Roland Dürre
Saturday May 28th, 2016

Ever More, More, More … (TTIP)

Growth, Growth, Growth!

Eine Liliputaner-Parade marschiert durch Gullivers Beine. Illustration von Louis Rhead, 1913.

A parade of Lilliputians marching through Gulliver’s legs. Illustration by Louis Rhead, 1913.

The G7 summit led by US president Obama and Mrs. Merkel wants “more growth” world-wide, because that will solve all the problems – including the refugee problem. The CDU wants more and longer jail time for those who committed breaking and entering, because this is allegedly one crime sector that increases. And more punishment, including longer jail time, will certainly deter the burglars.

The unions want more quietness on Sundays and consequently stop the open shops on the Sunday of the Munich Founder’s Celebration. The german Leftist want more radical attitudes and more freshness in order to stop the AfD from stealing their voters.

The people governing France want more “international competitiveness”, because they think this will make them more successful in terms of business.

To me, this all sounds like bullshit. All I basically want is more peace and less consumer attitude. If you absolutely need growth, why not let “wisdom” and “ratio” grow? And I do not only mean our politicians. I would restrict growth to sectors where no harm can be done. For example more good theatre, but only if more people actually go there more often.

Since we all need more growth, the TTIP agreement needs to be ratified and installed at the end of this year, say Obama and G7. They want to promote the economic activity on our planet by all means. Consequently, there might be some serious progress with TTIP.

So here is my clear announcement:

I am against TTIP and limitless free trade. This is not only because TTIP will in an abominable way usurp the idea of democracy and put the right of enterprises over the right of governments and parliaments. That alone is bad enough. This is also not because, for instance, the experiences and consequences of a similar free-trade agreement in South America are all but encouraging. Which, incidentally, is also an argument against such an agreement.

For me, the worst is that the concept of absolutely free trade basically should be a thing of the past, because it is no longer at all trendy. Because it ruins our planet. It is no longer at all in accordance with modern times. The same is true for many other things we produce and have by now made an essential part of our life style.

Who among us still wants “predator capitalism” the only purpose of which is the increase of the shareholder value? I mean a capitalism that forcefully installs irresponsible activities, for profit and power on the market. Should we not be happy that, by now, we are back on the way towards regional products? Thinking in terms of “less is more”? By now, we understand that consumption does not make you happy, don’t we? All is does is give us depressions. That too much convenience and the absence of physical effort might well sound attractive, but that this is what, in the end, makes us sick? And I mean very sick!

Do we really want yet another increase in world-wide division of labour? After all, it just creates even more losers because it kills good jobs and promotes cheap labour (exploitation). And it also intensifies the murderous race of nations, all of whom want to produce cheapest by exploiting both humans and nature. Who wants concerns that are more powerful than the government and the UNO? Lobbies that dominate everything? And enterprises that manipulate and cheat their customers, artificially generate demand and control markets, yet – at best – ignore the interests of the people?

So how is economic activity generated? It is certainly not generated by making food – such as milk – in poorer quality and cheaper. Economic activity is only possible industrially with expensive products. Such as cars and tanks. In other words: growth will be easiest if you produce and sell even more expensive vehicles. Then you will win twice: first because of the products and secondly because you will have to improve the infra-structure. So you need garages, streets, bridges, motorways … or even worse: you will have to make a few more wars for the armament industry!

But we no longer want that! We want transparent, lean systems and easily understandable structures. We want strong regions in world-wide harmony. As the Agenda 21 used to advertise:

“Think globally, act locally!“ or “Think global, act local!“
And, please, let us do that in a more humane way and be more considerate of our environment.

RMD
I wrote this tonight in the hotel in Piräus while watching the first innings of the Champions League Final Match.
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Well, one cynic hope remains: Mr. Trump does not like the TTIP either (even if for totally different reasons). And by now, chances are pretty good that he will be the next US president.

Or: Entrepreneur’s Diary #118 – Be Happy!

It is now almost 18 months since I am no longer working as managing director at InterFace AG. Just like, about 18 years ago, I decided to no longer work as a programmer.

I have now been a free agent for 1.5 years.

And I managed – which is quite sensational if you know me – to look forward to every morning and every evening since then. In the morning, I get up and delight in the fact that my body and even my brains still function properly. I look at my hands and feet. They are still there, just like my eyes, ears, nose and much more.

