Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 31st, 2012

Why So Many Conferences and So Many Presentations Are No Good!

A short time ago, some of my friends attended a forum conference on project management. Their reports when they came back were not too enthusiastic. Occasionally, there was a keynote that really made a good impression on the listener. Some streams, too, obviously were high enough quality. But all in all, most of the presentations had been rather a disappointment – dominated by insignificance, lack of practical applicability, self-importance and adverts. Besides, many presentations were rhetorically deficient and often just manuscripts read aloud.

This is no exception from the rule. Especially with expensive conferences that have a very good reputation, I have started noticing quite some time ago that the quality of the presentations deteriorates. Consequently, I only attend these kinds of events if I absolutely have to. Basically, this is regrettable, because it is really important to attend conferences and meet others. You want to contact people, make friends with them and communicate with them. However, they are also time-consuming. And who, nowadays, is keen on wasting two or three days in a row if the result is less than satisfactory?

I have an explanation for this doubtlessly existing phenomenon of poor presentations at conventional conferences. As I see it, one of the reasons is how the presentations are selected.

At regular intervals, I receive “calls for papers”, often quite personal ones. Many of these events actually have titles that I find rather interesting: business, leadership, management, projects, change, innovation, agile methods. Actually, I could even well imagine myself contributing with an interesting presentation once in a while. But in order to be on the list of speakers, I would have to hand in a paper. A paper in which I would have to make up my mind what to talk about half a year in advance.

To be perfectly honest, I find this a little too stupid and time-consuming. Even the extra motivation of being permitted to attend the conference without having to pay for it does not make a difference. Just like, basically, I do not have two days at my disposal for listening to more or less unattractive presentations.

Besides, I have enough invitations to speak at all sorts of events and institutions. That is more than satisfactory for me. If a group who asked me for a presentation is to my liking and I have time, I agree to speak for them. If it is a university and/or non-profit or “modern” forum, my presentation is always “for free”. I consider itt part of the policy “sharing knowledge”.

My friends and the good speakers I know follow the same principle. None of them needs to hand in a paper, just in order to present themselves at a conference or in order to advertise his or her enterprise. If the event is for a good purpose, they talk for free or ask for a donation for some charitable organization (I mostly choose AI).  Or else, they demand a honorarum, sometimes even as high as Mr. Steinbrück.

So what kinds of people do typically hand in their work following a “call for papers“? I often find people working at the university who wish to see their work being noticed outside their direct sphere, employees of firms who want to improve their marketing. Their maxim is: the boss said “Mayer, why don’t you give presentations at conferences A, B and C?“. Sometimes you also find people who are fanatically in the grip of a topic. Or super theoretical persons who want to spread their personal theory like a Messiah. Mostly, however, you will find persons who I am sure do a good job, but basically want to earn their merits, because by improving their reputation, they hope to gain professional standing. Which is definitely not reprehensible.

Since there is usually a limited number of papers submitted, all those who have sent a paper will actually be permitted to speak. After all, the organizers will be happy to have names to put into the stream slots. If there are more papers than slots, we have the next problem. As a general rule, the selection follows the paper situation. There is no correlation between the formal quality of a paper and the competence of the speaker. Consequently, it is quite possible that even the good speakers will fail to qualify.
I can imagine solutions to this problem. For example, the committee might want to see a presentation? If this is too much ado, you could send a recorded video tape. Or, even better, a link to Youtube. To be sure, you will not have the live-effect, but at least you get a pretty good idea. It would be even better if the committee were to meet the presenters personally. They might arrange to talk about the presentation and thus be able to get a rounded picture of everything.

Here is a very pragmatic and perhaps innovative idea of mine: invite many people to attend a conference, look at all the registrations with a big team and ask those participants you know personally, directly or indirectly to give a presentation. Of course, this causes a hen-egg problem, because the attendants must be convinced it will be a super conference and the right kinds of people will attend.

But even this will not make a difference about one fact: those who actively take pains to give a presentation are usually not the good ones. The good speakers are those who are asked to speak all the time, anyway. This impression of mine got confirmed when I attended the GSA (German Speaker Association) competition. At regular intervals, the GSA does some sort of “Germany is looking for the super model“ for speakers. If you are a member or wish to become one, you can introduce yourself with a presentation. Most of the applicants are “professional speakers” who (want to) make a living as speakers or trainers. The appallingly low standards shocked me. Most of the “professional speakers” I saw could not hold a torch to the people I know from Barcamps or Jam-Sessions.

