Roland Dürre
Friday June 28th, 2013

Now Online: All IF Forum Craftsmanship Videos!

A few days ago, I put the first two IF Forum presentations (Vorträge) – held by Wolfgang Menauer and Kristin Block – online. The same is true for the “Software Development Unit” (Softwareentwicklungsblock) by and with Bernhard Findeiss and Dr. Elmar Jürgens.

Consequently, only the last two presentations are still missing. Here they are:

Bernd Fiedler made us understand in an amusing way what exactly it means to be a “master craftsman”:

And then there was Reinhard Büttner! He gave a review of all the day’s findings and added his own experience in the most suitable way.

I already sent the work of art by Wolf Nkole Helzle created during the day as my way of saying “Thank You ” to all speakers and guests.

Let me, once more, thank all the artists and speakers. And I would like to specifically thank all our guests. They gave me so much feedback saying what a wonderful event it was. This gives me courage to continue. We already decided upon a topic for 2014:

Self-Organization in the sense of    
“Self-organization and self-control as a formative model for enterprises and projects”!
As always, I look forward to reading your feedback.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday June 27th, 2013

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #173

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

130704 If you cannot hold it, set if free – rule for twittering and? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130705 If there are things you cannot learn, maybe you can experience them while hiking – also true for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130706 If there is something you hate doing, do it up front – also true for blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130707 Never promise something you cannot deliver – also if you are a blogger and twitterer? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130708 What you write down is permanent – not to forget, twitterers and bloggers. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130609 If you want to sell something at a high price, your first estimate also has to be a high one – also true for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130710 If you drive something on, it will remain with you – so be careful, twitterers and bloggers. #Twitter #Blogging  #Wisdom

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

(Translated by EG)

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Elwood P. Dowd
Wednesday June 26th, 2013


harvey&friendIs there anyone who ever took something out of a sailor in the nude’s pocket?

On the other hand, many preach to the choir,
few, however, bang their heads against locked glass doors.

That is exactly when the masses yell: transparency!

Do you want total transparency?

Transparency is an optical characteristic – the opposite of reflectivity.

Transparency equals diaphanousness – we see through it, consequently we see nothing.

Soccer reporters understood that a long time ago.

“…on the left off-side, Meyer was totally transparent.”
In other words: Meyer was not seen on the field.

Transparency is a magic hood, there is no better hiding place!

Where everything is transparent, we will no longer see anything.

So, welcome, transparency fans, in the country of the blind,
where even the one-eyed is no longer king, because there is nothing left to see.

My Friend Harvey Says:

Which sentence on transparency is valid?
If you have nothing to hide, there is nothing you have to fear.
Those who have nothing to hide already lost everything.

A homosexual soccer player is ostracized.
He has to suffer mobbing.
He commits suicide.
Later, it is totally normal for a soccer player to be homosexual.
Now is that good or bad transparency?

In times of RAF, you were considered suspicious
if you used a false name for paying your electricity bills.
Thousands were spied on, one was caught.
Good or bad transparency?

The sensor-supported emergency call system e-call 
will automatically notify the nearest ambulance station if something happens.
Simultaneously, it notifies the insurance company if the driver was speeding.
Good or bad transparency?

Google gets better and better with what I am interested in.
I only get results to fit my need.
All that is new, different, hindering, remains unlisted.
Good or bad transparency?

Politicians will tell everybody openly on the web 
why they decided as they did.
Decisions will be made or not.
Good or bad transparency?

Refined algorithms can predict our behaviour in road traffic with surprising precision. It runs rather smoothly, because the system knows our ways. Both those of today and tomorrow.
Good or bad transparency?

Entertainment movies can react to the taste of the audience in tailor-made fashion and in real-time.

Everyone gets the best possible entertainment individually.
There are no surprises left.
Good or bad transparency?

With the methods of personalized medicine, we know exactly when and why we are going to die. To be sure, we can postpone death by a few years through an individually adapted therapy.

Good or bad transparency?

Let me add that spectacles equipped with full-body scanners would make an effective speed dating possible.
(Elwood P. Dowd).

The work of art by Wolf Nkole Helzle which was created during our IF Forum CRAFTSMANSHIP has already been submitted to all of you as a form of saying “Thank You” (Danke Schön).

Besides, the first two IF Forum presentations (Vorträge) by Wolfgang Menauer and Kristin Block were made available live by me a few days ago. Today, you get the next two!

