Here is a film I would recommend all those who still believe in cars should watch.

My friend Marcus (Dr. Marcus Raitner) frequently writes about important project management topics in his blog “Experiencing Leadership“ (Führung erfahren). This week, he took a further step, writing about “on ownership and use “ (Vom Besitzen zum Benutzen). In my opinion, this is another article extremely worth reading!

That gave me a rather absurd idea. Let us assume everybody could use any car that is sitting around. During this fictitious concept, let us also forget about the fact that cars need a regular infusion of gas and that they have to be maintained and repaired. There are some sorts of fairies who see to all this. For instance the millions of jobless who do not know what to do with their time.

Let us forget our personal and emotional relationships with our cars (my Golf Diesel is my best friend).

No. We just want to go somewhere and, in order to get there, we take the next car sitting at the curb. When we reach our destination, we get out and leave the car where it is.
Now if any of you fears there might not be enough cars, then I would suggest we also mentally include the one million cars in Germany that are sitting around stockpiling or on the huge lots owned by the car-dealers.

Well, if we did that, we all would suddenly see with absolute clarity what absurd “luxury” we indulge in. All the gigantic amount of money, metal, consumption, energy that is used up by these tin boxes. How this mass reduces our living space and minimizes our quality of life.
And I would continue going by bike and wriggle through the tin avalanches. Because I need to enjoy movement, very much appreciate fresh air and dislike being locked into small rooms – where I am forced to be motionless yet attentive. Incidentally, I also rather disliked it when I was a child.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Let me, again, point you towards our movement #AktMob and its camps #AktMobCmp.

Roland Dürre
Saturday January 30th, 2016

What I Personally Just Cannot Understand

rolandswimmingpoolbesserWell, basically,
I just cannot, 
or maybe no longer,
understand 
or maybe I never understood,
if I am totally honest.

  • Why father and mother had so many and so very unnecessary arguments;
  • Why I was beaten at school, (too);
  • Why there was a totally senseless war fought in Vietnam when I was young;
  • Why a country like the BRD never made use of the historically unique chance to live without an army, just because they were afraid of the Russians … (re-armament);
  • Why the Israeli act exactly like they basically must not;.
  • Why the Federal Army is to get 130 billion euros between now and 2013 (while at the same time we urgently need money for other important things, such as education);
  • Why everybody ignores and tolerates the deaths on German motorways, reasoning that otherwise jobs would be lost;
  • Why they justify endless stupid projects saying otherwise jobs would be at risk;
  • Why people today are not happy to see how you can drink water from all taps and how you can buy everything that makes life more agreeable – for instance fresh full milk with normal durability and 3.8 % fat in the brown glass bottle (isn’t that something to be really happy about!);
  • Why the elderly gentlemen in the public swimming pools keep let the warm water under the showers run for several minutes while standing in the ante-room and having conversations;
  • Why people buy yoghurt and similar things in plastic containers and why said containers are often more important than what is inside;
  • Why there are still people living in Munich who eat walnuts imported from California;
  • Why cars have become the means of transportation for everybody as a matter of course;
  • Why sex is still a taboo topic;
  • Why so many persons think prisons might be a way to make the world a better and safer place;
  • Why some others believe in “creativism” but still think there is no “climate catastrophe”..
  • And a whole lot more …

Well – if these things do not make you shake your head, than what does?
(Many thanks to Bert Brecht, because I took parts of his Dreigroschenoper as a model for these lines).

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday January 25th, 2016

The Democratic Opinion Building Process

Bild vom wunderbaren PM-Camp in Zürich.


Picture of the wonderful Zürich PM Camp.

Ever since I remember thinking myself, I have been both impressed and confused by my own species. How we love and hate. How we wildly celebrate and mourn together.

How, because of totally irrational constructs, we fight each other to the death and are capable of the most unspeakable cruelty. How we quarrel and have arguments and then make up again. How we contradict ourselves. How, once in a while, we actually make some progress and yet then slide back again. How we believe in constructs we invented ourselves.