No, the good speakers are definitely those who get asked to speak, they never have to apply. Or else, they sit among us silently, just concentrating on their competence. So the trick is to find them! Or they spend a weekend at a Barcamp where they exchange knowledge. Conferences are actually the only places where you usually will not find them.

My closing remarks in this article are to advertise our PM-Camp at Dornbirn between November, 8th and 10th. (Unfortunately, it is already almost completely full).

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday October 28th, 2012

brand eins in November

Yesterday, it was Saturday morning – perfect timing for the weekend – the new “brand eins” was sitting in my letter box.
I have come to that stage where I treat “brand eins” just like all the other paper media I still receive: first and foremost, I give them a thorough shake, letting all the adverts slide out – they go to the paper waste immediately. Incidentally, the November „brand eins“ contained around 100 grams of useless paper.

Well, I guess with media, this is the price you pay for being a success: the undesired adverts. It also happens with Bayern2 radio. The more people find the programme attractive, the longer the adverts section gets. What an annoying nuisance.

At least, with paper media you have one advantage: as far as the attachments are concerned, the method “give it a good shake and throw them away“ still works quite well. You cannot use the same method when you are listening to the radio – and the often noisy advertising really is unnerving …

I let the magazine make its own impression on me after having liberated it of the external adverts. The equally annoying internal adverts are something I now manage to overlook quite well, which is due to my mental “adblock”.

This edition has a white title page, so there is no colour for me to appreciate or criticize. First and foremost, the picture with the special bargain gets my attention:    
“Order One Pizza – Pay Two”    
it seems that my mental adblock does not work with the title page.

I prefer this to the other way around. Incidentally, I would rather eat one tasty pizza (or pretzel) and pay for two than eat two lousy ones and pay only for one.

Then I read the title “Why Don’t You Try Again“. At first sight, this sounds neither impressive nor inspiring. The same is true for the second focal point: Second Chance. Well, that is something that goes without saying, doesn’t it? Consequently, I get so much more interested in what might be there to read inside the magazine. So here I am, starting with the editorial.

Frau Fischer tells us that the first “brand eins“ edition was called “Restart”. It, too, was some kind of second chance. As always, she seems to know what she is talking about.
And as you read the magazine, you will find a number of very exciting “second chances”, along with the small “series installments” that always make good reading. Besides, I also meet a few old acquaintances. For instance Jost Stollmann. If I remember correctly, he gave a red BMW 320i to his teacher Rupert Lay when his first chance was under way. I remember this because I, used to drive a red 325i. And at the time, my mentor and friend Rupert had been truly delighted about the gift.

Yes, “brand eins” is definitely a great magazine. I always discover and learn a lot. Every one of the editions makes a tremendous impression on me.

I also discovered a sincere wish of mine deep inside: basically, I only want to read content that is free of adverts. Regardless of the fact that I know quite well that, in our – as I see it – highly perverted economic system with its columns marketing and lobbyism, this will hardly be possible.

Consequently, starting now, I have added yet another utopian idea to my concepts. So far, I used to dream of a world with “soft mobility without combustion motors that burn fossil energy”. And secondly and even more importantly, I used to dream of a “punishment-free society”.

So now there is an additional item, the utopian idea of “advert-free media”. And if we are not successful with our first attempt, then we will just try a second time.
Perhaps there will be a time in the future when it actually becomes reality. I will ask Frau Firscher’s opinion about it. But I am afraid this is a problem even Frau Fischer cannot help me with!

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday October 27th, 2012

Our Oh-So-Cherished Personal Data – Letters and Ownership?

I would like to add something similar to what I said about data security in my last article. Take, for example, the totally harmless letter?

Language is a requirement for complex communication between intelligent beings. Along with language, we got the written word. Writing made it possible to compose letters. For many centuries, letters were the epitome of bi-lateral distributed communication.

But who does still write letters today? Is there anybody among us left who actually experienced the wonderful secret of writing and receiving letters? Personally, I still have some vague memories from the first two decades of my life:

If you want to write a letter, you will need paper. You will use the paper to write – in former times often with ink – very diligently and with the best handwriting you are capable of. As a general rule, you will choose the way you address the recipient in a very special and polite way. The text will then cover one or more pages, all numbered. This work of art will be completed by a final address, as well as the place and date, before you sign it. In earlier times, it was even sealed.