Firstly, we see Bernhard Findeiss, “Technology Evangelist” at InterFace AG. He tells you about “a day in the life of a software craftsman”:

Dr. Elmar Jürgens of CQSE reports about his own experience and the good team results with Peer2Peer reviews in the interest of quality:

Thanks to Bernd, Elmar and Friedrich!

(Translated by EG)

🙂 The InterFace AG sees to it that the modern nervous system of our planet functions …

Of course, we cannot do this all by ourselves. We do it together with many other small and big enterprises world-wide. It is a gigantic “co-working process” – and we try to contribute significantly.

If you view it in this light, we could be called something like an “infra-structure company”?

I had the idea of calling us an infra-structure company, because every enterprise should have a meaning. And said meaning cannot be the mere maximization of the shareholder value (see Alfred Rappaport). You have to provide more – and this is where infra-structure companies might have it easier. Because, as I see it, they are implicitly meaningful.

For instance, the railway and postal workers were a proud team, at least during the first half of the last century. After all, they were those who saw to it that the cars rolled and the letters and parcels were reliably transported. The power plants, too, had meaning easily explained. After all, it was due to them that we never had to live in darkness. The same was true for the municipal suppliers, who also provided water and disposed of sewage and waste, drove the trams, maintained the city’s entire infra-structure and much more. Even the central dairy and the public butchery made some kind of sense to me.

Not too long ago, all the relevant infra-structure companies were exclusively publicly owned. This system had both advantages and disadvantages. As I see it, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. Basically, the only disadvantage was that the publicly owned companied tended to develop feudal structures. If that happens, the class of civil servants will form a privileged caste giving itself advantages and rights – while forgetting that they actually are obliged to practice special responsibility.

Unfortunately, it seems that this is partly what happened. Publicly owned companies were misused by the government in favour of run-down politicians. This too, did not have a beneficial effect on them. After all, a system where the leaders are chosen for some strange interests, rather than because they are the most competent candidates for the challenges of the job at hand cannot function, can it?

It seems that matters changed for the worse as time went by. Consequently, it was just a logical consequence that a time had to come when “the last drop made the cup overflow”! This is what happened at the end of the last millennium. And now, everybody wanted “privatization”. It became the universal cure for everything. And we threw the baby out with the water.

And then the meaning of the formerly so important infra-structure companies was gone. Huge federal concerns were created. They had to enter the stock market. And all of a sudden, the most important thing was not that every citizen was reliably provided with all the necessities. Instead, the most important thing was now the “Shareholder-Value”. The former federal giants dreamed of record profits and of becoming the leaders world-wide.

But neither shareholder value nor world-wide domination will basically provide the employees with meaning. The same is true for well-loved alternatives, such as the artificially introduced “Champion Mentality” (We are the number 1!) or the orientation of enterprises according to designer criteria: none of these can give meaning. In fact, all these methods have failed when it came to motivation and entrepreneurial culture. Consequently, many employees went into “giving notice inside”- mode or developed an “I could not care less”- attitude. See also my comments (Bemerkungen) on the “brand eins” June edition.

I know from personal experience that it was different in former times. My father was a civil servant. But above all, he was a railway person. With all his heart. For him, it was important that all the trains were on time. He did everything for his employer, the Bundesbahn. He was often sad when something did not work as it should have. And he worked hard to improve conditions.

In industry, too, I know another kind of mentality from former times. For instance by the then big enterprise with a great reputation “Volkswagen” under Herrn Nordhoff. But from early on, I also followed small enterprises with great interest. For example a small dairy plant near Augsburg. Regardless of its very common name, it has gained world-wide fame by now.

The first enterprise I consciously knew as a child was the meat plant Zimmermann. It was in the mid 1950ies and I had just started my career as a young learner of the alphabet.

The owners, the Zimmermann family, were the kings of Thannhausen, which was the place where my grandparents on the mother’s side lived. My mother had two sisters who were going to inherit grandfather’s farm in Sudetenland, which meant that they had never enjoyed proper training for a profession. As opposed to this, my mother had been permitted to study at university, because at the time the farm was to be distributed, she would not have inherited any share of it.

