Roland Dürre
Wednesday December 31st, 2014

A Good Start and a Successful 2015!

As every year, I wished all IF Blog readers and friends a “Happy New Year” when the year 2009 came to an end. That was exactly five years ago. My article at the time read:

Tonight, we are going to celebrate the turn of the year. We will bid the year 2009 good-bye and start the year 2010. A new decade awaits us. All the evidence points towards the world undergoing massive change in the coming years.

I would wish for the coming year that the imminent changes take place without violence.

May we remain free from war.

May our social values tolerance and freedom be preserved even in the difficult times that lie ahead.

And may we not admit into our part of the world the atrocities of an inhuman concept of society.

As I see it, none of the aforesaid is now outdated and I fear that all these wishes will be even more important for the next five years. Consequently, I am not going to add anything and wish all my IF Blog readers and my many friends and partners in exactly this spirit:

A healthy and successful year 2015!

May the ounce of luck which is so beneficial for all of us accompany you on all your ways.

SilvesterSchweinThe beautiful picture has been arranged by Rolo Zollner! It, too, was part of the 2009 article.

Thank you, Rolo!

RMD

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 28th, 2014

Starting IF AGORA

logo-agoraCurrently, I actually think about how to spend my post-InterFace time in a meaningful way. This is why, shortly before Christmas, I bought the IF-AGORA.de. Until then, the enterprise was a hundred per cent an InterFace offspring. Now it belongs a hundred per cent to my family (at InterFace, my family only has the simple majority).

Up to now, the IF AGORA has been structured to be a market place for experience and knowledge. In the future, I wish to extend it and turn it into an “Agency for Change #AfV” which links persons and provides additional experience and knowledge. For a more successful, better and more human world.

All kinds of social systems, but in particular most often enterprises, find it difficult to face a changing environment and “social change”. More often than not, they do not even realize that something changed – which means that they will fail due to their own ignorance.

It is my vision to – if this is at all possible – influence the current evolution a little in order to pave the way for a more humane future in accordance with our habitat. Or simply to save projects from failure and thus make persons and teams more successful. We need courageous decisions in the stress field between ratio and intuition/heuristics. They must be free of influences caused by dogmatic moralizing.

This is absolutely necessary, because, as I see it, not just enterprises, but also townships, regional municipalities and associations act against the common welfare in how they behave and in what they do economically, thereby harming themselves. Simply because they believe that is how they have to behave, because, after all, it has always been done in this way. Especially institutions that used to be very powerful get less and less important. Just remember how alive, for instance, VDE, VDI, Bayme, BDA and many more used to be. And how dead they are today.

Even in rich Bavaria, many regions now show a tendency towards doing worse. Classic measures, such as support programs and a race when it comes to building up infrastructure are supposed to help. The result is often a very limited success: money is often distributed all around indiscriminately.
What we need is regional concepts. The people living in a region must communicate and remember their assets and strengths. Then you can develop an integrated concept and courageously act by following it.

In and for the future, the wisdom of the masses will be sought after. The simplicity of the individual will do more harm than good. The political parties, too, are on the decline. Along with their “institutions for political education”, they drove themselves more or less out of the market. The concept of ideas belonging to the people was lost just like the dialogue with people was lost. Thus, the political parties have reduced themselves to become mere interest groups; lobbyism dictates politics.

You get the impression that our modern society consciously wishes to rob us humans of our autonomy and make willing consumer citizens out of us. Mind you, we are talking the autonomous person as the leading maxim of enlightenment. Meaning a human being who asks questions. Using manipulation and marketing, those who are powerful control us. There are all varieties of motivations: power and financial interest. Alleged inherent necessities of a growth-oriented economy rule over us. Turnover and results are the dogmata behind which the Germany AG and its politicians unite.

What I want is the conscious development of a selective “social consensus” for a modern form of “common good economy”. I want to start with the micro cosmos of our society and in difficult projects. I will gladly make a huge impact.
So how do I propose to go about it?

Here are central phrases:

  • Share and distribute experience and knowledge.
  • Make living “agile”, “lean” and “open” your central virtues.
  • Create a culture where “communicating with each other” is supported and re-introduced.
  • Realize communication at eye-level between two persons in a team.
  • Link important champions in various systems in a democratic way.
  • Create bridges between “institutionalized systems” (such as associations) and “free communities”.
  • Instead of saying “you must and I force you”, you should say “you want and you can” – both in education and on the job.