Then you take an envelope, fold the paper and put it into the envelope. You glue it shut, write the address of the recipient on the front and your own name and address on the back. It had to be like this, because there was a postal rule – one which in my opinion made a lot of sense. Very long ago, letters that had no address of the sender on the back were not processed. In the age of spam, this, too, sounds rather reasonable, doesn’t it?

After this, you have to put one or several stamps onto the letter – often using your tongue. It is very important to put the correct amount of stamps on the letter, otherwise it will be returned after a few days.

Eventually, you drop your letter in one of the public letter boxes. In former times, they were yellow and had a picture of a horn. The slid on this yellow box is the entry to a cloud, called post. The organization behind this cloud had the task of transporting letters and the information therein to addresses all over the world accurately and quickly.

The post also guarantees secrecy of the post. However, this is not always something you can rely on. At all times, there are and have been instances – both illegitimate and legitimized through strange fear-inspired laws – where a letter was opened and the content was examined. Depending on the content, the letter will be re-sealed and sent on its way – or else kept. These instances work very cannily. More often than not, the recipient will never notice that his letter has actually been tampered with, opened, read and re-sealed.

Well, but I only wrote this in order to make snail-mail understandable to the reader. For me, the question is now: who is actually the owner of such a letter and its content?
A snail-mail letter has been written (diligently!) and financed (paper, ink, stamps) by the sender. The recipient will get it through a messenger from the cloud (called postman).

So who is the owner of this letter? As far as the “hardware” is concerned, it seems an easy matter to me. Being a layman in the field of jurisprudence, I would consider paper and envelope as gift. The ink and the stamps do not really play a role. You can no longer use the ink and the stamp has been devaluated, too. The sender donated the paper and the envelope to the recipient. But what about the content?

Let us assume the sender and recipient are a married couple. The content of the letter is part of their marital communication. So who is now the owner of the content:

writer (sender) or reader (recipient)? Or does it belong to them both in equal shares? What if one of them wants to publish the letter – but the other one objects?
Will the right of ownership be affected if, for instance, the basis of the relationship is removed, if there is a divorce? Will the ownership of the text then go back to the writer (sender)? Who will then be permitted to make money with the letter?

What if the letter contains intellectual property of third parties, for instance if it contains a love poem by a contemporary author that was copied from a book? If it is used for “business purposes”, this would actually be theft. Can the recipient hand this on? Or is this only allowed if it remains “private” correspondence? Or will the recipient have to hand back the commodity, ask the original owner, and then probably give back to him what belongs to him?

And if so, how can this be done? How can I hand back something I read? What happens if third parties read the letter, legitimately or illegitimately? What exactly did they steal? Who did they steal from – the sender or the recipient? What damage was actually done?

What happens if the recipient destroys the letter – perhaps even without ever having read it? Can he do that – or is he violating the sender’s rights? After all, he destroyed data (property) that belong to the sender. And what if the sender made a photocopy before sending the letter? Can he publish it years later? Without asking the recipient?
And what happens if the letter is found by a third party? Will the content then belong to the finder? Perhaps not. Can the sender intervene if photocopies of the letter are, for instance, bought from the recipient by a publishing company and incorporated into a book?

What if the letter will later become very valuable? Is it fair if I buy an allegedly worthless letter and suddenly the value of said letter increases due to something that originated in the person who sold it to me? Or would this, perhaps, be against morality?

Is there really a difference between using content privately and for business purposes? If we had an internet exchange site for letters where no money is ever involved, would that be business?

Isn’t this all just nonsense?

And now let me project all these ideas to a world full of SMS, emails, twitter, facebook, google and the internet in general. Can all these questions be reasonably discussed and regulated legally? Or are the questions as such quite useless? Would it not be about time for us to actually do a radical about-face and start afresh on the legal side when it comes to the topic of personal data, copyright, etc.?

And when we make a fresh start, maybe we should put plugs into our ears as a precaution and sew the pockets of our suits shut – in order to prevent the lobby of the content merchants from damaging everything by using their influence.