As we all know, the end of the German conquering strategy during WW-II was a huge Rollback (displacement) – and nothing was left of the family farm I never knew! According to legend, the former owners were brought into Bavaria in the last stock car. My parents called it expulsion. Since my aunts, believing they would at one time manage their father’s farm, had never officially learned anything, they were more than happy to work as unskilled labour in the Zimmermann meat plant in their new lives.

The income was poor, but the Zimmermann family made up for it by supplying their employees with good meat at very special bargain prices. In those days, I heard quite a few legends about this enterprise and the glamorous family who owned it.

Basically, the only reason why there was a railway line between Dinkelscherben and Thannhausen was the Zimmermann meat plant. Behind the company building, there was a tarmac from which the Zimmermann family often started their trips into the great wide world. And the Zimmermann family was definitely travelling the world extremely often. The stories about their alleged adventures were told among the employees.

And regardless of all the meat workers knowing full well that the Zimmermann family was doing a whole lot better than they, they found meaning in their work. Because times were improving and there was at long last again meat to go with the bread. The Zimmermann family were a well-loved employer who saw to it that people had jobs and they were adored by everybody. They were both the sun kings and the sensation of Thannhausen. The employees knew this and loved their glamorous and mundane Zimmermann family, regardless of the hard work and poor pay.

Well, this, too, was one way (even if, to me, it seemed strange at the time) for an employee to find meaning in an enterprise. Everybody had to work hard, and still they were happy in some fashion. As I grew older, there was a change in the stories of my aunts. There was less and less meaning and negative comments became more and more frequent. Wealth became the normal state of affairs and they discovered that work meant hardships.

It seems like the glamorous and rich Zimmermann family, too, decided one day that the development was no longer to their liking. Consequently, one day they sold their company to a huge meant concern and probably disappeared from Thannhausen. Perhaps they now needed more time for their “social obligations”. It seems that the new life in the world of luxury looked more meaningful to them than the entrepreneurial work with all its responsibility. But that is not something I would know.

However, the reason why I am telling this story is another one. I think that, in modern times, it would be difficult to give meaning to a meat plant. Even a family full of legends would not do the job. Instead, you will probably have to live the right values and have an entrepreneurial culture which will give meaning in the craftsmanship sense even to butchering animals.

As a general rule, it is quite difficult to give meaning to an enterprise. And I believe infra-structure companies have a natural competitive advantage – having a meaning that comes as a matter of course and which can be the basis for everything that follows. However, said meaning might turn to become the opposite if they turn private and then forget their major duty – which is providing infra-structure reliably and at a fair price. Instead, all they think about is turnover and profit.

And then I get the impression that infra-structure companies, in particular, had better be publicly owned. If that is the case, the advantage of a natural meaning will not turn into the opposite. Except that the “new publicly owned” federal concerns must not repeat the mistakes as known and listed above. Perhaps “good management” could contribute.

And perhaps this is also true for the – as I see it – ever so important nervous network of our planet we call internet and which our leading politicians calls frontier land. Especially in the “frontier”, freedom, openness and availability should be guaranteed by a democratic country! And, as a condition for the development of social consensus, this so important infra-structure for forming the future must be protected from attacks from all possible sources.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday June 22nd, 2013

Two IF Forum CRAFTSMANSHIP Presentations as Video

The work of art by Wolf Nkole Helzle created during our IF Forum CRAFTSMANSHIP has already been published by me as a “Thank You” (Danke Schön) note. Now I am already in a position to download the first two presentations by Wolfgang Menauer and Kristin Block to Youtube. Here they are in the sequence they were given.

Firstly, we see the introduction to the workshop by Wolfgang Menauer, an InterFace colleague. He associates terms and cites statements that might enlighten the meaning of the word CRAFTSMANSHIP:

Our first guest and speaker, Kristin Block supplied us with wonderful groundwork for the workshop.  She related what the corner stones of an entrepreneurial knowledge-culture should look like.

Many thanks to the two speakers and also to Friedrich Lehn who was responsible for the recording and production.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday June 21st, 2013

New Frontiers

In his wonderful blog Führung erfahren, Dr. Marcus Raitner comments on the “New-Frontiers Statement” (Neuland-Aussage) made by our Federal Chancellor on behalf of the Germans and Europe.

I had to comment on this article and did so in a letter.

