Roland Dürre
Sunday April 1st, 2018

April, April, April.

This is another way to perceive April, 1st.

Even as a child, I rather liked April-Fool’s. It was such pleasure to play it upon my small sister on April, 1st.

Later, as I grew older, I found April Fool’s more and more interesting. When reading the “Augsburger Allgemeine” on April, 1st, the first thing I did in the morning was look for them. And more often than not, I found something that did not really qualify.

Naturally, later in life, the April-Fool’s were also prominent in my IF Blog. I even remember one year when there were three of them.

In 2018, I started thinking about a good April-Fool’s early in the year. Perhaps because, these days, there are so many daily news that I would prefer to have been (poor) April-Fool’s.

This morning, my old eagerness to read them was re-kindled. And I found one that I really liked.


Bike Town Münster
Press Release (Pressemitteilung:):
After what happened recently in our city, we, the interest group Bike Town Münster, concluded that the effort it would take for us to really become a bike town, is extremely huge. Consequently, we will decide by an internal majority vote to no longer work towards this goal.

Instead, we will focus on making the already quite noteworthy car-friendliness in Münster even more of a success. The promising developments of the past show us that it is far easier to have far more success in this area with far less effort.

We hereby offer our full support to the ADAC and the ACV Automobil-Club Verkehr for all their projects that promote car-friendly cities. The highly promising NO on driving bans we hear from such model cities as Stuttgart motivates us to now fight for our highest goal “all citizens are free to drive“.

This is what our name stands for!

Best wishes

Die IG Autostadt.ms
(Of course, our Social Media Domains will shortly be changed, but Facebook and Twitter need a little time for name alterations. We hope to finish the process as soon as possible.)
Westfälische Nachrichten
Münstersche Zeitung
WDR Lokalzeit Münsterland
ANTENNE MÜNSTER
Radio Q
Münstersche Volkszeitung
Die Wiedertäufe


I really, really like it. Perhaps because, deep down, I am a little worried that it might not be an April-Fool’s but a true statement. But also because what is an April-Fool’s in Münster is actually the generally accepted strategy in Munich.

And this is not only true for Munich, but also for my hometown Neubiberg. They still spend a considerable amount of money on public car parks in the town centre. Through the entire region, they build parking spaces on, under and above ground. Sports centres eventually cannot be built because there are not enough car parks, and all over Bavarian, they cover natural ground the size of soccer fields for parking lots near schools, cemeteries, railway stations,… in no time with concrete.

And wherever there is a place of resistance against the car-mania, as there seemed to be in Oberhaching, the reader will notice on perusing his newspaper that this bastion, too, has now been cut down.

But this year, we all get our Easter Eggs for free on April 1st! And today, Haching will win against Rostock.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday August 17th, 2017

“Don Carl“ – or: the Heroic Fight for the Underpants

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment #52)

Rarely had Carl stepped into his underpants more enthusiastically in recent years. It was this great feeling of ’being embedded’ and ’being protected’ that he enjoyed.

It was a pleasure he made himself aware of several times each day these days – and the feeling was strangely enhanced whenever, during the day, he allowed himself to re-position the private parts hidden therein by discreetly re-arranging his trousers!

Yes – it was “allowed himself to” – not “had to” – as he formerly used to look upon it!

Because ever since, apparently, a movement that originated in Southern Germany – headed by the usual suspects /1/ – had started discrediting men’s underpants – which, incidentally, had been establishing an excellent tradition in the Christian culture over almost three hundred years – with Bavarian relish, Carl had become alarmed for more than one reason!

Yes – it was really a ’shock with an aura’ that found its way to Carl when, on this 13th day of August in 2017, he came upon said IF blog /1/ in the social networks. In this article, the author talked about a world-wide underpants-free future for all men: a world where, from one day to the next, wearing underpants by men was abolished. As a reason, it was stated that, apparently, all chafing, uncomfortable itching, disgusting tickling and virility-threatening clamping between razor-sharp zippers was now ignored, denied or hidden under a ’caftan ’.

A ’caftan’ that allegedly was only invented to give more freedom – that is, freedom for the ’unrestrained dangling of the male privates’ and consequently freedom to enjoy the ’so-called feeling of comfort’ that went along with it!

Of course, this had unimaginable consequences for the body – life – health – morals – society and economy! Not just for Germany and the European Union, but, when all was said and done, also for the entire Christian Occident and thousands of underpants-producing workers.

And was the time really chosen at random?

Had not just a few months ago Putin forbidden all activities around ladies’ underwear for the entire Eurasian Economic Zone, which had had disastrous consequences for TRIGA?

Maybe this was the balance against the male half of creation that was necessary due to gender-equality, after the first hit had devastated the female half of creation?

And was it really totally by accident that this campaign started in Bavaria of all regions? Or was it perhaps part of a long-planned conspiracy by Putin and Seehofer?

But when Carl, a few days ago when they had a meeting to discuss the ’development of new market strategies’ at TRIGA, mentioned these aspects, he was appalled to notice how his colleagues could not have cared less. Bernie – i.e. Dr. Osterkorn –, who was the head of the hosiery sector at TRIGA, in particular, did not seem to understand the impact of this event at all. As often before, he, again, lacked the antennae for trends in fashion and society!

Incidentally, the same was true for Gerlinde during their breakfast in the morning!

