One thing working at Apple taught me is that if you don’t have data to confirm what you’ve done, you haven’t done anything. That’s why when Apple makes a promise, a bond on their reputation, they don’t just pay some contractor to meet their obligations. They send a team of inspectors to make sure things actually get done. If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.
The Appsterdam Foundation was not the first team to try to build a technical destination in Amsterdam. Hell, we weren’t even the first people to use the name Appsterdam to describe such an idea. The existing idea, which had been floundering around in some way, shape, or form for over a decade, just sort of got applied to us. We’re not the first, but we are fundamentally different, in some very important ways.
First, we eschew simplistic solutions that are either too top-down, or too explosive to effect real change. We believe that technology is fundamentally a people problem. Likewise, we believe that technologists are people, too. Therefore we appeal directly to the community of our peers. There are no easy or one-time solutions to building a tech community. Building anything worthwhile takes getting your hands dirty on a grassroots level.
Second, we believe optimization requires profiling. You can’t claim to be making things better—especially at public expense—unless you can actually prove that you’re making things better. This is why, before ever taking a dime from the government, we’ve started a research project with the University of Amsterdam to gather and visualize the data behind our tech community.
We’re going to show you not only who’s operating in this ecosystem, but who’s moved here, and who’s visiting here, because of Appsterdam. We’re different because we produce results, and we know this because we gather data. Building a better tech community isn’t art, it’s science, and the work we’re doing to reverse engineer the fundamental algorithms of our ecosystem are meant to be reused anywhere.
We are not just people who believe in our ability to change the world, we’ve proven it. Moreover, we’ve proven that in solving the world’s problems, money inevitably follows. It is not in chasing money that wealth is acquired; it is in making a dent in the universe that immortality is acquired. That’s what money can’t buy.