Support Sign Up

New Look, New Logo, Same Jimdo Spirit

Not every idea you have when you’re sixteen years old is a good one, but in this case we got lucky. Back then, we were talking about what we wanted to do when we “grew up.” One thing we knew: it had to be something fun.

read more

Jimdo's Next Chapter

Today is a big day for Jimdo—we closed a €25 million ($28 million) minority investment round led by Spectrum Equity. Spectrum is an investor that specializes in profitable, growth-stage companies with sustainable business models—in other words, companies exactly like ours.

Jimdo's Next Chapter
read more

Ship It!

One thing Kanban teaches us is the power of visualization. If you visit our office, you will see dozens of task-filled whiteboards, dashboards, paper prototypes and all other sorts of visuals. In knowledge work, sometimes tasks (and obstacles) can seem invisible. It‘s so much easier to collaborate on them when you can see, touch and move them.


Jimdo Shipping Board


In the past we tried different approaches to visualize what we’re working on, but they all degenerated over time, mostly because they were too complicated. Still, we saw huge value in having some sort of Portfolio Board for the entire company. So we tried something quite different.


Our latest attempt is called the “Shipping Board,” designed around the metaphor of ships and flow. The idea first came up at the company-wide Retrospective, when a small group sat together and discussed the flow of large work items. Fridtjof said that there‘s a certain point where the responsibility is handed over from the development teams to the marketing teams “like when a different captain is entering a ship and the other one is leaving.” This metaphor stuck with us, and the next week we played around with it quite a lot. Then we felt we were ready to design our new shipping board.




How it works

  • Every ship represents a feature or a brand new product.
  • Projects need to be of strategic importance for Jimdo and interesting for the whole company in order to become a ship. The litmus test would be: “Would we write a blog post about this or send a newsletter to all of our customers?”
  • Paper boats are rough ideas. We think they might be valuable, but we are not really sure. Paper boats need to have the name of a contact person on them as well as a value proposition.
  • Later, when we are committed to the project, the boats are upgraded to plastic ships. At this point it needs to be clear which team is the ship owner.


Once we create a ship, it works its way through the board:


The Dock

Paper boats (the rough ideas) leave the dock for small test drives. This is when we run experiments, user tests, or build a prototype.


The Harbor

After some time at the dock, ships move left to right through the harbor. The harbor gradually narrows, representing decreasing uncertainty. At first we only know the why: Why do we want to build this thing (whatever it might become)? Which problem are we going to solve? At this point we often know neither the scope nor the team that will build it—or if it will be built at all.


At this stage, it‘s totally okay that paper boats go in circles as we learn new things. And it’s also okay that some of them will be discarded (in fact this needs to be the case; without being able to throw out ideas, we could become too risk-averse).


As the ships move to the right, we know more about the “how”: How will the thing we‘re building actually look? How will be build it? Teams get feedback from different people at the company, and as soon as we commit to building the feature or the product, we replace the little paper boat with a plastic ship.


The Gate

When a ship enters the narrow gate, there‘s very little uncertainty left. Tech-wise it‘s ready, and we‘ve also done user tests and/or A/B tests and gathered real user feedback. So there should be no huge surprises. Now it‘s about polishing, as well as finishing the marketing and communication strategy, training the support people, and preparing it for release.


The Open Sea

A ship reaches the open sea when it’s delivered to our (old and new) customers. If it’s a really big ship, we celebrate with a party. Smaller ships get a big round of applause at Teamverløtung (our weekly all-staff meeting). Once in the open sea, each ship heads towards one of the islands, which represent our most important company-wide goals. All islands are interconnected (e.g. sales and growth), but every ship has a main destination. We have a couple of islands already, but we need space to add more, so this has to wait for the next iteration of the board.


Every Friday at our Teamverløtung, we present updates on the shipping board to the whole team. A new paper boat might be put on the board and explained. One or two of the ships will move to the right. Sometimes a ship will be removed from the board. The contact person or the whole team might change. A paper boat might become a plastic ship, etc.