As I perceive it, the organs function and my heart is still beating. Isn’t that just great? And as an additional bonus, I am financially independent and can more than afford to live well. As most of us who are so privileged in this world.

In this article, I will tell you how I managed to become a happier person. I will write about the secrets I discovered and the rules I found. And about the projects that bring me joy.

My Secrets

izzo5Geheimnisse.Five of them can be found in the book by John Izzo:

“The five secrets you should discover before you die”

These five are an important part of all my secrets. I recommend that everybody read the book even if it is a little “American”. If you want a short version, maybe you want to read my IF Blog article (IF-Blog-Artikel) on the book. It says all you need to know, just in a more concise way.

Ask-an-Answer_1m-185x300Another secret lies in finding the right friends, partners and mentors. This is how, for example, Jolly Kunjappu, became part of my life a few years ago.

Today, he accompanies me as a friend and teacher (which, incidentally, he does not want to be). He is my partner in the project PEACE. The heading of this article is by him. He is only one among many who give me a lot. I am happy that many young persons are among them.

This is where I wish to thank you all!

My Rules.

  • Plan something nice every month.
    Currently, I plan to do something especially nice on 10 special days of the month. For instance, in May, we rode our bikes through Italy and combined this tour with an exciting congress. In June, there will be ten days of island hopping, taking only our backpacks, on the Cyclades (Kykladen). It continues in this vein and I will always have something beautiful to look forward to.
  • Only meet persons you actually like!
    How many miserable hours have I had to spend in the company of persons I never understood? And neither did they understand me. Both sides hoped it might work. But it did not. And what remained was frustration.
  • About Meetings:
    How often have I sat in useless meetings? That is why, for me, the following rules are particularly important:

    • Peer-to-Peer is more important than big meetings.
      I once read that “truth always begins with two”. That is a nice metaphor and it clearly indicates how difficult it is to have a meeting with more than two persons. Peer-to-peer communication is the golden way. If there is a meeting with more than two persons, I either do not participate or only as the “host” or moderator.
    • No meeting must be longer than 90 minutes!
      Basically, you never need more than 60 minutes or even less. If meetings take longer than that, there is the chance that you will verbally destroy what you have achieved. Besides, you will often turn in circles and the result (the agreement) is determined by where you are at the end. What horror!
If a meeting, especially one with more than two persons, has to take place, I feel quite justified if I remain standing during said meeting.
  • On Appointments:
    Do not make appointments in the far-away future, except if it cannot be avoided!  
(for example for a supervisory board meeting) 
Because: appointments will rob you of your freedom. They will become your corset, paralyse you and make it hard for you to act. 
Example: Why should I decide upon a date three months from today at the end of a discussion with my mentee? Would it not be a better way to meet again when my mentee needs me? And then it would be nice if I could see him on short notice. As a free agent, I can always make time for him. If we are locally distributed, it can happen through an “image telephone“.
  • Act Homeopathic!
    What I mean with this is: “never force yourself on somebody!”. “Never try to control things” or “Never think in advance for others and control or manipulate them”. Let things happen, then the right things will happen. 
Example: For me, it is an absolute taboo to actively manipulate others. Anybody can and is welcome to turn up whenever it makes sense to them. And if they do not come, then this only means that they do not need me. And this is also a good thing. All I want is help him or her towards becoming a little happier and more successful.
  • Nurture your Network!
    You are a social being. You need the exchange with other persons. That is the most important of all things because progress will never happen in an isolated surrounding.
  • It is Fun to Learn!
    Currently, I learn extremely much in practice. This year, the number of business plans I either was made aware of by way of mouth or in the written form and then evaluated is perhaps in the high two-digit range. It happens because I am part of the jury in a business plan contest. I have now done this for a few years. Ir is also something I enjoy and it makes me happy.

My Projects.

Your goals should be ambitious and you should be prepared to really work hard towards achieving them. However, you should also tolerate your own mistakes if things do not work well. My two major projects, besides my own life and my family are currently “AktMobCmp“ and PEACE. The former is about “active motility in everyday life” as part of mobility in the future. And then there is the project PEACE that will become more and more the focus of my attention. And I also try to keep good ideas, such as PM-Camp, from going astray.