Dear Marcus,
the sentence uttered by Frau Merkel that “the internet is a new frontier for us” is unfortunately a less-than-diligent abbreviation for a complicated issue, or else – if you want to give a sympathetic evaluation – a truly fitting metaphor for a general problem.
For the majority of politicians in Germany (and probably world-wide) – and especially for those who have all the power – the “change in society is a new frontier”.
And, incidentally, it is a sinister and threatening new frontier. As I see it, this is the reason why politics drift more and more away from the people and why the appreciation of democracy suffers so lamentably.
At the same time, it also explains why more and more citizens get politically frustrated.
Consequently, we have to ask yet again:
Is Frau Merkel the authentic politician who keeps hinting at the problem in a subtle way, even if only metaphorically?
is she a unique political genius who, intuitively and without further thought, sometimes says things which, if you interpret them correctly, actually hit the nail on its head?
But this frontier statement once again made it clear to me why she is so well-liked and why she will make Herrn Steinbrück look like a fly being swatted …
So who do we both vote for?
Best wishes from the Vienna  #pmcamp 2013!

Here is a somewhat polemic additional comment:

Transport policy, for example, has always been made by elderly gentlemen in Germany and all over the world. Those gentlemen basically only knew the world from one perspective: that of sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle. So how should these gentlemen have known that such things as cyclists and pedestrians actually exist – or even simply people who do not wish to waste their time for things like “controlling a motorized vehicle”?

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre

Thank You!

Yesterday was my 63rd birthday.

A lot of heartfelt wishes reached me. By telephone, email, twitter, facebook, , Google+, Xing, Linkedin, SMS, WhatsApp and probably even several more channels. As I sat in my hotel in Vienna yesterday evening (incidentally, I am again attending a “PM Camp” – #pmcamp #pmcamp13vie), I was truly moved.

Many, many thanks to all the well-wishers!

And here is my way of saying thank-you: I would like to share this video with you, because it also moved me very much. It is the first video of our technological IF Forum “CRAFTSMANSHIP” recorded one week before my birthday and it shows our friend and “guest media artist” Wolf Nkole Helzle and the results of his efforts on this day in our Unterhaching office building.

So here are also my thanks to Wolf for having been there with us!

(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday June 20th, 2013

Sales Tactics – or: Optimizing Marges

Carl and Gerlinde (XXXII)

Well, it had not precisely been a surprise for Carl that Gerlinde made him join her on her visits to several boutiques – since, for once, he actually was taking a stroll through the city. After all, the times when he did that were few and far between!

The stationer’s shop they just happened to be passing was probably just an insignificant detour on the confusing route of their complex and interwoven fortune threats – but suddenly Gerlinde remembered that, in fact, she needed a new notebook for her shopping lists!

This came as quite a surprise for the salesman, who, regardless of his youth, did not have a single hair on his head. Also, he had already started locking up when Gerlinde only just managed to squeeze through the door because of her notebook. …

”Would you like a big size?” he still asked with quite a friendly attitude. Apparently, there was quite a number and variety of those notebooks in his storage area.
”No“, even to Carl, Gerlinde sounded surprisingly short and concise when she replied.

”Did you have something valuable in mind – for instance as a gift?“


”Well, in that case, I am assuming you mean a rather ordinary notebook. Is that what you want?“, the friendly salesman said as he tried to get an idea about what Gerlinde actually wanted  …

”Yes“, replied Gerlinde, after which she at least added that the notebook was meant for shopping lists. So perhaps it should not be too big – as she said this, her eyes roamed around the shop for an indefinite time.

”Well, yes”, the salesman said, moving towards the back of the store rather determinedly.

He returned with three different notebooks, all of which, however, Gerlinde immediately classified unsatisfactory with a headshake.

”Far too big and voluminous”, she observed.

”Of course, we also have smaller models”, the salesman remarked enthusiastically, before swiftly disappearing back to the inner sanctum of the shop.

Meanwhile, Carl took advantage of the opportunity to look for what low-price biros they had on offer! For him, a short glimpse was usually enough to tell him if closer inspection was called for …

”Now – I am sure the right one will be among these here”, the salesman said with a hopeful smile on his pale face when putting four different notebooks of quarto format onto the sales counter.

But these notebooks, too, caused Gerlinde only irritation – which she demonstrated by again shaking her beautifully styled head: “No – no, these are far too big!“ she said again. Carl seemed to notice a certain amount of impatience in her voice.

”So – these are still too big?” – the still friendly young man in his light-blue shirt and well-ironed dark pair of trousers said.