We have used the shipping board for a couple of months now and here are some lessons we've learned so far:


1. The metaphor is really powerful

The very first time we presented this board in the Teamverløtung, something funny happened. One of our data experts presented a topic which was completely unrelated to the board (or at least it seemed to be). Then he turned to the new board and said: “We cannot prove if this ship will be a great success, but our A/B test has proven that it will not capsize when it enters the open sea.” People like metaphors and use them in very creative ways.


The metaphor is especially nice because it resonates with our headquarters location near Hamburg’s own harbor, as well as with the whole concept of “flow”, which we all know from the Lean/Kanban world.


2. Visualization is key

This point cannot be over-stressed. We’ve known about the power of visualization for a very long time, but with the shipping board we still were surprised when we saw this picture:


shipping board traffic jam


Wow, we have so many ships in the gate and they all are almost in the open sea. It looks like a traffic jam, so let‘s roll up our sleeves and get them live (instead of building even more new ships).


3. You won't do it right the first time

After we set up the board it took less than a week to discover things we wanted to change. Luckily we were smart enough to start with a rather light-weight (and messy) version and learn on the go instead of doing a big-upfront design and never changing it again. At this point we are close to setting up version 2.0 of our board.


4. It takes effort to maintain it

When we did a quick survey about what our employees think about the new board, some people responded with comments like: “I think it‘s cool but I am not sure if we can keep it up or if it will degenerate after a while (like previous attempts).” Indeed it can be time-consuming to maintain this board and someone needs to take ownership, in order to keep it alive.


5. It‘s fun

Some of our employees find the shipping board a little bit childish, and that‘s okay. Others like it very much. When a paper boat becomes a plastic ship, we ask the team who now owns it what kind of ship it would like to have (“We are a speed boat!” “No, it feels more like a float.”) and they also get the chance to customize it with all kinds of people, animals and different items.


The power of metaphors and stories

Our shipping board helps us visualize our product development and therefore align teams towards our product strategy. The playful design of the board forces us to keep the product strategy as simple and understandable as possible. One more time we‘ve experienced how powerful metaphors and stories can be. And once again we observe that work and fun do not contradict each other.


Will this work for you as well? Probably not in the exact same way, but you might find a slightly different solution that fits you even better. Let us know!


P.S. In case you're wondering about the details: the ships are attached to the board with little (but very strong) magnets, so they can be moved very quickly. We discovered that gluing magnets to ships is a science in itself and we had a very steep learning curve with many ships falling off the board:-)


Posted in conjunction with Arne Roock, Jimdo's resident expert on Lean/Kanban, organizational development, and team coaching. You can follow him on Twitter @arneroock.


Fridtjof Detzner

Fridtjof Detzner

Co-founder at Jimdo


Fridtjof and Christian started their first company,, while they were still in school. Fridtjof went on to found another company with Christian and Matthias, which evolved into Jimdo in 2007. When Fridtjof is not in the office, he likes to mountain bike in the Alps, kite surf, and dream up other extremely frightening things he can try.

Do Satellite Offices Suffer Fear-of-Missing-Out?

We all know about "FOMO." It’s that nagging feeling that something better might be happening somewhere else, and you’re not invited. As the guy in charge of setting up our San Francisco office, I’ve realized that fear-of-missing-out isn’t just a problem on social media. Remote offices feel it too.


Do remote offices have a fear of missing out?


An idealized view?

Distance leads to some inevitable obstacles—time zones, bad video calls, etc. But I think what makes remote-office connectedness so hard has more to do with what people think they are missing, rather than what they are actually missing.


For example, I’ve noticed that people in our remote offices sometimes have an idealized picture of our German headquarters. They imagine it as a place where everyone is connected and communication runs smoothly at all times: “If I were in the main office, I could just walk over to the development team or the design team or the mobile team and get them to take care of my request!” In the other direction, the German teams sometimes assume that the remote office is doing things without telling them.