In order to successfully initiate change, we need knowledge and competence in various dimensions.

  • mental concepts & philosophy
  • personality
  • motivation
  • entrepreneurship
  • organisation
  • innovation
  • projects

To my personal advantage, I am friendly with comrades-in-arms who contributed through truly extraordinary achievements in the sense of the new world on each of these topics.

Let me just name a few first names. Feel free to guess who I mean:

Kathrin, Melanie, Maja, Nadja, Andreas, Bernd, Bernhard, Eberhard, Gebhard, Jens, Jolly, Klaus-Jürgen, Nikolaus, Roger, Rolf, Stefan, Thorsten and many, many more.

Some of them are already among the “knowledge providers” of IF-AGORA.de. All of them have not only proved through writing their own books that they are familiar with theory, but also shown their practical skills. I met them as intrinsically motivated workers who manage to live a more or less autonomous life.

This is one of the reasons why I am optimistic. Because: if you have these kinds of “champions behind you”, nothing can go wrong. Especially if you believe in self-organization, work with “agility”, “leanness” and “openness”, and if you wish to support customers and partners towards finding their way through asking the right questions together, rather than indoctrinate others. Those questions are important for added insight, innovation and solutions.

All businesses need values in order to make them meaningful. Let our values be: honour, love and respect. Along with courage, civil courage and joy at producing something. This is how I would like the IF Agora to develop from a market place of knowledge and experience to an “agency” or an “office” of change.

🙂 Now all I need is customers. “Sales targets” are aplenty and I already had some excellent conversations with regard to those.

Supported by this community, I find it a nice goal to counsel on a high level. I wish to help our customers and partners towards building their own success in a sustainable and humane way. And I find it absolutely legitimate to also want to earn good money in the process.

I also see this kind of Change Management as a new task of IF Agora – which I now intend to wake from its Big Sleep. Currently, I am in the test-and-try phase, talking to many people and giving the concept a clear outline. And who knows: maybe I will find more great partners in the future.

Well, I look toward the future with a huge amount of optimism

RMD
(Translated by EG)

What is the purpose of an enterprise? That is a question every team of founders should ask. Very early on and frequently.
Here is what comes to my mind:

  • All those working for the enterprise should earn enough money for their work – so that they can comfortably live on what they earn.
  • Also apart from that, the enterprise should make enough of a profit to enable it to invest into the future and to serve the capital “fairly”.
  • The enterprise should offer products and services which increase the well-being of humans and at the same time do not have a detrimental effect on the common good (common good economy).
  • All parties concerned should enjoy what they are doing and be happy. Also, the enterprise should be a shared success for all parties concerned.
  • It should do numerous and exciting projects.
  • The team of founders should be able to flourish in the way they desire.

Well, those are my personal ideas. Other founders may find other issues important. Perhaps the quick rise with an early sale of the enterprise as the crown of entrepreneurial work.

In this light, it certainly makes sense for a team of founders to ask themselves and each other:

“What exactly are the success criteria we share that unite us?”

In fact, you should have thought about this well before the founding and the start of your new company. Consequently, I recommend that all young persons who wish to found an enterprise once in a while sit down and let their entrepreneurial enthusiasm rest in order to check if the shared guiding star is still there, how it looks and if the spirit of all the parties concerned, along with their values, expectations, interests and needs is still what it should be.

Because founding is also a process where you have to say “better a miserable end than endless misery”. And the earlier you correct what does not fit, the better.

I other words: if you occasionally get off-course, this is quite normal. But the sooner you return to the right course, the earlier you will be a success.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

For more articles of my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Wednesday December 24th, 2014

brand eins in January (2015)

So what to do on Christmas Eve? Well, you wait for the presents. And you read “brand eins”. And, of course, you read in next year’s first edition, even though you are not yet finished with the December 2014 edition. Said edition was titled “Let Them Burst” – and the focal point “pleasure” was not the only thing I enjoyed about it.

Let me say it up front: the new “brand eins” titled YOU and focussing on self-determination gave me a precious Christmas Eve afternoon. It is a truly great affair. Again, I am absolutely fascinated about the editorial part.

Brand eins probably has now become too high-quality. And others, too, found out about it. This might be good news for “brand eins” with respect to business, but it has its disadvantages.

