Why I Chose to Live and Work in Berlin Germany

Life is about choices…. Life is too short…. Life is meant to be lived…. A life full of challenges is a life….

I could have started this post with dozens of quotes from others in history, but I’d rather share with you a little insight into why I chose to live and work in Berlin, Germany for ProfitBricks, a Cloud Computing company based here.


William Toll at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

A little bit about me first:

First a little background. I grew up in Wyckoff, NJ, a suburb of New York City – life was simple and safe and the schools were among the best in the country.  My first memories of thinking about careers were all about marketing, advertising and product differentiation.  I remember reading catalogs and comparing products, advertising and more as a teenager. My first trips to Europe began when I was 15 and I remember being fascinated by the world of different products, packaging, and advertising I saw there. The first clue to my future might have been my choice of college – New England College – with campuses in Henniker, New Hampshire and Arundel, England, it had many great business and marketing professors. My original plan was to spend two semesters in the UK, but I ended up staying five semesters.  My schooling in the UK opened my eyes to the world – different ways of seeing things, communicating ideas and experiencing life. Studying with students and teachers from around the world, I was quickly able to see where my life experiences were different from my friends and classmates.

My early career years were spent gaining experience in marketing and product management in New York City, SE Florida and Boston, and my experience living abroad always gave me a chance to see things a little differently from many of my colleagues.  A worldview was an exciting thing to have as the Internet became the center of our lives and the world suddenly got measurably smaller and larger at the same time.


ProfitBricks Berlin Germany Offices

Why I joined ProfitBricks

I was excited to work for my first Internet company with roots in Germany when I joined ProfitBricks.  Previous employers had roots in Japan, Russia or significant operations in India. I was lucky to have exposure to those business and technology cultures.  But Germany, a country I had been to several times, was new to me.  Sure, I’d long been a big Deutschophile, driven Audis and sought other high quality form<function products, but working for a German based Cloud provider was new to me. Another significant reason I joined ProfitBricks is my respect for 1&1 Inc., their brilliant US launch, while their US products/pricing/marketing also played a factor.  Working for their competitors I saw the effect that a German based service provider could have on the market – it was clear that great technology, great products and great marketing drove their success. I knew working for ProfitBricks and for the team that founded it (the former founders of the 1&1 Web hosting business) would give me a chance to help ProfitBricks launch in the US and push the market forward with better technology, better products and better marketing. Even more important, my managers at ProfitBricks gave me the wings I needed…

Wings that I used to help drive us to early success and recognition by customers, the media and analysts, winning several awards along the way.  Those wings also flew me back and forth to Berlin often for meetings and strategy sessions.

In January 2014, they asked me if I wanted to move to Berlin for an extended period of time.  I made the decision in a matter of hours; sure I had lots to consider, life in Boston is great, and leaving family and friends is never easy, but…the opportunity to live and work in Germany made the decision easy.

Why moving to Germany was an easy decision and what it’s been like for the first 6 months

Germany is not that far away – it’s a 6 to 10 hour flight from the US, and with Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype, everyone in the US is just a few taps away on any device I have on me.


German Train – ICE -T Model in Munich – Travels at 250km/h or faster

Germany – I mean Germany!  It’s an amazing country in 2014. An economic super power. A country full of history but also a country with an ultra modern approach to the future. A country that’s bordering on obsession for perfection – yes, it’s true almost everything here is designed, engineered and deployed with the precision of a German automobile.

Berlin – a city once divided and always a magnet for outsiders, creative types and a city always up for a challenge. Today it’s a city preparing for its future as a world “super city”. Berlin has it all – from a rich history in the arts and in general, to being the new government capital, to the large and growing technology startup scene. And Berlin has new international expats arriving daily. It’s a city that never sleeps and never stops moving forward. Becoming a super city takes decades, and Berlin is still in its youth for its next evolution on the world stage.

Berlin – life is easy here for an American.  English is widely spoken and it’s the primary business language at ProfitBricks and many other companies with an Internet focus. Believe it or not, life in Berlin is affordable. From rent to food and recreation, Berlin is more affordable than Boston and a lot more affordable than Silicon Valley. With great bike lanes everywhere, great beer and a thriving night club scene it’s also a fun city.

Berlin – it can be a springboard for your passions and a foundational experience that you will benefit from throughout your life.  Whether it’s the challenge of living in another country or the fact that the great cities and countries of Athens, Prague, Paris, Barcelona, Poland, Denmark, etc. are just a short plane or high-speed rail ride away, my experience in Berlin is proving to be very rewarding.


Roman-Ruins-Under-Barcelona-Spain (Weekend Trip)

ProfitBricks GmbH – I love this company.  We’re full of passionate people from 23 countries (Poland, UK, India, Russia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Brazil, USA, etc.) and each of us is driven by our mission – offering the next generation of Cloud Computing IaaS services that truly meet the technology and budget needs of businesses and channel partners of all sizes.  We are a key Cloud technology provider and this is enabling the world to spin around the Internet of Things, Big Data and more.

The details – The ProfitBricks HR team is my partner. They have gone out of their way to help me and countless other teammates as we arrived and got settled here.  Don’t believe everything you read – moving to Berlin can be done quickly and easily – and you’ll learn much along the way. So, from a career perspective, personal growth perspective, and the need I have to feed my thirst for knowledge and my hunger for travel, why wouldn’t I consider spending a portion of my career in Berlin? What about you?

c-Base Berlin Hacker bar

c-Base Berlin Hacker bar

Are you ready for a challenge and a rewarding life?  Contact me or review our job postings and find out how you too can live and work in one of the world’s most interesting cities.

We have several positions open in our Berlin, Germany office, including a DevOps Engineer position.  Let us know if you are interested and want to learn more.

William Toll, Berlin, Germany
September 2014
Twitter: @utollwi