Reality is much different. As much as I love our Jimdo headquarters, we are not perfect. People in the same office can still feel disconnected and have difficulties communicating with other teams. If anything, I’ve seen people in remote offices get faster responses than they otherwise would, because the home staff feels bad for them being so far away. And remote office teams aren’t trying to be secretive—they just might not know who to reach out to or include from headquarters. It’s tempting to think that if we were all together, everything would run smoothly. But I don’t think that’s the case.


Learning to deal with fear-of-missing-out

So as one of the main points of contact for our remote offices, I’ve learned to expect this fear-of-missing-out and not take it too seriously when it arises. Obviously I have sympathy for the people experiencing it, but I try not to overreact.


I also try to remind people in the remote offices of some of the benefits they enjoy being many miles away. Sure, being at headquarters has advantages (like the delicious lunch we get), but international offices have way more freedom, and they are small enough to get to go out to lunch or drinks all together (something we are too big to do as an office in Germany).


So while you can work to build relationships and improve the quality of video calls, the fear-of-missing-out isn’t something that you can necessarily solve. It’s just something that you can learn to recognize. And when you see it, know that it’s not necessarily a sign of poor communication or internal strife. It’s a natural part of having offices around the world.


Christian Springub

Christian Springub

Co-founder at Jimdo


When Christian was 12, he started his first business, buying and selling Kinder Surprise collectible toys at flea markets. Just a few years later he met up with Fridtjof, and the two started creating websites for small businesses in their hometown. Christian currently takes care of Jimdo's operations and helped start the U.S. office in San Francisco.

Jimdo for Android and the Future of Mobile

Today marks an important day at Jimdo. With the launch of our Android app, we’ve reached a significant milestone: being truly cross-platform. Our users can now create or update their Jimdo websites from any desktop, iOS, or Android device, wherever they are. It's been a long-standing goal and we’re really happy to have achieved it.


Jimdo for Android But let me take you through the journey that has brought us to where we are today. Back when we committed to the mobile market, it wasn’t an easy decision. First of all, as a self-funded business like Jimdo, you have to be very sure about the kinds of investments you make. There just isn’t a lot of room for error. And we knew that “mobile” would be a big investment for us.


Secondly, we basically had no idea about the mobile market or about app development. We were experts on web but not mobile, so we knew there would be a lot of learning involved. On the other hand, we knew that mobile had the potential to disrupt our market and we wanted to be the ones leading the way.


When we started with the iOS App, the learning curve was indeed as steep as we anticipated. The challenge was to come up with an editing concept that made use of a touch device’s advantages, while keeping it similar enough to our web version so our existing users would enjoy using it right away. In the end we were really happy: users loved the app and Apple even voted us into the category of “Best of AppStore 2013.”


For Android we applied a lot of the same lessons. The challenge here was to adapt the concept but making it native to Android at the same time. We’re now very curious to see how our users like it.


Since the beginning of the development and especially after the iOS release, a lot of our hypotheses about mobile have proven correct:


1. Users expect to be able to update their website from any device.

Some updates to your website are so much more convenient and fun with a mobile device. Just think about uploading a photo—take it with your phone, tap to upload, done. No complicated copying the file from a SD Card to the desktop, resizing, and uploading anymore. Or if you're on the way somewhere and want to check your site statistics quickly? Now you can. The thing is, users are expecting this kind of fun mobile experience for basically any kind of product now. It used to be a pleasant surprise if companies had great mobile apps, but now it’s become a necessity. It feels much better to be the one setting standards then the one chasing the market.


2. Mobile devices push us to develop even easier interfaces, leading us to new markets.

The limited space on mobile devices forces app developers to focus on the most important features. This means apps are more limited, but also easier to use. The same is the case for Jimdo. There are three big upsides to this:


  • We’re establishing an even easier entry point to Jimdo, which makes the product accessible to more people.
  • Once users hits the limits of the app, they can switch to the desktop version and make more significant changes
  • We learned so many lessons on how to simplify the user interface that we re-used them in our web version. So in the end, the New Jimdo Experience was also inspired by our apps.


