Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Sunday October 15th, 2017

Great Orators and Their Stories – #7 Jolly Kunjappu

I started with the “Day Labourer” Alain Neumann. Then I told you about Hans-Jörg Bullinger and Hans Strack Zimmermann before arriving at Augustinus Heinrich Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck, Klaus-Jürgen Grün and Rupert Lay .

Today, it is my special pleasure to add my friend Jolly Kunjappu to the list of names in my personal hall of fame.
Jolly’s motto is INSPIRING PEOPLE. Today, he sees himself as a Performance Artist, Keynote Speaker and Philosopher. In his life, Jolly Kunjappu lived many different roles. Among other things, he played music with such well-known musicians as Mick Jagger. He also organized “drum” seminars for top managers.

One of the activities I shared with him was my cooperation in the series of presentations about peace. Here is what he himself says about it.

You will find several articles about what he does in the IF Blog.

I bow to Jolly and his life work.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 6th, 2017

Catalonia

My Dream of EUROPE

La senyera – The Catalonian Flag.

Currently, everybody talks about Catalonia. So I will also add my “five cent”:

I would be quite glad if Catalonia were to secede from Spain. It would not do any harm to Europe, either. On the contrary.

And Catalonia would not be able to escape the EURO, either. Consequently, we would also have to permit them to remain in the EU and ignore a possible veto from Spain if Catalonia applies for EU membership. After all, they already were members, which means that it is not a new membership.

Maybe the remainder of Spain wants to continue with the monarchy as established by Franco and apply for leaving the EU? However, I would not recommend it to them. They definitely should refrain from re-erecting Franco monuments and leave fascism well alone.

We might need a few additional stars – just like we need more of them in the skies?

But this is not about Catalonia. For me, it is all about a vision for Europe that would probably contribute a little towards solving a few of the current problems.

What we need is a EUROPE that is a close-knit federation of regions (i.e. regional countries or states). These regions should have more or less the same size and thus be able to cooperate at eye-level. My assumption is: the smaller the states, the more of them we have and the closer they are connected, the better!

To be sure, to make it a success, a few requirements that are hard to meet would need to be fulfilled:

  1. A federation of European regions would have to serve the people – and not the entrepreneurs, concerns and speculators.    
For me, that is a central requirement. Consequently, free markets at any price, the mindless abolition of borders do not have priority. Limitless growth, maximum consumption for all and unlimited riches cannot be the ultimate goal of a new “federation of values Europe”.  Just like a misinterpreted freedom without duties is not a value.
  2. Europe cannot be allowed to become an end in itself.    
Europe must not aim at becoming a superpower and have an internationally leading role, perhaps even be some kind of new world police. Because that is not what we need and besides, a Europe that develops sustainably will have an important role worldwide with huge influence anyway, even without nuclear weapons and carriers.
  3. Solidarity is not something that is achieved through subsidies.    
Solidarity between regions and humans cannot be achieved by handing out cheques. In particular, it cannot be achieved exclusively by handing out cheques. The subsidies for farming in the old EU are a good example. They destroyed exactly what they (perhaps) wanted to preserve.
  4. The national states must go.    
That is true for all of them, especially the big ones like Germany, France, Italy, Spain … (and also Great Britain, which, as of now, is still part of it). Because we no longer need all this nationally dominated lamenting – we could actually leave it, for instance, to soccer.

For me, the points 1 and 4 are the most important.

Ad 1.)  What is so bad about a county protecting its local markets and characteristics in a reasonable way? What is so bad about more control if crime increases? As I see it, you need some kind of border control when you have reached a certain dimension. And if that is so, then I prefer a systematic and controlled way of doing it, rather than  the haphazard way we see today.
In a living and responsibly functioning Europe, there can be no room for lobbyism and the currently existing oligarchy of interest groups they call parties.
This may sound unimaginable, because you need to re-define democracy and probably you will also need a more direct democracy. But we are entitled to some utopian ideas!
Because we have the right (and the obligation) to preserve the European cultures in all their diversity and to also preserve a heterogeneous Europe. This must be explicitly desired in a Europe of regions. It must be discussed together and supported by ample means. Otherwise, Europe will never really materialize.
And it must happen in the interest of all people – except the speculators and some super rich individuals or super powerful systems. Especially if they are de-personalized and have become independent.