She, too, only had a laugh for him …

And – almost sympathetically – called him, Carl, a maniac who, once again, was chasing ghosts. And when Carl reacted offended and left the breakfast table without having drunk all of the morning coffee she always brewed for him with special love and care, she cried after him that she was not going to believe in the threat to occidental culture before Horst Seehofer appeared wearing a ’Caftan’ for the next Political Ash-Wednesday in Vilshofen!

Luckily, Carl knew what needed to be done in such catastrophic situations when everything was in danger of tumbling down: ’nothing’!

Now that was one aspect where, as always, he found himself in the best company with the others …

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 26th, 2017

Shouldn’t Business Serve Humans?!

In Unterhaching, we have a great soccer club, a number of IT enterprises such as the InterFace AG and even world-famous companies. One of them is Wrigley.

Let me relate to you what I learned over the last few weeks. I did not make any attempts at verifying the story, but it is quite possible that things I heard in the form of reports or gossip around here are the truth.

I am sure the degree to which Unterhaching has become considerably more famous even beyond Germany is due to the Spielvereinigung Unterhaching.

Besides soccer, we also have volleyball, gymnastics and several other successful athletic areas in Unterhaching – as well as several more interesting enterprises and a wonderful outdoor swimming pool and much more.

The Unterhaching Civic Office is certainly glad that the famous Wrigley enterprise has its European headquarters here. And perhaps in the future, you will have to say “had”.


The big concerns want power. To this end, they like to swallow up other concerns.


It is quite possible that, with its profit of 35 billion US dollars in 2016, Mars falls a little behind Nestlé (turnover in 2015 was 88.8 billion). That is just more motivation for Mars to catch up with the big rival.

Currently, they are preparing for the merging of the animal hospital chain VCA Inc. (Veterinary Centres of America). Mars wants to spend 9.1 billion US dollars, including the debt. It is supposed to further strengthen the business area “animal health”. To me, it looks more like mania and misdirected late capitalism. I can imagine only too well (or rather, too badly) what the leading US food giant wants to achieve by the merging.


Food producer invests in animal hospital. Shame to him who evil thinks.


Wrigley was swallowed by Mars as early as 2008. Initially the European headquarters remained in Unterhaching. Another important Mars location is obviously in Viersen near Düsseldorf.

Now, Mars wants to centralize a few of its activities in London. One of the consequences will be that people now living in Unterhaching or Viersen will have to move to London. This might hurt some residents of Unterhaching, for others it will be an exciting challenge.

But then, this is what you get in a global world and economy. After all, most of the people seem to like it, since they support it – at least with their consumption habits.
But that is not what this article is about. What gives me pause is the reason they give for moving to London.


Big concerns assume that, in the future, the central key towards success in our competitive world will be the quality of marketing.


To the concern, that seems useful, and even necessary, because it assumes that, in the market for PROVISIONS, only an enterprise that has the best MARKETING can establish itself and perhaps even add to its turnover. And among the top managers, they assume that the most efficient and effective marketing firms basically sit in London. Consequently, they seek close proximity to them – and go to Great Britain. Regardless of the Brexit and such. In my opinion, the Brexit is more an operetta than anything else.

PROVISIONS concerns are, first and foremost, after turnover and results (profit). And, in the eyes of the concerns, MARKETING is the determining factor in this field. Everything else, like the quality of food and the consequences for your health, only plays a minor role.


Business should serve the people, not vice versa!


For the concerns, only one thing is important: the people must buy the cheaply produced mass food at a price that is as high as possible. To make it attractive for the masses, it is made “convenient” and optically seducing. Enriched with aromatic ingredients, “the taste of the world“ is generated and realized. “Cheap” is more important than quality, optical appeal and wrapping is more important than the content, uniformity beats diversity, mass has priority over class, storage life beats freshness, logistic feasibility has priority over taste. …

Thus, there is a strong LOBBY that forbids the legislators in Europe and Germany, for instance, the clear marking of a product if it contains substances that may be detrimental for your health.

And what do the people do? Nothing. They believe what marketing says and buy like lemmings all the products by Mars, Nestle and co. Unfortunately, this is also true for Unterhaching.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 12th, 2017

Why We Need Christophine! (I)

On June, 21st, I went to the “Schiller-Town” of Marbach. I spent the night in Freiberg/Neckar and on June, 22nd, I continued towards Marbach. A friend from long-ago days – Thomas Kleiner – was nice enough to accompany me during travels. Thanks to him, I met Lorenz Obweser and Ruth Martinelli and almost 20 children aged between six and ten. Because I sat in a classroom of the Free School “Christophine“ in Marbach. However, the term is misleading, because in the Christophine, nobody just sits the entire morning. On this morning, I experienced something so beautiful and great that I was moved to tears.

I experienced how

SCHOOL

can function in such a way that you enjoy going there! Even the children and teachers!

But first the bad news:

I have now spent some time being a little sad. My grandchildren are wonderful and rather wise small persons. But in a few, or a little more than a few years, they will start school. And then the sad part of life begins for them. I, too, do not know how to protect them from the destiny that most German children have to endure after they are six years old.

Because school – both as I remember it myself and how I experienced it when my seven children were there – is atrocious. Not only in Germany and many European countries, school is something really backward-oriented and truly evil. With few exceptions, this diagnosis is true for the entire world, and especially for Asia.

School, as we have it today, will damage our children just like it damaged us. That ruins our society and is detrimental to our future. Many persons only recover step by step when they are adults, some never.