The amount of adverts comes as a surprise to me. And if something is good quality, then adverts will easily find their way towards it. Just think of the 2nd Channel of Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bayern2). I have to listen to ever more minutes of advertising. In fact, I already wonder if it is a good idea to no longer listen to Channel-2 at all and instead “survive on” podcasts only.

Basically, the Bayerischer Rundfunk is publicly financed, isn’t it? Consequently, you would think it could do without advertising in its high-quality programs. I gladly pay my GEZ fees for those.

You can probably not compare this with “brand eins”. The editorial department is financed by advertising. Even if I find this a pity, I cannot change it. Consequently, the first thing I do is get rid of all this extra material. Ever since I started reading the SZ exclusively in its digital version, I lack experience in this field. It takes quite some time, but eventually it is done.

Now my floor is littered with the Austrians wishing to invite me for a skiing vacation (I know how well Austria Tourismus is doing with “incoming operations”). Next to it lie the Saxons. They try to tell me that the future comes from Saxony, which we know to be nonsense. “The Economist” is sitting next to it and also wants to recruit me. The same is true for a Wellness Fond called ÖKOVISION who want me to invest. However, I neither wish to nor will do so.

But you also get adverts that will not leave the magazine if you just give it a shaking, because they has been pinned to the rest of the magazine. This treacherous method is used by LEXWARE – a software nobody will ever need.

Inside the magazine, too, you will find no end of adverts. The first two pages, as well as the rear page are filed by two luxury clockmaker labels: PATEK PHILLIPE and IWC Schaffhausen. Starting from the front, the next advert you will find is by Bethmann Bank (ABN AMRO), before RIMOWA wants to sell its nice suitcases. Microsoft even goes so far as to propose turning me from car-park attendant to concern boss (make it happen).

Immediately after that, a sinister-looking gentleman from CONSORSBANK.de is planning a COMING OUT (THERE IS A SMALL BANKER IN EACH OF US. NOW IS THE TIME …). Occhio wants to supply me with perfect light. I am to buy a blue FORD FOCUS including parking assistance and to listen to music “wireless” with harman/kardon.

Shortly before the focal point of the magazine, I am asked to drive Porsche on four pages. Incidentally, Porsche wishes to create excitement inside me, because that is their basic duty (???). Immediately after Porsche, you will find vitra. (including the full stop), wishing to sell a “Soft Pad Chair EA 208″. I turn the pages and it gets even worse: two federal ministries (Employment and Social Affairs, Business and Energy, along with the BfA) want to do an Expert Check. Unbelievable!

Mind you, I am now only on page 40 of 162. I fear the worst, but will not give up: consequently, I continue searching for adverts.

And again I am supposed to buy office chairs. From interstuhl. And the chair is called SILVER and said to be the CHAIR OF CHAIRS. After a short break, you get DKMS who want to “QUICKLY SAVE LIVES”. They think it is high time that I, along with my company, do something against leukaemia. After this, you get two adverts for a “brand eins” event (along with TAGESSPIEGEL, the lobby for children and dm) and for a “brand eins” publication.

And here comes the Airport Düsseldorf with “Düsseldorf Airport Advertising”. What a blessing that they only use the third part of a page (up until now, all adverts took one entire page or more). Later, I also find rather unassuming vertical adverts over a third of a page by PSYCHOLOGIE HEUTE and the “branding institute – wien”.

I find no more adverts at the moment: an entire series of pages is totally advert-free and only consist of text and pictures. Yet this series ends with page 87: the Handelsblatt wants to sell a digital passport (again occupying an entire page).

A few pages later, I am supposed to read H.O.M.E, because they say they are at home in modern life (another full page advert). On reaching page 92, I am confronted with the Spiegel (full page) offering “History” and “THE BIBLE” (THE MOST POWERFUL BOOK OF THE WORLD). And, of course, I always can get everything as APP. Only one page on – again full-page – SAT.1 tries to make me happy with “ONLY LOVE COUNTS”. As often before, the letters are extremely huge.

When I finally reach page 98/99, I find the aforementioned Lexware advert which is pinned to the magazine. I wonder if I should remove it. But the process might damage the entire magazine. So I continue.

Next, I arrive at classified and self-advertising. Actually, after that I get an advert-free zone up until page 109. When I reach page 110, the “Neue Züricher Zeitung” – which in fact I appreciate – tells me that there is something like a Swiss perspective. After only one other turn of the page, “domus” assaults me as “the ICON among the ARCHITECTURAL MAGZINES – now in German with local articles”. Wow!