I still remember very well some letters between Heisenberg and Einstein. In 1969, Professor Lammel (Analysis I) read from these letters during his lectures at the then TH München (today TUM). It was a very nice, even if old-fashioned student’s experience.

If you like statesmanship, you can actually read letters written by Voltaire addressed to “Old Frederik”. Or if you are a little more on the revolutionary side:  next year, Jean Paul is due a special birthday celebration. He would have been 250 years old. Isn’t that a good reason to read the letters he wrote and received?

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday October 25th, 2012

Mushroom Dishes

Carl and Gerlinde (XXVIII)

It was like a meteor strike!

At least with respect to how often it happened. In terms of the actual damage done, it was actually initially negligible!

But if you looked at how frequently it happened, it was really as scarce as a meteor strike – which, basically, is no surprise when you are talking a mushroom dish. After all, mushrooms are rather few and far between – and the yellow boletus even more so!

If, however, you included the slime mould ’Physarum polycevalum’ into your considerations, then fungi suddenly were no longer all that scarce; not to mention all those disgusting fungi that seemed to feel comfortable on the most intimate parts of the human body with their mycelia. Nobody could claim they were not itchy!

Still, the fact remains that the slimy protozoon ’Physarum polycevalum’ is a lot more aggravating than all other fungi, because it can practically make its slimy way on the shortest route to all the places in this world without any involvement of brains. In particular, it can go wherever you will find oats. And you really can find oats everywhere, can’t you? Not just in larders, kitchens, drawers and on tiled floors.

But, of course, you could never find them on Gerlinde’s kitchen floor!

Let alone in one of her drawers, because, naturally, this brainless ’slimy’ would never have even the ’slightest chance in the oats‘ world’ where Gerlinde’s cleanliness and orderliness reigned –  a fact that went without saying, both in her own and Carl’s opinion.

But – at least so Carl thought – why should that mean that no other fungus must ever appear more often than a meteor in their shared kitchen? Take, for instance, the much-loved-by-Carl yellow boletus Boletus edulis of the giant puffball group. He certainly would not have minded if this species had found its frying and comfortably frizzling way into the sparklingly clean kitchen a little more often over the year. That would definitely have been welcome!

On the contrary!

Well, basically, as a logical conclusion and if you do the probability calculations, it had to happen at some time, didn’t it? So it happened that one Wednesday, when Gerlinde, as she put it, just could no longer resist the almost obscenely displayed yellow boletus at Emmi’s fruit and vegetable stand on the weekly market at H., she actually bought some.

Buying them had practically become a duty since Emmi had already registered how longingly Gerlinde had looked towards the yellow boletus while being served the desired fruit choice of mango, melons, papaya and kiwi. Almost at an aside, Emmi had informed her that Carl, as he had confessed not long ago, liked the yellow boletus ever so much. So Gerlinde really had no choice but to ask the caring Emmi to weigh in a good portion of those obscene yellow boletus for her Carl who was obviously loved by all women. Well, she had better take six hundred gram, Emmi said with a roguish laugh!

Gerlinde even managed to get the wide tagliatelle from the neighboring stall and still be there as promised for a cup of the delicious cappuccino with Hannelore and Kurt at their favorite Italian restaurant before heading home to prepare the mushroom festival for Carl…

Later in the afternoon, when Carl came home from the office surprisingly early and as he just unlocked the door, his very sensitive nose – which, strangely enough, always found its way to the kitchen like a magnet needle found the North Pole – noticed that actually something as fundamental as a meteor strike must have happened: his Gerlinde, who was not known for being particularly enthusiastic about cooking, was busy preparing his favorite dish!

Tonight, he was indeed going to eat – mind you, this was no fata morgana – ’Roasted yellow boletus in cream and wine!

It really seemed almost like Gerlinde had foreseen that this was a day when he would be especially in need of some balm to make him feel better. After all, this had been another one of those days you really want to forget in a hurry. Otherwise he would probably not only have murdered this new anathema Fritz Kogler in cold blood right the next day, but ’Golden Bernie’ , who had seen to it that this ’slimy fungus Kogler’ got into the section ’outerwear’ with sales as his responsibility, along with him.

Mind you, there was nothing basically wrong with Fritz Kogler. Except that, for a man, he was just too handsome, and he knew it, too. And the young female employees were falling for his slimy charm just in the same manner as did scattered oats when confronted with the ’Physarum polycevalum’!