In the following, I will relate to you what I find so evil about the classical school system and give reasons why we need to change this system if we want to gain social progress in the form of peace and more justice.


Everyday life at school in Germany (and perhaps world-wide) is worse than sad!


In our system, education means “trained authoritative learning in a quasi-military format”. Knowledge -bulimia prevails. It starts as early as primary school. Luckily, it is no longer quite as bad as it was in the times of the German pedagogue Dr. Moritz Schreber.

Roland on his first day at school (with the bag of sweets).

But they still drill students. You have to sit and cannot unfold. An hourly scheduled is pressed upon the children. Self-organization and self-determining are prevented. There is no way for the children to learn and practice when and what they want.

Agile, slim and transparent are words schools do not know. There is a clear hierarchy between teachers and children. Incidentally, the mechanism goes from bad to worse. This is why school has more and more problems. If that happens, the children are blamed and their poor socialization is cited as a reason. The parents get the blame.

Because they failed in their duty to bring the children up properly. Well, once in a while, this is probably true, but in the majority of the cases, it is not true. In those cases, parents suffer under school just as much as their children.


At school, achievement is the absolute maxim, often even worse than in real life.


The achievement-oriented society is already practiced. Everybody is evaluated, graded and judged. In primary school, it is all about achieving grammar school level. That will only work if the child adapts to the system “school” and submits to it. The ordering principle of school is clearly hierarchical. The magic word is authority. You learn obedience.

The children learn that you have to more or less accept everything you learn, along with the process.


Whenever school does not function, the teachers and society blame the parents.


Because the parents never taught their children how to respect others. Especially the teachers. As I wrote before: sometimes that is true, but usually it is not.

In order to enable the children to manage the transfer from primary school to grammar school in this miserable situation, there is an army of – mostly black-clad – private tutors who, during the few free hours, give the children an extra hard time. And thus – mostly under many tears – they are pushed more or less successfully over the threshold to the grammar school level.

I was often a “child that had no respect”. And I often doubted what they told me, and I also said what I thought. And time and again, I was punished for it. Because the teacher is always right. At school, there is collective obedience. After all, an order is an order you need to carry out. I, too, made that experience.


More than once, they also gave me accusatory feedback about my “being different”. Mind you, all I wanted is: be me.


Later in life, I reversed the roles. I justified the “bad habits” I had also been punished for in an intellectually tricky way, calling them “civil courage” and “constructive disobedience”. Those were attributes that made me exceptional.

But, basically, the school system is based on suppression. There is an order. There must be an order, because humans need order. However, it is not there for the student but for the system, and therefore against the student.

Because this is the only way for the system and the teachers to make students a homogeneous mass (that is at least what school thinks). Between eight and nine, everybody has to do calculations and between nine and ten, everybody has to read. Between ten and eleven, you have physical exercise and from eleven to twelve, you write. And between twelve and one, you get religious instruction. At school, you have to sit and “behave” most of the time. Otherwise, you get punished.

All this is justified by postulating that there is no other way of doing things. It is the only way you can learn efficiently. But that is a huge lie!


The full-time school makes matters even worse. All those free afternoons in our youth that should be reserved for playing, thinking, experiencing and living are no longer available.


Now we get the full-time school. More and more often, children will also be transported to have lunch and “levelled-out” with convenient food. The schools look like barracks and are not places where you can flourish and meet at eye-level.

Schools are organized and managed following military examples, the small persons are administered, their value is the same as that of recruits during basic training in times of compulsory service. The new buildings at grammar schools (or rather: educational plants or barracks) I know at Neubiberg, Ottobrunn and Höhenkirchen-Siegertsbrunn also reflect this attitude in their architecture.

You have long corridors with many doors that lead to the many classrooms like hoses. You often cannot open the windows and the air conditioning creates bad air that gives the “teaching staff” headaches. Looking at these educational plants, you are reminded more of barracks than of free places where you learn something and practice for life. And since these buildings have been constructed with little money (during the bidding, the price is the most important criterion, which means the cheapest architect will win), it will not be long before you notice the first signs of decay.

To make up for it, the administrative overhead grows and grows. This is how education becomes more and more expensive – but not much of it reaches the “final customer: child”.


All social systems need structure. Both children and grown-ups look for something to lean on. But the structure of schools should support children, instead of working against them.


At school, nobody considers the great diversity potential that small people have. For reasons of efficiency and because of limited budgets, it is neither possible nor desired. They scale and measure, certify and grade. What is taught is achievement.

In short: they indoctrinate you because you need to function. After all, society needs consumers. Autonomy and the ability to criticise are not welcome.

Once in a while, something happens that gives you hope. Because the teacher is really a nice person. But the best teachers are few and far between and sooner or later they will capitulate in front of an educational system that has de-personalized itself. And the best they can hope to do is perhaps minimize the damage that the system produces. And teachers will be selected for their good grades. However, those with the best grades are seldom pedagogically the best. The best will then try to find a job in a private school or drive a taxi or do some private tutoring.


Children, too, should be treated as if they were humans!


I actually once heard this lapse of the tongue (although it was not from a teacher but from an entrepreneur who did not say “children” but “employees”). To be sure, I certainly was only a lapse of the tongue. However, I strongly believe that, deep down, it was what the person who said it believed and felt.


Economy is now learning that motivation will only work intrinsically . At school, they practice 100% extrinsic  patterns. That cannot end well.