Ad 4.)  
How nice would it be to have a Europe of smallish regions. The reasons why it would be nice are mostly rational. Basically, small and self-organised systems always work better than big ones, especially if those big ones are also controlled and administered externally. Flat hierarchies make a realistic form of subsidiarity easier. Politically spoken, we would only have two, rather than – as today – three hierarchical levels in the “upper echelons”.
In this model, the EU would be the top level and the international presence of all regions. It is controlled by the council of the regions, all of which can have their own autonomous structures. The nationally infected level in between, for instance Berlin, Paris, Rome – or, in this case, Madrid – would be gone for good.
You would also no longer need a veto right for individual states (no matter if we are talking a few 100,000 people or 80 million). It would be replaced by a qualified majority in the council of regions.
Whenever a region falters or behaves totally irrational, which is something that can always happen, it would be easier to heal than today. Just remember how impossible it is to influence a country like Poland. In a system at eye-level, it would also be easier and more direct to practice solidarity than it can be done with the current EU sprinkling system.
In other words, the EU would have to consist of “states” none of which can be bigger than, for example, Bavaria. But perhaps even Bavaria is too big to be just one EU region? Even here, a reasonable division is quite feasible, and thus at least a good solution would be possible.
So we have to divide the national states. It would be easy for the FR of Germany, because we already have a rather reasonable county structure. You could just take it (and perhaps improve it as suggested in the last paragraph). I would leave small states like Bremen or Hamburg. If currently Estonia qualifies for EU membership, why should not the two proud German Hanseatic Cities be a region each – just like Estonia would be a region?

If we wish to heal EUROPE, then we may and must definitely have and strive towards these kinds of utopian ideas! Otherwise it will never become true! And then comes the big hangover!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Here is a positive idea about the so detrimental shared currency:    
I basically believe that the best solution would be to have different currencies according to the “maturity/state” of a region (I will call them EURO1, EURO2 and EUROn). But that is a very complicated topic. I would rather not discuss it here.
However, here is a positive idea if you have only one EURO: It is quite possible that one EURO for all regions– regardless of many disadvantages – could also have a huge advantage. One EURO for all of them would be something like the iron ring that holds them all together. And thus it makes it impossible to exit and helps when it comes to overcoming future regional crises. But then, that would again need another utopia to become reality – a currency policy of the EZB that differs from the one currently witnessed under “Super-Mario“ Draghi.

A few thousand years ago, homo sapiens invented  the wheel and – a little later – the lever. It took us humans a few more millennia until the wheelbarrow was invented – although it is, basically just a combination of the wheel and the lever. After that, it did not take too long for such basic things as the crank and the gear-wheel to be invented. And the steam engine, the Diesel motor and electricity…

And with the information and communication technology, we really got under way.

This looks like they took me to the photo studio – and I was probably wondering what was going to happen.

I often wonder when our house had its first electric motor. I am sure it was no earlier than 1955, when we moved from the country to the city. I still remember that, in the late fifties, a spin-dryer for our laundry basement was a modern achievement – and it definitely had an electric motor.

As far as I remember, there were no other  electronic devices (Elektro-Geräte) in our household at the time. Until we got the first Märklin model railway. Then things really started to happen.

Up until then, the mechanical devices in our household all had a hand-crank. And complicated gear-wheels. For example the meat chopper, the coffee grinder, the machine for making cream. The drill, too, was hand-worked.
Consequently, I admired gear-wheels very much …

There came a day when our teacher took the class to see the Renk Zahnradfabrik
(it must have been in my third or fourth form)
– today, it is a stock-market enterprise and part of  MAN AG.

The school was next to St. Anton’s church and not far from the “Wittelsbacher Park“. In this park, you could see something special: the “Rudolf Diesel Hain“. It was a quadrangle that had the size of an allotment garden and cypress-like plants grew all around it. There was an entry and an exit and inside were huge rocks from Japan. On copper plates, one could read what the Japanese People had written to thank the Great German Rudolf Diesel for his invention of the motor (at least that is how I remember it) that saved mankind world-wide from debasing and hard physical labour. That is why they had made the City of Augsburg – where the great man had been born – a present of this rock.

The Rudolf Diesel Hain was a nice piece of nature that became my cherished refuge when I could not be bothered to attend weekly mass on Sundays.

For me, the tour of the plant was very exciting. It is definitely something special to see how iron is processed – and the people working in the business were just as special. After the tour, the tour guide gave our teacher a rather heavy gear-wheel (perhaps 20 cm in diameter). It must have weighed several kilograms.

I assume that the gear-wheel was a throw-away product. It seems that the wife of our teacher was not too enthusiastic about the strange thing he brought home.

When school started on the next morning, he put it on his desk and announced: now you all will write an “adventure report” about our trip. And the winner (the student who wrote the best report) was going to get the gear-wheel as prize.

I was absolutely over the top. Because I absolutely had to get this gear-wheel. To be sure, I was the total outsider, because writing was my Achilles’ Heel. Since I had learned to read before starting school and was already through with most of the Karl May books, I found the school books rather boring.

But what is all this if there is a prize you absolutely want to win? Nothing!
Consequently, this was an essay I wrote with more effort than I ever again did anything in my life. I wanted that gear-wheel, still remembered my fascination with the trip and wrote the script for the play. I even tried to avoid formal mistakes and took care of my punctuation – which were things that, in those days, I generally could not have cared less about. I even took special pains with my handwriting. I strongly suspect that those became the only pages in my exercise books that were not poorly scrawled.

Since that day, I know the meaning of the word “motivated”.

I had to wait a day or two, then came the decision. And – lo and behold – I came in first and won the gear-wheel. And I was the happiest person alive. I remained the happiest person on the way home. However, when I arrived at home, the only comment my mother had when she saw my good grade on the essay was “there you see: if you make an effort, you really can write a good essay”. The gear-wheel was not at all appreciated. On the contrary. The comment was: “What a peculiarity are you bringing home this time?”