On page 117, they want to make me the “star of festive lamps” (Frankfurt Fair) and, a little later, I am asked to read “Stern” (full-page). Well, that is not what I want. On the opposite side of the same page, also full-length, you get ramp with AUTO.CULTURE.MAGAZINE. asking if I am “KEEN ON AUTO CULTURE”. Well. Cars and culture – basically this is a contradiction per se.

I am still not willing to give up my search for adverts in this magazine and will be cruelly punished for my perseverance. On the next page, “Die Welt” advertises with the (unspeakable) slogans: “the world belongs to those who swim against the current on the internet, as well” and “AND THE WORLD BELONGS TO THOSE WITH INNOVATIVE IDEAS”. Can it get worse than that?

The answer is: yes – because here comes ONSCREEN with “boredom was yesterday. Today we have ONSCREEN.” Outch – that hurts! And worse is coming. Because on page 138, 7 (PRO?) adverts with “BEAT RAAB”, calling me with “WE LOVE TO ENTERTAIN YOU”. Well, now is the time to admit knock out and activate the “ignore adverts filter”.

Now I wonder if it might not be a good idea to take the digital version of “brand eins” in the future. Basically, I have no problem with paying the great work the editors are doing. But such an amount of stupidity on high-gloss paper actually makes me physically sick. Not just because of the gigantic waste. I find it truly a pity that the newspapers need such stupid indirection in order to pay their employees.

And now the time has come for opening all those presents.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I would like to apologize to “brand eins” and its team for my critical comments on their magazine. But then, due to the prevailing “journalism”, I never even touch any of the other business magazines.

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 21st, 2014

:-) At Leisure, Available and For Sale …

… but not for any price and everything!

Yes – that is what I am!

From January, 1st, I am at your disposal and willing to sell my skin. Here is a list of the things I probably can do quite well (at least those are the areas where my credentials are not too bad).

Aufgenommen am 3. Oktober 2012 in der Waldwirtschaft mit meiner neuen aus China importierten Mütze

I am not sure if this is the best picture to promote myself:-)

  • Giving presentations on leadership and management which question quite few dogmata.
  • Advertising a New World with more “agility, leanness and openness”.
  • And one which, above all, will be there for humans and the creation.
  • Offering entrepreneurial and human mentoring to open and creative people (both old and young, female and male).
  • Working against social systems that became self-centred.
  • Setting impulses for transformation.
  • Organizing Time-Out in times of crisis in order to gain room for creative ideas and solutions.
  • Finding all those stupid questions which might actually help start-ups and enterprises.
  • Waking people up and opening their eyes.
  • Questioning so-called truths.
  • Finding a new basis for communication..
  • Bringing people together and connecting them in networks.

And more of the same!

So if any of you can offer something in those areas, thank you so much. And know that I am always willing to share the success.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

I often see how “experienced” managers and – too often self-appointed – “business angels” are quick with making short shrift of and judging business models introduced by, for example, start-ups. For instance, without having to give it much thought, they always know precisely what business cannot work in Germany, what is the only thing you can produce in China or why a business model is no good. They are omniscient when it comes to what you have to do, what will be a success and what you cannot do.

As opposed to this, I notice that a lot can be achieved if the “right” teams are involved. And if the persons in those teams are the “right ones” because they have a good education and work towards their goals with courage and joy. If those requirements are met, I often witness surprising success. Success which actually falsifies those dogmatic assumptions.

Consequently, I constantly warn against “categorizing” business models. Just like I also warn founders against giving themselves soothing ideas using “logical” conclusions. Let me cite a few often-used arguments I frequently hear:

Our target group consists of xy millions of people. If we only reach every thousandth of them, we will have xy times a thousand customers. And if we charge 10 Euros licence fee for each app, we will get xy times 10,000 Euros. What you get is a contract that looks extremely attractive and seems to be more than adequate for success.

Whenever I hear this kind of reasoning, the thing I would like to do is run away. This is exactly how you cannot do it. A good business model is like a burning match which quickly lights at least a small fire.

If this does not work, you had better keep away. And if it lights a small fire, you must be careful to get more than just a straw fire. What you want is a nice and sustainable burning. And if that is what you want, you will basically always need a lot of industriousness, prudence, creativity and stamina. Which means that a stroke of fortune can bring success. And, as we all know, fortune favours the bold.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For more articles of my entrepreneur’s diary, click here:Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Tuesday December 16th, 2014

The Arcis-Vocalisten on Sylvester!

