To me, it is always more about who they are, what their values are, and how life has moulded them. This, I believe, is what encompasses culture and by far is more interesting than nationality. As history tells us, national borders are artificial constructs and perceiving individuals in this manner feels wrong to me.
Cultural, human diversity is essential when you want to build a platform like phlow. National borders should never be a constraint.
8. Any funny stories or team arguments? 🙂
Carlo and I still laugh about his first quote on how long it would take to have a first product out – “6 months” was his response. At the time we completely misjudged the challenges of building a platform around human behaviour, not going down the AI route. Looking at today’s world, I am more convinced than ever that this is the right route to go, if not the only acceptable one when it comes to media, i.e. how we are informed.
9. What’s the best thing about being part of phlow?
Working with an amazing team to implement one’s passion. I would call this the dream of every entrepreneur.
10. Your top 3 favorite Podcasts/Books and why?
“The Catcher in the Rye” (J. D. Salinger) – Herein hinges my deep antipathy for phoniness in our adult world.
“Crowds and Power” (Elias Canetti) – Fascinating read on the path of understanding mankind; Canetti’s focus on the smallest of details on the human condition, and the connection they go on to form with what drives nations and builds cultures is incredibly insightful.
“Post Truth” (Matthew D’Ancona) – Living in a world of ‘alternative facts’ this book is a must read for those who wish to understand how we are surrounded by manipulation.
11. If you could pick a movie for everyone at phlow to see, which movie would that be and why?
I would not call it my favourite movie, but it is a must watch for everyone engaged with phlow – HyperNormalisation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fny99f8amM (BBC 2016 by British filmmaker Adam Curtis)
12. If you could be photographed in any style of photography of your choice, which one would you choose?
Black & white full body portrait, standing in front of a simple roll canvas wall, with a self-timer.
13. What object/thing that you don’t have already would you like to have?
A motor glider, but this is a bigger project as I also need a pilot license, which in turn requires time. I love the idea of independent travel, seeing the world from above.
14. If you could meet ANYONE in the world, who would you choose to meet and why?
The writer Michael Ende because of his book ‘Momo’. I remain amazed about how he managed to simplify the incredibly complex topic of ‘humans & time’ into a children’s book. And, writing in the 70s, he had incredible foresight of issues pertinent in our world today, particularly the domination of ‘men in grey whose existence is purely on the basis of others’ time ’… which today can be analogous to centralised platforms whose sole existence is hinged upon users’ time and work, but only they reap the staggering profits.
15. If you could have a superpower, what would that be and why?
Recoup time wasted.
16. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Since we moved to the Bavarian countryside, gardening has become my passion. I find it to be a great counterbalance to my work, as it teaches patience while at the same time reveals the complexity – and beauty – of nature. My ambition for next year would be to have bees and add a vegetable garden, which supports – cooking.
17. Where do you see phlow in the next 10 years?
I want phlow to be the LIFE magazine of the digital age – “The Show-Book of the World”, as Henry Luce (LIFE founder) called it. And, I want to achieve this through a true web 3.0 ecosystem; meaning the sharing of profits with members of the phlow community as they contribute value to the platform.