Well, my teacher had probably met with the same indifference a few days earlier when he brought it home. But that was not really much of a consolation for me.

The gear-wheel got a special place in my room. It smelled nicely of machine oil.

I still remember how, perhaps ten years later, my mother forced me to throw it out. It was a really nice gear-wheel.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday October 2nd, 2017

QUESTIONS (NOT JUST) FOR ENTREPRENEURS

A no more quite “green” but still young entrepreneur in his Unterhaching office (1993 ?).

On June, 7th,
I asked several human and general questions.

And I supplemented them on October, 1st by writing a few theses about what it means to “be human”.

The current social consensus – if such a thing still exists – is something I understand less and less.

Today, let me ask a few questions concerning our “social market economy”. If that is something we here still want at all – because, for a long time, it has now only existed to a limited extent.

The economy is supposed to serve the people. Rather than vice versa. The same must be true for enterprises. They, too, are supposed to serve the people – instead of people serving the enterprise.

The Definition:
An enterprise is a social system that has an economic goal.
The goal of an enterprise is to create products and/or to generate a service. They develop structures and organize themselves. Enterprises have a structure that should actually serve the interest of the people and not work against it.

The Rule:
Common good is more important than profit maximization!
In a social market economy, the enterprises must realize a shared common-good economy. Bowing to the influence of lobbyists in order to increase your own profit is just as forbidden as externality (Externalität – costs being externalized). The principle that profit is privatized but losses are socialized cannot prevail!

And there are more questions:

  • Why are enterprises allowed to offer things that nobody needs? And why can they then artificially create the demand for it?
  • Why do enterprises that produce in the sectors armament and tobacco have the highest margins by far?
  • Why do concerns so often act criminally?
  • Why are criminal enterprises then even subsidized or socially accepted?
  • Why is it permitted that, for enterprises that work in the health sector (medicine, pharmacy,…), the shareholder value is more important than the mandate to make humans more healthy?
  • Why have so many enterprises (social systems with an economic goal) shed their human-based concepts and become systemically independent?
  • Why do we still have disciplinary bosses?
  • Why is work still measured in time units?
  • Why do even high-tech enterprises have punch cards?
  • Why is there no transparency to incomes?
  • Why do we need human source departments?
  • Why do top managers often earn many hundred times more than their employees?
  • Why do you need marketing if you offer high quality products?
  • What is the duty of marketing, other than manipulate people towards consuming?
  • What kinds of enterprises do we have if – with the help of lobbyism – they change the rules to their advantage and thus generate no end of damage to the common good?
  • Why is the “fear to lose your job” (without further consideration) a free ticket if you want to keep useless economic and social structures and if you want to destroy the environment?
  • Why is “change and modification” not at all possible if it threatens economic interests?
  • Why do they always point out how great the economic risks are, but ignore or question  the chances in all the discussions?
  • Why does the interest of the shareholders always have priority over the needs of the other stakeholders (employees, customers, providers, … )?
  • Why do so many people believe that privatization is the magic medicine that solves all problems?
  • Why are communal and/or state-owned enterprises still frowned upon and considered second-class enterprises, although, for example, many local providers show that they actually know what they are doing?
  • What is the practical advantage of “ethical fig leaves” like “CSR“ (Corporate Social Responsibility) or “BGM“ (Betriebsgesundheits-Management)?
  • Why do we not understand that enterprises, as social systems, are closer to being biological units than machines where, by turning the right screws, you can control and increase the turnout and profit to your liking?
  • Why is the consumer in theory the “protected holy cow”, yet in practice he is always more the “disregarded and hunted animal that consumes”?
  • Why is the stakeholder value still the end-all-be-all?
  • Why is everything just about growth and maximization?
  • And many more questions …

Basically, we all know what should happen. Isn’t it terrible that everybody knows it yet nobody is interested? Perhaps because money is the only metric unit that counts and that everybody believes in.

The highest human right in the elderly FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) is no longer the “dignity of man“; it has become “the protection of acquired possession“.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

I looked upon the world with a child’s eyes. And all I could do was admire it.

On June, 7th, I asked a lot of questions, see here.

But perhaps it is better if you first read this article and then deal with my questions.

They were questions about how irrational we humans are.

Questions that hurt me.

Because we ruin the world and destroy ourselves.

Because we are a society where this is all common knowledge, and yet we DO NOTHING.

Because these questions as such are already hard to understand and you cannot find an answer.

However, it gets worse when I start thinking about what it means to LIVE.

And all the things we CAN DO, EXPERIENCE and CREATE.

Things we CAN DO

  • We can THINK.
  • We can TALK.
  • We can FEEL.
  • We can LOVE.
  • We can DANCE.
  • We can DRAW.
  • We can SING.
  • We can DREAM.
  • We can TELL STORIES.

Our EXPERIENCES

  • We are man and woman.
  • We have children.
  • We live.
  • We are at a loss.
  • We are helpless.
  • We must die.
  • We are torn between helplessness and omnipotence.

