Or: How I came to focus on data security.

If you’re reading this article, you probably followed a link on my flyer. Glad you’re interested in my story!

My company and I have been through some exciting times, so I thought I would give you some background information. Moving away from my home town of Spalt meant significant changes and wasn’t totally easy. I spent eighteen years of my life in and around Spalt, and suddenly I had to make a far-reaching decision: stay or leave? And that decision affected my company as well. What seemed at first like a simple move to a bigger city was actually a deep restructuring of my life and of my company SWEETGOOD, as well.

So what happened?

On February 14, 2019 I learned that the house I was renting would be sold. My first reaction was shock, because when we moved in close to one and a half years ago, no one had mentioned a sale. On the contrary: our landlords were interested in a long-term lease. In our short time as tenants, I had already invested a five-digit sum in fixing up the place and modernizing it. In hindsight, that was pretty naive, not least because the lease had an agreed period of notice that was just three months long. That meant that my landlord could have cancelled the lease at fairly short notice – even without cause, since the lease included my business, not just private rent.

My first thought was: Why not buy it?

Looking back on it, that was totally unrealistic. Thankfully, my girlfriend quickly brought me back to reality, and I scrapped that idea. But the fairly affordable asking price on the house meant that it would soon find a buyer. And who would that be? What would become of my investment in the house? Would the new landlord raise my rent? And what if we didn’t get along, since I couldn’t exactly choose who it would be? There was no end of questions, but no answers to be had. I didn’t want to rely on luck, so I made a move myself. Together, we went looking for a suitable place in the surrounding cities. Not easy, since we had rented a comfortable 400m² and were using most of that area…

In the end, we were fortunate enough to find a house in the city center of nearby Weißenburg. The task now was condensing our 400 m² of belongings into the new 120 m² plus garage – in just three months’ time. All of this while everyday work continued and the move and cleaning of the old place waited to be organized.

Long story short: We made it. By the end of June, we arrived successfully and happily in Weißenburg. The sale of the house, meanwhile, was notarized while we were still tenants, so that I did get to engage with the new owner after all. That meant a number of encounters of the third kind – all of which just served to show me how pleasantly different it is to deal with you: my clients and all those fellow human beings who have their hearts in the right place. So thank you for being the way you are!

And what brought on the new direction?

Our “spring cleaning” meant that, hard as it was, I had to say goodbye to many rewarding projects such as maeg.net, spalt.plus, and BarOS. I felt like I was standing in a pile of rubble. All those goals and hopes of the past few years were toast, and – putting it bluntly – I had failed. Money was tight, and each new month was a challenge.

So how to move forward? This was a question I asked myself a lot, and I wasn’t quite sure when I had lost my calling and my focus. But thanks to my girlfriend and many hours of grieving for what had been, I started to come up for air again.

Since then, data security and the protection of personal data have been close to my heart and have influenced my decisions and actions – including in everyday life. For example, I have stopped using WhatsApp, and since 2014, my smartphone is permanently in airplane mode. Of course, I’m still easy to reach – thanks to clever technological tricks. But those are only two examples of how in my daily interactions I managed to limit Big Tech’s mania for collecting my data. So it was time to center these practices in my freelance work, as well. In addition, I discovered the field of IT documentation, which I enjoyed and which helped raise the security level of a given network. And my business’s third pillar, IT consulting, has been part of my portfolio since I can think. In the near future, I will also offer a blog showcasing secure (software) alternatives for entrepreneurs who want to make sure that their data are not sold or used by Big Tech corporations.

Thank you for reading this far. I would be thrilled to collaborate on a project or two in the future – always with a focus on data security and with the goal of improving the security of your network.

Christian Süßenguth (also known as Mr. SWEETGOOD)

November 8, 2019