Don’t you all experience it once in a while? Hideous demons trying to penetrate your everyday life. Demons like fear of the future, fear of the unknown, scepticism when it comes to commitments, avoiding change or mistrust instead of trust. How often do we lack the willingness to just try something new? We are burdened by an unwillingness to leave well-known paths. Or else we benumb ourselves with things we neither want nor need.

All those are the reasons why we humans withdraw and thus minimize our personal lives. Instead of promoting our talents and potential, we make ourselves smaller than we actually are. We try to gain security through precise planning, but said security is only allegedly secure. In return, we reduce ourselves. Step by step, the unfolding process of our lives decreases and a rather unpleasant, self-enhancing vicious circle starts. Our joy of life disappears, our social life is reduced.

Between the ears, more and more assumptions are made; our sorrows threaten to smother us. Asking questions about all the possible evil scenarios that might befall us gets more and more domineering and objections rule our thinking. And fear will grow, sorrows will develop a life of their own and the joy of life is lost. All this will happen if you are not willing to live your life in self-responsibility, to actively enjoy what happiness life has to offer you and to leave no chance to moroseness through an agile life-style.

Consequently, I believe that, in private life as well as in our other projects, an agile way of living makes everything a lot easier. There is no need to always plan everything down to the most intricate detail and think about all possible consequences. After all, we will never know which of the assumptions we make will be valid in the future, anyway. So come on and let us push back all those brainy excesses that basically only burden those miserable lives of ours! Because our fears, too, first and foremost happen between the ears.

As far as I am concerned, I firmly believe that we are much happier and more content if we practice agile living. A non-agile life also prevents many couples to go ahead with a very natural step – namely to have children. Because if I will always and throughout all my life evaluate, plan, explain and safeguard everything, then children will very easily be just perceived as an unreasonable risk which only daredevils would be willing to take. And then, once again, something absolutely self-evident is taken away from your life.

In my book, having children is part of an agile life. Our children enriched my life in more than just the emotional dimension to a more than huge extent. I am almost tempted to ask: what is a life without children?

Especially children are something you should not plan. Instead, you have to “let them happen”. They are probably the most natural way of finding meaning in life and enrich our diversity in life. And it can only be a hindrance to plan them, because the right moment will never really come. To make up for it, you will (hopefully) have a life-long experience. Incidentally, the attempt at helping them in life a little cannot be planned either. Actually, it is a highly agile project.

So you could say that “agile living” also helps in private life if you want to kick out the demons. Naturally, living in an agile way will give you a far more light-hearted life – an agile life will make you more content and happier.

The only reason I am recommending this is that it is my own personal experience.

(Translated by EG)

These were ideas I had while sitting in the train from Frankfurt to Munich today.

Roland Dürre
Sunday July 28th, 2013

Time Out For Roland …

It seems like I, for one, lack energy. This might be due to one or several of the following facts:

  • This is a wonderful summer, providing us all with many beautiful hours of sunshine in the great outdoors which we enjoy tremendously.
  • My move to a new house – it turned out to be quite costly and also caused several unexpected problems.
  • Some small mishaps – such as me mislaying my cell-phone – which kept me rather busy for several days
  • And, last not least, a world which, not only in business, necessitates a degree of blind effort that once in a while is beyond all reason.

Consequently, writing in the IF blog gets neglected. I am truly sorry. On the other hand, I currently make so many more experiences. Incidentally, I already collected plenty of material to write about in the future. Except that currently there is no time for writing. First and foremost, I have to regain a little energy. But I assume I will soon start.

Still, I believe you will find quite a few things in my IF blog where you can explore. I myself, too, keep finding things that surprise me. Look, for instance, at my entrepreneur’s diary (v)  … or why don’t you just browse a little through the IF blog?
Thanks a lot!

(Translated by EG)

Dear family, dear friends,

I am going to open a training centre for professionals where handicapped adolescents can learn following the dual system. We will start with the faculties cooking and restaurant staff.