What we CREATED

  • Language.
  • Script.
  • Mathematics.
  • Music.
  • The wheel, the lever, the wheelbarrow, the bike
  • Tools, machines and the internet.

We have become so prudent that we actually feel and know:

We cannot continue in this way!

Yet we do nothing.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday September 30th, 2017

Isn’t Life Nice if You Are Not on the Phone All The Time …

Sometimes I am not sure why, but it seems that, these days, I never have time to write. Perhaps it is because I enjoy life very much and take plenty of time off. Which means that IF Blog suffers.

Consequently, for reasons of efficiency, I use ideas I discussed with other persons as a basis for my articles. Which is what happens today.

For instance, if I have a new business partner and we plan to exchange ideas quite frequently (cooperating), then I ask him not to send me emails but instead to switch to a chatter of his choice. And I start a thread for us.

Besides, I ask my business partner to only call in case of emergency (for instance if I am late for an appointment) or if there is something really important that absolutely needs to be talked about immediately.

If necessary, I initiate a shared document or a shared documentation room and then the cooperation can start.

Once in a while, it is necessary to communicate synchronously. It can happen either “f2f “ (face to face“) or, depending on the topic to be discussed, in a nice coffee shop or in a working environment (quiet office with white walls and preferably white tables).

If the location-time threshold is too high, then “f2f” is too much of a nuisance and we use telecommunication technology instead. The worst-case scenario would be the classic telephone, mostly we use the videophone. We synchronize our appointments in the chat, but only for the near future. Because appointments in the far-away future would unnecessarily impair our freedom. And who knows if, a few weeks from now, a meeting is necessary at all?

If we are a team (more than two persons), then the good telephone conference is out of the question. In that case, I usually insist on videophones. Because I consider it rather sub-optimal to have a telephone conference with several persons simultaneously.

🙂 Incidentally, a telephone call is nothing other than synchronous transfer of voice over IP.

But here comes my article:


My mobile number is public knowledge. It is on my internet page. It is easy to find me there. Luckily, nobody calls me, not even bad bots that, allegedly, visit my website all the time in order to do this kind of thing. The number is also part of my signature and I still send far too many emails. Because there are so many persons who are immune to learning and insist on email, even sending files (especially word documents) via email.

So much about internet nonsense

Image by Christian and Daniel (©
Visual-Braindump 2016) during the last Dornbirn PM Camp.

But even in normal circumstances, the telephone does not ring often. My friends only call me in emergencies, because they know that interrupting people through the telephone is
not just impolite but also detrimental to the person you call. If the telephone rings all the time, I cannot concentrate on my work. And I do not want to throw away the most precious commodity I have: time.

So I rarely use the telephone. For instance in order to exchange ideas at a pre-arranged time. Which, then, will happen quickly and efficiently.

More and more often, I replace the classic telephone by videophones, face time, hangout, skype or some such. Simply because then I can see the persons I communicate with, and vice versa. We sit in front of the computer anyway, because, during our exchanges, we also trade information on another level (perhaps visually or audio). And then we write the results down while we talk. Mostly, we also write minutes, not because we need to prove something later, but because we want to preserve our results and conclusions.

If I were to talk on the phone all the time – as I frequently see it around me – I would manage to do only a small fraction of the things I actually do.

And that would mean I wold not have any time at all left for writing IF Blog articles. Or to travel and see nice places.
Some people I know, especially if they work in huge enterprises, cannot work during the day at all because of all the meetings.

They do the work at night. They talk on the phone during the two hours they spend sitting in their cars. Because this is rather practical, isn’t it? And then they complain that they have no leisure time left. Sooner or later, they will suffer from a burnout. This is not what I want to happen to me.

Consequently, my telephone is on “do not disturb” for 12 hours each day. Then no incoming call can disturb me. If I actively monitor my telephone, I, of course, notice that someone tried to call me. And if necessary, I can call back. And then I enjoy being a nuisance, because, after all, the caller, too, had accepted that his call might have been a nuisance to me.
Well, some people annoy me. So much on cell-phone etiquette or #newwork 4.0.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday September 15th, 2017

My USP :-)

What is my value?

When I was young, some adults called me a good for nothing who, they were sure, would never amount to anything. One of them was my mother. She said it to my face more than once. At the time, it annoyed and hurt me. On the other hand, it was not so bad, because I definitely preferred becoming a good-for-nothing to becoming the same type of adult person I sometimes saw in my vicinity. In my mother’s eyes, those were definitely no good-for-nothings. And it must be said that eventually, I, the black sheep in the herd (as I often felt) did not turn out too bad, anyway.

Being able to drink your beer in peace is of huge value.

Today, I voice my opinion on many topics, often give presentations and impulses, inspire young and older, female and male persons. This is how I want to help them towards becoming a little happier and more successful.
Some young start-ups and also some already quite established enterprises can rely on me as an actively involved party. I help them to find the right questions. Because these are the requirement for change and innovation.

