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Bastian @ ella

From the computer linguist to the machine learning engineer to the data scientist – ella is a place where completely new job profiles that are created in the course of digitisation are brought to the fore. Here, the colleagues give an insight into their work.

Interview today: Dr. Bastian Haarmann
Bastian is responsible for AI Development at ella Media and brings with him a wealth of strategic and conceptual experience. He has been with us from the very beginning and knows us founders and the company very well.

What did you do so far and how did you come to ella Media?
Bastian: After studying computer linguistics in Bonn and Knoxville, I worked for five years in defense research on Natural Language Processing. My research participation was honoured in 2011 by NATO and in 2013 by SISO with a Best Paper Award. In 2013 I was one of the co-founders of the “text-on” start-up, which was the first German company in the field of Automated News, together with Wolfgang Zehrt, the former dapd board member at that time. During and after my doctorate at the Ruhr University in Bochum, I worked as an external lecturer in Computational Linguistics and wrote two non-fiction books on the subject of ontology. From 2015 to early 2019 I was Senior Data Scientist for the Fraunhofer Institute IAIS, which also manages the Competence Platform Artificial Intelligence NRW. There I worked on AI projects in the research area of e-health and later set up and managed the “Start-up TechConnection” area for cooperation with AI start-ups.

What convinced you about ella Media?
Bastian: In January 2019, ella Media offered me an exciting new challenge in AI Development. I already had experience in Natural Language Generation and automatic content creation through my co-foundation of “text-on”. The focus of ella Media on the AI field Storytelling is an extremely attractive business model and the research in this area is slowly taking its first ripe steps into economic application. The time to join ella Media was therefore perfect.

What are the attractions of working for a start-up company?
Bastian: On the one hand, I have worked for a long time in the public sector and for large organisations, and on the other hand I have had a lot of contact with the start-up ecosystem during my career. The start-up company has very flexible agitation opportunities vis-à-vis medium-sized companies and corporations and is able to react extremely quickly to changing priorities and innovations in digital transformation. As development times become increasingly shorter and technology density continues to increase, this is a crucial advantage in the battle for technology leadership. With a manageable company size, new technologies can be evaluated and integrated into development processes much faster.

What are your responsibilities at ella?
Bastian: Together with my team, I’m building up and expanding the AI Development department at ella Media. I work a lot in the conceptual and strategic area and am in contact with cooperation partners and applicants. But of course I am also involved in the implementation.

What’s your everyday life like at ella?
Bastian: In a young start-up there is no such word. Most processes are dynamic. Sometimes I’m in the office, sometimes on a business trip, sometimes in my home office. That makes every day anew exciting!

What do you like most about ella?
Bastian: ella Media is a company that lets its own employees participate in the design of the company in a very special way. Everyone at ella has the opportunity to contribute their expertise or interest in various areas. The company is young and many things are under construction or changing. We are a team of colleagues with different backgrounds and we go the way together.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Bastian: There are two things about ella that help me enormously in my position. On the one hand, there are the direct and informal communication channels. This enables me to respond to many challenges in a very agile, autonomous and timely manner. On the other hand, ella offers almost complete flexibility in terms of working time and location. This is a value that should not be underestimated and a great help for me in my responsibilities. I also think that ella Media has a very big advantage in the competition for young talents with regard to its flexibility.

What would you advise potential applicants to do?
Bastian: At ella, the right candidate is the one who wants to work in a highly dynamic environment and dares to go ahead. It’s all about honesty, strong communication skills and persuasiveness. I would recommend every applicant who recognizes himself/herself as such to be authentic and to prepare well for every step in the application process.

Thank you Bastian!
We are happy that you are with us and would like to make ella big together with us.
We count on you!