Today, everybody, be it Allianz or Siemens, wants to change work-life. #newwork is fashionable, promoting a more innovative and creative approach. One of the protagonists of this movement is Thomas Sattelberger, the “Saul/Paul” of the #newwork-movement. He promotes himself like no other and runs through the country with his message of salvation. After his concern career, the thing that made him most famous was “Augenhöhe, der Film“.

Now he visits everybody and criticizes what he witnesses in local enterprises. Justly so. He would like to crown his life’s work with a seat in the German parliament – for the FDP (is that a fitting combination? FDP and #newwork?). It will make me happy if Mr. Sattelberger, as soon as he sits in parliament, promotes agile and humane schools. But that is another thing I do not really believe in.

For instance, most of the enterprises would like to become more agile, slim and transparent. At least that is what the colleagues of HR (Human Resource – another one of those ugly terms used in the modern working environment) preach. They look for innovative employees who are creative in order to enable their enterprises to manage the transition caused – among other things – by digitalization. At HR, they talk about eye-level, #newwork, intrinsify.me, democratic enterprise, common-good economy, “shared mobility“ & “shared economy“ and many similar issues. They dream of a network of self-organized teams, of a new entrepreneurial culture and communities of shared values. The latter are also quite popular in politics. There are many more catch-words of this type in the new world of old enterprises.
Except how do you expect that to work out if our offspring is trained to do quite the opposite as soon as they start school?


Enterprises want agile, critical and creative people. Yet that is exactly what schools beat out of the young students?


But nobody talks about #newschool, about self-organisation at school, about democratic classrooms, about teaching at eye-level and similar things. At least in Germany, this is not desired. It is taboo!

Terms such as #home-schooling, #un-schooling #no-schooling gain popularity in Europe. They find more and more supporters. More and more people “school” their own children (see also the video of a presentation by Bruno Gantenbein for me).

In Switzerland and some other EU countries, home-schooling is a process that is well established and supported by the administration. Germany is the only EU country where home-schooling is prohibited! Because in this country, they fear alternative schools and alternative thinking as much as the devil fears holy water.


Perhaps there will soon be a disproportionally high number of self-owned and free schools in our country.


But perhaps that is a good thing. Because it creates huge pressure. If there is no chance to escape, then there might possibly be more willingness to change something than in other countries.

Roland without the bag of sweets.

But back to the enterprises. How are we supposed to find these new agile, creative, open, … employees if agility, creativity and openness are the very characteristics that our schools kill most efficiently?

Because in our schools, children are treated as raw material that needs to be formatted. The input is curious and free creatures. The output is small professionals. They function as an obedient and easily controllable society supposedly needs them to function. Consequently, the first thing they will be is: diligent labourers, brave consumers and law-abiding citizens – whose first priority it is to always accept what the upper echelons decree.


We demand elites who solve our massive problems, but at the same time we are content with mediocrity and foul-mouth populism. And we promote mediocrity in schools.


Why is it that children must realize very early that life is no pony-farm and that they are part of the achievement system if they wish to make something out of their lives? That they must follow practical constraints, just like their parents and all the other grown-ups?

They are measured and graded. It is always about being better than the others. Success is everything. It is all about managing to reach the next step in the ladder of an irrational career. No matter what it costs and how it is done.

Emotions, erotic, life, love, the competence to solve conflicts, being able to listen … all those things play no role in the curriculum. You have to become a professional resource for the fight on the business front. And you learn that it is better for your wealth, growth and safety not to say what you think and perhaps not even to think.
And as soon as they understand this, they visit the tattoo factory just to protest, because there they will finally get something permanent. As a last substitute activity before they give up their own lives. …


Good entrepreneurs (leaders, managers, … ) will want to make their employees look bigger on a daily basis, rather than smaller.


I rather love the principle of “acting in a biophile way”. That means (in my own words):
Always behave in such a way that what you do will contribute more towards the lives of other people becoming more, rather than less, in many dimensions.

Perhaps the Golden Rule (Goldene Regel ) is even easier to live than the biophile maxim:
“Treat others the same way you yourself would like to be treated“
Or in the negative form:
“If you do not want it to happen to you, don’t do it to others!“


“Biophile Maxime of Behaviour” and the “Golden Rule”? Why don’t we use it for our children? Why don’t we make them big, instead of small?


From early on, children are made to look smaller, rather than bigger. Not just by the teachers, but also by their parents. I witness all the time how children are massively instructed by their parents about what is right and what is wrong. Ranting mothers scold their children for totally normal behaviour. There is stupid moralizing and indoctrination. What is appropriate and what is not! What you do and what you do not do! What is possible and what is impossible. What you can see/hear and what you cannot see/hear under any circumstances. What is evil and what is good.

For what behaviour you will end up in hell and for what in heaven. And as soon as a child is six and enters school, matters continue in the same way, only more professionally.


Nobody is interested in hearing what small people want and do not want.


At school, you undergo formatting in that they form you according to the current image of a good grown-up. Children have to fit into our world. They learn to survive traffic. They become young consumers who define themselves by what they own and how they look. They have to function, but they are not allowed to be and do what they themselves want to do and be.

At school, ratio and your IQ dominate, they are always in the foreground. It is all about developing an understanding of all the absurdities our life offers. You have to accept the absurd as a matter of course and thus become part of the absurdity.
Social life and the common good only play a minor role. Emotions and eros, love and friendship are not practiced, the same is true for the competence to solve conflicts. Because our systems are based on adaptation. They survive by interchangeability, uniformity, (financial) metrics and the fact that the citizens follow social patterns blindly like lemmings. The ability to criticize things and be autonomous in all you think and do will only be a hindrance.