I build networks for people all the time (if I believe they should be networked) and then I am happy if everybody benefits.

Once in a while, I ask myself:
Am I qualified to do it?
It is a question I myself cannot answer.

But, during the thinking process, I at least found my personal USP (“Unique Selling Proposition“).

I owe my unique selling proposition to a combination of three specialties of my life-line:

  • Firstly: I have been working with, at and for computers since 1969. The Germans call it informatics. During the first ten years (in the 1970ies), I mostly did “industrial informatics”. Consequently, I missed out on the “toy” computers Commodore and Atari to some extent. As soon as UNIX found its way to me (or I found my way to UNIX), I caught up in the pc sector. That was in the 1980ies. During those years, I did many things. For instance, I had an intense involvement with several operation systems, such as process computers, communications computers, main frames and distributed data processing. At the time, it was called MDT and had originated at companies like Kienzle, Nixdorf,  Olivetti and, of course, also Siemens. I was also part of software developing teams for remote data processing, storage, banks, transaction monitors and many other applications. And in the process, I used and sometimes also developed various assemblers and higher languages.
My personal highlight was the development of a window manager where I was part of the developers’ team. It ran both on graphic and digit-based end devices and was called Collage. Collage was also a Siemens AG product. However, as was – unfortunately – so often the case during the phase of the slow downfall of the sector data processing at Siemens AG, it had no chance on the market
    Matters continued in the same way and this is how I basically experienced everything that is important in digital life first-hand. This is why I call myself – not just in jest – an IT pioneer of the second generation. The honour of having been part of the first generation belongs to the founding fathers of electronic calculating systems: Konrad Zuse and my first informatics teacher in 1969, Professor F. L. Bauer of TH Munich (today TUM).
    In the 1990ies, my programming shoes were hung on the wall in more than just the symbolic sense. I remained true to IT – well, nothing else was imaginable – and I tried to remain up-to-date as far as possible when it came to digitalization.
  • Secondly: all my life, I was extremely lucky in that I always learned a lot, especially during those phases of my life that came after school and university (unfortunately, university was not at all where I learned a lot)! Mathematics certainly helped me to remain a critical spirit. However, in many fields, I acquired the most precious knowledge initially from older persons and later also from persons my own age and younger. 
Quite a few teachers, also outside my professional field, became friends with me. Examples are Klaus-Jürgen Grün and Rupert Lay. There were other great persons too who accompanied me as teachers. It started with my time at Softlab – where I had a very wise boss. I had to attend “personality-promoting” seminars, because it was a requirement if you wanted a managerial career (at the time, I still wanted a career). From that time, I remember an enterprise that called itself TPM (Training Psychologic Management). It was situated in Frankfurt and their founder was named Uhlenbrock (or something that sounded similar). He was in charge of my first seminar on the beautiful lake Starnberger See, from which I really personally benefited a lot. In those seminars, I not only learned from the trainers, but also from the other participants I met. 
I also want to thank the many colleagues whose professional competence I looked up to and from whom I learned so very much for the craft. Later (in the 1990ies), I often went to workshops with Simon Grand of RISE, an institute at Hochschule St. Gallen. Again, I met many nice persons and great enterprises and had terrific verbal exchanges with them.
  • 
I spent the last ten years mostly on Barcamps, besides playing an active role for the development and propagation of PM-Camps. I had a great time and met even more wonderful people than in the years before.
    Last not least, I also have to thank my children. It made me truly happy that I was given seven children. More often than not, I believe that I learned more from and through my children than from all the rest. Consequently, I know that living and learning are synonymous.
    As long as you live, you learn.
    And as long as you learn, you are alive!

  • Thirdly: I have always been a revolutionist who got considerably more criticism than praise for his “strange” opinions. Today, I have a positive explanation: I think that total breaking in, as it was practiced on children as early as during the 1950ies, did not manage to erase everything in me. A bit of autonomy, joy of life and basic trust remained in me. And quite a few attempts at indoctrination were in vain.
    Well, when I was an employee at Siemens and Softlab, I soon discovered that this was not my world. And I had the wish to become an entrepreneur and was lucky enough to make a success of it. Consequently, I had the chance to build my own world, the InterFace Connection GmbH
    The first ten years were like a dream. Our success came around almost effortlessly and we went beyond all borders. Unfortunately, I later made a number of entrepreneurial and human mistakes. And a few times, luck just was not with me. The enterprise survived these misfortunes quite well – and I now have a few more experiences of the kind: “what you should not do” . I am happy to let others benefit from my own experiences.

So I will continue for a few more years and enjoy doing so. And a little feedback will always make me happy. 
Especially positive feedback.

RMD

Roland Dürre
Wednesday September 13th, 2017

Entrepreneur’s Diary #123 – Appraisal Interviews

Evening Event BICCnight “it at media“ in the foyer of the Funkhaus Bayern. München, 22/07/2011 picture by Stephan Goerlich

For today’s entrepreneur’s diary, I chose a very banal topic: The Appraisal Interview.