Jimdo Android Launch Party


3. The mobile website-market is taking off quickly.

A website is the identity hub for all SMB’s, prosumers, etc.—and this is no less true in a mobile world. If you combine that with the growth of the mobile market, you can see how important full mobile editing access to a website will be. To give you a sense of the scale, there are about 1.7 billion PCs in use today, and already approximately 2 billion iOS and Android devices. In the next few years, there will be 3-4 billion smartphones in use—it will change how people create and manage their websites.


So today we’re not only celebrating the goal of being cross-platform; we're celebrating being a big part of this change.
Download Jimdo for Android


Matthias Henze

Matthias Henze

Co-founder at Jimdo


Matthias studied at the University of Kiel and the University of Gothenburg and then went into business with Fridtjof and Christian to start Jimdo. Matthias takes care of Jimdo's marketing. In his free time, you can find him hang gliding.

Leading Means Sharing the "Why"

At the end of August, we released the biggest product upgrade in our history. It was much larger and took us much longer than we thought. We basically changed the core of our user interface, which meant changing the core of our business. It’s the very thing that’s brought us this far, so it felt like a big risk to change it.


Share the "why" with your team
But it was also a huge opportunity to make it better and make it right. There was a lot of weight on my shoulders for this one, so getting it out the door feels great. I feel tired—people can see it on my face—but I am really happy it’s out there. Now, at our company headquarters in Hamburg, we have dashboards where we can see the existing users changing over to the updated Jimdo, hundreds every hour, and it’s really cool to see. People are embracing it much more than we ever thought, so that’s great.


Understanding why you do what you do

The process was rough for me, because I had to learn to pass on the responsibility and not treat everything like my project and my responsibility. This realization helped me better understand my role in the dynamics of the company. My role wasn’t to do everything. It was to communicate and spread why we were doing it.


At the beginning of a project like this, you have to understand the “why” behind what you are doing in order to solve the problem at hand. The right decisions come from empathizing with the users, so you have to start by knowing them well, and then knowing what you want to build for them. The “why” is the foundation, and that directs you towards what you want to do.


What I figured out over this process is that the people on my teams who were doing brilliant work, who I trusted the most, were the people who shared the same “why” as I did. We know what our users want, we agree on the same fundamental ideas. My teams and I talked about this a lot. With a shared understanding of our users, and a shared understanding of why we were making the changes we were making, I was able to trust them.


Communicating the “why” became my method of passing on responsibility to other people. If I did that successfully, I knew my team would be able to make the right decisions, based on the same fundamental view and understanding of our customers’ needs.


Scaling a company means passing on the "why"

This process has also taught me a lot about scaling up a company. At Jimdo’s start in 2007, it was just the founders sitting in a room together. We knew what we wanted to do and why we wanted to do it. We wanted to solve the problem the users had, which was to be able to easily update their websites. Simple problem, right?


Then, as the company grows, you keep adding people. But it’s still implicit in that startup atmosphere what everyone is supposed to do and why you do it.


Then, you hit a certain barrier when it comes to growth. You hire more and more people, on multiple teams. You find yourself listing all the things that people have to do to complete the larger vision, but as the founder you are still the one who owns the “why,” not them. If you don’t scale that “why” and pass it on, then you’ll always have a problem stepping back, or even going on a holiday. It’s risky for the company if you’re the only one holding the “why.”


So I’ve really been working on answering the question of “why” and passing it along to other people and other teams. I know that once they take over that idea, they will be more self-motivated to solve the problem. If people know why we do stuff, they can take action, they can build the product, they can do the user research, and they can take on the responsibility for me. And that helps me scale the company. The weight is still on my shoulders, but it’s shared by everyone else as well—and that makes for a better product and a better company.


Fridtjof Detzner

Fridtjof Detzner

Co-founder at Jimdo


Fridtjof and Christian started their first company,, while they were still in school. Fridtjof went on to found another company with Christian and Matthias, which evolved into Jimdo in 2007. When Fridtjof is not in the office, he likes to mountain bike in the Alps, kite surf, and dream up other extremely frightening things he can try.