We will only reduce the latent enmity inside us if we socialize our children differently.


School is one of many places where the old role-plays prevail. Boys still have to be small heroes and cannot cry. Girls are expected to be humble and tolerant. Today, you can show emotions, but it is better not to do so.


If you want to be a success, you have to become Mr. or Mrs. Poker-Face!


Emotions are something you should not allow to get too near, it is seen as a detrimental and annoying weakness. You have to be strong and may never show your weakness. This is how the heart is surrounded by iron rings. If you like someone, it is better not to show it, the universal love for creation is considered a crazy idea. Standing upright as your outer shell is part of the education, but unfortunately not taught as a higher inner value.

This stupid socializing of our offspring will never minimize the wide-spread sickness Alexithymia. A short time ago, a man my own age cried next to me when he told me how his grandchild had died during her birth. I am not sure if that is something I would still be capable of. However, if I watch a sappy film, I start to cry. Isn’t that terrible?

As many others, I fear that I am dependent on “second-hand emotions”. That is doubtless a result of my early and long upbringing. Consequently, I now practice consciously opening myself to real emotions. At the age of 67, that is not easy.


Humans are the crown of creation. But they have to fit into the world.


I am glad that the world changes – at least in the developed and privileged societies I know. It seems to me that more and more persons have a yearning for new “social success patterns”. Well, they are something we badly need, because the old patterns are exactly what brought great misery to this planet.

Schools are the only places where this news has not yet found its way into. And the situation also gets worse and worse at the universities. There are numerous #newwork but no relevant movement #newschool. Many people who work in the educational industry (active teachers and administrators of the educational bureaucracy) told me that the situation has been getting worse for many years.


Schools must serve the children, not vice versa!


Curricula and rules given by the educational ministries make it harder by the year to do justice to the small persons. Additionally, you have an ever increasing administration that eats up the time that should have been spent with the students. This is how the system also becomes more and more expensive and more and more inefficient.


This was the bad news. Here is the good news.


In my next article, I will write how the citizens fight back and create totally new things. Because they actually exist: the Christophine.

But you will read more about this in my article Christophine 2, which I will hopefully  publish here soon. I will describe a school that, as far as its motto and its practical work is concerned, has absolutely convinced me. A school that proves that things can work differently – and work quite well, too.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday April 15th, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Bicyclist – SHOPPING

New series, because active mobility is important to me.

Once in a while, I go shopping. For instance when I need milk for my coffee. After all, you only get top-quality coffee froth with excellent fresh milk. My favourite is the 3.8% fat milk you get at demeter. It is available in brown one-litre glass bottles. For me, it is important that the container is glass, because products like milk in the tetra pack or yoghurt in plastic containers are a no-go in my book as a matter of principle these days. Just like I also never buy beer in tin cans.

Close to my house, the milk I want is only available at a bio-market called denns. It opened some time ago on the Putzbrunner Strasse in Ottobrunn, not far from where I live. The shop is part of a bio-chain with the same name. They are probably quite the experts when it comes to really earn money with the label “bio” (unless they become their own enemies by offering poor service in their chain stores).

Careful! You do not necessarily get what you read on the label.

The entrance seems to welcome you, but that is a misconception. As soon as you enter, you see the PAYBACK machine to the right. – PAYBACK  are those who currently do the “ONLINE SHOPPING HAPPINESS WEEKS“. In my book, PAYBACK is a modern way of bullshitting customers. And as I see it, bullshitting customers is not really something that should go with “bio”, is it?

My other experiences in the same place, too, are in accordance with “pretty is what pretty does”. When at the check-out, I also always have (too) long to wait and the service persons are not particularly friendly, either (at least as far as I was concerned until April 2017). There is exotic fruit and non-exotic fruit at the wrong time of year. Everything looks too much “bio, bio, bio” to me. On the whole, it seems more appearances and show than anything else.

Usually, most of the customers come shopping in their big limousines, although they live just around the corner. That, too, is something I would not associate with the attribute “bio”. Here is a metaphor: the typical customers are not do-gooders wearing Birkenstock. Instead, we are talking the chic super-mom who, driving her SUV, looks more like a super-bum. However, some customers come by bike – and so do I.

In my opinion, a rather exciting criterion for determining “customer friendliness” is how bike-riding customers are treated. There is at least some symbolic meaning to be deduced from the fact that only the most simple of – alibi – bike racks can be found at a rather remote place. And if said bike rack does not even have a roof, although the entire building has a long overhang, then this is also a message.

The small bike rack is rather remotely positioned and has no roof (and currently it is not overcrowded).

But what is the “evil cyclist” supposed to do when there are many customers and the “cyclists’ parking” is chaotically overcrowded?

;-)Then we evil cyclists will park our bikes on a common parking space – if there is a vacancy. And why not?

Two bikes belonging to two persons (the same is actually true for three or four of them) only need as much parking space as one car (with one person).

The highly motorized Denns customers will probably not like this “evil” behaviour.

Generally, many car drivers get annoyed with all those bikes on parking places. Some of them get so upset that they start yelling at people – and, depending on the personality and stress level of the car driver, said yelling might be intense, aggressive or even offensive.