When I lived in Germany, I spent 34 years cooking. I cooked between Munich and Berlin, in station restaurants and 5-star hotels, for simple guests and VIP’s. There was always plenty of work, I was never unemployed. This is not just because I am an industrious person, but also because there will always be enough work in gastronomy.

Education is the Central Chance

For me, too, it was hard to climb up the ladder to the master’s level. The reasons were diverse: financial problems, needing more time for family and children, having to learn a totally foreign language and all the restrictions because I was a non-native.
Why was I never unemployed? Because gastronomy never died. Why did I continue up to the master level? Because in Germany, the opportunity to continue your education gives adolescents a chance.

Dual Educational System after the German Model

Consequently, I will try to offer all I find positive in Germany to the adolescents here in Vietnam, too.
Since the dual educational system is new and alien to the Vietnamese, it is not easy for me to create educational openings. Currently, I am doing a lot of work in order to get there.

As to finances: I receive support from Germany for building and furnishing the school. But it is difficult to run the school, because most of the apprentices come from bitterly poor families. The apprentices also receive wages from the companies they work for, but this is minimal and many parents cannot even spend an Euro each day for their children.

Children from Poor Families – a Vicious Circle

The apprentices come to the city from afar, mostly from the country – where there is still a family tradition: three generations living under one roof, many children and little rice. Many children will terminate their school education and move to the city, such as Saigon, in order to find jobs. They will spend their entire lives working as untrained helpers, they will live in the slums and again have many children who, again – like their parents before them – will spend their entire lives working as untrained helpers.

A finished professional training will give the adolescents a chance to escape from this vicious circle.

We want to give the adolescents this chance.

Take me for an example. I come from a catholic family with nine siblings, bitterly poor. When I was a small child, I lived in the Don Bosco home for orphans, where I had the chance to graduate from high school and get a chance to finish my professional training in Germany.
I managed because many benefactors gave me a chance. That is why I firmly believe that adolescents in Vietnam, too, can do it.

Please support my project!

Let us give them the chance to show it to us and let us lead them on the path; with love and patience, they will manage!

Give me the chance and I will hand it on to those who need it most. That is why I returned to Vietnam: in order to help build Vietnam and preach Christian belief through my own example.

For more information about the new project, consult the website:

Best regards  xin kính chào

Francis Văn Hội
(MS – Editing / Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday July 25th, 2013

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #177

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

130801 If something comes from the heart, your heart will believe it – good advice for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130802 If something hurts, you will learn from it – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130803 If something is cheap, it will not do much god – also true for blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130804 There is a limit to what you can accept – also when blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130805 If two know it, a hundred will know it soon – also when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

130806 I want my fur cleaned, but I do not wish to get wet – not possible if you are twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130807 In vino veritas – not to forget, 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.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 24th, 2013

Crowd Sourcing & BahnScout

Last Thursday, the “IF Academy” travelled to the TUM at Garching where we were welcomed as guests. In the afternoon, there was a presentation on Crowd Sourcing at the Konrad Zuse lecture hall.

Felix Köbler gave an outline of how it works and introduced “BahnScout” as a good example. ”BahnScout” is short for the application of an APP providing clean and functioning railway stations. We made two video recordings:

Part 1: Crowdsourcing

Part 2: BahnScout



Roland Dürre
Sunday July 21st, 2013

Is There Still Hope For Us … ?

 Or will we drown in stupidity …?

Due to the current state of affairs, I remembered a theatre play Norbert Weinberger and yours truly drafted and then wrote during a flight to India late in the last millennium. At the time, the two of us were going to New-Delhi flying Swiss Air from Munich via Zürich in order to visit our subsidiary enterprise. The business class seats were almost all unoccupied and several charming Swiss ladies were really interested in making us feel comfortable.

There was more than enough champagne and Norbert and I thought it might make sense to use the time in a constructive way and write a small sketch on the stupidity of late capitalism.

