• About Robbie

    I was born in 1972 in Waiblingen, Germany – my parents being German and Scottish.

    In 1976 our entire family moved to Birmingham, England, when my Dad accepted an assignment there.

    Then in 1980 we moved to Birmingham, Michigan in the US for another assignment which my dad had accepted.

    In 1985 we moved back to Stuttgart, Germany, where I continued with my education.

    After dropping out of school in the middle of the 11th grade in Germany I went on to do an apprenticeship in Industrial Management with DURR GmbH.  An apprenticeship in Germany is a unique education system where you basically learn every aspect of running a company accompanied by education.  The apprenticeship lasted 2 1/2 years and consisted of education throughout various different departments at DURR, meaning you were 6 weeks in the Marketing / PR Department, then 4 weeks in controlling, 6 weeks at school learning theory, then another 6 weeks in Finance, …etc.  This enabled me to learn how a company is structured and how the various different departments interact with each other.  Towards the end of the apprenticeship you take a written and oral exam in front of the German Chamber of Commerce and receive your degree.

    After achieving my degree in industrial management in 1995, DURR offered me a job in the Sales Department of Air Purification Plants, which I accepted.

    Shortly thereafter I got called by the German Army to do my military service, so off I went in the summer of 1995 to Fuessen, Germany to do my 10 month military service with the Mountaineers at the Bundeswehr.  Fuessen is where the original Disney Castle is located, called Schloss Neuschwanstein.  This was an unforgettable time, even though partially a waste.

    After completing my service I returned to DURR in April of 1996 and resumed my work within the Sales department.

    In August of 1996 I decided to go back to school and achieve my high school diploma, basically doing 11th, 12th and 13th grade in one year.  In the summer of 1997 I had achieved my high school diploma and had been accepted at the Fachhochschule Heilbronn, Germany to study “International Business – Intercultural Studies”, so in the fall of 1997 I started my University Studies.  During the course of University I did a 6 month internship with Brookdale International Inc. in Vancouver, B.C, Canada.

    In spring of 2001 I completed my studies and achieved a B.A. in International Business  & Intercultural Studies.

    Key-Systems GmbH, Germany

    It wasn’t long before I accepted a job at Key-Systems GmbH a young internet start-up company who’s primary focus was on fully automated Domain Registrations.

    These were exciting times, as there was much to do.  The two CEO’s were programmers and at that point in time wanted to concentrate on the programming aspects, so they offered me the job of getting the company on the right track.  The next years were extremely challenging as Key-Systems was very successful.  I started off at Key-Systems as Key Account Manager and within a short period of time was promoted to Director Sales & International Business.  My main responsibilities at Key-Systems were:

    • Full responsibility for internal organization of work flows within the company
    • Full responsibility for the reseller division RRPproxy, meaning creation of website, work flows for resellers, sign-up process, price calculations, …etc.
    • Negotiated Agreements with large players in our industry to utilize the reseller system, negotiating terms and conditions
    • Creation of Sales Promotions to attract more resellers
    • Coordination and creation of the third business division of Key-Systems, ISPproxy
    • Close cooperation with TLD (Top-Level-Domain) Registries (such as VeriSign, Afilias, NeuStart, …etc.) to negotiate potential promotions
    • Point of contact for all registries that Key-Systems was accredited for
    • Arrangement of one-on-one strategic meetings with potential intern. resellers & partners
    • Attendance at various international industry events, including ICANN and Registry meetings, representing Key-Systems globally
    • Structured internal processes in order to minimize costs
    • Responsible for all financial & HR aspects of the company
    • Evaluated the possibility of expanding into Asia, combined with multiple trips to strategic partners and locations in Asia

    Overall the 5 years at Key-Systems were fantastic.  Where else would one get the experience of a start-up company with such responsibilities.  During my tenure at Key-Systems I worked extremely closely with Jens Wagner, CEO&CTO, whom I am now happy to call my friend.  In May of 2006 I left Key-Systems with many fond memories and good friends.


    Hostway Corp. / DomainPeople Inc., Vancouver, Canada

    In May of 2006 I had accepted the position of Director of Global Domains of Hostway Corp. and General Manager of DomainPeople Inc. based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, so here I was off to Canada not knowing what to expect and a whole new adventure ahead of me. I was greatly looking forward to the new challenge, especially as Hostway was more focused on the Hosting side of things and up to then I had had little contact with Hosting.

