Roland Dürre
Saturday February 7th, 2015

My “New Life” – STORY

In my last IF Blog article,  I gave you a blueprint for my “new life” and introduced my ROADMAP.

Dürre_RolandReading this ROADMAP as a bystander really gives me pause. Doesn’t this sort of structured planning look like the exact opposite of my usual maxim to be an “ALO-man“? After all, an ALO person acts in an “agile, lean and open“ way. Somehow it seems like too much planning does not really fit the bill, does it?

However, the ROADMAP is only part of my personal STORY. A story is made up of tales – like in story telling. These stories are supposed to describe a concept of ideas and make it real and tangible. We know this procedure from the modern “requirement engineering”.

A good story will give you clarity and courage. Success needs a good  basis (education, experience and knowledge), the courage to get under way and delight when you act.


Well, I will start my agenda structured yet in an agile. Once in a while, it will be a little chaotic, because sometimes chaos is just necessary as a creative escalation of agility.

I rather like this concept, because this is how I am and basically I cannot be different. In the life of an entrepreneur, one week might sometimes be an eternity. So much is happening all of a sudden. And immediately, the entire world will look totally different. Your old dreams are just dreams and plans crumble like ruins. And then a new sun will rise on the horizon.


A ROADMAP with minutely defined goals will not always fit well into the concept of lean. If you want to complete milestones by all accounts, you will easily lose all your flexibility and try to force matters. And this is when you will create constructs which make matter extremely complicated. Which is often the first reason for your failure.

Thus, you often get “BureauCrazy” – without noticing it yourself. This is a horror scenario in my book. It would be nice if every person, every team and every institution had a guardian angel protecting them from “bureaucracy”. Of course, this is especially true for entrepreneurs, founding teams and enterprises,


So what remains is open. I believe that absolute transparency will always be useful. This is how all parties concerned will use their brains and be prepared to take responsibility. Quasi by itself, an early warning system will develop, giving early indications if something goes wrong.


Perhaps the job of the “compose manager” describes best the task of building, designing, composing, modifying and structuring, of making things happen … and of giving it a name based on stories and roadmaps. Even if this is another one of those  “buzz words”.    
In that case, what I would be from now on is an “agile, lean and open compose manager”.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday February 6th, 2015

My “New Life” – ROADMAP

RolandSchwimmen1As of January, 1st, 2015, I am no longer actively involved at InterFace AG. My “New Life” has started. I spent the last few weeks structuring it. Now I know what I want to do and will do. Perhaps I can manage to make a difference during the last phase of my life.

My mental concepts are still those of a programmer and software architect. Consequently, I made three columns representing my future domains:

My private world, personal activities and central projects.

Private World (Column I)

I can afford to live on my “jobless” income. For me, having a nice life means enjoying the time with Barbara. Part of it is to witness how our grandchildren will grow and to travel to many beautiful places of this world by bike. For instance, late in February, we will spend two weeks in Cuba with our bikes. More bike tours in Austria/South Tyrol, France and the Czech Republic are planned.

Of course, is one of the things especially close to my heart. Besides, it is important for me to remain in active contact with my many friends and to broaden, rather than restrict, my social horizon. In this area, I already made some progress, for instance by attending an exciting meeting on the island of Sylt in February.

I wish to integrate the important things in my life, such as reading, swimming and playing chess, into my “daily routine”. Other than that, I would like to minimize stress and yet remain active. And I want to continue learning all the time.

And this is how I arrive at the second column: my actual personal activities.

Personal Activities (Column II)

For me, my role as a mentor features high on the list, both for young persons and teams, for instance start-ups. I am well under way as far as this is concerned. The best about sharing experience is that I learn so much myself. Also, I am constantly stimulated towards being creative. This is true both in my dialogues with young persons and with “my” start-ups.

However, I am also “officially” involved when it comes to “founding enterprises”, for instance as a member of business contest judging panels. This, too, is very important for me, because the work is a source of new knowledge. Once in a while, I am also on a “special mission”, for example trying to find partners for young enterprises. My “Asia Connection” is of special interest in this area.

Another part of this column is the InterFace AG. Together with Barbara, I own the majority of shares in the enterprise. Consequently, our shares of InterFace AG are a major part of our property. Regardless of totally withdrawing from the operative part of the enterprise, I want to remain faithful to the enterprise and preserve it. Currently, this means I still support it as a member of the Supervisory Board.

And apart from this, I try to remain in contact with all the many nice guys I know and maintain my networks. There are many opportunities, for instance at ISARNETZ, The Munich Web-Week, in the vicinity of Open Source or at PM Camps. This sort of free movement is very important for me and I would categorize it under “private activities”.

Central Projects (Column III)

I also want to do a little business – but always based on social motivation and in the sense of a common-good economy.

For these yet again operative activities, which perhaps might even grow to larger dimensions, I will use the IF AGORA platform. Basically, the IF AGORA has no mercantile profit goals. The Agora will be a “non-profit” enterprise accumulating excess money. I will try to introduce potential successors as early as possible, because I wish to remain active only for about three to five years.

However, I only want to get active with projects that actually render excess money. And I want to pay all those who work for us fairly. The platform itself is supposed to grow stronger and stronger based on this excess money, thus strengthening itself for greater challenges. All projects and activities of IF AGORA will be transparently open. Partners are welcome.

As far as my central projects are concerned, my actual plans are three-fold: active mobility, democratic enterprises (working title) and peace. I want to work on them serially.

Active Mobility #AktMob & #AktMobCmp

First and foremost, I will promote the project “active mobility”. As an abbreviation for active mobility, I chose #AktMob – on an international level (for the future) #actmob (active mobility). It already started and develops nicely. Besides others, I won Eberhard Huber as a partner.

Personally, I firmly believe that, especially when it comes to traffic, we have to start a massive about-face. And we will also have to behave in accordance with new concepts. As I see it, individualized motorized traffic has come to its end. Even electricity in mobility – if at all, offers only limited solutions.

In the future, active mobility (movement mostly under your own steam) must become as much part of our mobility as possible. Also, the infra-structure of public transport must change and improve drastically. There are numerous reasons for this on all kinds of levels.

As part of #AktMob, I wish to organize barcamps (#AktMobCmp) and similar events with many people who feel the same as I. PM Camp is a nice sort of model for #AktMobCmp. During my work at PM Camp, I learned many things I want to use again for #AktMobCmp.

Above all, there will be time to promote the issue “Active Mobility” (1). Connecting the protagonists and users is also an important concern of mine (2). Building bridges between many associations, administrative instances, lobbyists, institutions and numerous communities is my third goal (3). Because when all is said and done, they are the ones who also determine what politics will decide about mobility.

I already came a long way with the project #Aktmob. The organizational basis should be finished by the end of these three months. All other measures will be a matter of routine. Now we have to find many supporters and comrades-in-arms.

”Democratic Enterprise“

In this area, I wish to work towards improving the working conditions in enterprises with a small circle of hand-picked friends. As a working title for the project, I chose the title of a new book by a good friend of mine – Dr. Andreas Zeuch.

Here are the topics and catchphrases I have in mind:
anti-fragility • fear-free areas •  work • eye-level • decision-making • experience •leadership • concept of mind • common good economy • intuition • management •organisation • control • business and society • enterprises as networks, instead of hierarchies • values • knowledge
all in the context of enterprises and institutions.