My Assumption:

I am sure that, even when I was still the managing director, I could have lived as I now do live. And I might have been more successful and happier. But I lacked the courage. Now I know that it can be done. You just have to try!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Or, in Jolly’s words:
» Be different be yourself (unique)«
and
» Do not be a slave of the system, be a master of your own life «
Jolly Kunjappu
(aus ASK AN ANSWER 2016)

Hans Bonfigt
Thursday May 26th, 2016

(Deutsch) Atom

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Three years ago (2013), one of my sons attended a “bootcamp” in the USA. Even in those days, he and his colleagues (perhaps all of them “techies”) had discovered Snapchat. And they used it to play with. In a strange way. They sent each other questionable “selfies” – sometimes in the nude. Just because they found it great fun. And also because, on this “Instant-Messaging–Service“ (Instant-MessagingDienst), messages can only be sent once (with one repetition) before being removed.
But there was certainly always one in the group who spoiled everything by making a screenshot (à propos IT data security).

 Snapchat, Inc. Gemeinfrei - https://twitter.com/Snapchat

Snapchat, Inc. common usage free https://twitter.com/Snapchat

By now, Snapchat has also reached me. I find it very appealing and use it more and more often. Mostly I use it in a circle of persons I really like.

And I truly enjoy it.

Consequently, my verdict is:

Snapchat is another revolutionary piece in the big and colourful mosaic of evolution when it comes to social media.

Let me give you a few reasons on several dimensions of the product that make me reach that conclusion:

 

The Logo:
The very logo of Snapchat is extraordinary. It is very simple and sparklingly yellow. Pleasantly obtrusive, it suggests anonymity.

User Interface:
Snapchat is so stunningly easy to use that the user who has been educated in complex IT applications (like me) initially does not know what to do at all. Only after some time, you really start enjoying a game of Snapchat. And all of a sudden, you realize what a poor user interface most other apps have.

User Communication:
I have hardly ever experienced such pleasant first contact when starting a dialogue with an internet instance:
The very assurance that I will not receive additional emails from snapchat when they confirmed my identity email went down extremely well. And the assistance (which, due to the simplicity of the tool is only necessary for the oversophisticated user) is as situation-oriented as the introductory video is brilliant. You really want to watch it before you start. Of course, that is not what I did, because guessing complicated user paradigms is my true strength… Only the really easy things were a problem for me.

Orientation:

The message is very clear – the future belongs to video recordings. Consequently, the video recording is the central medium in snapchat. And snapchat is some sort of asynchronous image telephoning. Of course it includes moving images. To me, this seems to be important.

 


Note
Today, young persons (between 13 and 18 years old) who have smartphones and tablets will no longer use the telephone. They are into image telephoning. After all, this is much nicer, because you can see your partner’s face and gestures. That is also why the kids have to be online at all times. The world changes.

Whenever I propose to my older partners (between 20 and 50) to use FaceTime, Hangout, Skype or, if necessary, the Citrix or Cisco tools, instead of the telephone for a meeting with me over a long distance (be it between Haidhausen and Neubiberg or between Tokyo and Munich), they are often surprised. And, more often than not, I get the reply: let us use the telephone, I am not really used to working with the other tools.

The german economic miracle managers never wrote a word. They always had at least one assistant to whom to dictate their correspondence. Thanks to stenography, these assistants were well able to follow the spoken word (managing a three-digit number of syllables per minute when taking down texts) and type away on the typewriter extremely quickly (three-digit number of keys per minute when processing the document on paper).

Above all, however, they knew their boss – and they experienced him “live” while he told them what to write. Consequently, they knew what he wanted and always “corrected” his letters appropriately. Our generation was the one that started the habit of writing everything yourself – which killed a lot of time. And, quite probably, many formulations were rather sub-standard, at least worse than what the typists used to produce. Then came the dictaphones and finally the computers, where the managers had to write their own letters.

I used to feel self-conscious when I had to talk into an image telephone. But as it turns out, this is all just a matter of practice. Using the telephone was something I practice rather well and early in life. But before cell-phones were invented, I also had a problem leaving a message on answering machines. Now I prefer talking into the image telephone to writing. Because there is no doubt that the latter is a lot harder. On top of being more time-consuming. And that is even true for me, who can type blindly and with ten fingers.

Consequently, it seems to me that, on the internet, writing will be more and more often replaced by video recordings. Just like doing calculations in your head was finished when pocket calculators were invented. It is totally irrelevant if that is something we want or not. We simply have to accept these evolutionary processes. Developments come and go – just like humans are born in order to live and then die.