Incidentally, this whole affair had already been going on for three weeks. After all, it had been the wish of Dr. Bernhard Osterkorn that this slimy Fritz should definitely learn about the entire TRIGA company; and the section ’hosiery and knitted articles’ for which Carl was responsible as a salesperson, was definitely part of the whole company.

And it was truly sad that this stupid, very pregnant cow, Miriam Braun, who, after all, had already been ensnared by our ’dear Bernie’ did not notice how this Fritz Kogler kept listening in on her and spinning intrigues all around her!

For Carl, it had been quite obvious after no more than two days that this slimy Fritz was massively pushing towards the ’underwear’ of Miriam Braun. He literally thirsted for her post as soon as she would be on her maternity leave. But the allegedly so clever and worldly Miriam Braun never seemed to notice it. Instead, regardless of her pregnancy, or maybe because of it, she was totally fascinated by the disgusting Fritz.

And that was exactly what promoted ’Bernie‘s’ always brilliantly seedy game: because since Miriam Braun had disappointed him, it was clear that this beast had to be demolished piecewise until she would herself realize that she had been a huge mistake for TRIGA and was no longer needed. So sunshine boy Kogler was exactly what Dr. Osterkorn needed at this time.

But now – back in his home sweet home – Carl’s world was at least in balance for one small moment. His beloved Gerlinde had prepared his favorite meal for him!
It all smelled absolutely heavenly …

Gerlinde, too, exuded some aroma when she came towards him with her happily reddened face; the light and sweet Riesling she had used for the sauce had apparently already had some effect on her…

She was truly excited when, after her deliciously wet welcoming kiss, she told Carl in randomly capricious fashion how it all had happened with these strange mushrooms today. How they had attracted her attention in a truly obscene manner and she had therefore had no choice but to buy them; how she was now truly looking forward to all this mushroomy paradise which, basically, she had not dared to prepare in ages. As this went on, Carl saw himself being more and more compelled to suffer the ever-present multitude of odors wafting through the air. Snuffling with relish, he pushed Gerlinde ever further back into her own, holy kitchen area, directing his own insatiable nose not only towards the frying pan where the first installment of golden-brown delicacies was already comfortably frizzling, but also towards her fleshy, naked arms and her neck until finally reaching her slightly lighter, flimsily soft hairline in acrobatic sniffing manner, while a fidgety Gerlinde, getting less and less focused, tried to turn the brown mushroom slides with her kitchen utensils….

Making use of her last reserves of housewifely instinct, Gerlinde also tried to direct Carl, who wound himself around her in python style, towards the already waiting mortar with the fresh caraway – before, with a shrill outcry and several more noise, this makeshift defense, too, broke down and the more and more stony mushroom glory got mercilessly charred in the frying pan…

The accompanying wads of smoke shortly afterwards not only caused the smoke-detector to activate the siren; they also remained lingering through the entire building for several days, reminding them in a ghostly manner of the events of the day.

(Translated by EG)

Here are my tweets of last week on:
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

121101 A thousand can do more than one – also true for twitterers and bloggers “in the cloud”. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121102 Never call the devil, he will come without being summoned  – also true when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121103 If you want to exorcise the devil, use devils – also when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121104 Honey is dear if you have to lick it from thorns – just like the courageous blogger and twitterer! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121105 Titles cost no money – at least not when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121106 Stupidity is the most dangerous illness – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121107 Stupidity and pride grow on the same side – also true for twittering and blogging #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

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

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 24th, 2012

Students’ Fees …

I am again listening to the radio news on Bayern 2. We will soon go to Mali and fight Islamists and Djihadists. Of course, we will not send fighting troops, but we will send soldiers. For technical support. Well, we have to do it, don’t we – since, again, the safety of the Western World is at stake… You know: terrorism.

It is an unhealthy report, but is fits well with the general picture.

The thing that surprises me most this morning, however, is the latest news about students’ fees. Mind you, I have not really made up my mind about students’ fees. There are just too many arguments in favour of and against them. Also, I do not know if students’ fees are relevant for the educational standard of a nation.

But I do find it interesting how the process of forming a political opinion works in our Bavarian bureaucracy. We have a party that, in my personal perception, is rather on the conservative side and daringly calls itself “Free Voters”. This is just as much a lie as a party calling itself “Christian“.