There is enough space with overhangs for dry bike parking, but they are reserved for more important things.

Whenever someone starts this kind of trouble, I remain polite. I do not reply to the accusing words of the car driver with my favourite expletive “What do you want, you car driver!”, neither do I stoop so deep as remaining unperturbed and saying something like “Again, you can see that car drivers are definitely the lowest of the low”.

In former times, that is what I would have done. But I have become older and more sedate. Consequently, I give them a very friendly smile and tell them ever so politely that “parking places, after all, are for parking vehicles, aren’t they? And aren’t bicycles also vehicles?”. Naturally, if there is a parking place that costs fees, I am more than willing to pay.

Trouble is pre-programmed. More and more bicycles will appear, among them also some for transport of heavy material. There is no other alternative if we want shopping to be possible in the cities. Even now, the problem – no bicycle parking – arises more and more often, not just in front of shops with many customers, for instance discounters, but generally in the public domain.

Even today, there are many shops where cyclists are appreciated and taken seriously. Here is a beautiful example, also quite close to my home, in Neubiberg.

At REWE near the Neubiberg S-bahn train station, the cyclists’ parking is directly next to the entrance and has a roof.

At REWE near the Neubiberg S-bahn train station, the cyclists’ parking is directly next to the entrance and has a roof.

At the Neubiberg REWE, there used to be just a very small parking place for bicycles. Now the management reacted and installed a big, roofed area for bicycles right next to the entrance!

There is just one downside: whenever many customers are shopping here, the new and really not very small bike rack is also too small. However, you could easily remedy this by parking in the second row as well (with a passage between the two rows). For the users, it would be easier if there were a marking on the tarmac to indicate where the second row is supposed to begin. How about this idea of mine to improve matters? Basically, a cyclist does not need a bike rack when shopping. The marked free area that cyclists should then use with discipline is a lot more important.

In this place, the friendliness towards cyclists is symptomatic for the entire service. Whenever I shop at the Neubiberg REWE, I notice with approval how nice the shop looks inside and how friendly and eager to help all the service persons are. Maybe there is a correlation between “cyclist-friendliness” and “good service for the customers”? And probably being cyclist-friendly is more and more profitable for the shops! Because there are more and more cyclists who have more money than many car drivers – and who very much appreciate quality.

RMD
(Translated by Evelyn)

Eugenie Wirz with Christian Mendoza (young entrepreneurs from Poland) at the UTUM-Hackathon (2016)

During my work – or should I say hobby – as a mentor for UTUM (unternehmerTUM) and TUM, I had the privilege to accompany a number of young persons for a time out of their life. I also met many nice people who are very active, both professionally and socially and who promote young persons (some of whom have fallen upon dire times) and start-ups with a huge amount of idealism.

I particularly enjoyed working with Eugenie Wirz (her friends call her Jenna). I first met Jenna several years ago, when she was still in charge of the UTUM mentoring program and worked particularly hard for “her” mentees.

Now, she has a new task at unternehmerTUM in the European context: the program “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs“. It brings many ideas and fresh perspectives (Ideen und frische Perspektiven) to the UTUM world. In the magazine TUMcampus 4 | 16, on page 12 , you can find a “special” under the title “Learning from Successful Enterprises“. The Exist-Founders’ Program (Exist-Gründerprogramm) is also among those who promote it.

In the Wirtschaftswoche, you will find an article that describes how “you can learn abroad how to be a founder”. For examples of successful projects, click here.

In my role as the one who accompanied quite a few start-ups, especially with very young founders, I now understand that, more often than not, it is exactly this program that is an important chapter when it comes to writing your own entrepreneurial script. Consequently, it was my pleasure to write this article for Jenna and her program “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs”. So if you know young founders, why don’t you give them this information?

And if there are questions about the project, do not hesitate to contact Jenna via email.

RMD

Roland Dürre
Friday March 17th, 2017

We Cure the Symptoms and Ignore the Sources.

Long Live Populism!

or
Talking Instead of Acting?

Charly, the Great Dictator.

Now I witnessed the first (electoral) campaign events with Martin Schulz. Even from the distance, I got the impression that this is another and admittedly talented attempt at using the general uncomfortable feeling of many persons as a resonance body for someone’s own goals and demanding a few improvements where small details are concerned that, however, only equal a treatment of symptoms if you look at the entire picture.

In these speeches, I perceived what is probably generally called populism and what is probably the last remaining recipe for success in the current generation of politicians. Apparently, nobody ever got the idea of asking what caused the problems and then introducing change in a social consensus through political activities.

Consequently, Martin Schulz is the next populist looming on the horizon for Europe. This time it is a candidate for the one “party of the people”. Again, the motto in the speeches I heard is the same:

We are appalled by the symptoms and enjoy to point out what went wrong, but we do not dare to approach the sources.

After all, that would be system-critical and call for change. Which is an absolute no-go. Especially for the SPD. Because that is something the comrades forbade themselves many years ago. After all, they want back to power. And even when they were part of the government, they avoided all “system-critical” issues wherever possible. Because “holy” practical constraints and systemic necessities stood in the way of change.

The environmental catastrophe and destruction of our planet (plastic, climate, …) and the social polarization of humanity with all its consequences such as flight because of destroyed living space and more left them just as untouched. In fact, they would like to just leave these issues out of the government altogether. Because it would only have be a nuisance.