As I see it, this project should also reach educational institutions. This means that our final goal is a university.

There is not yet a final concept. I would like to start with events in a very creative and interactive format (face2face combined with modern web technology). These events need not be cheap, but they should be worth the money. This is another area where I feel we should manage to pay the protagonists appropriately.

My vision would be some kind of “I-University“ including Moocs etc. – strictly focussed on the topic described above.

A number of great partners together with whom I would like to work on the concept for “democratic enterprises” during the second and third part of the year come to mind. The next thing I am going to do is talk to them.

“Project Peace“

This is my personal utopia – to contribute towards a little peace for all of us in this world. I would like to approach this project during the fourth part of the year, as soon as all other projects have been started and are well under way. So far, I held two sessions on barcamps on the idea of “project peace”. The feedback gave me much hope for my ideas. Some people very much in favour of the idea already contacted me.

But as I said: one step at a time. And currently, the top priority is on #AktMob – Active Mobility.

(Translated by EG)

Those were the days – we were still paying with Deutsche Mark. Coal is nice.

In former times, people lived frugally in order to save money for their old age. Even as a young child, you had your bank account. Today, it is not so easy to open your bank account.

However, this is not bad news, because in times of zero interest, it makes no sense to save money. You save and save and eventually nothing is left. Because the money you saved lost all its value. Because we have a high inflation rate and zero interest – both thanks to the EZB money politics.

Today, more and more people have to save money.

Not for their old age – but in order to make ends meet. And because, as the end of the month comes, nothing is left on the bank account. Because life has become expensive. Or, to be more precise: the rents have become really expensive, at least in some cities.

Food has become cheap – I think it has never been quite as cheap as now.

I know people who pay 1,200 € each month for their cold flat in Munich – and they often find this quite cheap. Regardless, it is more than half of what they earn after taxes. If you have a flat to live in, all you need is some clothes and food.

Most of us have far too many clothes.

We pile them on top of each other in our wardrobes. But visible signs of having worn them (after all, you want to look presentable) and the fashion (you want to be chic) make us buy more and more all the time. Regardless of the fact that there are many things we really no longer need. That is purest consumerism. And the wardrobes keep getting fuller and fuller.

Let us look at food.

In Germany, it is cheaper than in most other countries. I took a close look at the prices of basic food in discount shops:

Flour, milk and eggs

If you buy milk, you pay 1.05 € if you choose fresh full milk with 3.8 % fat, if you take the H-milk with 3.5% fat, it is even less: 0.70 €. That comes as a surprise to me. Compared to a litre of Diesel fuel (1.30 €) or petrol (1.45 €), it is really cheap, isn’t it? Especially since there is always also a tetra package that comes with it. And if you drive a car, one litre of fuel is quickly gone.

Looking at flour really gives me pause. At Aldi Süd, you get one kilogram of Mühlengold Weizenmehl for 0.39. Now I understand why some people heat their ovens with grain.

If I want to bake a cake, I will also need eggs. There are three different 10-egg-packages: from hens that were kept on the ground, they cost 1.19 €, from hens that were running free, they cost 1.59 €, and from ecological hens, they cost 2.69 €. If I want the eggs boiled or coloured, I get 10 of them for 1.89 €. That sounds really nice, doesn’t it?

I will also need oil.

Here is what I see: the pure vegetable oil made of rapeseed costs 0.99, the same is true for the pure sun flower oil. As you see, oil, too, is less expensive than petrol or Diesel fuel. I wonder if I can pour it into my car. Well, maybe not, because, as we all know, I no longer drive a car, let alone a Diesel engine car.

Coffee must not be missing from my list.

I find “Bio Caffè Crema, ganze Bohne“ for 9.49 € and, even better, “Tizio Caffe, ganze Bohne, sortiert“, an entire kilogram for 7.49 €. Since these prices do not only contain the added value tax, but also the roasting tax, this is really remarkable. According to Wikipedia, in Germany the coffee tax per kilogram for bean coffee is 2.19 Euro. For instant coffee, it is even 4,78 Euro per kilogram.

Those who love alcohol also need not worry.

The least expensive schnapps is the Doppelweizenkorn Kornmeister. You get a 0.7 for 5.29 and for three litres of Gold Beer KARLSKRONE (as a six-pack, 6x 0,5), you pay 1.79 €. A total of 7.08 € should easily settle you for a soccer evening at home in front of your TV set.

If you do not like beer, I recommend red wine.

The discounter offers a bottle of “Mazedonischer Rotwein“ for 1.49 €. So what more do you need?

If you need snacks to go with the liquor, this is also quite cheap. You get Chips SUN SNACKS, 200 g for 0.79 €. Two packages in your trolley and the entire TV evening with six half-litres of beer, one bottle of schnapps and two packages of chips is still only 8,68 €. If you drink some wine after the match, you have a total of not much more than 10.00 €.

As I see it, the absolute hit when it comes to cheap is: apple-sauce.
You get SWEET VALLEY, 710 g for 0.59 € in the Tetra pack. Who can produce this at such a price?

As you see: if you are prepared to eat cheap, you can really live quite well in Germany. To be sure, I have no idea how these prices are possible. I am afraid there must be some exploitation of labourers, producers or suppliers.

So why do I write about this?

Because I think the proportionality got lost.

Something is wrong and something is rotten in this state. In Munich, I pay a sort of rent for one room that would buy me huge mountains of food and t-shirts and leave me enough to drink myself to death.
What will happen if, as a consequence of the climate crisis and the destruction of the soil, we can no longer produce enough grain?

I mean the wheat that currently is so cheap that we only pay 0.39 Euros for an entire kilogram (neatly packed). If I paid the money that is paid for rent (1.200 €), I would actually get three tons of wheat for it. That is more than 700 kilograms each week, i.e. 100 kilograms each day. What will happen when wheat becomes rare?

What will happen if suddenly things turn around totally? Somehow or other, this seems threatening to me and I worry about a future crisis.
And I think of what I consume. What do I need for living except a place to stay and food?

Well – I want to travel.

A short time ago, when I was sitting in the regional train going home to Neubiberg from Winterhausen, two young ladies sat with us at the table. Naturally, they talked about a few other young ladies who had booked a week in Mallorca for 250 Euro. After all, you could get three days on Malle for 146 €: ”How can anybody be such a big spender?“ – was their opinion. Welcome to Ballermann.

Mobility is very important for people, that is also true for me.

It helps if you understand that you can also be quite mobile without a car. If you combine your bike with public transportation, you are doing even better. However, many people believe they absolutely need a car for their mobile freedom. Consequently, they have to spend whatever remains of the income after they have paid their rent on their cars. And then there is not much left except buying food at the discount shop.

But I now understand: if I have a flat, it is quite easy to live with very little money. I am not sure who gets to pay the price for it.
Most of us have more than enough clothes.

You can spend an extremely long time without buying anything new. I practice this – and it works. I am quite happy with it. No more suits, white shirts and ties. And in summer, always the old shorts. Along with all those many free t-shirts. Great.

I try to buy regional products, for instance at the weekly market or the good Supremo coffee. The prices differ fundamentally from those at the discount shop. For coffee, I pay 2.5 times what I would pay there. I am well off and I can afford to do this. I do it because I want to make sure that others, too, can survive and that ruthless exploitation is reduced. But I am probably not succeeding?

