Roland Dürre
Monday January 23rd, 2012

No-More-Schleck

Many were surprised to hear it – Schlecker is bankrupt.

For me, it was actually not quite such a huge surprise.

In my opinion, sheer size, never-ending growth and leadership when it comes to cost are no longer the critical competitive advantages. Additionally, the commerce is generally under pressure. The department stores can tell their stories about it – and I am sure the discount shops will soon follow suit. I already wonder when the first of those ALDIes, Lidls, etc. will have to throw in the towel.

Basically, the discount shops have exploited all there is to exploit in order to promote their turnover. The selection was enlarged all the time. First, the shelves containing tins and dry food were supplemented with vegetables, fruit, fresh food, a display refrigerator for dairy products, then with frozen products and fresh meat. Then they generated more and more sophisticated special bargains ever more frequently. Special bargains were supposed to stimulate the propensity to buy. Eventually, they even offered fotographic printing and travel, all just to generate more and more turnover.

Well, there is not much you can still think to introduce, is there? Or will they decide to sell motorbikes and cars? Or pets? No, growth through utilizing new product segments is probably at its end..

At the same time, the number of customers is on the way down. The consumers start getting more autonomous. They orientate themselves and buy less rubbish. Instead, they prefer quality.

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Roland Dürre
Sunday January 22nd, 2012

The Final Rescue of the Gipsy Countries …

Well, it is time for “Sunday Nonsense”!

But it is evil-spirited nonsense.

A short time ago, someone reported that Greece has the highest “tank density“ in Europe. I do not  know if that is correct, but let us assume it is. After all, it is not altogether beyond imagining, is it?

If I were asked for a definition of a country‘s tank density, my answer would be: 
“the sum of the weight of all tanks in a country devided by the population of said country”.
Following the same logic, you could also define a U Boat Density (sum of the gross ton of all U boats in a country devided by …) or the Mine Density (weight of the mine arsenal of a country devided by…) and so on.

Would it then not be an alternative to confiscate all the Greek fighter bombers, tanks, U boats, mines and other war toys, instead of terrorising Greece with proposals on how to economize?

And then, if the evil Nato Turks come to invade Greece, we could send the German Armed Forces to defend them. Since we have such a high credit rating, we can continue paying our Armed Forces. If necessary with borrowed money.

The idea might arise that the same procedure might also be applicable with other gipsy countries. Devoid of their military forces, the Gipsy countries would get rid of their debts far sooner.

Such a procedure would also be in total accordance with our German prejudice about soldiers in East European countries not being the best of fighters – which is why I rather like them. After all, didn’t we witness how the Germans in the end had to do the job, for instance during WW-II, after, the Italians had made a mess of it?

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Roland Dürre
Saturday January 21st, 2012

“Ars Construendi Vexilla“ for IF-AGORA.de

I am truly happy that so many people reply with encouragement, both to my idea and the offers so far at the IF AGORA.

Considering that I, up to now, only worked on IF AGORA when I found time, quasi as a private hobby, I am quite content with the results.

There have also been some really nice agreements for presentations. That gives me courage. Consequently, I now want to really make a head-start with IF AGORA.

For a serious start, however, you need people who get active in favour of it, i.e. who work for it. And part of working is earning money.
Consequently, the goal of IF AGORA should be to make enough money for those people who work for its success to actually be able to live off it.

That necessitates investment. However, I only want to invest if there is also a concept for our success.

That is usually called a plan, a strategy, or a business concept. The important thing is ad added value – which you offer – and a method of making this added value known to the public.

All this is based on additional insight. Insight can best be gained if people with a lot of knowledge and experience meet and discuss the topic led by a moderator..

One method I often used with huge success is the “ars construendi vexilla“ (Fahnenbildung). Feel free to read about my personal experience with this method in the article  I wrote in this blog.

Consequently, we will do a seminar for the IF AGORA on Thursday, January, 26th at the Unterchaching InterFace building. After his presentation on “The Art of Negative Thinking” on the preceding evening, Dr. Klaus-Jürgen Grün will act as moderator. And many friends, both from near and far, will come in order to work with us.

Many thanks to all of you!

Roland Dürre (RMD)
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
If any of you wish to come, I am sure we can accommodate him or her. We will start at 10 a.m. – meeting in order to get acquainted in the seminar zone from 9 a.m.

Jens Hoffmann wrote an article on Artikel – and instigated an intense discussion.

Projects Have a Detrimental Effect on the Health of Your Enterprise!

🙂 For me, his article was a motivation to do greater things. Well, let us look and see…

My first attempt (Versuch) at defining project management by reading it up on wikipedia did not really render satisfying results. So here is another approach of mine…
There are various ways of tackling a term that is hard to define:

  • If it is a German term, I look for synonyms – which is particularly easy today.
  • If it is a foreign word in the classicalsense, I try to find the original meaning in Greek or Latin. In order to do that, I need some help from a humanist who knows Greek and Latin (because I do not).
  • If it is an Anglicism, I just look it up in the dictionary.