Lessons from Opening an Office Abroad (San Francisco)

At the beginning of 2011, I moved from Hamburg, Germany (where Jimdo’s headquarters are located) to San Francisco, to open our office here. I want to share what I’ve learned so far during these 2 years. The focus will be mostly on general lessons (not SF- or US-specific) related to starting a new office far away.


Jimdo remote offices


Let me start with explaining how I imagined our new office before we actually started it. It's interesting, because I was so horribly wrong about so many things, and I’ve seen these mistakes at many other companies that tried to implement this strategy.


My basic idea:


  • The people from our different offices are going to be one team.
  • They’ll do projects together, have meetings together.
  • They’ll be integrated together into our internal workflows.
  • I'll stay connected with my co-founders easily with daily video calls.


This was all so completely wrong. I realized pretty fast that this wasn’t going to work.


Important meetings for our teams took place without even letting us know (out of sight, out of mind). Meetings were scheduled at a time when the other team had no chance to take part (due to the 9 hour time difference). A lot of communication happens during the day at the coffee machine, in hallways etc.. There’s no way to replicate this between offices, and I really believe trying too hard is ineffective and frustrates everyone.


The same thing happened with my co-founders. When we talked I was usually just starting my day, while they had a full day behind them. The calls could be exhausting and usually weren’t fun. That led to us talking less, and if you don't manage to talk daily, you forget things, and you start to disconnect. We figured out how to handle this among the three of us. We switched from trying to connect often to doing our own stuff and moving things forward in each of the offices. I went to Germany every six weeks, and we spent one or two days completely outside the office to reconnect. This was really important for us as a founding team, and it worked out well.


This illustrates the most important lesson of all:

Your team abroad needs their own mission and the resources to accomplish that mission. There's nothing worse than always waiting for something from the other office or being dependent on their decisions or workflows. It poisons any chance of innovation if you have a good idea you want to try, but you need to ask someone and wait at least one day for an answer. A satellite office needs to be as independent as possible, especially when there’s a significant time difference.


I’ve even decided to hire a CEO for our US office to encourage the independence.


There's a lot more that I'd like to explain in follow-up blog posts. My ideas so far are:


  • Build a strong connection between teams by sending people to work at the other office.
  • Online communication only works if it's build on personal connections
  • How our partnership with KDDI in Japan compares to having our own office there.
  • Separate offices, separate cultures. How to keep a global company culture
  • Separating the founding team to open new offices
  • Why the smaller offices always feel that they're missing something from the headquarters
  • Back to basics: an office in another country means setting up HR, taxes, benefits, again
  • How we keep communication flowing in a growing company with different offices


Let me know what you think and share your questions in the comment. I'll pick those up in following posts.


Christian Springub

Christian Springub

Co-founder at Jimdo


When Christian was 12, he started his first business, buying and selling Kinder Surprise collectible toys at flea markets. Just a few years later he met up with Fridtjof, and the two started creating websites for small businesses in their hometown. Christian currently takes care of Jimdo's operations and helped start the U.S. office in San Francisco.

The Brio Buzz

Last week, I was in Dublin for the Brio conference. It totally blew me away! It was completely different from any other conference I’ve been to, and I’m still buzzing from the experience. Most conferences are all about buying and selling ideas, everyone has their "elevator pitch." Last week’s conference in Dublin was different.


Brio conference


A non-conference if you could call it that.


Brio's organizers really played with the elements of a conference, creating a creative environment for two days of interaction and exchange. It was a place for self-reflection, honesty, and sharing ideas. It was also great fun!


More like a festival than a conference

The conference began with breakfast—in a surprisingly small location. I realized quickly that there were actually several breakfast locations, and everyone had been sent (unknowingly) to different ones in small groups. This removed the daunting prospect of walking alone into a large dining hall, and replaced with an intimate and relaxed meal. Before the day had even begun, I had gotten to know eight other people know really well, and I was already feeling at home in Dublin.


I found this kind of thoughtful planning throughout the entire conference.