This party wants to look good with an emotional issue. So students’ fees seem a good idea. Basically, abolishing students’ fees is not something that would go well with the “Free Voters” program, but all is allowed if you want political success, isn’t it?

Well, a plebiscite will make you visible. Consequently, the “Free” party wants to initiate a plebiscite for the abolition of students’ fees. The authorities say no, for whatever reason. Of course they will go to court – and, of course, in the end the plebiscite will be permitted. Why should a plebiscite against students’ fees not be permissible?

But as soon as we have a judicial decree, the avalanche will start rolling. The parties assume that a majority of citizens will vote against the students’ fees. And this is how the massive pro-students‘-fees front will go down like a land slide. Just because a court of justice said so.
Is that the right way of developing social consensus?

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday October 23rd, 2012

Waste of Time(s)

During Nadja’s prasentation on “The Meaning of Life” at the last IF Forum, I was reminded of all those many wasted hours in my life. The first thing that sprang to mind was the time I spent watching TV and driving a car. There were a few decades in my life when I actually spent a daily average of five hours in front of the TV set and behind the wheel of a car.

If you do the simple calculations, you get 1,825 hours each year if you take five hours every day. With just two decades, the result is that I spent 26,500 hours sitting in a car or in front of a TV set. Mind you, these are rather conservative numbers. Somehow, I find these results frustrating.

And then I remember that, at least after 1977, I also spent more and more time of my professional life in meetings. Many of them were rather unnecessary and unproductive. More often than not, I would have preferred using the time for the projects I was working on at the time.

Neither did matters improve as time went by. In many enterprises, there is still a pathological tendency towards meetings. Far too many of them, taking up far too much time. And since that causes too much working time to be filled with meetings, you will have to make up for it by staying late into the night.

Why do people make so many appointments that last longer than 20 minutes? Competent persons can and must exchange a lot of information in 20 minutes, as well as come up with wise decisions.

Except in practice, it is different. Basically, a meeting should always have been prepared well. Consequently, it has an agenda. Said agenda has to be worked through. And each of the topics usually takes a lot more time than necessary.

Here is how it is often done: four TOP’s (items of the agenda) are to be discussed and decided. Since the issues are difficult, the organizers plan two hours total. Thirty minutes per issue. It was quite hard to agree on a meeting time, because, after all, all participants are constantly on some meeting or other and therefore have a full calendar. Consequently, the meeting will not be before two weeks from now. By the time the meeting takes place, two of the four TOP’s are already obsolete.

Well, now you could think that those TOP’s that are by now obsolete can be deleted from the list. That would leave you with only half the number of issues to discuss. Which means you could reduce the time for the discussion by half. That would be only one hour instead of two – and then you could go back to your work. But, no! In all my time as a participant of meetings, it seldom happened.

No. Mostly, they spontaneously come up with new issues to discuss. After all, we are here now, aren’t we? So now they start speculating and philosophizing. Arguments are brought forth all over the place, but they are seldom well-structured. Some of the participants enjoy rhetorical games, others often suffer when they have to listen to all those verbal arias.

Still others hide under some kind of camouflaged office nap, dreaming of better times and nicer places. It will only get embarrassing when you start snoring. Consequently, all the time that was originally planned to get used up will actually be used up in the end. Mostly, it takes even longer than planned. But why?

Yes, I definitely spent too much time in my life before a TV set and in a car, as well as in meetings. But I will not look back. Instead, I will look towards the future.
So here is what I will do in the future: switch off the TV, cut off driving cars, avoid meetings.

(Translated by EG)

Even with actual objects, no matter if mobile or not, ownership is all but a simple issue. From the ethical, moral, rational viewpoint, etc. …

It gets even harder when we are talking ownership of non-material, abstract, content or even “mental“ things. For life and survival, the latter basically is of no consequence – as opposed to a warm meal, clothes and a place to stay. And a little love. But there I remember: love, too, is something abstract, non-material. Can you own love? The phrase itself shows you how stupid the concept would be.

Debates about ownership of data and content are rather confusing. What exactly is this: data and content? And how can you own them? Who owns the date of birth of a human being? Does it belong to the mother (or the father), or to the child, or to the authorities where the child lives? Is it important who owns those data? Is the date of birth important at all? Does it exist at all in the course of the universe?