Well, so here is what it says on leo.org or dict.cc on project management. There are many translations for to manage:

• administrieren • auskommen • beaufsichtigen • bedienen • besorgen • bewältigen • bewerkstelligen  • bewirtschaften • erledigen • fertig werden • fertigbringen • führen • gelingen • handhaben  • leiten • lenken • managen • manipulieren • regeln • schaffen • steuern  • verwalten • zurecht kommen • zustande zubringen • zuwege bringen • zwingen •

In connection with other words, I also find

• ein Geschäft führen • ein Geschäft leiten • ein Unternehmen leiten • ein Konsortium leiten • Geldreserven verwalten • Gelder verwalten • es schaffen • mit etwas auskommen • kontokorrentmäßig führen • mengenmäßig führen • Menschen führen • Menschen leiten • etwas aufkriegen • mit etwas behelfen • mit weniger auskommen • die Arbeitsumgebung bereitstellen und aufrechterhalten • sich selbst verwalten • inszenieren •

Ok, so this is all part of “managing“. I am getting closer to understanding the term management. Now let us look up project. Project can be both a verb or a noun. For the noun, I find:

• Entwurf • Plan • Projekt • Projektierung • Vorhaben •

Remembering my wikipedia research, I get a little confused. Didn’t they say a project should lead an endeavor towards a goal? So we are looking for an endeavor in the endeavor… Something must be wrong. It looks like a limes by infinite definition … In programming, you call it “dead lock” …
( Please pardon my occasional silliness – I like to think you identify it as a jest)

But even here, I see that a project is somethng planable. Consequently, project management might be a pleonasm (Pleonasmus)or a  tautology (Tautologie). That would mean I could remove one of the words – like with “free gift”. You can do without the word free, because a gift is already free by definition. For project management, it would mean I can remove the word project.

And, indeed, a project is probably the only thing you cannot manage. I can manage a building, a train, a computer centre, a market place, an enterprise … basically everything. Perhaps even a marriage or other partnership. Or something worse. But a project?

Maybe we need totally different organizational forms in a “new world“? We might well be heading towards challenges that call for fundamentally new strategies. Perhaps we need them just for our survival. Wasn’t this how we know it to have been for many millennia of human history? When you had to regulate and be responsible for everything together? It might just be that…

In my next article, I will try to think about the impact of management on our contemporary concept of humanity/society. Or maybe about the question if we really have to distinguish between private and social management. Or if, perhaps, it all forms a unit. Live is life

Except that I will no longer talk about project management. This term is too obscure for my liking. In the future, I will just talk about management…

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Jester’s Question:

What is the difference between a brimstone butterfly and a project manager?
Answer:
The brimstone butterfly knows it is not made of stone at the brim…

P.S.1
You can find all the articles of my enterpreneurs diary if you click here: Drehscheibe

Roland Dürre
Thursday January 19th, 2012

The Art of Thinking Negative – Live on the Internet

In our IF Forum EXTRA of Wednesday, January, 25th, 2012, we will get the chance to see and hear a very special  presentation. Klaus-Jürgen Grün is our guest. He will talk about the

The Art of Thinking Negative!

Many already look forward to this event. Our big lecture hall in the seminar zone of the InterFace AG building at Unterhaching well certainly be very (perhaps too?) full. But so what? Because
we will broadcast the entire event live into the internet!

An internet presentation is most fun if you see it in a group. That makes it possible for you to discuss it at your heart’s content afterwards – maybe even until next morning.

So here is a piece of advice for our listeners on the internet:

Get some beer or red wine – dependent on what sorts of guests you invite – and store it in your cellar! Also get a cold “Bavarian Snack” or “Leberkäs”. If you can, get pickles. And not to forget the “Emmentaler” or the “Obatzten”, thee Brezen and the traditional farmer’s bread (and the sour herring for breakfast?). Put up a large screen and then invite as many guests as you can!

Shortly after 6 p.m. the “party” will begin. You can see the video stream of the entire presentation under  http://www.ustream.tv/channel/IF-Forum. It is basically as easy to get it as most things on the internet. All you have to do is move your browser to the aforementioned web address and after less than ten seconds loading time, you will see the video image.

You can easily test of the video stream works on your browser. Just click onto the aforementioned URL. If you see the video player on the left side, you will be able to watch the broadcast.

If not, you should make sure that a current flash player is installed as a plugin on your browser. Read here (http://get.adobe.com/de/flashplayer) how you can install it. If the video stream is “noisy” or occasionally interrupted, that is probably due to the band width of your internet.  We recommend a downstream bandwidth minimum 500 kbps. For more help and information, click here.

You were not able to see the live stream or want to see the presentation a second time? No problem: we will record it and make it publicly available. Details on this will, naturally, again be available on our “Corporate Blog” IF-Open.