During that night, a short theatre play was created. It introduces simple pictures and messages, told by our fairy tale story teller (Muschka):

Two free-lance workers (Norbert and yours truly) are in a tight situation. Consequently, they sit on a draughty park bench drinking their beer. By chance, a business student (Markus) passes them. They tell him their dilemma and start a company with him. Soon, they are overjoyed by the nice yearly balance, but their financial auditor (Christian) quickly brings them back to earth. He recommends a business angel to them (Hans) whom he personally knows. Said angel immediately solves all their problems and takes them to the stock market with golden wings (on his back). The director’s personal assistant (Claudia) also rather likes the idea and serves champagne. Now the motto is to grow, which means “hire & buy”. All of a sudden, all the euphoria is gone and bad things start to happen. Mr. Buy becomes Mr. Sell (Alfred). And at the end of the story, the two friends will again sit on their park bench and drink their beer.

So much on what goes on in this very sentimental satire on New Economy by Norbert Weinberger and Roland Dürre. The play was first on stage with the managing directors and directors of the medium-sized IT companies cooperating in the IT-Treff.   It was on June, 29th, 1999 in front of an audience of almost 550 at the München Schlachthof – all of whom laughed until they nearly collapsed. So this is now almost 15 years ago. But it is as explosive as it was then.

Here is the text if you wish to read it or play it yourself.
IT-Treff Satire (2743)

There is also a video tape of the play, but the quality is sub-standard. I would be glad if a group (amateurs or professionals) were to play the piece again and make a new video recording. In fact, I am prepared to support such a project and pay 1,000 € for this first staging of the play in a nice environment. Since it is short and easy to produce, it might well also serve as “preliminary” piece. Like a pre-band. Isn’t that an innovative idea?

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday July 20th, 2013


Richard GutjahrRichard Gutjahr (in Twitter: @gutjahr) calls himself a journalist and blogger who is often ahead of the times.

I discovered him “online” rather early. (Unfortunately,) He often says what I feel.

The current post at gutjahrs blog is titled:

Why don’t you cypher? (Verschlüssel’ doch!)

This article motivated me to write a comment. For reasons of laziness, however, I only posted it at facebook, which basically was a bad idea. So here you get my ideas once more, including some revised notes:

We delegated the right to exercise legislative power to the state. Consequently it is the state that has a power monopoly. That is wise, but also dangerous. It gives the state immense power. If the state turns “evil” or “bad”, (which can happen any time and happens all the time), it will become our worst threat. Consequently, the “state” must be transparent and subjected to control by the citizens at all times in all (!) dimensions!

The same must be also demanded of data security. Because if the state is not a hundred per cent transparent for the citizens, doors for abuse are wide open. I cannot think of any (!) area where a federal transparency might be detrimental for the common good in a transparent society. This includes reservations with respect to safety and other often construed aspects. Paranoia will always cause more harm than good!

Consequently, the transparent society is a necessary condition for a successful “digital” society. Because a state can only be truly transparent in a transparent society. That means that “FRONTIER LAND” will need transparency as a central value on top of tolerance and respect. So we must work towards a social consensus where we call for a free, open and transparent society! That is actually what our political powers should aim at.

It is just ridiculous to call for better data security. Laws protecting data have ZERO use, but they cause a huge amount of blind work.

And you should never forget: the state holds the legislative power. And we are just witnessing how even a “still good” nation will create or change its laws as it likes or as it is useful. Not to mention an evil nation.

Let me also add that I warmly recommend you reading the gutjahrs blog!

(Translated by EG)

Thursday, InterFace Event at TUM:
Technological Presentations for Computer Scientists
July, 18th,  2013 – earlier than usual: 4 p.m. at TUM!

The next presentation in our series IF Academy – Technological Presentations 2013 will be on July, 18th – as usual on a Thursday. This time, however, we will not remain in the Unterhaching InterFace building. Instead, we will go on tour with our circus and the event and Happy Hour afterwards will be at TU München in Garching. The TUM has reserved the lecture hall “Konrad Zuse” for us.

felis_swThe speaker if Felix Köbler. Felix spent a huge part of his computer science training and research at TUM.