“Social Democracy First” is rhetorically easy to communicate. Except: it is a little harder to actually realize and then to work on the causes. After all, you do not want to be (too) inconvenient and you also would not wish to hurt anybody, would you? These topics do not even appear in the electoral slogans, because bad news are not popular. Especially if you can no longer ignore them.

Regardless of the fact that reality, too, might well be a good topic for populists. See the video below. But if you talk about reality, you cannot be afraid of your own courage. You have to be able to bear the truth. And you are ill-advised if you fear that it might cost you votes. So what you need is courage. But currently, it seems that cowardice is more popular. Fear happens between the ears and it reigns over the world in a truly demonic way.

So here, yet again, I am trying to describe the reasons why our society drifts apart into fewer and fewer rich and more and more poor people. Which is exactly where you should get active if you call yourself a social democrat.

The reasons for polarisation are:

  • The free speculation with everything: currencies, enterprises, food, raw materials, property, copyright, all sorts of rights …
  • A property legislation that protects individual “mental property” in an exorbitant and excessive way;
  • A general understanding of ownership that seems to have totally isolated itself from the maxim of “ownership is also a responsibility”;
  • The social legitimacy of illegitimate influence on common-good interests exerted by interest groups (aka lobbyism as a criminal act of advantage theft);
  • Propaganda, including the seduction and manipulation on all levels, also of the sub-conscious, as a normal business method (aka marketing). Seduction that aims at making the concerned persons behave in contrast to their will and ratio.

Although we know better, we still believe that

  • Growth beats health;
  • Taylorismus beats task-identity;
  • Shareholder Value beats common-good economy.

When will we understand that

  • the interests of the stakeholders (customers, employees, …) should have priority over the shareholder interests and that
  • In a society with a future social togetherness instead of private property preservation must have the highest priority both for all individuals and the entity?

So why do politicians never talk causes but instead only make loud populist noises? And why do they always only write in their programs about minimal corrections and symptoms that need to be cured? And why do these methods actually make them successful?

🙂 Here is an example for POPULISM I rather like. Even if Harald Lesch is only partly correct (and I can easily imagine it), my aforementioned “social fear” might soon no longer play a role at all, because surviving will be more important.

Yes – this is exactly the speech I would like to hear from a politician…

RMD
(Translated by EG)

How not to practice innovations management.

It is quite possible that I still believed in institutions and administration when this picture was taken.

Bureaucracy and administration paralyze concerns and medium-sized enterprises. Agility gets lost, Taylorism flourishes. This is how all systems will, sooner or later, make their survival the central goal of their thinking, functioning and behaviour. The interests of the important stake-holders “customer” and “employee” will be suppressed, the enterprise will become inflexible and fragile.

Then the determining factors and environment will change, once in a while even disruptively. The “management” is totally surprised by what happens. A business model that used to be very reliable and beloved is suddenly questioned. There is no better one on the horizon. More and more helplessness grows. Everybody expects a miracle. Innovation and agility are praised as the saviour. Everything must get better.

As a consequence, nothing happens. Except that new programs that follow old patterns are created. The administration gets one or several additional staff departments. They will then be responsible for “change” or innovative management. The new world is now communicated by the central administration with lots of noise. The propaganda machine starts running. On a slide used by the director, you will, for example, see:

„The board identified priority areas to improve in 20xx to become the company we want to be.“

Then comes a list of innovations. As a general rule, you will find CSR (corporate social responsibility) and similar nonsense. Mostly, you also get something about performance or profitability. Once in a while, the customers are also mentioned: you want to become customer centred. Occasionally, they will also sing the praise of “new values” and a different “culture”. But above all, you will always find lots of buzzwords in these works. And that makes you wonder why expensive counsellors get so much money for such weak formulations.

The best case is if things that have been looked down upon for years suddenly become epiphany. I mean terms such as taking responsibility, eye-level, respect and appreciation. Agile and lean, openness and transparency are repeated in mantra fashion. Modern methods and informal communication are propagated. Except that nobody tells you how this is supposed to work. Neither is anybody keen on actually installing these concepts, because the system does not really want any of them. In fact, the system wants to establish and improve its own power. No matter what it costs.

I have come to that stage where I can relate numerous stories about how enterprises have become more and more bureaucratic and administratively complicated. On the other hand, I do not know a single instance where they successfully returned to the simple, agile and open enterprise.

That is the reason why, in social systems – be it enterprises or societies -, I no longer believe in transition or transformation towards less bureaucracy and more life. Basically, it cannot be done from the top, anyway – and they will not allow it from the bottom. Consequently, I will no longer waste my time and energy in old structures. Instead, I will only support concepts where something new is created. Innovation is creative destruction. As in evolution, new things will only happen when an old generation dies out and a new one evolves. That is just how it is.

Please understand my article as an optimistic message. All you have to do is have a little patience, then everything will work out just fine.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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

Roland Dürre
Sunday February 26th, 2017

Please Treat Humans as Befits Them.

EXPERIENCING rather than LEARNING!

Carnival time will soon be over and “Mariechen” will disappear back in the attic. The Carnival Guard’s Gala Uniforms, too, which should be a thing of the past in real life (just like marching along the Honorary Guards with their bayonets if you are a Visitor of State, which I consider a pitiful tradition) will end under the roof. After all, in today’s digital world, the bodies will no longer be cut with bayonets but with drones. I do not mean this cynically – it is simply the reality in our high-tech world.