 

The Transientness of Information:
Now that snapchat exists, it is high time for data protectors to fear that they will no longer be needed. To make up for it, the user no longer needs to fear so much that he might violate copyright regulations, for instance if a Beatles-song can be heard in the background. And if you give your own emotions a little leeway or a few foreigners are on a picture, you need not have sleepless nights.

There would also be an end to Facebook & Co earning such huge sums with data and algorithms. If this is true. Because sentences like “data are the raw material of the future” are just nonsense. Maybe you should replace the word “raw material” by “crude oil” or “food”. Data are just as inedible as money, and nor will they be any good when it comes to filling up your Porsche fuel tank.

I also know several cracks (real experts) in the “big data business” who learned and told me that BigData is basically not a machine where you fill in the data on top and then the dollars will come popping out at the bottom. On the contrary – as a general rule, the usable results from BigData were always rather a disappointment in practice.

Change:
In the future, Geo-Filters will beat Hashtags! This, too, is a snapchat principle that might well be trend-setting. After all, the general development is more and more towards regionalization and away from central or even centralistic concepts. We all want a world of regions at eye-level, don’t we? And we want to develop our own spaces. 
In social media, we always primarily thought in terms of Hashtags. Examples are #pmcamp, #AktMobCmp, #tatort and all those many abbreviations for all kinds of events, such as #FCBBVB or #32c3 … Except – I want to know who is currently in my ends of the world. And the #hashtag comes only afterwards.

Business Model:
I do not (yet?) understand the business model of snapchat. After all, adverts are not endless. And as soon as we get a generation that is immune to advertising, it will not look good. They say that snapchat earns its money through geo-filtering. I wonder if this is a solution.

I can also easily imagine that a service, as soon as it really offers high-quality material and has made its customers addicted, will introduce fees. Perhaps it is only a question of time before the “all for free” society comes to an end. And then you will have to pay real money for high quality material. Provided real money will still be around by then.

Social Consequences:
We all want to live here and now, don’t we? We want to experience the moment and, if possible, enjoy it. That is also one of the five things you should know before you die. See also my article on a great book  by John Izzo.

Snapchat is still a little better than real life. I can take a second look at what my partners wrote – then it will be removed. It happened quite often in my life that I would have liked to again hear a sentence someone who was important to me had uttered …

But apart from that, snapchat media is a lot like real life. It is not an archive for eternity that probably soon nobody will be interested in any more.

Potential Use:
Without having though very much about it, a number of potential usages of snapchat come to mind.

* Close dialogue with much-loved friends.
Snapchat is an ideal way to exchange ideas with friends:

  • It cannot get any easier.
  • Empathy, feeling with them and contributing.
  • One video recording will say more than a thousand words.

* For subtle and powerful marketing 
Again, the USA and the modern sports millionaires are a good example:

  • Nasa
    An example for an institution that does excellent marketing for its product and visions through snapchat.
  • After the cup finals, soccer starts will offer their emotions when still staying in the changing rooms through snapchat. 
If someone wants to make many millions of Euros each year, then he has to know a little more than just how to play soccer. He must have other competences, too, and, for instance, be a master of self-marketing. Those on the soccer field probably do a slightly better job than we do.

* As a supporting internet tool for Barcamps 
It is quite possible that snatchap will replace twitter in this area.

  • We used to take advantage of twitter.
  • Snatchap might well add extra incentive.

* In order to send important messages. 
Many good reasons are in favour of snapchat.

  • Snapchat might well become the platform for our project “PEACE”! Because:
  • We want to reach young persons and
  • We must transport both “rational arguments” and emotions!

That is it from my side on snapchat and social media.
But Snapchat will not be the end of the evolution of social media. Something new with new qualities and potential will arise here, too.
I already look forward to watching what comes next.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

I told a nice story in my Entrepreneur’s Diary #41 (Unternehmertagebuch #41). I had heard the story from a US professor. It answered the question why the British Empire under Queen Victoria thrived so uniquely, regardless of communication at the time being all but easy and, above all, taking a very long time.

Today, I want to answer another question in a similar way – again metaphorically with an example:

Airbus A400M, Schattenrisse, created by Hilbertz, Quelle siehe P.S.

Airbus A400M, Shadow Images, created by Hilbertz, source see P.S.1

How is it possible that Airbus is so successful with developing products such as the A 380 while at the same time the M400 seems to be a disaster?

A380

As often, we can read all the important information about the A380 in Wikipedia. I am truly impressed to read the extraordinary achievements of the Airbus. They developed a new and totally extraordinarily big plane in high precision. They moved to new dimensions, also using totally new materials.