Here is a mental experiment:

What happens if I know someone who does not have enough money and I give him, for instance, 10,000 €? I fear he will immediately buy a car or perhaps fly to “paradise”. So his carbon dioxide footprint will immediately increase drastically. That is not what I want.

Perhaps the best solution would be for me to burn my money. I do not mean at the stock market, because that would again mean that someone else gets it. I mean it in the true sense of the word.

Except that this will also not do any good. Because a one-sided DZB will quickly create new money (we used to say “print”). Because they need to trigger the economy and stop the collapse of nations who suffer under the Euro.

(Translated by EG)

I took the prices from the website Discounter-Preisvergleich of April, 24th. Barbara told me that several products (for instance one litre of fresh milk) are considerably less expensive than I wrote.

InterFace Christmas Card 2014.

This year, I again received a lot of mail on Christmas. Some of them were general Christmas Greetings and some were very personal. I tried to reply to all the greetings. If there are persons who did not get a reply from me, I ask their forgiveness.

A highly appreciated friend of mine wrote something special. His greetings started as follows:

The “Online Roland” differs considerably from the underlying human being I know and hold in high esteem.

In this letter, I read many nice and appreciative things. That made me quite happy. Between the lines, however, I quite clearly found a certain helplessness because of my “digital schizophrenia“. Because I seem to betray values in the digital world that are important in my personal world.

Well, reading about my “digital schizophrenia” made me thoughtful. After all, for me, my biggest riddle is my own personality.

The “digital thoughtfulness” started with the IF Blog. You all know that I sometimes strip quite naked . Why am I doing this?

Christmas in 2009

My answer is simple. Basically, I write the IF Blog only for myself. It is a kind of diary. And since I believe that transparency is not just a virtue but a necessary requirement for a better social co-existence, I publish my ideas. I do not want to press my ideas on anybody and I also do not want to be a missionary – even if sometimes you might get that impression on reading my articles. Also, I do not really care about a high number of clicks.

(Even though it makes me quite happy that my short Christmas Greetings (Weihnachtsbotschaft) – according to a rudimentary measuring – has already been read by several hundred persons, even if wordpress, due to technological specialties, counts less and less readings (since it only counts the direct number of downloads on an IP address)).

Seite downloads
/rd/einen-guten-rutsch-und-ein-gutes-neues-jahr/ 214

This was yesterday

I consider this happiness a very normal human trait.

What is important to me is that, at least in my own perception, I mutated from idealist to egoist. Because I believe very strongly that I can move a lot more if I feel well myself. Consequently, my first duty is perhaps to do well by myself. After all, only those who treat themselves well can treat others well (incidentally, you can exchange “treat well” with many other terms, for instance: only if you appreciate your own value can you appreciate another person’s value).

And since the coming year is the last year before I turn seventy, I believe my time is too precious to waste it on being against something or getting annoyed with someone. Or even worse: getting angry with someone or something.

So the ideal of my life lies in the serenity I will need during the next few years in order to be able to die in peace. In the IF blog, I created my own categories What I dislike! (Was ich nicht mag!) and What annoys me (Ärger), where I wrote articles about what I find frustrating.

I learned that frustration is not something that agrees with me. Just as it helps neither others nor myself if I am against something. Both concepts will make me smaller. Mind you, this is not resignation. It simply means that there are more important things than getting annoyed or hating something. I am always mindful of the paradox of hatred:
”If you hate someone, you do not harm him/her, but you ruin your own life”.
Naturally, I really like all the things in this world. This is especially true for the consequences of “technological advance“. And digitalization, which some people love much and others condemn with a passion, is only a current manifestation of said “technological advance“.

In 2019, I will celebrate my fifty-years-of-digitalization. It will then have been fifty years that I played an active part in digital development. That is something I feel very comfortable with. To be sure, I, too, detest such results as “military drones” that come down from the heavens and kill people and destroy their homes. The nuclear bomb, too, is basically a digital product, and I do not like it at all.

On the other hand, I feel quite comfortable with social media, etc. One of the reasons for this is that, by now, I think I am autonomous enough not to buy things I do not want. I believe I have now become resistant against marketing. This is true for the Fang-Gang (FANG is short for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – I am sure you need include a few others, too). And the discussion of yesterday and today during the 35th Congress of the Chaos Computer Club – Hashtag #35c3 – which, incidentally, I think is among the best German social discussion platforms – is also something I like. Even if, as far as I know, politicians shun the 35c3. I wonder why.

Talking of how technological advance is a danger, the first thing that comes to mind which I really find threatening is the MIV (motorized individual traffic). On top of my life, I feel that my lungs, too, are in danger. I only need to leave my house and approach the Putzbrunner or Rosenheimer Land Straße, and will immediately get gas poisoning. Ask any lung doctor for the facts! For me, those who drive a car are like smokers who blow their poison into my lungs.

But then, what good will it do to become upset? I live my life without using individualized vehicles and thus I demonstrate that you do not really need them. It is quasi the inherent “thank-you” when I experience how good this is for my health.

I have exercise in fresh air. I get extra time that I know how to use well. Basically, I try to find routes that are as far away from poisoned air as possible. Even if this occasionally means a detour. But at least I do not have to get annoyed with the fat old men and women driving their SUVs.

And that is exactly what I also do with other things in life. I detest fascism and nationalism, but I am not categorically against the AFD or other forms of latent fascism. I believe that God and religions were invented by people. And I cannot understand how anybody can consider something “the highest” if they themselves invented it. But I know that this belief of mine, too, is just a belief and nothing else.

So how can I oppose people who firmly believe that God created the world a few thousand years ago exactly as it now is and that he made the strict rules which turn around the world and which he clearly communicated through his ministers and diverse messages (the stories of humanity)?

If then a fanatic who is particularly receptive to this kind of indoctrination kills a few people, then I find this no worse than the daily killing that happens on our motorways, highways and other streets. And even these killings on the streets are not a reason for me to categorically oppose all SUVs and their drivers. And for all those who kill (some even say: murder) carelessly, I do not feel hatred but compassion.

It is clear that I am in favour of both a reduction of speed in the MIV sector and a reduction of religious indoctrination of children and other people. And that is also how I live as a model. Just as I am in favour of peace and love. And I find it good to always question what is allegedly the truth or what goes without saying. And that is what I try to do myself, as well.

Except: I no longer want to be “against something“. Just like I also never again want to be angry with anyone. Because both sentiments just make me feel miserable. And that is not at all what I need in life.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 19th, 2017

The Road as a Metaphor für our Life.

So far, I already had the pleasure of giving the wedding speech for four of my children. When preparing these speeches, I am always (particularly) diligent and I try to formulate important ideas.

More often than not, they include ideas that helped me in the past. Which makes them probably worth handing on to others. That is especially true for the bridal pair, but also for as many other persons as possible
Consequently, I will now publish a few central ideas from my last marriage speech. Also because today is Sunday.

The road as a metaphor for our life.

The road through life starts with our birth and ends with our death. The most precious commodity on this road is the time we spend as we travel it. The reason why time is so precious is because it will never come back. If you lose friendship or money, they might come back, but time never will.

The beginning of our road is our birth.

We make our appearance in the world and are part of a social unit. We meet people who accompany us on our road, and we do not know them in advance. We have not selected them. As a general rule, they are our family.

Roads will converge and diverge.