In our schools, and by now even at our universities, the evil carnival continues after Ash Wednesday.

This is why I repeat my Credo.

Above all, I want to “experience” and “live through” many things. I want to try new things and “work towards” acquiring knowledge that I need with the necessary depth. Learning in the classic diction without a goal is not my thing.

I know that I am always “part of something” and that I consciously want to belong to a “we”. It is my pleasure to take responsibility, both for myself and the shared social life. To do this, I need no motivation from outside, neither ideological nor financial.

For me, it is important to get feedback that appreciates my value and to find undistorted mirroring. However, I do not want to be graded, because I oppose for my “essence” to be metricized. Because I want to remain a human being, instead of becoming a machine. That is why I also never evaluate other persons or give them grades. In my opinion, being proud of good grades is just as absurd as being proud to be a German.

I would like to live in a society where “coaching” (in the sense of support and help) replaces reigning over others. A world where communication and networks are free and where nobody has power over others and where self-organized networks replace hierarchical structures.

Consequently, we should kiss terms such as “life-long learning” good-bye. Learning is “not nice” and getting graded for what you have learned is “even worse”. I was myself a master of “knowledge bulimia” (a better term would be: “knowledge fraud”) and know what I am talking about – also because I am a father of seven.

So it is only a logical consequence that we must liberate our children from the learning and grading stress. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised to hear that even Marlies Tepe, the director of the Union GEW, wants to  abolish all grades at school – from primary school through grammar school. Unfortunately, I also had to read that there is considerable opposition against the proposal.

I am in favour of it!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

About stand-by-jobs, facilitation and driverless underground trains. And about Uli.

I short time ago, I was introduced to Ulrich Sendler. Uli is an “Independent technology analyst” and musician. He writes books (that are even translated into Chinese, where they are best-sellers), gives presentations (judging by what I saw of him, I assume his presentations are rather competent and entertaining) and he also works as a counsellor and moderator. When we met, he told me that he will soon be speaking in Gütersloh on the keynote topic: “Automated Society”. You order a service via internet and the delivery or service will be carried out automatically.

For me, “automated society” and “self-service society” are also “buzz words” often used when people characterize our “new digitalized society” in our “post-fact everyday life”.

These expressions immediately triggered a few association and ideas:

Technology is there to make life and work easier for humans. There is a nice and nowadays often used buzz word for this:
Facilitation!
In Wikipedia, you find the definition: 
Facilitation is any activity that makes tasks for others easy, or tasks that are assisted.

In everyday life, this is responsible for the fact that work humans used to do is now easier because of technological advances. We might even end up having to do nothing at all.

Just think of Lufthansa pilots. Currently, they are often written about in the press because of their passionate attitude towards strikes. Your average poor pilot will only be allowed to actually become active for ten minutes of a long-distance flight, for instance to the Caribbean: when initiating and realizing the start and landing phases. He spends the rest of the time watching the plane fly. The poor pilot is not allowed to relieve his boredom by playing computer games. Presumably, alcohol is just as forbidden as visiting ladies – like stewardesses – in the cockpit. All that remains is boredom.

Wecker1In my vocabulary, these jobs are “stand-by-jobs”. Since I used to be a programmer, this would be like having to watch the computer programming itself and then being allowed five minutes to evaluate if the resulting program is what it should be. To me, such a job description sounds rather cruel. It is quite possible that such a stand-by job will cause depressions.

Two decades ago, there was a phase of about two weeks after I had switched to a new employer during which there was nothing to do for me. I sat in my office from morning to evening, was terribly bored and tried with all my might to do something meaningful. And the digits of the clock seemed to really, really creep.

Never again in my work-life was I as unhappy as then.

Münchner U-Bahnhof Dietlindenstraße (U6) - Urheber: FloSch - Eigenes Werk unter CC BY 2.5 (2005)

Munich Underground station Dietlindenstraße (U6) – by FloSch, under CC BY 2.5 published in Wikipedia (2005)

One of the systems the Stadtwerke München (SWM) supervise is the Munich Underground Network. The SWM are intelligent employers. They know that humans do not appreciate “stand-by-work”. Underground train drivers, too, have become “stand-by-workers”.

But the Stadtwerke want happy underground train drivers who are motivated to do their jobs. A short time ago, I learned that all underground train drivers have to exit at every station to control how full the train is. And after this has been done successfully, they have to signal that the train can continue. That is an important task.

This activity was introduced to make the platforms safer. Above all, however, it is a measure that serves the driver, because in this way his job gets more responsible and diverse, and he even gets a little exercise. That is good both for the body and the soul.

Except that in Nuremberg, the underground trains have been moving without a driver for many years now. And those in Lyon have been doing so for decades. And in both cases, the model seems to work quite fine, actually even better than with a driver.
May my readers come to their own conclusions.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Yesterday, I used the MVG Bus number 210 from Neuperlach Station to Ottobrunn, Jahnstrasse. The driver sat in his dark cabin and was rather isolated. All contact between vehicle and passengers was automated: the display and announcement of stops. The driver is reduced to being the one behind the wheel. He will stop the bus whenever he can see someone at the bus stop or if someone has pressed the button inside the bus. On this evening, I was lucky, because the driver drove very sensibly. He never accelerated too abruptly or stomped on the breaks with too much force. I found that rather agreeable. But there are also some drivers who really let their hair down. That is when you think a self-driven bus might have its advantages. Technologically speaking, I am sure it is already possible.