    Tony Kim who was at that point in time the General Manager of the Vancouver office was a fantastic help to me.  We both connected very easily and became close friends.  He was a great asset and helped me tremendously in finding my way within a larger organization.  A special thanks to him!

    At Hostway my responsibilities were:

    • P&L responsibility for all Domain Activities in North America through all Brands
    • Responsible for creating and establishing a GlobalDNR Group based out of Vancouver, Canada
    • Provided guidance and assistance to internat. locations with respect to our DNR activities
    • Coordinated the accreditation of various additional ccTLDs for distribution worldwide
    • Coordinated the consolidation of all our Domains through multiple accreditations
    • Managed a solid team of Engineers, Product Managers and Product Marketing Specialists

    In August of 2007 I was promoted to General Manager of the entire Vancouver operations with responsibility for approx. 92 employees.

    • P&L responsibility for all Domain Activities in North America through all Brands
    • Responsibility for the entire Vancouver Office & Operations, incl. Data center
    • Responsible for creating and establishing a GlobalDNR Group based out of Vancouver, Canada
    • Provided guidance and assistance to internat. locations with respect to our DNR activities
    • Coordinated the accreditation of various additional ccTLDs for distribution worldwide
    • Coordinated the consolidation of all our Domains through multiple accreditations
    • Managed a solid team of Engineers, Product Managers and Product Marketing Specialists
    • Managed the entire Vancouver office
    • Responsible for reducing costs internally by applying efficiency in various work flows

    Thankfully Vancouver had excellent talent which made my job as General Manager of Hostway Vancouver much easier.  Special thanks go to the NOC & Systems Team who were extremely patient with my constant questions regarding our Datacenter.  Without their support and expertise I would have had more difficulties.

    Then on May 31st I decided to move on, as I wanted to get back to being more an entrepreneur.  The original intent was to take three months off and head back home to Germany to visit friends and family, but I only lasted four days before receiving a call from my good friends at Afilias asking if I would be willing to come on board as a consultant for .ME (ccTLD of Montenegro).  I couldn’t resist this opportunity of working closely with Afilias, Godaddy and DoMEn (A partnership of all three) to launch the new ccTLD .ME and have a look at things from a registry perspective.  Being in the registrar role for so many years and probably being extremely hard on various registries with high demands I thought it would round up my expertise if I were to look at things from the perspective of a registry, so I accepted the role of “Director of Sales” for DoMEn d.o.o.

    My responsibilities at DoMEn are:

    • Registrar Relations/Sales
    • Coordination of various registry projects beneath the partners
    • Revamp of the entire .ME Registry website
    • Definition and implementation of Premium Domain Auction Strategy, which included the creation of parked pages for all premium domains (non-monetary), creation of a strategy for the release of premium domains, negotiations with various different auction providers and participation in domain auctions.

    Towards the end of January 31st, I completed my consulting assignment for the .ME Registry.

    On to new challenges and sort of back to the roots! Jens (my former boss and a very close friend from Key-Systems) and I had always remained in good contact, so it was sort of natural that our passed crossed again in February, March of 2009 with my appointment as Chief Strategy Officer of HEXONET and 1API (the house registrar of HEXONET), as well as President of HEXONET Services Inc. our office in Vancouver, Canada.

    The new role brings the following responsibilities with it:

    • Full responsibility for internal organization of work flows at HEXONET Global
    • Negotiations with large players in our industry to utilize the reseller system, negotiating terms and conditions
    • Business Development
    • Creation of Sales Promotions to attract more resellers
    • Coordination and creation of new products
    • Coordination of Product Management and Product Marketing for new products
    • Close cooperation with TLD (Top-Level-Domain) Registries (such as VeriSign, Afilias, NeuStart, …etc.) to negotiate potential promotions
    • Arrangement of one-on-one strategic meetings with potential intern. resellers & partners
    • Attendance at various international industry events, including ICANN, TRAFFIC Conferences and Registry meetings, representing HEXONET globally
    • Structured internal processes in order to minimize costs
    • P&L Responsibility across the board

    Contact Details:
    Email: robbie@birkners.info

    Online: www.RobbieBirkner.tel

    LinkedIn Profile: Robbie Birkner LinkedIn

    XING Profile: Robbie Birkner XING

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/rbirkner