He will tell us what totally new ways of thinking and opportunities have already been realized through the internet and the corresponding technologies – and also how it might go on from there. His topic will be:

Crowdsourcing & RailScout  
An introduction and selected delicacies and crowdsourcing solutions for safe and clean railway stations.

Abstract provided by Felix:

The first part of my presentation will give you an outline of the current technological and socio-technological developments. For example the adoption and use of ubiquitous and mobile technologies which not only are immersed in our daily lives but also make totally new applications possible.

One promising and totally new application is crowdsourcing. It means the outsourcing of tasks or value-creating activities to an un-defined group of voluntary users by an enterprise or institution.

I will discuss the potential and problems of these innovative concepts using various examples beyond the widely known applications and initiatives such as Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap. One of the specialties of crowdsourcing is the extension of existing job-sharing models by the factor motivation, which is often used for applying gamification – that is the use of game elements in non-game contexts –  in its socio-technological application.

The second part of my presentation will be about an actual solution and application: “RailScout”, which belongs to the area of the so-called “Mobile Crowdsourcing” as made possible by the technological development in the field of mobile end devices. “RailScout” is a smartphone application for passengers and gives them the chance to call in problems, like technological or maintenance damage and littering at railway stations and infra-structure buildings, directly to the responsible administration.

My presentation is meant to give you both the current results gained from the experiment still under way and diverse insights in to the craftsman-like process  (Participatory Design/User-centered Design) and conceptual challenges in the field of gamification during the problem solution development phase.

The Speaker

Felix Köbler is a doctorial candidate at the chair for Business Informatics of Munich Technical University. He holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in Information Systems/Business Informatics of Munich Technical University and studied, among other places, at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China and Technical University of Tampere, Finland and University Tampere, Finland.

His research is mainly on distributed software engineering, social networking, gamification, persuasive technologies and ubiquitous and mobile computing with a strong focus on human-computer interaction. The results of his research has been published in international technological journals, such as AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction and International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction (IJHCI), as well as presented on international conferences, such as the International Conference on Information Systems, European Conference on Information Systems and ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Besides having established RailScout, he is also active in the fields of User Experience Design and strategic advice, as well as in Business Development at “FELD M” , which is a counselling company for digital marketing. Also, he works as a freelance counsellor.

Here is some information on the event series

At two-month intervals, we invite people to listen to a presentation with some technological, leader-specific or entrepreneurial topic. Our invitations go out to all interested computer scientists living in the area and, of course, especially to all our colleagues at InterFace AG.

The presentations are meant to hand on innovative knowledge and special experience from practice for practice, following the idea of craftsmanship. Our focal point and content is in the fields of programming as a German engineering feat, modern basic know-how, future-oriented technologies, insider knowledge, changes in established technologies, experience from project such as management and leadership and much more.

Usually our speakers take 30 minutes for their presentation, then you have 60 minutes for discussion. And afterwards, there will always be a “Happy Hour”.
The events take place on every third Thursday of the uneven months of the year.

(Translated by EG)

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

130725 What do you expect of dirt except that is smells bad? – Be careful, twitterers and bloggers! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130726 What use is the whetstone without water? – Also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130727 If something was costly, you will love it – also true for blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130728 If something is dead, it will no longer bite – not even when blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130729 What drops over the neighbour’s fence belongs to him – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130730 If something comes from a dog, it is likely to bark – also true for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130731 If something comes from the hen, it will cackle – not to forget, 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.

Roland Dürre
Saturday July 13th, 2013

brand eins in July

Browsing through the daily headings in newspapers and magazines, I sometimes get the unpleasant feeling that all this effort of mine is rather pointless.

Reading “braind eins”, however, is different – again. So let me say this up front: the July issue is again exceptionally innovative. In this magazine, they write about the future and it really gives you courage!

The title is “I will take the risk!“ Following this, the focal point is simply “Risking Progress”.