Together with Wolf Geldmacher, I founded the InterFace Connection GmbH in 1984. Immediately, we had ten successful years as the producers of the software HIT-CLOU and quickly became the leaders on the market for text systems on UNIX in Europe. Because we were a great team. It was a true delight. In retrospective, those were the ten best years of my professional career.

Before we founded InterFace Connection, I had worked for Siemens and Softlab. I wanted to adopt all the things I found good in those enterprises in my own firm. It was quite a number of things. However, there were many more things that did not find my approval and I consequently wanted to handle them differently – those were the more important things.

Among other things, I am talking the chance to decide what tasks were delegated to whom and also of deciding what, when, how and where the work had to be done. At Siemens, the delegation of tasks was “from top to bottom”. That was not what I wanted. And during the first ten years, thanks to a high degree of self-organization and a huge amount of self-responsibility both of the team and the people at InterFace Connection, this worked (very) well.

Both Siemens and Softlab had things I liked. For instance the yearly appraisal interview. It gave you the chance to speak openly with the boss of a hierarchical system at least once every year. I found this a good idea and did the same at the Connection. Regardless of the fact that we always were an enterprise of “open doors” – which means that all employees could come and pour out their sorrows over me and Wolf at any time. Today, I still recommend the “open doors”. However, I no longer recommend the appraisal interviews. The reason is that you do not need them.

At InterFace Connection, this is what happened: after three months (shortly before your probation time ended), there was the first appraisal interview and then, always before a years was over, there was the next. Thus, depending on the time a new person was employed, the interviews took place all the year round. There was also a structure for the interviews. Looking back upon the last year was a considerable part of the interview, then came the exchange of feedback and eventually the negotiations of a new income. I always asked my employees to be well prepared and saw to it that I, too, was always well prepared.

Basically, it went quite well. Except that a few wise-cracks thought it was perhaps unfair. After all, the entrepreneurial context of one month might be totally different from another month. And this could mean that a rise in income based on the current situation might not be fair.

We reacted to this and re-scheduled all (!) the interviews to take place at the end of the year. This had considerable disadvantages and made the topic a sad one. The stress level in November and December climbed another notch. That caused lack of motivation and exhaustion. Nor did the direct comparison make things any easier. At the time, I did not yet understand that there is no such thing as justice (or: there are many definitions of justice).

Perhaps one could construct a “justice based on need”. But justice based on achievement is definitely nonsense.

Today, I believe you cannot set dates for interviews of any sort by following a rule. Let alone if the date is in the far-away future. No, you always have to have an interview close to the occasion, when you have a good reason or at least a current situation that allows or demands it.

Especially communication between humans always has to take place when the necessity arises. For instance, dissatisfaction must never be conserved until the yearly appointment in order to then open the frustration nozzle.

More money agreed upon in ritualized interviews is only the second-best thing. It is better to talk about distributing the success exactly at the time the success happened. And it would be best to let those decide who actually were the ones who made the success possible. At team level.

Wages are a difficult topic. I already wrote about it quite a few times and probably will soon again write about it. Because it is not really goal-oriented that, in Germany, you get more money every year until you are quite old – up to retirement – and, on the other hand, decreasing wages are not really possible during the active time of a work contract. Simply because the achievement curve, even of a programmer, cannot point upward all your life long. But I will write about this at another time.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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

Roland Dürre
Sunday September 10th, 2017

Another “Coming Out“ – #BTW2017

A cynical party-parody. Unfortunately, I mean it seriously, which makes it a sad thing.

In two weeks, I will again have to vote.

Perhaps 50 years ago.

My civil “super-ego” forces me to go to the elections. After all, I do believe that democracy is doubtless one of the better political systems, even if ours has been seriously perverted and consequently suffered huge damage due to “election marketing”, the dominance of lobbyism when it comes to legislation and government and a party oligarchy.

Besides, the party I vote for will not only get my vote but also one Euro from the state (if certain requirements are met ).

Consequently, I have spent quite some time already in preparation for the next election Sunday. Here is the current state of my personal evaluation. I chose the exclusion principle:

For historical reasons, I cannot vote for the big “people’s parties“ CDU and CSU. They both are responsible for the German re-armament against the expressed wish of the German people. In quite a goal-oriented way, it was prepared by the protagonist Adenauer immediately after WW-II and then realized as soon as possible in a fashion that I would call “criminal”. 
In doing so, they failed to take advantage of a unique historical chance. A chance that perhaps no other country except Germany ever had – which was due to its miserable history in the 20th century. As a consequence of the establishment of the “Bundeswehr”, the GDR followed suit three years later with the creation of the “Volksarmee” – and that was the moment up from which two German states, both heavily armed, confronted each other on either side of a brutal border. 
Without re-armament, the revival of the German weapons industry would not have been possible, either. Another result was forced labour that they called “compulsory military service”. It cost me 18 months of my life. 
Moreover, both “C-parties” have – to this day – seen to it that the political and social characteristics of the FRG are such that it became an opportunistic and egoistic welfare system. Protection of your property has become the highest social value. Even the “C” in the name cannot camouflage that fact. 
Under CDU dominated governments, the state became a marionette of the industry, the destruction of the environment (air, water, soil, nature) was accepted and even promoted (!), as for instance can be seen in the war on the streets. It became the ruling task of the educational system that young people should be turned into consumers and trained to be the labouring masses for the industry. Social solidarity was misinterpreted and freedom was sacrificed. . 
Parties that, to this day, believe that all these measures were good will not get my vote.