As we grow, we will meet more people who will travel part of the road with us. The kindergarden mistress, the teacher, our first friends, …
This is how we walk on our road: some part of it with more and some fewer persons. New faces will be added, many roads diverge for longer intervals or even forever.

We are “gatherers and hunters”.

On this path of life, we collect all kinds of “toys”. Some of them are our joy and some of them might actually hurt. Many of these toys come from the past. They might be memories, disappointments, losses, injuries, etc….

Others point towards the future and are just as hard to accept in life. Among them are dreams for life, hopes, fears, expectations, projections, etc….

We do not own things, things own us.

Thus, the backpack we carry through life becomes bigger and heavier all the time. Both the backpack and its content will become ballast for us that might occasionally be quite hard to carry.

There comes a day when we marry.

“Marriage Ceremony” is a conscious decision for me – a commitment – with which we state that we will now share our road through life with another person in a very special way. It is a mutual declaration: “come with me”.

Something new starts. Consequently, a marriage is certainly not a bad time to empty your backpacks, or, better still, to leave them sitting off the road.

Get rid of your backpacks!

Because: life happens in the here and now. If and as long as the past and the future determine what we think and how we act, we do not really live.

So me plea to the bridal pair is: think also about if and how you wish to (and can) make use of today. Why don’t you shed all the ballast from the past. Here is what I would like to wish you:

Spend every day of your lives in continuously growing joy and with more and more courage!

Some of these ideas have also been inspired by the book Ein Tag mit der Liebe (Ein Tag mit der Liebe) by Moshen Charifi; it is a book I highly recommend. In this book, Charifi presents a dialogue during a hike on LOVE and INFATUATION in a wonderfully considerate and violence-free language.

Designed for Katherina and Martin on October, 27th, 2017. And for all the people of this world. In love!

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 18th, 2017

Armies in General and The Bundeswehr in Particular.

About War and PEACE.

It is a great achievement to be able to be peaceful and drink your beer.

Currently, you can again read a lot about the German Armed Forces. Suddenly, many issues re-surface, things that were well known are newly discovered and Frau van der Leyen wants to repair it all. With things such as a “new tradition awareness regulation” and the like. They even start talking about reviving the general military draft. That gives me pause!

However, none of these things will help. Because every army will collapse sooner or later, certainly when matters get serious. Because armies can only function if you have people who can actually see beyond humaneness.

War will always thrive on hatred and enmity. It brings murder and death, useless destruction and annihilation. The soldiers are the instruments that actually realize war.

Consequently, I will now give voice to three theses that show that the German Armed Forces cannot work as they say it works. All three theses are relevant, and not only because of the current developments and discussions. Yet I never hear them in public discussions. Because they would show us how irrational war is. And that is something politics world-wide do not want – among other reasons because the weapons industry does not want it.

First Thesis

An army is not and can never be a “normal” enterprise.

Politics often claim that the German Armed Forces are a normal enterprise that produces security. But that is not what it is. Because: an enterprise is defined as a social system with an economic goal. Said goal is realized through producing things or offering services that the market (the people) need or think they need.

Naturally, the German Armed Forces are also a social system. However, it does not have an economic goal. Its goal is simply to destroy and kill. Its legitimation is fear and its lie of a camouflage is the service “security”. It is considered a matter of course that it exists – based on indisputable “forces”. That is why nobody spends a lot of time thinking about it and, unfortunately, only few persons in Germany sincerely question it.

After WW-II, there was the dream of a peaceful Germany without an army. This dream was quickly destroyed through the re-armament in the 1950s.

The reasons given in favour of armed forces changed again and again during the last sixty years. Let me relate to you how I experienced it as a witness of the time. When it was re-started, the Bundeswehr was sold to us as a

    Thus, the re-armament was a necessary contribution towards defending the “free west”. It was realized against the wishes of the majority of the “stupid” citizens. 
At the time, almost the entire world was – totally irrationally – divided into two blocks through external IMAGES OF THE ENEMY. At school (I grew up in the FRG and was indoctrinated accordingly), I learned that the “East”, which was downtrodden and enslaved by Stalin & Co, wanted to conquer us – the free and rich “West” – and then force communism on us.
    Two blocks confronted each other in maniac distrust, each of them overflowing with weapons and with armies that consisted of millions of people. Ideologically and systemically, they were total opponents. You could only have either COMMUNISM or CAPITALISM. The former was extremely evil, the latter was paradise. The other side said the exact opposite. 
In these blocks, there were two not quite “totally independent states” that had no army. In the West, it was the FDG, in the East, it was the GDR. Due to the image of the enemy – caused by FEAR – and probably also because of pressure put on them by the “allies”, the FRG was the first of the two to decide that re-armament was necessary. They established the Bundeswehr. A few years later, the East reacted, the Peoples’ Army was established in the GDR. This is how the “German” GDR became the most unrelenting enemy of the “German” FRG. The extension was the Warshaw Pact (UdSSR and the rest), i.e., the world of the communists. 
Since everybody understood more or less clearly that the “defense case” would mean the new total destruction of Europe, there came a time when this model was no longer so famous. Consequently, the military strategists came up with something new, the
    They gave people the illusion that war could be kept from your own country and that the enemy can be destroyed (beaten) before you suffer detrimental consequences yourself. Since this assumption did not ring very true, it was based on things like “total deterrence through overkill” and “first-hit doctrine”. . 
The concept reminds me a little of how, today, they think you can win wars by sitting at your desk and sending fighting robots and drones. You will find others to do your dirty work for you. 
The doctrine of advance defence, too, became doubtful. The people no longer believed it, the Cold War disappeared, Russia capitalized itself (late). Corruption increased. Despotism started to grow. Consequently, they looked for “new tasks” for our army – and they found them. The German Armed Forces became part of the
  • World Police
    After all, Germany was glamorous again. Being an economic world-power – so they said – we had the duty to take more “responsibility” for the (new) world order. Along the way, we also noticed that, due to our throw-away-society, we are rather dependent on raw materials and that said raw materials often come from far remote countries. And we assumed that some evil-minded guys of this world wanted to steal them from us. That was another reason to become part of the American World Police. 
Totally as a logical conclusion, the Green and Social-Democratic Parties (!) as the ones in power decided that our Armed Forces were now also necessary abroad. Because if it is not in Germany, waging war is not so bad and no taboo. You can kill people and destroy houses.
    (This alone should be reason enough to never again vote for either of the two parties.)
    This is how we became part of the export of weapons system. 
However, if you look at the wars of the last sixty years, you will soon realize that none of these wars ever improved a situation or solved a problem. All those wars were more or less a failure or totally useless. They always brought a lot of misery to people, many persons were killed or injured, crimes against humanity were committed on a daily basis and the destruction of infrastructure was always massive. Yet, the “political result” was always failure. 
The “small” NATO war on the Balkan is often cited as an example for a successful and just “campaign”. Well, I am not so sure about that. Apart from considerable destruction and the creation of victims, the consequence was that Yugoslavia was liquidated and replaced by a number of small countries. Following modern diction (the belief in huge units such as Europe), this is not considered advantageous, either. 
But it is actually possible that the Balkan war ended useless bloodshed through determined bloodshed. I might perhaps accept this instance as the one exception that proves the rule. 
As soon as we started war against (marched into) Afghanistan, it was clear to me that, basically, war can never solve problems. As a side effect, we learned that it is hard to gain raw materials by means of weapons. It is much easier to buy them with good products and hard cash. Thus, the motivation to play world police dwindled and they needed a new reason for waging war. Luckily for our military and politicians, there was a new enemy:
    Thus, we started our war against terrorism. We even have units stationed in Turkey. Since, basically, terrorism may also come with the refugees, we protect our border on the Mediterranean with armed forces through Frontex. In order to fight terrorism, we are prepared to increase our budget for more armament by fifty per cent in relation to our gross national product. In doing so, we are true to a promise we gave many years ago totally unnecessarily – a promise that our favourite ally under Trump is now demanding we deliver .
I wonder what new enemy they will find when they find out that terrorism cannot be fought with war, either.

