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About Peter Bihr

Peter Bihr

Photo by Nina Zimmermann.

Peter Bihr is the founder of The Waving Cat, where he explores the impact of emerging technologies and helps apply the insights of innovators through consulting and conferences.

As a strategy advisor, he helps organizations large and small excel in an environment shaped by connectedness and rapid change.

He has co-founded and chaired many acclaimed emerging technology conferences including ThingsCon, UIKonf and Cognitive Cities Conference, and serves as co-chair of Interaction16.

His projects, thoughts and other antics have been featured in Forbes, New York Times, The Guardian, WIRED, ZDF, ZEIT and many others. He blogs at thewavingcat.com.

(For an overview of other affiliations as well as past and current clients, please click here. Also, this bio is available in German, too.)

Get in touch

If you’re working on something exciting and would like to pick my brains, please get in touch.

Other ways to connect and follow related news: Company Twitter account (@thewavingcat), personal Twitter account (@peterbihr), LinkedIn.

About The Waving Cat

The Waving Cat refers to maneki neko or a fortune cat as it is often found in Japan. More correctly it is a beckoning cat, inviting customers and good fortune – in our context, it stands for a positive outlook, an embrace of a future that is shaped by technology, connectedness and rapid change. It’s also an invitation to start a conversation.

At the core, I see the role of this company as a mix of

  • EXPLORER, finding the most interesting things the near future has to offer in terms of technology and change, and figuring out their meaning and impact
  • TRANSLATOR, making the insights and terminology more easily accessible
  • USER EVANGELIST, standing up for user/consumer/citizens’ rights
  • CHANGE AGENT, helping you future-proof your organization and embrace the future

Always positive, critical, reliable; with a focus on getting things done; and happy to figure out the details along the way.

Personally, I have been fascinated by technology all my life. I’ve been striving to understand how things work and their impact. I believe that a key to success is to consider users’ rights, to think systemically, and keep sustainability in mind – especially in a field that moves as fast as the tech industry.

Fun fact: In science fiction author Bruce Sterling’s short story Maneki Neko, the cat-paw gesture is the sign of a secret AI-based gift economy.

What we do

I categorize my work roughly into three categories:

  1. ADVISORY WORK: This can take a wide variety of shapes and outputs, but basically it’s me engaging with particular or systemic challenges and opportunities your organization faces. It can also mean looking at the chaning environment you operate in and developing a compass and map for future development on the business, strategy or product side of things. As process and types of output vary, a retainer basis tends to work best as it provides most flexibility.
  2. EMERGING TECH CONFERENCES: We find a topic that we see has tremendous impact and potential and where the community of (particularly grass-roots and independent) innovators and thought leaders doesn’t yet have a place and context to meet, and create an event. This event serves as the core for a larger platform/ecosystem to build collaborations and sustainable projects on. Some examples so far include ThingsCon (IoT, connected hardware), UIKonf (iOS developers), 3. atoms&bits Festival (maker culture). Sometimes I help clients with events, but usually these are self-initiated projects, run with external partners.
  3. PUBLICATIONS or PRODUCTS: Sometimes the work mentioned above leads us to an opportunity that is too interesting to pass, or produces as a side effect content that is relevant to a larger audience. In that case, we turn it into a publication or product. Examples so far include The Indie Conference Organizer Handbook (with Max Krüger), The Imaginary Unit (a premium monthly executive briefing for emerging technology, with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and Patrick Tanguay), or Connected (a print publication tracking the evolving Internet of Things ecosystem with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino).

To get a better understanding of my work, you can look at a comprehensive list of Things I’ve Worked On, or for a slightly more curated list, my company’s portfolio.

Events & Speaking

Frequently I initiate and chair events and I think there’s no better, more fun way to meet interesting people, to explore emerging topics and technologies, and to foster communities of innovators. Over the last few years, this included ThingsCon (future of hardware and the Internet of Things), UIKonf (iOS developers), Cognitive Cities Conference (connected cities), Atoms&Bits (maker culture), TEDxKreuzberg, Ignite Berlin, and Likemind Berlin. A bit more info here and here.

Besides organizing, I regularly am involved in events and conferences as a speaker, curator, moderator or panelist. Among many others that has included NEXT Berlin (where I’m program director), Picnic, O’Reilly Solid, SXSW and the OpenIOT Assembly.

If you would like me to speak at your corporate event, please contact my agent Tessa at The Next Speaker.

Media

Sometimes I write something or am quoted or my work is featured in smaller or larger media outlets like Australian, Deutschlandradio, Focus, Forbes, Golem, Guardian, New York Times, Radio Fritz, T3N, taz, WDR, ZDF and ZEIT. I try to keep an up-to-date list of media mentions and publications.

If you want to get in touch for an interview, please come this way.

What I did before

By way of explaining where I’m coming from, the shortest of resumés: Before doing what I do now, I co-founded Third Wave, part think tank, part digital strategy consultancy, where we worked for clients like MTV Europe, Postbank and ZEIT Online. Before that, I worked as a freelance strategist, doing all kinds of things ranging from web strategy to social media to project management to election campaigning for clients like ARTE, Google, Netzpiloten, SPD, Tumblr, WoltersKluwer, as well as a number agencies and public broadcasters. (Client list, CV.) Along the way, I had some editorial roles, too.

Disclosures

I like transparency. As a rule of thumb, if there’s any risk of a conflict of interest, I try to mention it in any given blog post. I currently am, or was at some point, affiliated with these groups. In the past, I worked with these clients. Everything in this weblog expresses my personal opinion, and mine only, unless marked otherwise.