Neither can I, these days, vote for the SPD and Green Party, because they not only supported all these things, but also must be made responsible for making foreign German Armed Forces activities possible. At the time, the red-green coalition broke a taboo:
The German Armed Forces were no longer exclusively for defence, but “in order to take world-wide responsibility”. Consequently, that was the time when the FRG started to not only export weapons but also war. 
Unfortunately, if you take a close look at history, the polemic rhyme: “Who was the traitor, social democrats?” is only too true for the SPD. Even my agreeing with the ideal of social democracy cannot make up for this. 
As I see it, the Green Party developed from an idealistic-moralistic party to become an indoctrinated event – besides, I observe that the change from being an opposition to becoming a reigning party took place in an exceptionally foul way: ideals were sacrificed for positions and power.

I do not want to give my vote to the FDP. I am not really familiar with their negative historic achievements because I never took great notice of the party. However, in my perception, the FDP is and always was a party that – with the exception of a few protagonists – always acted rather opportunistic. It also basically always functioned as a party of patronage. And they received even more huge donations from industry than the other aforementioned parties. Besides: if someone demands and propagates FREEDOM yet does not know the meaning of the word, then I do not want to support them.

So what other parties do we have?

Currently, the AfD is rather successful. Well, I need not give reasons in this article why I cannot and will note vote for them. Just like the NPD is out of the question for me. Luckily, it seems like the NPD is no longer relevant. Regardless of the fact that, for reasons I cannot follow, the aforementioned parties constantly seem to try and forbid the NPD, rather than the AfD.

Next, let us take a look at the “Freien Wähler“ and the Freie Bürger Union (FBU). In Wikipedia, several groups of voters  and one small party call themselves “Freie Bürger Union“. They are present in various German cities and constituencies. Bavaria is a regional centre of these groups. And: they consist of bourgeois conservative or rightist-liberally  oriented regional communal politicians, activists and sometimes former representatives of the CDU/CSU who are no longer party members. I cannot give them my vote. 
Among other things, the Freien Wähler want to strengthen municipal self-administration. Their given reason for becoming candidates both on county and state level is that the politics of county and state undermine the independence of the municipalities The party is in favour of separate financial responsibility for the municipalities. On the European level, the party demands that excluding a region must become a set rule in parliament. I cannot vote for them.

So now I need to discuss the “Piraten”. According to Wikipedia, this party considers itself the party of the Information Society and thus as part of the international movement for participation when it comes to the change, they give high priority to “digital revolution” and consequently the information society. I rather like that. In fact, I already voted for the Pirates once in the past. To me, they seemed like a party full of values that, luckily, did not have a programmatic approach. Instead, they basically want to provide their know-how on digitalization, which is a focal point of their agenda. I also knew some members of the Pirate party. They were small entrepreneurs or else freelancers. Some of them were quite nice. 
Then, however, the Pirates thought they had to write a program and thus give up the principle of free actions following the best possible knowledge. In my eyes, this was how they exchanged their agile souls for the hope of success. Ever since then (as a matter of course), their development was in one direction only: down. For me, they were no longer a party I could vote for. What a pity.

Now I already analysed 10 (in words: ten) parties and none of them can get my vote! Am I heading towards abstaining? Will I let my election-Euro go unused? Well, not all is lost, because there are a few parties left.

I find Die Linke in Wikipedia. It says that Die Linke (aka  Linkspartei )  was created through the merging of the SPD splitter WASG and the Linkspartei.PDS. The latter is a result of a re-naming of the SED successor PDS in 2005. This is how Die Linke suffers from a stigma that, to this day, has prevented it from becoming acceptable in society. Allegedly, there are still numerous SED and Stasi people on board, although this seems unlikely to me, if only for demographic reasons. If I were the Wahlomat kind of person, I would probably vote for “Die Linke”, because in their program, I find quite a few things that I absolutely agree with. 
On the other hand, I own a small but industriously earned amount of money – and there is a historic fear in me that the communists might wish to take my millions away from me. As they say: “Only the most stupid calves will vote for their own butchers.“
Apropos calves: there is a Song, but it is directed against the AfD – rather than against Die Linke. However, I do not wish to be a stupid calf.
On the other hand, perhaps I should vote for Die Linke, after all? With modern “democratic honesty”, you should probably vote for the party that you like best. Consequently, I cannot discount the possibility of giving them my vote. Albeit without enthusiasm. But then, enthusiasm left me a long time ago.

