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|The summer of 2003 was hot, very hot. The second or third day of the heat wave that didn't seem to come to an end, was Tuesday, July 15, 2003. For me this was a very memorable day to which I had been looking forward to for weeks; I would spend a day at yellowTAB's office in Mannheim. Normally that would be a 4+ hour drive from where I live, but since I was already residing elsewhere in Germany during my summer holidays, the trip was more doable in one day. I took off for Mannheim at 8:30.
|Before reaching Mannheim, I passed by a city on the opposide side of the Rhine from Mannheim, called Ludwigshafen. It is a much newer town with a huge industrial terrain, entirely belonging to BASF's headquarters. Mannheim itself has a much more historic and frankly an also more conservative appearance. Interesting to see this sharp contrast, and how lovely just to think about how well yellowTAB fits into this picture.
Reaching yellowTAB's office was a particularly easy task upon taking the right offramp, by directly ending up on the Wilhelm Varnholt Allee, which beyond the Planetarium is called the Augustaanlage, a beautiful lane leading right up to the city centre, a small park in between the driveways. It seriously is a popular place for businesses to be at. I parked the car on the Otto Beck Stra?e (leading straight up to Luisen Park, a few hundred yards away), right around the corner of where yellowTAB is. The tension was rising. Augustaanlage 37 is a tall, impressive building with yellowTAB seated on the 4th floor (for American measurements, 5th floor).
|yellowTAB's office in Mannheim
I entered the building and an elevator with a mirror ("How does my hair look?") brought me to the right floor. Here I was let in by a friendly secretary. Other people on this floor were Bernd Korz (CVO), Torsten Linde (CEO), a man whose name I will not mention because of privacy issues*, and Bernd's nephew Gerhard. One of the first things I instantly noticed was that Bernd wasn't wearing his leather pants, or Lederhosen if you prefer, but normal trousers (see the next picture if you don't believe me). Turns out a photographer was scheduled to come by that morning to make a picture of Bernd and Torsten for Mannheimer Morgen, a local newspaper. He came by about an hour after I arrived.
|* - In order to prevent rumours to start circling about the unnamed mystery guy - he does not as such fulfil an active role within yellowTAB at the moment and wishes not to compromise his current activities beyond yellowTAB. His involvement in yellowTAB is entirely legal.
I spent a great part of my time in Bernd's office, located on the shadow side of the building. Nevertheless, it was quite hot in there as well. This is the room where Bernd spends most of his time when working from the office in Mannheim. He also has a home office, which is quite logical since he lives way up North in Germany, hours away from Mannheim which is near the South border. Bernd got a call from a man we would meet later that day. The photographer, a man with a lasting smile on his face, short curly hair and a pair of glasses, was shown Zeta, which was at that time in a stage close to beta 6.
Although the image doesn't really show this too well (both because my flasher didn't work and the person on this picture has been swirled away because he is the aforementioned mystery guy), the table is actually pretty large and offers space for 4 persons. On the left there's some empty space also offering some additional room. This is scheduled to be the developer room for the time being. In this room I also did an interview with Torsten Linde for the Contributor of the Week section of yellowTAB.com, a section that has definitely lacked some updating recently.
On the picture is Gerhard Korz, nephew of the fearless leader (in case you haven't had your coffee yet: yes, Bernd). He usually attends school and was only staying over a little while during his holidays. I haven't been in Torsten's office that much, as he also runs a consultancy agency for which he had some work to be done and I didn't want to bother him. Torsten is in Mannheim much more often than Bernd is, for the greater part because Torsten lives less than half an hour away. One thing you can clearly notice is that his office is tidier than Bernd's. Not because Bernd is a messy person (those who have met him will agree that he's the exact opposite), but because Torsten really made this place his own and Bernd is only dropping in at times.
For in-house presentations and meetings with larger amounts of people, yellowTAB has its own convention room. In the future, it should also function as press conference room. Smaller groups could always gather at a fine Chinese restaurant a few hundred yards down the Augustaanlage. Such was also done on this day during lunch time, as Bernd was called by a very potential business partner like I mentioned earlier who agreed to meet us there. After lunch we all returned to the office together. Our potential business partner was a very kind man and it had been a pleasure talking to him in my faulty German. Further details about him are unfortunately not to be disclosed.
|Administration / Secretary office / Computer room
Opposite of all other rooms are a number of smaller rooms. The administration room has actually now become the domain of yellowTAB's trainee, whose responsibilities are far more than just administrational duties. Any company cannot miss the prescence of a lovely and diligent secretary, and so yellowTAB has one too, naturally provided of her own office. And right next to it is probably the most important room of all, the computer room, including the big and heavy server standing under the desk, and running Debian Linux in case you were wondering.
One thing about yellowTAB is that their coffee was excellent. There is no lack of caffeine thanks to the brilliant coffee machine in the little kitchen at the end of the hallway (which only Bernd appears to really understand). Left of it are the stairwells, the elevator and the toilets. I haven't bothered to make pictures of yellowTAB's toilet. It was just like any other toilet. Obviously I'm not the only one familiar with boredom while sitting on the toilet, hence the small pile of magazines. One was a business order catalog for desk supplies, another was an information folder about a new type of BMW, and the third one wasn't very interesting since I can't even remember what it was exactly.
|By the time I left, Torsten Linde, the secretary and the potential business partner had already gone home. I would have liked to stick around a bit longer. Next time I will. Walking out of the building, it was still very hot, not exactly weather to spend hours in a car. Unfortunately I had to, since I missed a turn, and another, and so I drove right back to Mannheim. After a short tour through a more Northern part of Mannheim I got back on track and drove back to my holiday cabin to have some salad and potatoes. Too bad I haven't seen more of Mannheim's city centre which, according to Bernd and Torsten, is most definitely worth a visit some time.