I would consider the difficulties that arose during the project as very normal and absolutely below the average for this size of project, especially if you consider the delays the competition Boeing had to accept with their “dreamliner“.

A400M

You will also find all you need to know about A400M in Wikipedia. And over the last few years, bad and very negative news about this project have reached us. The worst accident was probably the crash of an A400M with the production number MSN023 during its first test flight in Spain on May, 9th, 2015. To the outsider, the project A300m looks totally “out of time und budget“. It seems to be a true “big project catastrophe”, and getting worse.

Here is the question:

How is it possible that, in the same enterprise, an airplane has been so successfully developed? And at the same time, the development of another is such an extreme failure?

I assume that the development of the two planes were two different projects with different humans working on said projects. Consequently, the answer is quite simple:

It is because of the humans working in the projects.

Here are potential reasons:

  • The A380 was a civil project and was
  • communicated as a positive vision and a huge challenge for Airbus.
  • It represented innovation and a revolution in the flying industry and became
  • the metaphor for the future of Airbus.
  • The A400M was a military plane and
  • at least the outsiders perceived it as “just another military aircraft“.
  • Which certainly was true for the short-sighted view based on conservative technology.

And now here is my question:

Which project would you have volunteered for?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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

P.S.1
I took the picture from Wikipedia. Created by Hilbertz with imaging software in April 2014, published under CC BY-SA3.0.

actmobcmp_100-300x86#AktMobCmp

In the last few weeks, the topic “active mobility” suffered from too little attention by me. Instead, I was busy doing something about #FRIEDEN and DIGITALE TRANSFORMATION, seeing my grandchildren and my mentees, giving a little support to start-ups and attending to private interests such as riding my bike through Italy. And much more.

I am truly sorry about this, because I keep receiving news and new information that show how badly we need to do something:

  • The fine dust pollution in all the cities of the world is extremely high and still rising.
  • Due to the ever smaller size of pollutants through modern technology (we are talking nano dimensions), they are more unhealthy than ever.
  • The climate catastrophe gets more real, closer and ever more threatening.
  • Our autonomy in life is restricted, our way of life is more and more determined from the outside.
  • This is how, controlled from the outside, we sacrifice what is important to us, giving it to foreign institutions that manipulate us and put their own interests above ours.
  • The metrics of money and profit are onmi-present and rules the entire world and all areas of life.
  • The way how huge concerns manipulate us and rule over us gets more and more outrageous.
  • Fear becomes the determining drive of a strongly increasing irrationality in society and politics.

My conclusion:
As far as I am concerned, I am fed up with the new dishonesty and evil double morals. We need a huge transformation that begins with our cognitive perception. Mobility is an ample metaphor for the current development and the fact that transformation is absolutely necessary. It shows all the things that go wrong and how we badly need to change our opinions and habits for our own good.

The next chance to do something is in exactly one week! On May, 21st, 2016, the next Camp für active Mobility #AktMobCmp will be held in Augsburg. Since it is during the Bavarian Pentecost Holidays, the organizers cut the camp down to one day. They are happy to welcome all visitors  …

On this day, the interests and needs of all participants will be very intensely discussed in the format of a barcamp. The “part-givers” will share their knowledge and leave after a day of shared realizations, ideas and plans, not to mention all the new friends they will have found.

So here is my personal plea to all the “friendly persons” who want to take responsibility for the future: try the Augsburg.#AktMobCmp. If it is only your inertia that keeps you from attending, please overcome your “inner weak self” and come! Register here.

 

Gestiftet von VisualBrainddump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold) Zum Vergrößern aufs Bild klicken.

Donated by VisualBrainddump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold) Click on the image to enlarge.

 

Early last year, we started with a very nice camp in Unterhaching.

We will continue in 2017 – probably on January, 5th and 6th, again in the Kubiz Unterhaching.

Starting in September, our preparations will gain new momentum. We will do some massive advertising and invite many people and institutions we know well by now. And I guarantee that this barcamp will, again, bring many persons together, be extremely enjoyable and bring fundamental additional knowledge.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday May 14th, 2016

Letterbox Companies and More of the Same … (Series) #4

Come and work for me – make me rich!

The following experience of mine is one I consider a display of particularly bold behaviour. It will be the last article of my series (Serie) on corruption for the time being. But it was definitely a very attractive offer and it was by no means easy to say no.