Then I look at what day it is today and I think what a poor soul Roland (me) is. After all, the “brand eins” has been sitting on his desk for more than two weeks and he also gave a copy to two friends already.

But still he never found time to write his “brand eins” blog article. Now isn’t that a signal that something innovative should happen? Because time is my most valuable commodity. And currently, it is a truly rare commodity.

So I will immediately start reading the magazine and only give a few short comments. As early as page 31, I find the first crack. According to a study by BDI and the Deutschen Telekom Stiftung, Switzerland is by far the most innovative country of this world!

That is easy for me to believe. After all, I attended some very nice entrepreneurial workshops at RISE (HSG) in Basel, Zürich and St. Gallen, where I made the acquaintance of a whole lot of great enterprises and entrepreneurs from Switzerland. They were all innovative and modern in a sense that made me respect them very much, indeed.

“Self-organization and self-determination in organizations and enterprises”: that is what Hans Ulrich, the founder of the St. Gallener Management Model, demanded in the 1980ies as an important requirement for a change in management.
And this is precisely what you essentially need for becoming innovative. And I ask myself: isn’t a basic democracy not at least a reasonable attempt at letting all the people of a nation organize themselves and determine their fate? If you look at it in this way, basic democracy is the catalyser for innovation, also of a nation!

As far as I am concerned, Switzerland has a very positive connotation as the country of entrepreneurs. As they say: from nothing nothing comes. I learned to appreciate both the HSG (Hochschule St. Gallen) and the ETH in Zürich. And I really salute them for the dynamics they practice. And since I believe that the quality of a university or college in one country correlates absolutely with the success of said country, good colleges are a good explanation.

At a festive event of TU München with a guest from ETH, the president of TU München, Herr Dr. Herrmann, informed us that the average amount of money spent for one student at ETH is several times as much as at TUM. I seem to recall it was a two-digit number with a 1 as the first digit. Of course, a good education and consequently good universities are fundamentally important for successful progress. But for universities, the same is true as everywhere: ”nothing goes without the funny stuff”.

I also find it good that the ETH had enough courage to remain Technische Hochschule and retain its “H” in the official name. I started studying at THM (Technische Hochschule München) in 1969 – and I was appalled when they later insisted on calling themselves Technische Universität. It would have been better if they had kept the “H” – and in exchange they could have become a little more innovative. If a façade looks nice, this does not necessarily mean the interior is also nice. Instead, it happens more and more often that all is show and no substance.

I appreciate the TUM because, by German standards, it keeps producing rather well-trained computer scientists. Also, they do give themselves a nice appearance. But who knows if it is a truly innovative university? Personally, I can think of quite a few questions to ask, because to me it looks rather bureaucratic and over-administered. Consequently, when all is said and done, most of the professors, just like at most of the German universities I know, have too little time for research and teaching and for the people affected by the change.

But then, what can you expect of a Germany where the internet is called “frontier land” by the nation’s highest and mightiest. The universities are structured like schools, the academic freedom is restricted and then everybody is surprised when even small Switzerland outruns us. On the other hand, they tell us and the entire world that we are an island of the blessed in a Europe full of misery!  So is it true about all being show and no substance? How fortunate that “brand eins” exists.

I found many more positive things in the July brand eins edition. Here is another example: I was truly delighted to find my friend Günther Bonin on page 56. There is even a picture of him. The article is about how he and other persons want to free this planet’s oceans from plastic waste.

And I find it just great that something like this is written in brand eins.

Many thanks – Frau Fischer!

(Translated by EG)


I wrote about myself as a poor soul. This reminds me of a twitter friendship with someone who called himself @ArmerKater in twitter. Later, I met him at several PM-Camps  and we became friends in real life, as well.
He called himself @ArmerKater because he often despaired during his time as an employed project manager.
Now he is an entrepreneur and no longer a poor tom. And he also changed his twitter name. It would have made quite a story for the June brand eins. I am sure you remember that the title was “Mondays make me sick” …