Second Thesis

The military principle will cause all armies to derail sooner or later.

The militia and armies are based on a cruel principle. Every soldier must be ready to kill and die if he is ordered to. In war, this is an absolute necessity, because otherwise war will not function. This is something every recruit should be made aware of when he decides to be a soldier. 
Following military concepts, it is impossible that a soldier judges whether or not an order is ethically just or if it can be boycotted. Especially in the real-world scenario, this is unthinkable. Just like it is unthinkable that a soldier may desert his post when he starts having doubts. Deserting your post is a no-go and cannot be compatible with war functioning. 
Since such a situation is about life or death (that is why some desert), there can only be one punishment for a deserter – the immediate execution. Everything else is wishful thinking. War will not work if a soldier is free to desert. Just remember the old proverb:

Imagine there is a war and nobody joins.

If, for instance, today the occasional deserter from the Third Reich’s Wehrmacht is “rehabilitated”, then this is total hypocrisy. Just like the fairy tale about the citizen in uniform is fraud and a lie. It will only work if the army is some kind of bluff weapon that is never supposed to actually be used. I do not believe that his has ever been the case for the German Armed Forces of the FRG – and even if it was so, then that is definitely no guarantee that it may not still be put to practice
Soldiering is based on the perverse basic principle: “Kill or die on order”.

This principle has to be practiced daily. Basically, a social system with this underlying principle cannot develop in a socially reasonable way and it cannot be healthy either. Sooner or later, it must collapse, either totally or in parts. Armies will always feed from the “honour of the private” and his virtues and heroic deeds. In order to keep this stupid pretence up, you will always need a mystic tradition. And this is where the Third Reich Wehrmacht is an ideal concept for today’s German Armed Forces. After all, it was extremely successful for a few years and was consequently glorified in a unique way.
And thus, the perhaps sub-conscious admiration of “heroic deeds of the German Wehrmacht”, transported through several generations, is probably still found in the hearts of many young persons. 
(Cynical note: 
Formerly, I sometimes visited computer vintage markets. And I always met the most enthusiastic computer people. Good IT people basically love computer vintage, and good soldiers love weapon vintage).

Third Thesis

The weapons industry promotes war.

To me, this thesis sounds trivial. Consequently, it is quite clear that I will not make a huge effort to justify it. For the weapons industry, war means “making real money”. If you build weapons, you need war. And we all know that today the concerns generally have a huge influence on political decisions and also on legislation, etc. I am sure that the weapons industry is not in the habit of mincing words.

One of my friends, Jolly Kunjappu, can show you particularly well how weapons concerns “plan and make wars”. You can meet him on July, 8th in the Munich Literaturhaus.

I believe that the re-armament and consequently also the establishment of the weapons industry was the greatest sin of the German post-war politics. This decision was prepared by Adenauer in a conspiratorial way immediately after the FRG started to exist and then it was established against the wishes of the German majority. In my eyes, that was a criminal act and it deprived Germany and the world of a chance.

For us, there is perhaps no other way than to “dis-arm” step-by-step. We have to cut down on weapons budgets world-wide. We have to minimize the influence of the weapons industry – and at the same time, we must also become more peaceful, at least in small steps.

Consequently, here is what I ask of you: please be for PEACE. And you will make me happy if you read my category PEACE  and especially A PEACE manifesto .

Thank you so much!

(Translated by EG)

Carl and Gerlinde (# 49)

Well – it was truly a shock this morning after Carl had beheaded his Sunday morning egg which, for a change, had actually been soft enough inside for spooning out. At the very moment he started eating, Gerlinde said:ZZZZZZZA180843“Carl, I decided to quit smoking as of now!“

As she said this, her face radiated with happiness, regardless of the fact that only a few minutes ago she had been busy in the kitchen without even having washed and made up her face before – which was definitely what she did not really like at all. But then, Carl was so preoccupied with his morning egg that every effort towards looking perfect in the morning would have been a waste of time anyway.

Only when Gerlinde tried her announcement for a second time, introducing her words with a massive hissing and additionally pressing her already empty eggshell on his still uneaten egg, he seemed to wake up and turn towards her.

“Hey, Carly! I am going to stop smoking as of now!“

He glanced at her wordlessly.

“What do you say? Aren’t you glad?“


“Why not? You have been complaining for gazillions of years that the cigarette smell annoys you?“

“Well, yes”, said Carl, took Gerlinde’s empty egg off his half-eaten one in irritation and continued spooning his egg where he had been interrupted, albeit with less zeal.

“So what now?” Gerlinde was at a loss and working her way towards getting fed up.

“Well, do you know what you are doing? You are upsetting the age statistics I just took a huge effort re-arranging!“

“Is this one of your enigmatic jokes that you love as much as I hate them – or what is the meaning of this, my dear Carl?“

“This is not a joke, my dearest Gerlinde, but we are talking the latest scientific facts I processed while integrating all the corrections “.


“Nothing and, Gerlinde! After all, you know quite well that, given our age difference – you are 42 to my 58 – one can easily start wondering “.

“Is that so? All of a sudden?“

“Yes – all of a sudden! But then, perhaps you, too, have been reading the newspapers over the last few days and noticed that, according to the latest retirement statistics, I only have 24 more years to live, while you easily have 44 more years to look forward to, my dear Gerlinde!“

“So where is the problem?“

“The problem is that I, too, want to live another 44 years, just like you!“


“And, following the latest New York study, I have been working on a nice plan how to actually achieve that goal …“

“But that is nice, Carl …“

“Well, it is not – because with your latest remark – though not knowingly – you just made this plan totally unrealistic, Gerlinde …“

“My God, how so?“

“Well, in said study, it says that I can live up to five years longer if I eat five walnuts every day”!
“And an extra five years will be added if I kiss you on a regular basis! A glass of wine every evening gains me another 3.8 years and 15 minutes of daily exercise adds 3 years.

Eating five portions of fruit each day gains me another 3 years and indulging in chocolate rather than gummy bears means one more year. Taken together, that gives me almost exactly those twenty years you have on me statistically, my dear Gerlinde …“

“Except the entire concept has one glitch …“

“Yes, if it were not for the fact that I have to kiss you and that, by being thus kissed you would again live five years more than I …“

“I can see that the situation is really bad…“

“Yes, it is grave, but all this could be regulated if, once in a while, I were to kiss our friend Hannelore instead of you …“

“A great idea, because then she, too, will live longer …“

“Yes – and besides, you know, she is not really a bad kisser! But the true catastrophe will start if you really stop smoking. Basically, according to the New York study, this will give you 10 extra years. And since I do not smoke, I have not the slightest chance of growing old alongside you, my dearest Gerlinde. That is just a plain fact!“

And it was also a fact that Gerlinde no longer answered, but instead acted. So Carl suddenly found himself in the middle of an unspeakable confusion of shattered breakfast cutlery, marmalade, butter, coffee and tea under a tablecloth that Gerlinde had thrown at him …

Gerlinde was quite sure that this activity was not conducive to a longer life, but judging by the moaning that came from under the tablecloth, it did not have an immediate life-shortening effect, either – regardless of the advanced years of the pitiful candidate …

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday October 1st, 2016

Living in PEACE – Like a Bird that is Part of a Swarm …

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, a variation of the peace dove. This has been an established symbol of the Western European, and especially the German Peace Movement since the 1980ies. Originally, it was developed in the context of opposition against the NATO double track decision.