What happened did not happen as long ago as what I related in the other three articles. My memory is of it happening early or in the middle of the 1990ies.

At the time, we were a respected and also well-known supplier of support and service for products of the best hardware and software producers. We provided service and support their customers in the name of the producers. As a general rule, both parties behaved like good partners, which made for nice “win-win” situations.

During those days, new enterprises with special software solutions in the service and security fields grew like comets, both in the USA and other countries. And, of course, it was our goal to service different producers and all varieties of technologies. After all, we wanted to have a broad range of products on the market and thus remain independent from individual producers.

One day, as a total surprise, a famous and very successful technology provider called us, asking if we were interested in servicing exclusively their products in huge parts of DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Es ist immer schön, wenn das Bargeld in der Kasse klimpert.

It is always nice to hear money jangling in the box.

Of course, this sounded fantastic. Today, I know that you always want to be sceptical if you get this kind of offer, because in entrepreneurial reality, miracles just do not happen (or if, then very, very rarely). And if they happen, there is (always) something (very much) wrong. As a meeting point – surprise, surprise – they proposed the lobby of an airport hotel.

We were curious and wanted to test the chance by all accounts. So we agreed to the appointment. And it was all true. The Europe support head of the enterprise welcomed us very kindly and hospitably and told us convincingly why he had chosen our enterprise as a candidate for a future partnership. He offered to hand us the service for his products and customers exclusively for a very attractive region. The necessary training of our colleagues for his products was offered for free, we only had to provide the time. It all sounded like a new and wonderful partnership.

Then came the glitch. Our business partner pointed out that, with such a model, we would have no sales costs and could still realize excellent prices. After all, all the orders would come directly from and be paid for by his enterprise. Consequently, it would be only fair and in no way against our interests if we paid a 10 per cent sales fee for all the turnover with our new customer. We would get invoiced at regular intervals from a sales enterprise in Switzerland and all we would have to do is pay on time.

We asked for time to consider and drove back home. And then, with a heavy heart, because the turnover we missed was absolutely relevant, we rejected the offer. Incidentally, the company in Switzerland was also some sort of letterbox company. Who knows where the money ended up.

During my rather long professional career, I witnessed quite a few very definite kick-back transactions. Mostly, persons from the middle management of rather famous and also German enterprises expected a “little back” from their service providers – and received it, too. Mostly, this was also done through letterbox companies. But I never knew such a bold procedure as the one I just told you about.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture from Wikipedia. 
About bank notes: Hermann Eidenbenz for the Deutsche Bundesbank. Coins by various artists for the German Federal Republic – bank notes: edited by the Deutsche Bundesbank. Coins: edited by the Federal Republic of Germany, PD-Amtliches Werk.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday May 10th, 2016

Future, Evolution, Transformation & Digital!

One week ago on Saturday evening, we started on our way to Italy, leaving the train on the next morning in Orvieto. It took us three days to get to the congress venue at Castel Gandolfo by bike. Riding our bikes to the Albanian Ocean in the south-west of Rome was a great preparation for the international
“10th NETWORK MEETING OF THE PETER PRIBILLA FOUNDATION (MAY, 4th – MAY, 6th 2016, ROME)” I was lucky enough to be part of.

The workshop was intense and challenging. Consequently, we spent the day afterwards being truly at leisure and indulging in luxury in Labico. Subsequently, we rode our bikes through Italy for three days. The first leg was from Labico to Terracina (around 80 km). Then we continued to Nettuno (about 75 km). From there, only about 50 kilometres were left to ride to Ostia, which meant that we arrived there early in the afternoon and had plenty of time to see the ancient Ostia by bike and generally enjoy Ostia.

During the three days riding through the provinces of Roma and Latina during the wonderful Italian early summer, I had a lot of time for contemplation. It was a truly special meeting.

Tomorrow, our voyage will be at its end. We are going to Rome. There, the night train that is supposed to take us back to Munich by Thursday morning is already waiting for us. Let me write down a few memories of today’s meeting.

Lido di Ostia, von der zentralen Seebrücke aus bewundert und fotografiert.

Lido di Ostia, picture taken and scenery admired from the central ocean bridge :-).

The meeting was sponsored by the “Pribilla-Foundation“ and about “Digital Transformation“: After all, this is a transformation that concerns all of us ever more, making us aware of change that is happening and growing at rapid speed.