Who does a story belong to? Does it belong to the one who tells it or to the audience? What exactly is this: an idea, a concept, an invention, a story? What is its value? You cannot eat or drink it. So can it be something similar to money? A commodity of exchange?

Or is this about how something abstract can be made into money? Does such a thing as a unique story exist at all? Or is not everything based on something you experienced or learned? What can one individual person claim to be his own and what belongs to us all? Is the idea already the achievement, or is the value only created after it has been edited? Does something like justice exist?

Copyright and patents can be interpreted as the result of cunning businessmen’s work. They demanded that their interests be protected and then they put it into practice through good lobbying.  Their – certainly understandable – goal was to gain a maximum of riches with a minimum of effort. Just like a Russian neo-oligarch who can become a billionaire in 10 years.

But is this goal (which actually was achieved) legitimate? Should you be allowed to “earn money” with the help of rights that have been scaled beyond all proportion – as otherwise is only possible if you are backed by capital? The motto would be: “here I am sitting at the beach and enjoying life while my money is working hard and very successfully for me”.

Except in this case it is the rights that work hard for those who own them. Historically, the entire copyright is simply another attempt at separating income from work and increase profit geometrically or even on a logarithmical scale, instead of linearly. Probably (and of course), it is all detrimental for the common good, i.e. for the people living on this planet and the planet itself.

So it is just a new method for increasing profit infinitely. Infinitely? Yes! We are talking billions – and for average citizens, one billion Euros feels like an infinite amount of money.

Thus, the interest group “intellectual property“ managed to initiate strange regulations and make them pass as law. The result is the current situation in the patent and copyright areas. These regulations have been promoted with arguments such as: otherwise there will be no progress. Mind you, those arguments were probably never true, but now, in the internet age, they have been definitely proved wrong.  By now, “progress“ happens through a free sharing of knowledge. Even slogans such as “protection of intellectual property” will not make the slightest difference.

This is how knowledge and stories were confiscated (bought?) and privatized. The producers of content and illusions, in particular, claimed special rights in our cultural circle during the primitive times of media and start-up periods – and then they politically pushed those rights through with a strong lobby. Isn’t it remarkable that those laws are called “Micky-Mouse-Legislation”?

Many violations against laws thus passed, such as illegal copying, could be called self-defense. All you have to do is claim that the free sharing of knowledge is a necessary requirement for an innovative collaboration as part of the evolutionary development of humans.

Since my trip to China, I often feel Chinese. Chinese persons look upon themselves as one big family with no secrets. Regardless of the fact that there is no doubt they live in a dictatorship.

You have to share knowledge voluntarily in an open and free manner, simply in order to advance together! Isn’t the entire human race one family for which, basically, there may soon be nothing left but the struggle for survival?


(Translated by EG)



Two lines out of the wonderful song “Imagine” (John Lennon):

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world … (yuhuuuh)

Roland Dürre
Saturday October 20th, 2012

Video: Dr. Eberhard Huber at the IF Forum “Project Coaching”

Our last speaker at the technological IF Forum on September, 25th was Dr. Eberhard Huber. He managed to summarize all the results and information gathered during this wonderful afternoon in an excellent manner before we finished with a discussion in the “Fish Bowl”.

Now – “at last but not at least” – the recording of his presentation is also available on Youtube.

The Third Technological IF Forum was about “Project Coaching“, with the motto “best of PM-Camp“. So now we have made all the videos from this event available.

Many thanks once again to Eberhard for his presentation. It contributed hugely towards the success of our IF Forum.

Eberhard’s motto is “project“ in a team – here is the link to his  blog “projekt (B)LOG“.

(Translated by EG)

After the “fish bowl” of the first section and a short break, we continued with our technological IF Forum “Project Coaching” on September, 25th, 2012 here in Unterhaching. Our only female speaker, Nadja Schröer-Petranovskaja, spoke after Jens as the second of three speakers. She sensitized us with her stories on “purpose, non-meaning and chances in life“. And she motivated quite a few among us to start a little project management for our own lives.

The Third Technological IF Forum was about “Project Coaching“, part of which was “Best of PM-Camp“.

Nadja, too came all the way from Hamburg to Unterhaching for her presentation. That is not the only reason I wish to specially thank her very much for her rather unusual contribution on projects and coaching. I recommend you visit her website henneei.


(Translated by EG)