Why peace?

After having finished my operative work at InterFace AG late in 2014, I wanted to give my remaining time, my talents and my network to causes that I find truly desirable. For PEACE. Because ever since my childhood, PEACE has been the most important issue for me.

There is a lot I have learned since then.

It now slowly dawns on me how hard it is to realize PEACE. Not because PEACE as such is impossible. Instead, it is because we, our socialization and our social systems are basically non-peaceful. And because you cannot gain PEACE by through non-peaceful lives, concepts, tools methods….

Why is PEACE so important for me?

PEACE is the central and highest value. This is something I have believed ever since I was quite young. Living in PEACE is the most important and necessary requirement for individual and collective happiness. Consequently, I started the “Project PEACE”. I will report on it regularly in this blog.

I am surprised how much I learned during just a few months into this project and how my judgement of the procedure changed. After all, what I originally wanted was to build a strong organization that has a strong voice and, for instance, realizes visible events for PEACE.

What was the plan?

I used to believe that, basically, you had to do everything you also learned as an entrepreneur, as it is probably also the latest state of the art:

You create a logo, write good and short pitches, come up with a manifesto (I was going to take the “agile manifesto“ as my model), design a statute, write a business plan, create a system of values, generate constructive rules of cooperation and formulate a precise mission. Then you look for a few like-minded persons, initiate a project and work on it together.

Based on this idea, I was going to find a lot of people who support the project PEACE. And there were lots of ideas what the organization for PEACE thus developed could do. For instance, there was the idea to also recruit artists, all sorts of multipliers and many persons of good intentions as “comrades in arms” (along with their creativity and strength) for the project.

And there was, for example, also the idea of making a superb film about PEACE. And/or to draft “social media projects”, for instance in snapchat, with friends. The idea looked so simple. Let us wake up and involve people through many great activities. And let us make use of all their ideas and creativity. In order to make the world understand that you need not justify why you are absolutely in favour of the idea of PEACE.

In order to finance these activities, there was the idea of founding a supporting enterprise the main purpose of which it would have been to raise money for the PEACE project activities. Most non-profit agencies use these kinds of “money suppliers” that provide them with cash – with quite a substantial bonus for the suppliers. Mostly, they raise money using classical methods, such as begging letters, personal addresses, TV advertisements, etc. Naturally, following the trend of modern times, it had been my intention to use the internet, because I was sure this was the most efficient and economical way to do it.

Thus, I thought we were going to build up a snow-ball system, illuminating many small PEACE fires that eventually would merge and become an all-encompassing PEACE fire.

Why is that the wrong approach?

After many discussions with friends, in particular with Jolly, Carmen and Gudrun – and after intense phases of contemplation – I understood that this is not really how it can be done. Because non-peacefulness is deeply rooted in the system we live in. A system that socialized us and pushed our concepts in non-peaceful directions. And I understand better and better – incidentally, this is quite logical – how (almost) all the dimensions of our social life are counter-productive for a peaceful (co)existence. Our everyday life is not peaceful, enmity is rooted deeply within us, just as all our stories, sagas, and fairy tales are not peaceful.

So if we want PEACE, the only thing we can do is start with a good example and change ourselves. Perhaps we will be more of a success if we cooperate than as individuals. Perhaps there are more persons out there whom we might “infect” with this need of ours. And if there are enough of us willing and capable of living in PEACE, then we might perhaps develop the strength of the swarm that the system has to follow.

Through the classical means of actually existing systems, however, we will not manage PEACE. Just as the old proverb says: “you cannot replace one evil with another”.

You could say that, from early childhood, we have been coded to want NON-PEACE, and it still continues. The (success) patterns we generally live and use are exactly what causes and promotes partisanship and enemy concepts. It is easy for fear, envy and hatred, and eventually war, to develop in this atmosphere. However, we cannot generate peace with war-like behaviour.

ust like I believe you cannot force tolerance through intolerance.

Consequently, PEACE cannot be a project, because the very term “project” is based on a mental concept that is not at all peaceful – let me remind you of terms such as plan, goal, deadline, resources and budget. PEACE is a very special commodity. It cannot be gained with the traditional western-European/American way of thinking.

I want to live!

And I personally do not want to continue with the classical patterns that formed and controlled me almost all my life, either. I no longer want to fight for something. Also, I no longer feel like convincing people to do something, making plans, building up structures, initiating tools, controlling organizations, suffering under the resulting systemic bureaucracy, subjugating honesty in words and activities under political goals, justifying any means because they serve a good purpose, having endless meetings, writing endless minutes and discussing what is actually meant.

I no longer want to “manage things“!

No, I am fed up with fighting for consensus and dubious compromises in groups until all my strength is used up and trying to get different personalities to come to terms with each other again and again. Also, I do not wish to sacrifice myself for PEACE, among other things because I consider martyrdom non-peaceful and a totally wrong concept.

The approach I used to believe in – even if it was extremely well-meant – will not bing us a single step closer to PEACE. Simply because we live in the wrong system and cannot achieve the right things by using the wrong methods of this system. Just like real life cannot exist in wrongness.

Consequently, I now believe we can only get PEACE if it is given space to develop by itself. And in order to achieve this, I have to start with myself. If I am perceptive, I keep discovering how non-peaceful I still am. All the time. That is something I wish to change.

However, the idea of PEACE has not died inside me. On the contrary. I also wish to keep promoting and supporting individual projects. For instance, I would really like to do a “superb film” on PEACE.

Maybe it will help?

Here is how I think today:
We have to find a way for PEACE to develop quasi by itself in our world. To be sure, such a thing might seem rather utopian at the moment, yet I want to seek it and build a beautiful utopia.

Perhaps humans together will find the path towards PEACE through beautiful utopias. But, just as with all innovative things, we have to liberate ourselves from the jail of our way of thinking in which – so it seems to me – we have been held prisoner for thousands of years.

Innovation is always also creative destruction. Consequently, the path towards PEACE will mean that we have to give up much and that we will lose much that has grown inside us and that we consider loved, precious and indispensable. On the way, we will have to break many patterns that seem to be part of our being! And that can really hurt. Yet it will probably be worth it. As far as I am concerned, I absolutely want to try it.


To me, the following things seem utterly true:
We will not make any progress with thinking in the classical way. We want something new and therefore must find new ways. Thus, I will not give up, but instead will continue looking for a path towards PEACE.

What we need is a path towards PEACE that gives us pleasure and that we actually want to use ourselves.

These ideas gave birth to a new idea. Maybe the following metaphor can help when looking for the new way:

Let us become healthy, strong and peaceful birds that live in PEACE as part of a swarm. And let us become strong enough to move the world towards PEACE.

