Ready to be blown away? Check out this 600,000 pixels wide panorama shot of Tokyo, Japan

Ten months ago, my buddy Jeffrey Martin from 360Cities went to Tokyo to shoot some (well, 8,000) photos from a rooftop on the Tokyo Tower, in only a few hours time.

It took him a lot of time and effort to turn all of those into this jaw-dropping 600,000 pixels wide panorama shot (in a single image file, no less), and I think it needs to be shared and admired by many.

I invite you to take a look and zoom in like a madman, to see just how stunningly high-res the 360-degree panorama shot really is, but to give you an idea:

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Some of the details you can spot are 25 kilometres (that’s more than 15 miles) away, Martin says.

Amazing, isn’t it? Check out the accompanying video for more goodness:

You can explore the shot in all its glory here, but don’t forget to share.

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Maria Molland quits leading Fab Europe to move back to San Francisco and start her own business

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At the recent Le Web conference in London, I had a great lunch with Maria Molland, the wicked smart business executive who was tapped by e-commerce startup Fab to run its European operations in April last year. I came away impressed by the way she was running the Berlin office for Fab, which at last count employed more than 250 people, and the plans for further growth she outlined for me.

In a somewhat surprising move, Molland just announced on Facebook that she’s moving back to San Francisco – she’s previously worked for companies like Disney, Yahoo and Dow Jones – and that she is effectively departing Fab to start her own business.

Molland stopped short of saying what her plans for the new company are, only that these are ‘exciting times’. Molland lived and worked in Europe for seven years.

Fab co-founder and CEO Jason Goldberg quickly jumped in to publish a comment on her Facebook post, saying Molland can “count on him as an investor” and:

“Tons of love and appreciation and thanks. Fab is where it is today because of you. Thank you. Love you.”

This suggests that there isn’t any animosity involved with her departure, but the move appears to be somewhat abrupt, and follows some rumblings about the working conditions at fast-growing Fab (which were openly discussed by Goldberg in a subsequent blog post).

Fab has raised more than $300 million in funding and was valued at over $1 billion in its last round.

The company recently announced that it is slated to open up its own Fab-operated warehouse in The Netherlands before the end of this year to serve its 3.5 million European customers. Fab sells products in 27 countries and roughly 40 percent of its sales today occur outside the United States.

It will be interesting to see what Molland is up to next, and how Fab will fill up the vacuum that’s left in Europe because of her decision to quit the company.

Are you a European innovation beast? Enter the 2013 Bully Awards before the 1st of August

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If you’re a European tech, media or telecom company, your job today is to look into submitting your application for the 2013 Bully Awards before the 1 August deadline hits.

If you’ve never heard of the Bully Awards, it’s essentially a serious endeavour to identify and reward European companies that have demonstrated excellence in innovation and growth potential.

There may seem to be a lot of these types of events and awards shows happening across Europe, but the Bully Awards are top-notch. No bullshit.

Now in its 4th year, the organizers of the Bully Awards – my friends from White Bull Summits – are looking only for Europe’s finest in tech, with the help of a number of renowned industry pundits, journalists, academics and other experts.

In September, White Bull will release the names of the 60 finalists, after which 30 winners will be announced on the final night of this year’s Pathways to Exit Summit (October 7-9th in Barcelona, Spain).

This is an intense 3-day, invite-only event that will this year focus on the ‘Global Entrepreneur’ – founders of companies in all stages of the business cycle are building global companies out of Europe.

And boy, are we ever in need of more of those.

Unemployed as I may be, I’ve kindly been asked to be part of the judging panel, alongside GigaOm’s David Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle’s David Einstein, Google’s Yves Cornaz, ex-Googler turned angel investor Anil Hansjee, Microsoft’s Roxanne Varza and many more.

If you have a chance to submit your application for the 2013 Bully Awards, do it now.

Image credit: Ben Aston / Flickr

The parting of the ways: so long, @TheNextWeb

TL;DR: As of today, I’m no longer part of the team at The Next Web, where I have worked as the European Editor for the past 1.5 years.

It’s all good though, and I’m looking forward to taking some needed time off and away from the tech media rat race and exploring some ideas in the next few weeks, although I’m open to discuss any opportunity.

My email is robinwauters@gmail.com if you want to reach me for anything – my Twitter handle is @robinwauters if that is your preferred communication tool.

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The long version:

It’s been an interesting month so far.

First it was a trip to Athens, Greece, which was an eye-opener for me both on a personal and a professional level.

Next, there was the surprise of me being crowned the ‘most influential Belgian journalist on Twitter’ for my work at The Next Web. This was quite amusing and resulted in hundreds of new followers on Twitter who are no doubt wondering why on earth I made it to the top of that particular list by now, much like I do.

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“Robin who?” indeed.

Then, there was the very successful TNW @ Barcelona mini-conference, which was organised in collaboration with Barcelona.IO, bringing close to 300 people together in a short period of time in what many deemed one of, if not the, best tech event to ever take place in the city. Colour me proud.

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This was followed by a great short vacation with me and my lovely wife exploring a good part of Catalunya and the beautiful Costa Brava.

Next up was a trip to Rijeka, Croatia, for the excellent RockPaperStartups conference, where I did a keynote on startup-press relationships on behalf of The Next Web.

Now things have gotten even more interesting.

Today is my last day of writing for The Next Web, as the company last week informed me that it has decided to make some changes in editorial and business focus going forward, plans I apparently didn’t quite fit into.

Although this was a bit of a surprise to me, I understand and respect their decision.

No need to feel sorry for me. 🙂

For the most part I really enjoyed the 1.5 years I worked at TNW, and I wish everyone there the very best. I’m grateful for them giving me a platform to write, post-TechCrunch, and also for enabling me relocate to Barcelona for half a year. I maintain that the company has a lot of potential, if they play their cards right. Time will tell if they do just that.

As for what’s next for me, I don’t really know. I’m definitely going to take some time off – maybe even until the end of August – because I made the mistake of not doing that when I left TechCrunch last year.

This will give me time to think, explore some ideas I’ve never really had time for in the past few years, enjoy life with my wife Evelien and our toddler Jaan, and study the work of ancient philosophers fuck around on the Internet for a bit.

Then, we’ll see. I might not be able to resist writing about the technology industry, and the European startup ecosystem in particular. A lot of people think there’s a lot of specialized reporting work still to be done in these parts on that level, and I tend to agree.

Or maybe I might just be able to resist writing for a living, who knows.

I’m very much open to any new opportunity though, so if you have any suggestions I’ll be happy to hear you out.

If you want to reach my, please use my personal email address robinwauters@gmail.com, although my robin@thenextweb.com email address should work through the end of this month to ensure a smooth transition. You can find my bio and a link to my LinkedIn profile on robinwauters.com.

Alrighty. Let’s see which way the wind blows me next.

Thank you for reading this entire post and actually making it all the way down 🙂

I like turtles.