Beethoven VocalistenToday, I am again doing a little advertising for the Arcis-Vocalisten – the wonderful choir two members of which are good friends with me.

This noteworthy event will take place on the afternoon of the Sylvester day in the Herkules-Saal. And I am sure it will be a beautiful way to prepare yourself for the turn of the year.

You will also be impressed by the sonority and volume of sound, because, on top of the Arcis-Vocalisten and the soloists, the “Birnauer Kantorei” – which makes a total of around a hundred singers – and the orchestra “Seraphin-Ensemble” are also among the performers.

And, as always, the entire concert is conducted by Thomas Gropper.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

You can also see this as my comment on the UN Climate Conference.

A short time ago, a friend of mine asked me the following “not seriously-meant question”:

Seerose-Nymphaea_micrantha_MS_6263Imagine you have a pond.

And you like water lilies.

Consequently, you will plant water lilies in your pond.

However, you were not aware of the fact that your brand of water lilies will multiply so quickly that, after each year, you will need twice as much space on the water as you needed the year before.

After ten years, your pond is full.

Now here comes the question:

When was half of the pond surface covered?

The answer is easy – one year before the pond was totally full, half of it must have been full of plants, because:

(2 to the power of n) divided by 2 is half of (2 to the power of n).

But if you are not a mathematician and consequently do not instantly apply your high-school mathematics, you will be rather surprised by the result.

Another rule of life is:

If you have some money and invest it as capital, and if you get 7% interest per annum, then your capital will be twice as much as before after approximately ten years.

That is because you can, for example, multiply those 1,000 Euros by 1.07 each year. And 1.07 to the power of 10 borders on 2.

All I want to say is that even a modest increase of only 7 % per unit will cause a doubling within ten units. In other words, we have a power of two from the perspective of the higher unit (i.e. a doubling with every other time unit).

Let us continue.

Programmers like to remember that 2 to the power of 10 equals around 1,000 (it is exactly 1,024).

This is rather exciting, because it means that, a year before, 1,024 were still 512 units. And the year before that 256. And all this regardless of it all having started very slowly. With a unit of one, the value after the first step was (seemingly only) 2, then 4, 8, 16, 32 etc. And suddenly, the speed increases dramatically. After ten steps, you already have 1,000. Mind you, we started very small – with 1.

This is what growth means. No matter if we are talking using up resources such as arable soil and water or the emission of detrimental elements such as carbon dioxide or radio-active material or plastic waste. Sooner or later, the big bang will come. And considering where we are now, it might well mean sooner. Realistically considered, it seems there is no chance for an “undo”.

So if, mathematically, I only consider 7 % growth, for instance with carbon dioxide emission, then this means that the emission will double every decade. If I then think in terms of centuries, for instance from 1901 to 2000 or from 2001 to 2100 (or maybe from 1950 to 2050), then it is pretty clear that, sooner or later, the total collapse will have to come.

Basically, you would imagine that this very simple calculation might give all those growth preachers – with their mantra-like prayer to the fetish growth caused by their human omnipotence mania – pause, wouldn’t you?

On the other hand, these ladies and gentlemen might well know that growth is not at all a solution. Maybe they just publicly evoke the golden calf called “growth” because it helps when you would otherwise have to tell the truth? Against their better knowledge and conscience? Because, after all, you cannot change matters, anyway?

Well, either way, I can well understand that most people – especially the young generation – get more and more fed up with politics and federal systematics.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I tried to make the calculation as simple as possible.

P.S.1

I took the picture from Wikipedia, along with a piece by Marco Schmidt I own myself. It shows. Nymphaea micrantha in a pond between Tindangou and the border to Benin, Burkina Faso.

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday December 11th, 2014

What Happened to Germany? – Has it Really Gone to Sleep?

Carl and Gerlinde (XXXVIII)

Looking at his crumpled visage in the bathroom mirror, Carl initially spent some time wondering if he should instantly slap himself or wait until after breakfast! But then, you could not do it on an empty stomach, could you? Those worn-out corners of the mouth and this mildew tongue were just too disgusting! Besides, he feared that he might actually throw up any moment. Was it the stomach? Or was it the Halloween-mask?

The hot shower brought salvation!