I am sure that we will find lots of friends. Perhaps this is the basis or the point of origin for a new utopia PEACE – and thus part of the solution to the riddle that lies ahead.

Jolly says:
You cannot fight for PEACE – you have to live in peace.

Living in PEACE – that is what we really need to practice, otherwise we cannot succeed. Consequently, in the future, I will not speak about a Project PEACE, but about living in PEACE. And I will continue with my attempts at finding other persons who, like me, are looking for PEACE.

Many thanks to the readers of this extremely important article!

(Translated by EG)


Ask-an-Answer_1m-185x300Event Notice.

On April, 28th, at 6 p.m., Jolly and I invite our friends to join us at the InterFace AG building.

We want to tell them about our central and very personal wish in our very special way.

There is a nice reason for this invitation, because Jolly Kunjappu’s new book “Ask An Answer“ has just been published.

Consequently, we will introduce it to you on this day.

About the two of us:

So klein ist der Mensch. Am linken Rand Muhamed, Führer und Freund.

This is how small humans are,
Egypt February 2016.

Roland Dürre:

My operational activity with InterFace AG ended on January, 1st, 2015.

I try to make good use of my newly earned freedom and make others (and myself as well) a little happier and more successful.

Besides supporting teams (such as start-ups) and individual persons (young and old persons, females and males), I try to promote a social future worth living in. Thus, I became an activist for a new future  in the mobility sector.

However, since my adolescence, peace has been the most important issue for me.

I will now join Jolly and start a vision I have had for a long time, the project ”peace“.

In the future, I want to act, instead of always thinking and talking so much.

That particular Thursday evening, too, will only see me talking once on a very important issue.

Most of the time will be reserved for the message sent by my friend Jolly Kunjappu on April, 28th.

Denker, Künstler und vor allem Mensch.

Philosopher, Artist and above all: Human Being.

Jolly Kunjappu:

Jolly visited almost all countries of this world and spent many years as inspiring enterprise counsellor on the managerial level – including for some DAX enterprises. He distinguished himself both as an artist (painting, music, performance) and a philosopher, who creates his own way of life as a counsellor and orator.

I first met Jolly at an event organized by the Munich Chess Foundation and immediately felt that our values, expectations, interests and needs are similar.

Jolly will give a strong appeal and communicate his (our) message with more than words.

I would like to thank the InterFace AG for providing the rooms for this very special IF FORUM. We will make use of our performance and send a strong video message into the world and we will also record the presentations.

The event is free and will be held on Thursday, April, 28th, 2016 at 6.30 p.m. in the Seminar area of InterFace AG in Unterhaching. We welcome you from 6 p.m..

As always, there will be the opportunity to relax and exchange opinions with tasty food and diverse beverages after the official program. This is a personal invitation for our friends (and those who would like to become our future friends). Consequently, we would appreciate your registration. As always, just send an E-Mail to the InterFace AG or directly to me.

Jolly Kunjappu

Meister Deines eigenen Lebens

Sei kein Sklave eines Systems
Sei Meister deines eigenen Lebens.

München, Deutschland Mai, 1990

Master of Your Own Life

Don’t be a slave of a system

Be a master of your own life.
Munich, Germany, May 1990

I already look forward to an evening full of emotions, exciting discussions and great conversations!

(Translated by EG)

CLOU/HIT at InterFace Connection

How Wolf and I eventually ended up doing it ourselves.

During the Berlin PM Camp, I related the stories of four projects from my vintage time. They were all very important to me. And I told you here  that I was going to describe them all in the IF blog.

if-logoProjekt 4

Now comes the story of my fourth project:

Even before 1983, I was fed up with working for others. At the time, I was still a Softlab employee. This is where I learned to extend my one-sided competence – with the exception of a little SNA (IBM), it was mostly Siemens technology – and learn more IBM technologies. In particular, however, I was able to learn about the different systems of the “intermediate data technology”.

I am talking machines which, dependent on their storage unit, consisted of two to three parts and had the size of Bosch refrigerators. That means they were a lot smaller and also a lot simpler than mainframe. At the time, those were especially fashionable. Consequently, there was an enormous amount of European and non-European competition with differing and often very proprietorial technology. Kienzle and Nixdorf were also among those aspiring MDT enterprises. And in those days, even in a city like Munich, the same software was developed synchronously in different enterprises for different technologies.

I am sure that Softlab was one of the most innovative German “software houses”. They, too, had a proprietorial system, the famous PET-Maestro. For me, this was the first system without the permanent frustration of data loss, because the Pet-Maestro already worked in symbols – and every symbol was immediately transferred to the hard drive. Consequently, you had a current warm start with every reset – and nothing was lost! It was such a relief to finally no longer have to fear data loss at all time when working, for example, with EDT or EDOR.

On other fronts, I also learned a lot of new things at Softlab. This is particularly true for the business sector: how to formulate an offer so that it contains the least possible risk, how to talk with the VB-s of the big enterprises (Bull, ICL, IBM, Nixdorf, Siemens – even at that time, nothing was going without the big ones), or how to write studies.

This is how I became a paper tiger (totally unrelated to paper tiger, the famous Chinese theatre movement). And in those days, it was (still) true that you got better pay per hour as a paper tiger than as a programmer. Thus equipped, I wanted to do it myself. Yet I did not dare to start all alone. So I went in search of a partner. I looked for and identified persons in my vicinity who I found nice and competent. And who perhaps also wanted to found a company. There were quite a few. But again and again, nothing came of it.

Until Wolf (Geldmacher) came. Wolf was considerably younger than I. Technologically, he was super. And our view of things was similar. Meaning that our values, expectations, interests and needs complemented each other. I was more the old style programmer – and Wolf had the knowledge about everything that was modern and new in IT. Also, Wolf knew absolutely no compromises when it came to quality. And if anybody had common sense, then it was Wolf. And I guess those are the most important factors: competence, common sense, quality awareness. Then you only need to be a nice guy…

Consequently, we founded the short version of InterFace Connection. We inherited the InterFace from Peter Schnupp, the “Connection” was our own contribution. That is what we wanted to be together with our employees: a “connection” that sticks together and later shares its success. We founded the enterprise in 1983 and started business on April, 1st, 1984.

But then, the enterprise is not the project I want to talk about. The project was about developing a product. And there were two reasons why Wolf and I wanted to have a product: firstly, we were convinced that a product would be something to be proud of. It creates an identity. Secondly, a product is easier to scale than a service.

Besides, in our eyes, the then well-established concept of “body leasing” did not have a future. Basically, we still believed in the law and as founders, it was pretty obvious to us that the common form of body leasing was exactly what, according to the AÜG, was simply illegal.

It did not take us long to become quite convinced that, in those days, Unix was the best basis for future products. Also, we agreed without hesitation that, basically, everything you needed for using computers was still missing in Unix. And in particular, we saw that a text system was sadly missing. And that the first thing you would have to develop rather quickly on Unix with its new data displays (in raw or cooked mode) and especially with the language c was a comfortable typewriter.

Since we had a huge amount of respect for the production and successful marketing of a product, we started the development of the product in cooperation with InterFace Computer. It did not take long before we had a small success in the SINIX (the Siemens Unix) environment. Consequently, the development of the product was moved to us and the InterFace Computer was put in charge of the ports and the sales on the “remaining market”.