I already look forward to having a huge internet audience.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Here are my tweets of last week on:

Blogging and Twitter, Wisdoms and Rules:

120202 My sword, too, will cut – that must be the motto of every twitterer and blogger. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

120203 Do not measure your own luck by other people’s standards – dear blogger and twitterer. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

110204 Better distrust than trust – I disagree, even with respect to twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

120205 Never dally with foolish jesters – very important advice for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

120206 You cannot get angry with the dead – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

120207 Be prepared to get repaid with the same coin you paid with yourself – the same is true for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

120208 Sticking to the truth is usually the best way – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See Twitter and “follow” RolandDuerre!
Enjoy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

In my last entrepreneur’s diary, I gave you a few citations from the article

Project Have a Detrimental Effect on Your Enterprise!

by Jens Hoffmann in 23actions.com.

On me, the article had an electrifying effect. Does project management still do justice to a modern understanding of enterprises and society – and to our concept of humanity?
Perhaps the “New World“ currently rising over the horizon needs totally different organizational patterns? With no projects and therefore no project managers, but instead an agile transformation of the entire enterprise?

Maybe we will have to solve all our problems together if we want to survive together?

If I am confronted with such difficult questions, the first thing I do is try to understand the terminology of the discussion.

As usual, I start with wikipedia. What is Project Management? Here is what I find:

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals (Projekten).

Well, I can see that this does not really help. Planning, organizing, securing and manageing. That does not sound too bad. But what is being planned, secured and managed? A project! In that case, it must be an entity that can be subjected to planning organizing and managing.

Now I know: everything that can be planned, secured, organized and managed is a project! Is that a definition which would convince you? For me, it is not much help. So I continue reading in wikipedia. It says:

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Roland Dürre
Tuesday January 17th, 2012

A Dialectical Approach To KnowledgeAcquisition

In the 1980ies and 1990ies, I attended several seminars by  Rupert Lay, where I learned the “ars construendi vexilla“. In various groups consisting of (not exclusively) directors of medium-sized enterprises and top managers of international concerns, I learned – together with my fellow seminarians – how this tool can generate a huge amount of additional insight. I also experienced how you can actually deduce necessary actions and behaviour for reaching your goal.

In wikipedia, the method of “ars construendi vexilla“ is also described. The relevant  article  is limited to a concise description of this dialectical approach. However, it does not inform you of the practical application and the usefulness of this method. Consequently, I now want to tell you what it was that impressed me so much about it and what my personal experience using it amounts to.

You gain insight wherever  people gather in order to share their cognition and experience.

The foundation stone of our western philosophy was laid in Ancient Greece. Dialectics (Dialektik) was the “technological tool“ of the philosophers. They worked using conversations, such as a discourse or a debate. The “ars construendi vexilla“ was originally a strictly formalized dialectical method for coming to a rational consensus in groups.

The term “vexilla“ was used because the requirements mutually agreed on were to be added up and become a list that should be as homogeneous and coherent as possible: the so-called homogeneous requirement list. Lists of this kind were called flags in Ancient Roman dialectics.

I always imagined a cord strung between two posts, where the requirements thus found were hanging like little flags in the wind of cognition.

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Gastautor(en)
Monday January 16th, 2012

Hurrah! I Can Read the IF Blog on my Kindle!

Here is a short instruction 
(not just for the IF blog)

Being an enthusiastic user of my new Kindle, I find it great that I can now read Süddeutsche, Zeit, Spiegel and much more, as well as browse through the IF blog, while sitting in the S-Bahn train.

🙂 The “installation” is a little tiresome, but afterwards…

First, I installed the program Calibre on my computer. It is a free Open Source e-book management application. Using it makes it possible to convert books and files into the “Amazon format”. But you can also call up RSS feeds and then transfer them to the Kindle.

For installation, you have the option “call up news”.

You can choose between:

  • Time-controlled download of messages:
    what you get is countless pre-arranged RSS feeds, among others currently 68 newspapers, some of them free.
  • Add new individual news source:
    that is what I need in order to be able to read the IF blog on my Kindle in the future.

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Roland Dürre
Sunday January 15th, 2012

Entrepreneur’s Diary #64 – Project Management goes Brecht

There are many wise songs in the Threepenny Opera

In his blog 23actions, Jens Hoffmann wrote an article titled

Projects have a detrimental effect on the health of your enterprise!

His introduction contained the provocative sentences:

“Projects are a thing of the past. Their days as organisational unit are numbered. Agile Coaches think that projects are not suitable tools for solving current entrepreneurial problems. They undermine customer-oriented value creation and cannot control permanent change effectively. So what gives project the right to even exist?

Instead of the classic line and project organisation Agile Coaches demand the agile Transformation of the entire enterprise. The term agilen project management is also considered unsuitable (Begriff des agilen Projektmanagements wird abgelehnt), because it only further strengthens the idea of a deficient concept being a good concept.”

Well, in my opinion, these sentences deserve three exclamation marks and three question marks? !!! ???

I was truly moved by what he wrote and therefore also took a very active part in the discussion by writing many “comments”.

In order to try an artistic approach, let me write two songs from Threepenny Opera (basically, in this opera, every song is a stamped piece of worldly wisdom!).

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