Feeling the water glide over his head, back and bottom was like a life-spending electric impulse. When the chest, the stomach and the lifeless worm were also treated to some warm rain, Carls wobbly cerebrum, too, developed new momentum. In fact, even a few memories started finding their way through the alcohol-soaked synapses. The acute headache was also suddenly gone. After all, the one-and-a-half litres of Pinot Grigio in his blood system and liver had to find a way out of the body through perspiration, didn’t they? And the same was true for yesterday’s verbal tirades from Dr. Osterkorn alias Bernie and Miriam…

Admittedly, the ’wine-induced exchange of ideas’ of yesterday evening at Bernie’s favourite Italian restaurant had not come totally unexpectedly for Carl: after the disastrous collapse of sales numbers caused by the ’Russian Beating’, it had, naturally, been totally foreseeable that the sector leaders of TRIGA would have to fire rapidly and loudly.

Carl vaguely remembered that Bernie had said something more or less to that tune while carefully lathering his smelly armpits – phew! – it was really high time…
Basically, you had to admit that Bernie, too, was only someone driven by circumstances! The same was true for the directors and the concern management: they all had to achieve the planned profit margins. Without profit – no premium! Neither for the directors, nor for Bernie and his sector sales head Carl. Let alone Miriam, the person responsible for underwear.

You know what – what we need is a completely new narrative for our underwear, Bernie had then spontaneously thrown in while toasting Miriam and looking like a young bull – upon which she only sceptically raised her eyebrows. Yes – we badly need a truly revolutionary idea in order to tell the story of our slips, tops and bras in a totally new way and convince our customers narratively! Well, and perhaps the tops might again reach the navel in the next few years. And the ladies’ knickers might actually again be knickers, instead of only covering the pubic hair and being bottom cheek dividers?

When this fragment of memory made its way through his brain while he was lathering his bottom and with horror imagining thong slips for men, Carl had to laugh so hard that his injured body shook vehemently enough to cause the showering water – what shock – to noisily splash against the showering cabin …

Well, maybe Putin was right after all, Bernie had said aloud in his monologue, when he started keeping the Russian ladies away from these ’knickers fragments” this summer and instead in a future-oriented way pointing them back towards knickers that actually deserved the name. Who can blame him for, in the same process, re-adjusting the scale of values for the ’New Russia’? After all, great, proud Russia can never be permitted to sink as low as the decadent West and pay homage to ideals the top incarnation of which is the embodiment of a ’Conchita Wurst’! Well, this is totally comprehensible, isn’t it?

And how do you propose we do this, my dear Bernie? Miriam suddenly became poisonous: are we now supposed to run around in underpants that reach up to the neck and hide underneath the cashmere caftan? Well, good luck to you, you who understand Putin. I am sure you only want us back in the nineteenth century in order to retrieve the Russian business! If that is so, let me know long enough in advance. I will be gone faster than you can say ’Indiana Jones’!

Carl, who by now had lathered himself down to the toes, had been rather surprised to see how spiritedly Miriam had snapped at her Bernie. That had really been good to see. In fact, it deserved an extra-strong massage spurt on his back and loins! Heavenly – true bliss. …

What lucky stroke that the meal had followed instantly, otherwise Miriam and Bernie would have started a really biting verbal duel. As it was, Bernie was able to bite into his roast lamb and Miriam to nibble on her baked gilthead seabream while he loaded himself hastily with his lamb goulash in lemon sauce. Actually, while doing so, he was forced to keep his mouth closed.

Since, apparently, Bernie was a stranger to such manners and kept talking with his mouth full, he allowed Carl and Miriam to participate in his tender roast lamb by spreading it on the tablecloth in small portions. On the other hand, this enabled him to seamlessly move from Putin to Merkel. From the latter, he repeatedly demanded a narrative for Germany similar to the one Putin had delivered for the ’New Russia’!

But I am sure, Miriam, also seamlessly continued in her acerbic tone while making short and expert shrift of her own gilthead seabream, Bernie, that you will not now demand the model of a radical ’underwear about-face’ from ’Mama Merkel’ after her ’Energy About-Face’, will you?

Of course not, Bernie munched, but ’Our Angela’ would be well advised to surprise the German People with a nice and usable ’narrative for Germany’, instead of permanently singing us a lullaby of empty words! We would certainly benefit from being more concerned with the rest of the world, instead of constantly agonizing under our own fears! Only ’German Angst’ is a little thin, isn’t it, Carl?