The more I learned, the more the twists of human history over time surprised me. For millennia, the course was a zigzag line and in between we went forward and back. Again and again, there was also some small progress. But we never really made the huge step forward. Consequently, humans are still incarcerated, cut up and tortured. And there is endless hypocrisy and lies. Collectively, as always, we murder and pillage in the name of God or in the name of the people or for a cause – or in the name of whatever.

It is quite fascinating to see how, on the one hand, we really made progress (I mean enlightenment and similar achievements), what great toys we developed in technology and yet how absolutely backwards and unwise (stupid) we remained at the same time. And how we find it quite normal that we are in the process of, as a matter of course, destroying our planet (and ourselves). Regardless of the fact that a different life would probably be a much more agreeable life.

To me, it seems that, especially collectively, we are stupid as one person alone could never possibly be. In fact, it is quite legitimate to follow Gunter Dueck and say that there is a very special collective sponge stupidity. Stupidity as in: the opposite of prudence.

Regardless of this threatening reality, I still believe in the utopia of a just society free of punishment, violence and war. But how to get there? If at all, it can only happen through communication and mutual understanding.

Would it not be nice if we were to manage peaceful solutions for all kinds of social challenges through teams and groups by way of consensus? And if, then, we could realize those solutions together? Following the Seneca motto:

Philosophy is not about talking, but about acting?

As we see on a daily basis, meetings are not really an appropriate means for making progress, are they? Perhaps it would be best to have peer-to-peer meetings with a fixed topic to discuss. Because everything begins with two persons meeting. But then you do not have a group or team effect.

This is how, as early as perhaps fifty years ago, Habermas defined the honest discourse. I described it in my presentation on “The Change in Management“ (Der Wandel im Management – see at the bottom of this article). And in fact, we have already come a little closer to it.

PMCampDOR Intro 2015My colleagues of Art of Hosting, too, sound encouraging to me, as do the PM Camps I was able to attend.

Barcamps are very “basic” events. The hosts create a setting in order to make it possible for their guests to have good conversations. The persons who come are those we want and they will be true part-givers. And they decide in which direction we are going. It is an anti-conference, the democratic opposite of a conference.

Barcamps and similar formats like “Open Space“ are precious concepts. In Germany, there are thousands each year. They are about many topics: Sometimes they are about re-activating life in the city or the solution of social challenges. Other topics often discussed in barcamps are the work-life, education, family, research, gender issues, society, health, innovation, life, mobility, entrepreneurship, change, diversity, the future and many, many more.

I often get the impression that there is no important topic today that is not taken up on a barcamp somewhere. And I understand more and more clearly that all these anti-conferences and barcamps are the places where persons can make a difference and have an impact on the future. After all, during these events, people meet in order to share knowledge and experience – and they build networks!

Since all these many barcamps are so important, I am rather glad that, so far, I never heard about a fascist or right-wing radical barcamp. Maybe the methodology of a barcamp is a contradiction to “fascism”, thus making them mutually exclusive? Isn’t that a wonderful idea?

I related those ideas to my friend and partner Eberhard Huber. His reply was:

I think the ideas of fascism and barcamp are, indeed, mutually exclusive. Fascism is always connected with some dogma. Said dogma always claims to possess the absolute truth. Dogmata and claiming to know the absolute truth need prophets you listen to. Given an open discussion such as they happen in a barcamp, the only thing that will inevitably happen to the status of the prophet is loss.

Well, this gives you hope, doesn’t it? And perhaps, some day, we will actually manage to fulfil the requirement formulated by Bertrand Russell. He said:

» All increase in technology, if you want it to promote, rather than lessen human happiness, causes the same increase in wisdom. «

Maybe, with new communication and new formats, we will, at long last, manage to gain the crucially necessary WISDOM. And then we might hope that, by the time our generation is extinct, the future generations will do a better job.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre

UPDATE: Creative Times

Unfortunately, I made some history-related mistakes in my article Creative Times (Kreative Zeiten).

(Many thanks to Claus M. Müller – then managing director and part-owner of InterFace Computer GmbH).

