Deep tech requires deep work

Wolf Garbe
4 min readOct 17, 2021


Technology becomes more complex and faster changing, data become more massive, and competition denser by globalization.

There are different approaches to cope with these challenges.

One is to build your application based on available libraries and best practices. This high-level approach on top of existing building blocks allows you to move fast, with limited risk and budget, and for many tasks, this is the best approach.

But if you want to be better than others, go where nobody has gone before, you can’t rely on yesterday’s state of the art.

You are on your own if your goal is to define tomorrow’s state of the art. You have to question everything, but before questioning you have to really understand all the existing solutions, the smart ideas of others in your field, what they have in common, how they differ. And this despite all the sometimes misleading, but always changing fancy terminology, with different terms for the same thing, and the same term for different things.

And then you try to find the bottlenecks, you try to find a solution to circumvent them, by combining existing solutions or by exploiting analogies from different application fields.

This is what deep tech really means, and it requires deep work and deep thought. You fill your brain with myriads of puzzle pieces, and you try to form something new out of it. A phone call, a meeting, a colleague will immediately blow away the house of cards in your brain, and disconnect the shy connection between the neurons which just started to form.

You are really lucky to have a retreat, where it is still possible to form a deep thought, away from the countless shallow distractions.

For me, it is a tiny village in eastern Poland, at the river Bug, close to the White Russian border. The days there are silent, and the nights are really dark, in one of the darkest places in Europe according to the light pollution map .

There is even no mobile phone coverage, and I had to go to the library in the next town for occasional internet access. That absence of modern life really keeps the ubiquitous distractions to a minimum — like in a hermitage.

To balance the long hours sitting on a rustic desk in a small wooden farmhouse I started to cultivate an overgrown patch of land to plant potatoes, onions, and radishes. That’s much more effective and satisfying than the workout I had done previously in my urban life.

While I was far from my family for months, I was not completely alone. There was a stray dog, which we rescued and adopted when she was starved and scared, left by somebody heartless at a parking stop in the middle of the forest. From now on she protected the secret research & development facility in the middle of nowhere.

That’s where most of the development work of SeekStorm took place. Including several setbacks, going back to the drawing board, starting over, the occasional self-doubts, and imposters-syndrome.

Only after the third iteration, finally things started coming together. After 3 years we had a first proof-of-concept of the core technology. That’s when the performance, reliability, and concurrency tuning started. Then API, user-management, accounting, and multi-tenancy were added. After five years the first MVP, and after 6 years finally a fully-featured, production-ready service materialized.

A search-as-a-service, that has 1000x higher index capacity, is 30x more affordable and has 1000x less energy consumption.

Photo by Kamil Gliwiński on Unsplash

That’s when we decided to incorporate the company. And seen from my development retreat in Eastern Poland the best place for our company is Warsaw. We have founded startups before, in Cologne and London, but Warsaw is a special place. It’s the birth town of my Co-founder Gosia and a place where I have spent a lot of time over the last 35 years. It is a vibrant city in the heart of Europa, with an economy growing at a fast pace, historic and modern at the same time, welcoming, and with highly educated and motivated inhabitants. With SeekStorm, we are looking forward to being part of and contribute to it.

Rural life doesn’t need to be an antagonism to high tech, sometimes it complements urban life in the most symbiotic way and makes things happen, that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

How do you enable deep work in a fast paced, distracting world?