Indeed, that was something Carl, still showering, absolutely agreed with, before finally turning off this immensely satisfying massage spurt. Incidentally, after the water massage, you had to do some ’Cold Showering’! And in order to do that, you needed at least the same degree of discipline as for the development of a narrative for Germany…

But, lo and behold: it had not been possible to hold back Little Osterkorn. After Miriam’s reprimands and the roast lamb, he not only craved after an instant Titamisu, but simultaneously came along with narrative ideas. Or had it been Miriam? She thought that, in a new narrative for Germany, we should not only keep repeating the Second World-War, the Rebuilding and the Holocaust like a mantra. Also, we should not limit ourselves to talking about the East-West division and Europe, but additionally point out that Germany had lately turned into a very coveted immigration country. Neither should we forget to mention the fact that, for example, during the last two soccer world championships, it even was suddenly considered hip, multi-culti, joyous and colourful!

Well, this was the moment when Carl had had enough of the ’Cold Shower’! Shivering with cold, he jumped out of the shower cabin, rubbed himself with the beach towel moaning noisily and absolutely did not want to be reminded that he – perhaps he had already been a little tipsy at the time – had stubbornly wished to include the ’energy about-face’ into the new Germany Narrative after Miriam’s wise outline. His tongue had grown heavy when he insisted that such a procedure would actually practically by itself cause a fundamental change in paradigm for the underwear business: after all, warm underwear would inevitable also reduce the heating, which then would also affect the CO2 emission! Wasn’t this clear as can be?

And based on these facts, Frau Merkel would – through the warm underwear as massively subsidized by the government – probably easily be able to counter all sceptics with total serenity in her typical lack of precision that the country of the ’poets and isolators’ will actually fulfil its very ambitious climate promise made to the European Community! In fact, we might even end up far beyond those promises, providing the Great Coalition were – in violation of the coalition contract – to decide that now ’thermo underwear’ is to be subsidized as massively as insulation of buildings, as suggested by Herrn Siegmar Gabriel. Naturally, all these measures would have to leave the “black zero” as propagated by Herrn Schäuble untouched, which is something that, even if having no influence on the world climate, would be immensely detrimental to the CDU – which was the only thing that counted! If Frau Merkel never said this in Carl’s mental concept, it was still what she believed.

It must have been shortly after this that his personal memory broke down, because he does not remember Bernie’s loud rejoicing. And Gerlinde alone knew how he had returned home. She, however, did not wish to see him this morning, which in itself was a little strange, wasn’t it?

KH
(Translated by EG)

Yesterday, we had our Christmas party. The house was packed and the music was great. Since there was so much turmoil, I did not want to present the entire speech I had prepared. Instead, I only told the audience about how InterFace started in 1984. Here is the speech as I had prepared it:

"Mein Leben nach InterFace ?"

“?? My life after InterFace??”

2014 is/was my last year as managing director of InterFace AG. Consequently, this here is the last time I am speaking to this audience.

I enjoy looking back over all the InterFace years – that includes the last year. Regardless of the fact that it was probably not the easiest year in our history.
It all started in the early 1980ies. Wolf Geldmacher and I had found each other and were planning to establish an enterprise in 1983. After a lengthy preparation phase, we finally started in April 1984.

It was the “InterFace connection company with limited liability for communication software and data processing”.

We knew that the success of the enterprise depended on three factors:

“Creating Usefulness”

Our products and services should be something the market needs.

“Satisfying Needs”

The people in the enterprise should work with courage and joy.

“Meaning”

All parties concerned must be able to give meaning to their work.

More than thirty years ago, we started in the UNIX environment with the development of the text system HIT-CLOU! And it was really on the mark! Everybody in the enterprise followed our star. This was the only way for us to work a huge miracle with our small team. The way up was fast and steep. At this time, I would like to welcome especially the colleagues of the first hours.

After Wolf quit, we continued following our star. It was not easy. Stars sometimes disappear behind clouds or a mountain. Once in a while, you enter a forest and have to continue without seeing the sky. Or the straight path is blocked and you have to go a detour.

As the decades went by, the InterFace grew. People came and went. Tasks and business models changed. The environment also had a huge impact on the enterprise. The InterFace as a(n eco-)social system is shaped by humans. Wherever humans interact, you get “the human touch”. Also, systems have a tendency towards developing their own lives. It was not always easy, but we always brought the “system InterFace” back on track.