Here is what we currently know:

The Konrad-Zuse-Tour organized by InterFace took place between the years 1982 and 1985 and had four legs. We had planned to visit Konrad Zuse, the inventor of the electronic calculator, in Hünfeld and pay our due respect to him on his 75th birthday.

TAL_3863It seems that the poster was printed in 1982 and not in 1986! That was also a state election year (Landtagswahlen) in Bavaria. At the time, the interval between state elections was still four years (in 1998, they changed this to five years).

In 1982, during the first leg between Munich and Regensburg, I was not part of the cyclist group. To be sure, I knew the InterFace group around Peter Schnupp, whom I learned to very much appreciate and like at Softlab. But other than that, I did not yet have any connection with the InterFace GmbH and InterFace Computer GmbH (except that I rather liked their logo).

In 1983, the second leg from Kelheim (?) to Nürnberg (?) was scheduled. As Barbara’s husband, I was permitted to take part. At the time, she worked for the InterFace Computer GmbH, developing a syntax-based editor. Even as early as then, she was allowed to write programs in the language C that, later, I was going to love so much.

In 1984, we continued with the tour. The InterFace Connection was now part of the group (it had started as an enterprise on April, 1st, 1984).

In 1985, we had the great finale, arriving in Hünfeld to celebrate the 75th birthday of Konrad Zuse. I still remember very well how we were welcomed in a community office at Hünfeld and how pleasantly Konrad Zuse greeted us in his speech. Konrad Zuse also invited us home and gave us one of his pictures. It is still in the InterFace AG office today. In fact, the number of cyclists who went on this tour was quite large, consisting mostly of InterFace Computer GmbH and InterFace Connection GmbH employees.

We were able to reconstruct the history because of our children. In 1983, we had Sabine (born in September 1980) and Maximilian (born in April 1982) with us. In 1984, our little Martin was also with us (born in January 1984). All three of them were also riding shotgun on our bikes in 1985.

As you see, there are still a few question marks in the article – which means I would certainly appreciate more insider information on our Konrad-Zuse-Tour.

But one thing remains very clear – the tour was a wonderful adventure. It gave much joy to all those who took part and thus gave us courage for more enterprises.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

"Mein Leben nach InterFace ?"

“My life after InterFace?“

On my way to Berlin, I was inspired by the book K-Working by Bernd Fiedler. As Bernd sees it, enterprises, too, are a community. He describes how the “flow”, which is so important for success, can be generated.

Now, on my way back to Munich, I have time to think about the things I read.

Humans need and will create communities. Either willingly or unwillingly. An enterprise, too, is a community (a social system). However, it has an economic purpose, i.e. producing goods or providing service. Part of it is that the employees must be provided for by an income that makes it possible to live on. Another part of it is to work towards a common goal.

Not all communities are the same. A world community differs from a community with shared interests or a common goal. In critical situations, you will get communities of destiny. For instance when it comes to survival.

Just to make you ponder: when is a marriage a community of values, of goals, of interests or destiny?

In his book, Bernd assumes that an enterprise the teams of which form a community of values will need but few rules, a minimum or organizational framework and also no complicated corporate form. And that, in these kinds of enterprises, the desired “flow” will quasi generate itself, getting stronger all the time. And that such an enterprise being a success feels almost like playing a game. This is an idea I wholeheartedly agree with.

With a community of destiny, matters are totally different. After all, in such a community, the individual team members are forced to work towards a shared goal (perhaps even survival). Consequently, they cannot give their own interests priority. You will need a hierarchy, strict rules must be introduce and forced with sanctions. And not much will remain of the game-like “flow”.

In an enterprise, the community of values seems to be the exception. It will only occasionally work during the first few years after foundation, then matters will change for the worse. The reasons might well be growth and size.

More often than not, the reason for this change is also mistrust and negative thinking. Persons in leadership positions, especially, are often infected by it. The “fear-free” room becomes smaller and smaller, trust loses against mistrust. In other words: the harsh reality catches up on everybody. This is how the “flow” is destroyed and – if you are lucky – you will get a community of interests or of destiny.