And in no time, we also had a two-digit number of team members, all of them very young. In general, they were students. They had to have programming competence and be nice. And they had to cope with the work, regardless of their double burden of studying and working. Nothing else mattered to us.

Since Wolf and I (along with a few young employed computer scientists with academic diplomas whom we got through aforementioned body leasing and whose hours cost between 150 and 120 DM) financed the entire development, the young persons were rather free to come and go as they pleased. The only control was our assistant Heidi (Kaindl). Heidi was quite in charge of all the young persons, taking good care that everybody actually worked. The only times Wolf and I met them was during meetings (soon after our foundation, women, too, were employed).

In those days, Wolf had the role of SCRUM-Master and more (even though the word SCRUM did not yet exist). He told the team about quality. And that, first and foremost, they produced quality not for our customers, not for our sales partners Siemens and not for the InterFace Connection. Instead, being honest programmers, they needed to produce quality in their own interest. And Wolf had rather high standards and was very strict. If someone was not able or willing to deliver quality, he or she had no future at the “Connection”. But Wolf also protected the team, for instance when I tried to limit resources. And he made sure that we invested were necessary.

My task was perhaps that of the Product Owner. At least in the beginning. When I had been a young boy, I had been forced to learn stenography and typing. I used to love stenography, because it is a beautiful way of writing. It does not hurt your hand, as normal writing does. But I hated the typewriter. And I knew exactly how a good editing machine would have to look. I had also written it down in the time of our foundation.

When things got more complicated and, for instance, CLOU with its “embedded sql“ was added to our repertory, I transferred the role of Product Owner to our customers. And that was one of my best decisions ever. Because the customers actually were able to tell us their ideas about an automated chip processing. They showed us how to continue on our way.

One of our rules was that all employees – with the exception of Heidi – were able to program. Heidi was our first and most important customer. As soon as the first HIT version was available, we confiscated “nroff-makros”, her “office vi”, and she had to use HIT – which, incidentally, she did not appreciate at all. After all, the vi solution had not been so bad. Later, however, she learned to love her HIT. Surprise, surprise! After all, she was one of those who built it!

All other colleagues on the HIT team had to work hands-on. In other words, all of them had to be able to program, find errors and, above all, co-work (team work).

We were very early users of tools that would be commonly used a lot later. But this was only true for tools that actually made sense, such as “lint” for the quality control of our code or “sccs” for the source code administration. I am pretty sure that, time and again, we were the first in Munich. We were also earlier than most of the others using a “tracker” and an automatic “built”. But we never used planning software. Just as we always took pains to avoid “bureaucrazy”.

So all of us involved in the project were programmers. And we actually always coordinated in the team who was going to develop what. The personalities of the people involved were very diverse. But then, we also had the magic programmer. It was not entirely in jest that we called him “God”. But the first rule was that we were a team. Everybody helped everybody. Our motto was: “one for all, all for one”. Nobody was ever left in a lurch. And whenever you did not know a way out, you asked your colleague. Pair-programming in the strict sense did not exist, because it went without saying that this was practiced quasi automatically. Consequently, there were always several persons who knew the sources of the others. It was like an overlapping system that worked well some way or other without many words.

Of course, we had a rather complicated system with an awful lot of modules, interfaces, tools, API-s in our development. In total, a huge number of lines of code was produced. There were modules for the virtualization of keyboards, terminals or printers. We had developed the first National Language Support. Later, it became part of the X-Open UNIX implementation. We had complicated modules and modules everybody feared, as well as boring modules. Once in a while, we also had to find errors in the compilers we used.

The team always decided among themselves who was going to take on which task. Everything was part of the project: our value bank, mostly constituting of OpenSource components for source code administration, for the Built and the partly automated test, for the ports to the many end systems the Unix world then offered. Even producing the customer newsletter HITNews, which at the time was printed four times a year and determining the structure of the courses were part of it. Everything was done together, everyone .gave his best.

Naturally, once in a while there were situations when perhaps someone was unable to cope. Because maybe he did not yet have enough experience or perhaps he had underestimated the task. But then a colleague would help. The right person was always available. And when it was really necessary, there was still “God”.

Of course, everybody had his own role in the team. Each of us was a project manager and as such responsible for the appointments he had made. Some had more, others less. Each of us was a quality manager. Some more so, others less. Of course, there was something like a first contact for our customers and our partners. It was always a mutual decision (“who is the best for this job?”), but he remained in the team as a programmer. But, basically, every developer answered the questions of his customers. After all, they simply came into our office. The central bell rang, and whoever was the first to answer the telephone was talking to the customer.

Naturally, some of the colleagues were more concerned with integration, planning, configuration and the built-theme, the manual, … But every one of them was always fully integrated into the team in terms of technology.

But everybody always went back to programming. And everybody was responsible for top quality. For instance because they built automatic test environments simply as a part of the project. The responsibility was totally shared.

With the success came the necessity to have teachers for our product HIT/CLOU. During the first few years, all the developers also taught the courses. This was true for teaching the end users, the special users, the systems engineers, the operators and the programmers. Even the central persons, like Friedrich Lehn, the “father” of CLOU, taught courses where beginners were instructed on how to program CLOU.

There were instances when the developers did not appreciate this. After all, developing is much more important, isn’t it? But the courses were quite popular (because, after all, the colleagues knew what they were talking about, which certainly counterbalances the occasional “didactical” weakness). But the great thing about it was that our colleagues always knew exactly what the customer wanted and needed! This is how the customers as a whole became the Product Owners.
Due to these inter-disciplinary tasks, our colleagues grew both in technological competence and personality at enormous speed – that is also true for sales competence. More often than not, it was unbelievable how young students became experts with a huge self-esteem after a few months.

Without ever saying it out loud, we on our team understood even at that time that it is all about making all the persons in the team and in the enterprise look biggger instead of smaller. And to make them be part of everything and share everything. We knew that we often had to have really steep goals, often even bold goals. Otherwise, we would never have managed our product. But we also knew, especially in this situation, the importance of living a strong error tolerance.

The colleague in the team or the customer must never ever be the enemy or adversary. Instead, the only enemies were the challenge or the detrimental circumstances.

Wolf and I were the “management”. But we were more like visitors in our enterprise. After eight to ten hours with customers every day, we came back to our employees at home in the office for recreation. They were all our friends, it felt good to be near them. And they showed us all the great things they had, again, created. We gave our feedback and then disappeared to our next day of consultancy.

And whenever a nice result was achieved, we all celebrated. It was the best time of my life. We learned so much. We also learned that thinking normal and conservatively is often nonsense. For instance, I always wanted to deliver to our customers on time. And I had to learn that this is utter nonsense.

Because if you want to create something really innovative, you will learn again and again that deadlines do not make any sense at all. It simply will not work. If a deadline can absolutely not be met, then all that matters is a functioning communication and looking for a solution that satisfies the customer. Because when they are all in one boat and want to be a success together, then there is always a solution – and we found out that it can always be done.

I already hear your objection: 
Well, it might work for a small project. But what about a huge project?

To be sure, we were perhaps less than 50 persons. But the very same projects had failed with more than one huge concern. They had often used five times as many persons as we or even more. Expensive, experienced and highly qualified ones. But it did not work.

I believe it can be done in the same way if you have a huge or even a very huge project if many such great teams are linked and cooperate with good-will.

(Translated by EG)