Almost exactly 15 years after the InterFace was founded, we already had a similar situation. That was fifteen years ago. It seems like we get a crisis every fifteen years and have to overcome said crisis. Consequently, my wish would be that the next crisis will not come before another fifteen years have gone by . It seems that neither the lives of humans nor the lives of enterprises can function totally without crises.

A few years ago, the InterFace steered off-course. It was only a little bit and almost unnoticeable. Then a little more. Against the wishes of the managing directors. We were like the employee in his office working with concentration and not noticing that it gets dark outside. And who then, all of a sudden, notices that he has to switch on the light.

This is how our ship, slowly and bit by bit, drifted into an undesired direction. The reasons were not really easy to make out. In retrospective, you can find quite a few different explanations, none of which I now wish to expand on.

We were no longer capable of action, among the directors and in their immediate vicinity, discontent grew. Discordance made us unable to act, which might actually have ended quite dangerously for the enterprise. This is how, this summer, the board of directors was broken up. The board of supervisors had to step in and we all know the consequences.

Now, we are steering back on course. This is important for all the people working for the enterprise – and, of course, also for the enterprise itself. Personally, I love the InterFace if it is an enterprise more or less meeting the following requirements.

  • All the people working there can fill their place with courage and joy.
  • It offers a fear-free space and promotes the flourishing of life.
  • It remains simple with respect to its structures and avoids over-regulation.
  • There is a culture of togetherness at eye-level.
  • The teams cooperate in a mutual understanding of success.
  • Every employee can give meaning to his or her work.
  • Self-organization is a daily principle.
  • No hierarchical tree overshadows the organization as such.
  • It is primarily concerned with satisfying the needs of the customers and employees, rather than its own affairs.
  • It finds the right compromise between “bureaucracy” and “holy-cracy” (of the two, I would rather have too much “holy-cracy” than too much “bureaucracy”).
  • Common sense is always paramount.
  • The leading persons see themselves in the role of providers of a service, rather than sun-Gods and knights.
  • Mental concepts and mind-sets are as they should be.
  • It works in the sense of welfare economy (as demanded by the Bavarian constitution).
  • The individual panels of the enterprise work for the enterprise (rather than being used for personal purposes).
  • It serves the people, rather than itself.

I know quite a few enterprises on the IT market and consequently, it seems to me that we are not doing too poorly, indeed – even if, at times, we show some weakness or other. This is only possible because we trust each other. Trust, however, will not come through seeking the counsel of an attorney or through writing contracts. It happens through “honest behaviour”, “trust-based cooperation” and “open communication”. Trust is the best weapon against concepts of the enemy and stupid allegations.

InterFace, too, will find its enemies where you will find “internal politics”, “bureaucracy” and “dogmata”. Matters will be particularly dreary when the shared interest is violated for individual interests. It does not matter if this happens voluntarily or just frivolously. All these escapades are something I clearly counter with the outcry: NO!

This is my good-bye to the InterFace board of directors. YOU remain and you are the enterprise! You can shape the future. Will you, please, see to it that we remain the successful “champions in connection”? If you do that, I will gladly remain close to the enterprise and support you from the distance of a supervisory board member with all my strength.

And, please, for those (few) among you who have not yet understood what this is all about: remember that you do not want to bite the hand that feeds you.

My interests in the board of supervisors will be:

  • To support a constructive mental concept.
  • To see to it that the “customer” remains the focus of attention.
  • To make it possible for all our colleagues to have a meaningful life and work.
  • To utilize my network for the future of the InterFace AG.
  • Being a share-holder, I will demand sustainable business practices.

In the future, the IF needs less “institution & constitution”. Instead, we need more intuition, common sense and a clear commitment of all parties concerned to a modern, agile, slim and transparent entrepreneurial culture. On these factors, you get a clear outcry from me: GO!

The board of directors now consists of the following persons: Dr. Christof Stierlen, Maximilian Buchberger and Paul Schuster. I totally trust these three colleagues. My wishes for them is that they may have right touch as often as possible and for us all this certain amount of luck you always have good use for in life.

Above all, I now wish you all – dear colleagues, dear families, dear friends and dear guests – and the InterFace only the best. And now I wish us all a nice party, a Happy Christmas and a successful New Year 2015.


🙂 Well – such is life. I organized 31 Christmas parties for IF and gave 31 speeches – and now it is all over!

RMD
(Translated by EG)