If negative thinking leads towards negative behaviour, then you often get the final exodus. The community of values will quickly turn into a community of destiny. The “flow” is gone, the enterprise culture and its values dwindle down and the leaders will find it rather problematic to cope with the new problems.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For all articles of my entrepreneurial diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Thursday January 21st, 2016

Bernd Fiedler – K-Working

I am sitting in the ICE 1682 from München to Berlin, on my way to the PM-Camp-Orgateam meeting. Again, the WLAN does not work in the train (no IP) and I do a little “tethering”. The Deutsche Bundesbahn will not repair the WLAN before tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. (according to a @DB-Bahn tweet in reply to my complaining through twitter), although a simple “reset” would probably do the job.

But, luckily, I have the new book by Bernd Fiedler on me. Bernd is a good friend of mine. I like coming along when he goes on presentation tours, or else I meet him playing cards. He is one of those persons who never create new problems. Instead, he always talks of things and the future in positive terms. Consequently, meeting him is always a delight.

K-Working-FiedlerNow he wrote a small book. And thanks to DB, I have time to read it. Like its author, the book is constructive. The title is: K-Working. It describes how brain-workers might and should cooperate in a “new world”. Reading it really gives you courage and delight.

Yet it is also a book full of critical remarks, containing surprising and often very precise theses. For some persons, Bernd produces a merciless mirror to hold in front of them. And more often than not, some of the actual (bitter) situations are exactly what I, too, experienced in the past, which is why I find myself sharing the analysis in in the book.

From the outside, the book looks small and unpretentious. But somehow or other, all you need to know about brain workers and leadership can be found in it. And he says it all in a very simple and commonly comprehensible language. It is exciting and an easy read.

That is because it does not want to be a missionary advertising highly elaborated and complicated theories. Instead, it remains rational, focussing on what is really important.

Even the font is nice and large – basically, my reading is almost exclusively digitally these days and reading my old pocketbooks is often a hug effort for me. K-Working, on the other hand, can easily be read in the half-light of an early January morning and the (very much appreciated) diffuse ICE illumination.

All that is important can be found in the book. It is concise and has no endless repetitions as you often find them in US management literature. In those, you often know after the first fifty pages what will follow. And on the remaining 300 pages, you get it all again and again several times. Well, K-Working is not like that!

The book was published as a pocketbook by the epubli publishing house, the language is German. It has 140 pages and the ISBN is 9783737566599. And for 14.99 €, you can already buy the second edition (!), also at epubli.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday January 19th, 2016

Why I no longer drive a car.

(One of several reasons)

 “CAR CRAHES INTO BAKERY (HAAR)“

Dürre_Roland

Yesterday (Monday), I found this item of news (Meldung) in the SZ. I publish it because it happens rather frequently that I read about such or similar accidents – often with more detrimental endings – happening even in our region. In this particular case, the driver was rather young: 66 years old.

Not too long ago, for instance, a considerably older driver ran into the display window of a toy shop on the Ottobrunn/Riemerling Kufsteiner-/Ottostrasse – the car had just started from the “park” position!

Perhaps they should really start thinking about whether persons beyond pension age are assumed to still be able to remain in control of a machine that has the energy of several hundred PS and that weighs 1.5 tons and is rather dangerous, such as a SUV.
If you really have to do it and can truly not go by foot or bike or use public transportation, why could you not, for instance, use a light-weight and slow electronic car for your oh-so-much-loved individual mobility.

I will be sixty-six next summer. On the whole, I still feel rather well-preserved. However, if I listen closely and watch my own body, I also notice that all these years left their mark. And they will continue to do so. Which is also the reason why I stopped playing soccer two years ago.

Also, it happens only very rarely and with an absolutely dwindling tendency that I sit behind the wheel of a car. One of the reasons is that I would not wish to destroy my so far lucky car balance sheet (I never injured anybody when driving a car, not even lightly).