But I have not yet reached that stage. I keep looking. Riding my bike to Unterhaching, I see a poster advertising “Die Grauen”. I am thinking of my sparse pension. If I had nothing on top of it, I would be really poorly off. Regardless of the fact that I paid the highest possible pension insurance for decades.
However: Die Grauen have the slogan “For all Generations”. What a disappointment. They are not in favour of us retired people, after all.
However, I find it nice, because I have children and grandchildren. And I want them, too, to be well off. 
According to Wikipedia, “Die Grauen” see themselves in the tradition of the movement Graue Panther that was founded in the 1970ies by Trude Unruh. As opposed to this movement, the party does not see itself as a party for the elderly, but instead has an all-encompassing political approach that they also want to see reflected in the name tag amendment. They formulate their philosophy in the foreword of the party program: “In a global world that moves faster and faster, Die Grauen want to combine the energy of youth with the experience of the elderly and form a society worth living in”. Well, this seems to sound nice. For me, however, it contains too many buzzwords. So I will gladly forget Die Grauen.

I start getting desperate. I found a dozen parties – and only one of them is even remotely an option. But – as they say: never give up. If you fall down, you have to get up again. Clean your mouth and continue.

So I continue. And lo and behold, I see a poster with a very special message:
Don’t be a Horst!

That is something I understand immediately. I definitely would not wish to be one. When he was Minister of Health in Berlin, he committed enough crimes. And now he is king of Bavaria. 
Except: the poster advertises “Die Partei”. According to Wikipedia, DIE PARTEI  is a party for work, for a constitutional state, for animal protection, for elite promotion and for basis-democratic initiatives (Apronym: Die PARTEI). It is a German small party that was founded in 2004 by a few editors of the satire magazine Titanic and distinctly has parody character.“ 
We also read: Die PARTEI meets the legal requirements formulated in the Parteiengesetz. However, some doubt that their program is actually meant seriously. Among other things, they imitate characteristics and electoral campaign methods used by other parties and occasionally some of the members are seen on other party’s events.

Well, basically I am the type of reader who reads POSTILLON, but you must never be too one-sided. “Die Partei“ is also called the satire party. When I hear satire, I think cabaret. And immediately, I think of people like Bruno Jonas, Claus Wagner, Dieter Hildebrandt, Gerhard Polt, Jörg Hube, Josef Hader, Georg Schramm, Maximilian „Max“ Uthoff, Sigi Zimmerschied, Urban Priol (Pelzig) and Werner Schneyder. Not to forget the much-loved Hanns Dieter Hüsch. These are all people I saw many times and some of them I was personally acquainted with. They all absolutely impressed me with their sensitivity, their sharp intellect and their precise logics. I admire how they were able to retain their sense of humour in the face of everything. These are people I managed to have honest discussions with quite quickly.

Most of the cabaret people I saw on TV or when I went to their shows made a huge impression on me. Maybe it makes sense, after all, to actually vote for a “satire party”. Especially if such a party offers itself to frustrated non-voters who need to be persuaded to vote at all? 
Unfortunately, this party, too, has a shadow looming over it. A short time ago, I followed a constructive facebook discussion about whether or not anybody can call himself responsible if he votes for a satire party in times like ours, where the social spiral rapidly points downwards and huge problems loom over the horizon. Because times are basically the exact opposite of hilarious. 
As I see it, this is a serious argument. But then, maybe we should solve the problems with serious humour? So now I found another party besides Die Linke that might qualify as a recipient of my cross and one Euro.

However, I want more. This is not the way to get on. So now I use another concept of thought and ask myself what was the last relevant social change in Bavaria I considered progress and which party initiated it.

The answer is easy – it was Non-Smokers’ Protection. In Bavaria, it has now even been enforced on the Octoberfest, which is something that seemed to be unthinkable for a long time. Consequently, this year, I can really look forward to the Octoberfest that takes place at the same time as the elections. I will spend the evening of election day with friends drinking in a smoke-free environment. In Bavaria, the protection of non-smokers was initiated after a plebiscite “Non-Smokers’s Protection” on July, 4th,2010 after a successful  petition for a referendum  “For true non-smokers’ protection!“. The petition had aimed at changing the Bavarian Health Protection Law (Gesundheitsschutzgesetz, GSG). As a consequence, they eventually installed a ban on smoking  in all pubs without exception. The C party had been against it on the grounds that, allegedly, the entire Bavarian restaurant sector would be ruined. The initiative had come from Sebastian Frankenberger and the ÖDP.
Well, my discussion of parties had actually not yet mentioned the ÖDP. Incidentally, their program is a fairly good match to my ideas. However, I sometimes fear that there might be a lot of protestant frugality and catholic saintliness in this party. However, as long as the goals are the right ones and I am not forced to become a catholic…

So now I found three parties that might actually be worthy of my vote: Die Linke, the Partei and the ÖDP. During the next few weeks, I will gather some more information and think about it – and then I will decide. After all, I know full well that decisions are always made under uncertainty.

And now, for the time being, there is an end to me “outings”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Today, when I rode my bike home, I saw a DKP poster at the Ottobrunn S-Bahn station. It said: “More Income, Less Armament”. Well, that sounds reasonable and rational. But can anybody vote for DKP? Somehow or other, that would be strange.