The main event venue was the Mansion House, the building in which the first Irish Parliament declared independence in 1919. The Brio organizers chose the location to provoke and sustain our idealism, and what a perfect location for it!


The program was more like a festival than a conference. There were no VCs, no journalists and no event sponsors. The focus was on attendees as much it was on speakers, as well as on creating an environment for honest sharing. Between speakers, different bands would play. From Irish folk to indie rock, it gave us a chance to move around and chat, and think about something completely different from tech.


Do the right thing


Sharing the spotlight

Between speakers, people also had a chance to jump up and give a "lightning talk." If someone spoke about a topic that you had a lot of experience with, you could just stand up and share your story. I really had the feeling that ideas were bouncing around the room, and that all eyes weren’t just on the speaker. We were all creating the conference together.


Breaking up the talks this way reminded me, in a way, of eating sushi. Listening to music and clearing your head was a bit like cleansing the palate with a piece of ginger between bites. It made it a lot easier to engage with the next speaker. So often at conferences, the last speakers miss out because people have lost focus. This is an awesome solution to that fatigue.


Another great idea, which I’ve never seen before, was a notebook stationed at every seat. We moved seats between talks, but the notebook stayed. For every talk there was a new book to write notes in, and a chance to read over what the people before you had written. To me this was a brilliant silent collaboration and gave me great insight into the people sitting next to me. It was a non-verbal introduction, encouraging honest exchanges among strangers.


It was great to read the notes people had written about my talk. As we played musical chairs, at each new seat I could read different people’s thoughts on my presentation and really reflect on what I do and how it's perceived. It was humbling to read how many people were really excited about what we do at Jimdo.


Andy Baio


A little imagination

When I travel somewhere for a conference, I don't always have time to actually see the place. It’s always disappointing to return having only seen the walls of a conference room. But Andy and Paul, the organizers of Brio, thought of this too! Small groups of us were mysteriously asked to whisked away from the conference for a guided tour of the University of Dublin, Trinity College. We weren’t allowed to talk about it until everyone had been.


What became clear to me while I was in Dublin, and since I’ve been back, is that entrepreneurs really need a space to talk openly about their successes and failures. There aren't enough opportunities for this. It’s great to have platforms to sell our ideas, but we shouldn't forget about creating room to simply share them.


In a lot of ways, Brio's environment reminded me of how we try to run Jimdo. With freedom, fun, and collaboration. Running a great conference takes a lot of effort; to really build something brilliant, you have to create an environment people enjoy being a part of. If you really want people to engage, you have to let go of the controls and allow them to steer.


All it takes is a little imagination.


Fridtjof Detzner

Fridtjof Detzner

Co-founder at Jimdo


Fridtjof and Christian started their first company,, while they were still in school. Fridtjof went on to found another company with Christian and Matthias, which evolved into Jimdo in 2007. When Fridtjof is not in the office, he likes to mountain bike in the Alps, kite surf, and dream up other extremely frightening things he can try.

Fear of Change

Everything is constantly changing. We can sense it. It's even more noticeable for internet companies like ours. New technologies, trends, browsers, and devices ensure that the internet is always in a state of flux.


fear of change


What does that mean for us? It means that we don't plan projects in their entirety. Instead we break them up into small parts that are relevant now. In other words, we take an agile approach to software development. There's also the fact that we're no longer just a German company: we offer Jimdo in 11 different languages. We ourselves as well as our customers are affected by changes and upheavals all over the world.


It's clear that everyone at Jimdo has to be constantly open to change, but that's easier said than done. When the things that are familiar to us are going well, it's incredibly difficult to let go of what we are used to and change everything. After all, it could just get worse!


Most of us are afraid of change. It's natural to first be afraid of losing something comfortable rather than to imagine what we have to gain from something new. Getting our fear under control and constantly questioning our work and routine is unbelievably difficult. And yet it is essential! The rest of the world is in motion and the fast-moving market won't wait for us to catch up.


The question, then, is: "How can we take our fear of change head on?"