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday January 18th, 2016

Creative Times

TAL_38631986.
State Elections in Bavaria.

The InterFace Connection had already really become successful. We celebrated intensely and consequently organized a company outing. We rode our bikes through Bavaria for three whole days. It was the second leg of our Konrad-Zuse-Bike-Tour (Konrad-Zuse-Radtour), which, eventually, was to take us to Hünfeld, where Konrad Zuse had lived.

It was during the first October week. On the next weekend (October, 12th, 1986), the elections for the eleventh. Bavarian State Parliament  were to take place. All over the place, in cities and villages, huge numbers of campaign posters could be seen. They all had messages that were mostly the opposite of intelligent. It was so bad that once in a while it really hurt.

On the second day of our bike tour, we rounded a corner and were suddenly in the middle of a wonderful boulevard. And on all the trees lining the boulevard, there were posters saying: vote for InterFace. This action increased the already good mood in our group even more.

Hartmut Streppel, a dear friend who at the time worked for InterFace Computer, found this so fascinating that he took two of the posters – or maybe he later went to the MSV office and asked for them. And now, almost thirty years later, Hartmut found them again and wants to donate them to us. Since, at the time, the MSV had ordered these posters, I am sure they were designed by a very famous artist. This was how InterFace worked at the time.

MSV – that was Maximilian Schulze-Vorberg. Together with Dr. Peter Schnupp, he had been the one who came up with the InterFace idea. MSV was our creative head and was full of such ideas all the time. Many of them were also realized.

😉 Well, those were the good old times.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday January 17th, 2016

Video Recording: #AktMobCmp

I reported frequently about our project “Active Mobility in Everyday Life“ (#AktMobCmp) in the IF blog. The barcamp took place on January, 4th and 5th, 2016 and it was a great experience. I made the acquaintance of many nice persons and the event connected and linked many persons with similar motivations.

Friedrich Lehn (fhlcinema.com) did the filming. Now you can watch the trailer:

Enjoy! It is about five minutes.

You will find the results of our anti conference on our website  www.actmobcmp.org, where you will also find a link to our twitter wall (tag #AktMobCmp). And here is the good news:

We will continue!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday January 16th, 2016

ASK AN ANSWER.

Jolly Kunjappu

Is a good friend of mine. We first met during a charity event organized by the Munich Chess Foundation. The Munich Chess Foundation (Münchner Schachstiftung) is concerned with the poorest children of Munich. In cooperation with several schools, they try to teach chess to those lost children. An experienced street-worker told me that some children who have been deprived of mental stimulation and therefore live at the fringes of society are best approachable through chess.

jolly-kunjappu-A19

Jolly gave a wonderful presentation for the foundation – or rather for the children supported by the foundation. I was invited, listened to him and afterwards made his personal acquaintance. Immediately, it became clear to me that we are like-minded mentally, spiritually and with respect to our activities. Consequently, we also became friends.

Ask-an-Answer_1m-185x300Now he wrote a book. It is bi-lingual (German and English) and the title is ASK AN ANSWER. Shortly before Christmas, it was sitting in my post box, with best wishes from the author. In the book you can read about the ideas Jolly has had over many years, sometimes concisely, sometimes he elaborates a little more.

And, similar to when I read Seneca, I find all his ideas very interesting. Thus, ASK AN ANSWER is a very fine-tuned message in favour of a better world where Jolly writes with a lot of respect yet rather clearly.
It was a wonderful Christmas present. I enjoyed reading and browsing through it during the “quiet days”. Also, it gave me courage and joy.

And I am particularly happy that, next spring, we will cooperate when it comes to introducing ASK AN ANSWER at InterFace. Jolly will be the centrepiece and I hope to create a suitable background.

And if you cannot wait until April and instead wish to read the book as soon as possible, feel free to send me an E-Mail.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
It is quite possible that the book can also be bought at the Indian Mango. That is the Munich Zweibrückenstrasse restaurant owned by Jolly. You can eat quite well there and at the same time do a little reading. Well, if that is not double the pleasure, then what is?