The workshop was opened with an impulse presentation by Manfred Broy, who is the director of the Bavarian Digital Centre (Digitales Zentrum.Bayern). He gave a precise “sweeping swipe” on “digitalization”. Based on exciting facts, he pointed out to us what is currently happening. I was allowed to give one of the three (3-minute) short responses to the presentation. Here is a short version of what I said (with a few additions, because three minutes is actually quite a short time):

“The digital transformation will probably have a massive influence on the evolution and our future. It might even help on the way towards finding the necessary great transformation humanity needs badly.”

I came up with a theory on all the terms marked in this sentence – that is: I formulated my “basic beliefs”. Here they are:

  • Future
    As I see it, the future cannot be predicted!
    That is also the first theory formulated by the great and unfortunately already dead management scientist Hans Ulrich from St. Gallen who revolutionized the theory of management in the 1980ies with his essay “Eight Theories on Change in Management”..
    It may well be possible to predict the future correctly once in a wile if you use the tools of science and your common sense. That is: you might receive a “message from the future”. Yet you will never manage to correctly interpret said message.
    To me, the future of humanity can be described using the metaphor of a boat on a river. The river is in the “white area”. The boat moves down the river.
    You can measure the speed at which the river flows and also, for instance, the stream gradient and other data. But still, all those data will only give you limited information on what is going to happen. Using a spy glass to look into the distance will also only be of little help. It is not predictable how the river will continue on its way (will it become broader or will it find its way through a narrow gorge and become a torrential river, will there be a bend or a waterfall or will it suddenly disappear totally underground?).
    And in this metaphor, we do not even know if humanity is the boat or the river (or maybe just a swarm of fish?).
  • Evolution
    Evolution is useless. Perhaps it tries to make sure there will always be life, but we do not know why and for what purpose.
    As I see it, evolution cannot be controlled – just like the future is not predictable. Basically, we cannot install a “steering committee” and tell them ”Please control evolution!”. It simply will not work (just like, incidentally, it does not work with huge enterprises and social systems).
  • Transformation
    I think in a next step, evolution will have to and will undergo another huge transformation. This is necessary if humanity wants to survive. It will come, disregarding the question of whether humanity will continue to live or not. We know nothing about this transformation, except that it will bring basic change and come as a huge surprise. The time for this transformation is ever nearer. It will probably happen within the next few generations.
  • Digital Transformation
    It would be nice if digital transformation could become a positive driver for this great transformation. I see quite a good chance. Even now, the world changes through digitalization – and in my opinion said change is for the better.
    The friendly persons build networks, the combination of digital + social makes it possible to cooperate constructively in a way that was hardly possible in former times. Thanks to the “digital” world, something like “enlightenment 2.0” develops. To me, this looks to be more important than the “buzzword” of “industry 4.0” which, after all, is only “normal” technological progress.

What remains is the question: how can we contribute towards digitalization changing the world in a positive way?

Of course, I do not know the answer. It is my belief that we should not talk too much but instead act. Every one of us should act in his own specific way, following his personal inclination. And we all should do it together and connect with all the ”friendly persons” in our society – for instance those persons I actually met in huge numbers at the nice meeting in wonderful surroundings!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
During the meeting, I mentioned a book that might actually help you a little to understand how totally different even our “small” children think – and how helpless the ancient concepts of thinking and teaching and education have become.
(Re-Invent Yourself! A Declaration of Love for the Network Generation by Michel Serres).

Roland Dürre
Monday May 9th, 2016

A Pity!

May, 8th, 2016, 18:47 hours

Defense Minister:
Armed Forces to Grow Again

Weiße Taube auf blauem Grund, eine Variante der Friedenstaube: Seit den 1980er Jahren verbreitetes Symbol der westeuropäischen, vor allem der deutschen Friedensbewegung, entworfen im Kontext des Widerstands gegen den NATO-Doppelbeschluss.

White dove on blue background, one variant for the dove of peace; has been the much-accepted symbol of the Western European and in particular the German peace movement since the 1980ies; originally designed in the context of uproar against the NATO double track decision.

On arrival in the peaceful town of Terracina, we were welcomed by a soft Mediterranean evening. However, as soon as I started reading the SZ-online version, my good mood was gone.

The doctor of medicine who reigns over us, Ursula von der Leyen, wants to expand the armed forces. In April, she had announced that now the Armed Forces have a new Cyber Regiment (Cyber-Truppe). It was not an April fool’s jest and Frau von der Leyen is now feverishly looking for nerds.