To overcome our fear of change, we need confidence: confidence in ourselves and in the people who we work with. And we need a few anchors.


Change vs. Constancy - Paradox?

If we ask ourselves and everyone at Jimdo to be so open to change, it means we also need to offer security and stability in exchange. Without confidence and support, it's not easy to rush into the great unknown.


Looking back, we recognize the anchors we have held on to: in particular, our company culture and our shared values. No matter how our objectives change in the course of a year, no matter what we need to leave behind, no matter what new goals we set for ourselves, we will keep building on the foundation our company culture provides us.


Atmosphere & Community

Whether it's just three of us hunkered down in a farmhouse (our first office) or a team 100 strong storming a barge for a summer celebration, I can always count on atmosphere and good humor at Jimdo. I still look forward to going to work every day and love the team I work with.


We laugh together.

We all work hard and want to push Jimdo forward, but we still have time for fun. And often it turns out that the best ideas turn up when we're laughing together.


We look out for each other.

"How are you?" is often said but rarely meant. At Jimdo, we try to ask that question with sincerity, and look out for each other in our daily routines. We really listen to each other, pay attention to what's said (or not), and work at understanding each other – that's the way the wind blows here.



We do stuff!

Whether we're on a sprint in Cuxhaven, getting a beer together after work, hanging out in an old castle for our annual company field trip, or if it's just us three founders heading to the mountains for a weekend... life at Jimdo is never boring!


Giving and getting feedback.

We value honest and respectful communication. We trust our team to communicate only when something just isn't working. That was the case when it was just us three founders, and it's still the case with 140 people. In many companies, it's just managers who are responsible for feedback, but at Jimdo everyone learns how to give and receive feedback, and we're all responsible for offering feedback when it's needed.


After writing them all out, I'm just now realizing how important these simple-seeming ideas have been for Jimdo's growth and development, and how essential they will be for our future.


read more

The Power of Moderation

Everybody knows it: meetings often suck. At Jimdo we've had these meetings as well, and sometimes we still do. But we've learned one way to make meetings more effective – and more fun: adding a moderator.


Moderation at Jimdo


It all began when Nadja, our flow manager, was annoyed by some of our meetings. She decided to start moderating the ones she was involved in. Nadja's goal: give the meetings more structure and never leave without a specific result again. The impact of her moderation was huge!


The trick is really easy: the moderator's only purpose is to guide the discussion so that you reach your goal. Yes, it's that simple.


It makes a huge difference having someone participating who structures the discussion, visualizes it, engages participants if they're too quiet, who reminds you of the time and who really makes sure to reach the goal.


Sometimes the moderator also sets up the meeting, makes sure the room is prepared (with flip-chart markers that actually write!) and is responsible for debriefing (documentation/minutes, making sure each participant knows her to-dos, follow-up meetings, etc.) as well. This isn't strictly part of moderating, but in our case the moderator at least makes sure someone is responsible for each of these things.


There's really only one simple rule to follow: the moderator cannot be a participant in the discussion. To be more precise, she should not be involved in the topic under discussion. One easy example is that if you have a conflict between two people, neither of them can be the moderator. Both of the participants obviously will have strong feelings about the content of the discussion that they wouldn't be able to moderate it.


You can also add guidelines to the meetings as needed, i.e. timeboxing, specific goals, but that's really up to you how you'd like your meeting culture to be.


Of course, having experienced moderators will make meetings even more effective. They'll know different moderation techniques, will have the ability to feel of where to take the discussion next and will also be able to ask the right question to take the team forward (that's why we're starting to educate our team in moderation, ourselves included). However, just choosing someone in the group – trained or not – to be the moderator for the meeting makes a huge difference.


If you like this idea or you're already using moderators or facilitators, let us know about your experiences!


Matthias Henze

Matthias Henze

Co-founder at Jimdo


Matthias studied at the University of Kiel and the University of Gothenburg and then went into business with Fridtjof and Christian to start Jimdo. Matthias takes care of Jimdo's marketing. In his free time, you can find him hang gliding.