”Well”, he murmured thoughtfully while rubbing his carefully shaved chin with his right hand, “in that case, there remains basically only one last option”. Gerlinde could not understand any more than this, because the murmuring young man again disappeared from her view.

Carl meanwhile was busy inspecting an assortment of coloured biros which had a good touch to them and also produced very nice writing …

”Madam, I am sure this will be what you have been looking for”, an excited salesman’s voice droned from the opposite side a few moments later. Then the salesman came with long strides, optimistically waving a minuscule notebook of the brand URSUS in front of his somewhat red nose …

”Yes – yes”, Gerlinde cried, sounding rather releaved, “that is exactly the sort of notebook I wanted to buy again!”

”How nice, madam. Now, at long last, we actually found the right thing”, the friendly salesman said. He was visibly relieved and had a self-contented smile on his face.

”Yes – thank God”, Gerlinde piped, “didn’t I say from the start that yours is the right place?” The salesman nodded his agreement and asked,

”Would you like a small plastic bag?”

”Yes, that would be nice …“, Gerlinde breathed.

”That is 1euro and  20 cents, Madam!”,

”1 euro and 20 cents“, Gerlinde thought aloud, then looked at Carl who was still standing near the biros, saying:

”You know what – let me have two of these small notebooks. After all, we are not really talking costs that will break my neck, are we?”

”With pleasure, madam”, the still friendly salesman said, before again hurrying away…

When he returned full of optimism and bearing the second small URSUS, Carl spontaneously asked: “can you tell me what the least expensive biro costs at your place?”

”Now, wait a minute”, the diligent salesman said. He put the second notebook on top of the first and hurried to meet Carl, “this here is the least expensive one, it costs 60 cents!“

”Good, I will take it”, Carl announced his quick decision. Almost intimidated by this quick purchase decision, the baffled salesman took a new silver-sparking biro out of the case holding four and quickly returned to the sales counter with an air of triumph.

”Carl, we have some biros at home! I bought them a short time ago”, Gerlinde suddenly interjected.

”Are you sure?”, Carl hesitated, wrinkling his forehead.

”Yes”, said Gerlinde in a short-tempered way while giving him a very meaningful glance.

”But still, I can certainly buy one to be on the safe side, can’t I?”, Carl nonchalantly remarked, returning her glance with a bold one …

”Carl – I said we have enough biros at home!”, Gerlinde repeated a little more sternly.

”How strange that I never seem to have seen any of those”, Carl grumbled while shaking his head several times. “But still, I am sure we can take this one here along, as well!”

”Carl, that will not be necessary. I got you a complete five-pack of coloured biros; buying another one would really be wasting money now… “, Gerlinde intoned.

”Well, if that is how you feel about it”, Carl sounded a little unnerved by now.

Turning to the still friendly salesman, he said,

”Maybe we will not get a biro, after all. You heard how this planned monstrosity sale was just forbidden me… “

”Now aren’t you one dumb dummy”, Gerlinde complained with upturned eyebrows, taking her two small notebooks and shaking her head.

”That will be 2 euros and 40 cents, madam”, the smiling salesman said to Gerlinde as she started taking out her purse.

And his reply to Carl came with regret in his voice: “well, sir, it is certainly a pity. You could have gotten four biros for this kind of money”!

”Yes, that is just too bad”, Carl replied. He grinned and ducked his head.

”Hm – hm – hm“, Gerlinde testily grumbled, showing her expensively crowned teeth, like a lion preparing for the final kill.

”You see, madam, in modern times, we men do have to stick together a little bit”, the still friendly salesman said with a grin while accepting the 2 euros and 40 cents from Gerlinde. Then he smiled at Carl with a twinkle in his eyes; Carl gave an agreeable nod back and, for a short moment, had the greatly relieving feeling of belonging to a secret men’s guild.…

(Translated by EG)

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

130627 Your love can cause madness, your heart can cause sadness – is that also a rule for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130628 There is nothing a German will not do for money – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130629 If you let someone borrow things from you, they will not improve – also true for blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130630 Things you will not give a way easily will increase in value – also if you are a blogger and twitterer? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130701 What you have in abundance will not be appreciated – not to forget, twitterers and bloggers! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130702 No need to call something you enjoy doing: work – that is how twitterers and bloggers feel about it! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130703 If you pour something into a soiled container, it will get sour – careful, twitterers and bloggers. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

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

(Translated by EG)

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.