In May, there were again news from the Ministry for War and Peace: according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the military planners decided that 14,300 additional military officers will be needed until 2023.

Currently, the upper limit of Bundeswehr personnel is allegedly around 185,000 soldiers, 177,000 of whom are currently in active service. This would mean that even the upper limit would have to be increased.

Now you could ask the stupid question why a medical doctor of all people wanted to be “Minister of Defence”. After all, as a doctor of medicine, she should have sworn the Hippocratic Oath (Eid des Hippokrates). Even the modern form of said oath should still mean that a doctor of medicine should not cause misery for humans.

Also, it is certainly about time that we realize growth is not categorically a good thing. As I see it, this is particularly true for the military and war. They also say that there is a new arms race between the USA and Russia, which basically is the heir of the USSR. The next US president might well be a person who gives more fuel to that race. Except – do we really want to and have to be part of such a race?

What ails me most about this news is that the “west-allied” Germany manifested the re-establishment of Armed Forces in 1955 by the FRG re-armament  decision, regardless of the fact that the German Parliament had refused the national re-armament of Germany in its first state debate on November 24th and 25th, 1949.

As a consequence of the growing East-West-Conflict (Ost-West-Konflikt) during the Korean War (Koreakrieg),  the Federal Government of Germany joined (or had to join because of the west-allied super-ego?) the European Defence Alliance (EVG –Europäischen Verteidigungsgemeinschaft) (1952) and theNATO (1955).

To be sure, the former general Gerhard Graf von Schwerin had been appointed as early as May, 24th, 1950 to be the technological advisor in questions of security for the secret establishment of German armed forces by Konrad Adenauer.

I was born in Germany in 1950. At the time, I was a small child. I think children are wise and will certainly oppose armament and war. Today, I would be happy if the German Parliament would have been wiser and more courageous in the 1950ies. To me, it seems that the German population was wiser. They did not want another army such a short time after the Second World War.

If the people’s will had prevailed, we would have no armed forces in Germany and no armament industry. And that would be a good thing for our country and probably for the rest of the world, as well.

This is what I believed 50 years ago and it is what I still believe.

RMD
May, 9th, 2016, 08:47 hours
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Dear nerds – please do not wear a uniform.

Roland Dürre
Friday May 6th, 2016

Tips

Currently, I am again travelling. I ride my bike in Italy. Almost a week ago, on Sunday morning, we exited the night train with the endearing name LUPUS from Munich to Rome in Orvieto. Starting from there, we rounded the beautiful Rome on our way to a congress in the south-east of Rome in three days. Our first overnight stop was in Viterbo, the next night we slept in Tragliatella.

castelcardinaleThe congress was in a wonderful congress hotel Castel Cardinale high above the Albanian Ocean, facing Castel Gandolfo. Now we spend two more days vacationing with friends before another nice round trip is to get us back to Rome. From there, we will go back to Munich – again in the night train – on Wednesday.

Well, the typical question is again to be asked:
Do you tip the sleeping compartment conductor?

Whenever I go abroad, what about tips? Who knows all the customs about tips in Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria or even North Africa, Turkey and many other countries?

Do some countries know a difference between, for instance, eating out and staying in privately led quarters? I am often unsure: what is the custom? Will I perhaps even hurt someone’s proud feelings if I leave a tip, even though I certainly meant well? Or am I behaving shabbily if I refrain from leaving a tip?

As we all know, there are some countries where leaving a tip is an absolute “must do”. Among those countries is the USA, where the tip is part of the actual salary and you cannot leave without having given something. Well, that makes it pretty clear what to do and what not to do. But even in Germany, I am not always sure. How is it possible that leaving a tip is not obligatory and yet there is a generalized tax rate for the restaurants?

Now I am riding my bike through Italy. As far as I know, it is totally unusual to leave a tip in this country. Consequently, I do not have a problem.
But what to do about the conductor in the night train from Germany to Italy?

My solution was: I leave a tip that is a little more than just symbolic. On the way out, it was 5 Euros for the two of us (i.e. for the compartment). And I told him that this was supposed to tell him how I appreciated his work. Later, I heard that, basically, night train conductors used to receive tips as a matter of course. Only it got less and less fashionable.

As I see it, leaving a tip makes sense if a) it is in accordance with the rules of the country and b) the “gift” is also clearly communicated as a symbol of your appreciation. And I am quite glad whenever my thoughtfulness gives me such clear results that make life look a little more joyful to me.

RMD
(Translated by EG)