Roland Dürre
Sunday April 14th, 2019

(Deutsch) Wer glaubt denn noch an VUCA?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday April 3rd, 2019

The Heretic’s Cynic Dance Through Society and Politics.

Currently, I am riding my bike through the Piemont with Barbara. It is pure pleasure, spring, exercise, a wonderful landscape, great food, everything is like a dream. It gives me time and leisure to think about what has made me sad recently. The following summary is the result.

Before you start reading, I would like to point out that we have freedom of thought. That is also true for mental experiments.


Let us start with a hideous saying from Nazi times. In those days, the masters of the Third Reich hung the sentence “Work Will Make You Free“ over the entrance of the Concentration Camps. Hatred was systematically promoted against persons and groups we disliked. These people were tortured and murdered from the leaders – with the agreement of the vassals. We rightly condemned what happened as crimes against humanity. Work will make you free – in those times that was sheer cynicism.

Today, we have the motto: “Money will make you free”. Since for most people their job is the source of income, you can say – and I do not mean this cynical at all – “your job will make you free”. Because only if you have a job that pays reasonably well, you will be a respected part of society. Everything depends on it.

If your job does not pay very much, this is not a problem. You simply have to have several jobs. That is quite possible. You will still remain a part of society. If you do not earn enough in your job, you will also be ostracized. Except if you have other means of income, for instance if you inherit a lot. With enough money, you will also be a respected citizen if you have no job. Since well-paid jobs will probably become scarce in the future, some sociologists demand the   BGE (basic income without any requirements). It is supposed to give people a little more freedom, but above all, it is supposed to guarantee the preservation of the consumption society.

The best-paid jobs are in the HORGs (Hierarchical ORGanisations). Especially if you are stabilized and protected by collectively agreed wages, you can consider yourself in the golden cage. If you do not wish to work in a HORG (like yours truly), you have two options: you can become either a day labourer or an entrepreneur.

Day labourers can either earn quite a lot or be rather poorly paid, depending on what they can sell. If you need a better sounding word, you will call them freelancers (although they are certainly not free). And they are often persecuted as “fake freelancers“.

Trying to become an entrepreneur is risky, you can fail (as with everything in life). Except if you fail, you might not only end up without income but also without Granny’s Little House.

The VW managing director Herbert Diess has now also realized this, regardless of the fact that he is actually not an entrepreneur but more some kind of upper class system agent. He declared very appropriately: EBIT will make you free – and then he was surprised that they criticized him for this sentence (because of the historical fact that VW, after all, had quite a few forced labourers during the Third Reich). Since he is a nice Austrian who was born in Munich, he later said he was sorry if his choice of phrase was offensive.

Mind you, he was absolutely correct, because his enterprise will be a lot better off if “his enterprise” manages a nice EBIT every year. Believe me, I know what I am talking about!

Incidentally, not only the managing directors in the automobile industry know this – those in the pharmaceutical industry have also gotten wind of it. Mind you, in the pharmaceutical industry, you do not get such products as Tamiflu – that alone guarantees the EBIT – every year. The time of the Blockbuster is also something of the past and business in the chemical health industry gets generally harder.

That is why it is nice if google and facebook, for example, ban the vaccination enemies from their website. Naturally, compulsory vaccinations are an excellent cure for the EBIT of the producers. And the government, too, is now considering to introduce a law that makes it possible to make vaccinations compulsory. Because of the measles.

Since we are talking about compulsory measures: 
Especially in the medical sector, it would make sense in society to have many more compulsory measures. The first thing that comes to mind is the HIV test. Why do they not force everybody to do such a test regularly? That would give people the information whether or not they have Aids and consequently they can act responsibly. Would not some transparency make sense in the fight against the pestilence? And such a law would also be beneficial for the EBIT of the producer of the test.

Or, just as important:
Everybody knows that our planet has a huge problem. It suffers under too many people. Should we not really do something about the over-population? What about forced contraceptives?

Here is what the rules could be:

Every woman has to do whatever it takes in order not to become pregnant (without permission). Either through a known contraceptive or by proving that she lives in a monogamous relationship with a sterilized man. If there is a possibility that she is pregnant, she has to take the pill after. If the pregnancy has been confirmed, there must be immediate abortion. This is a medically very simple and harmless procedure that, in Germany, one out of four women underwent once or several times in their lives.

There would be exceptions for “applied for and approved” children. The approval has to be valid before the actual procreation. It will only be granted if the couple (hetero or homo sexual) can prove that they are able to provide a good social perspective for the child. What a Brave New World!
Well, the Federal Government has a lot of work to do. China already did it, because China had to cope with a drastic population growth. In India, it has also been discussed. They distributed radio receivers as a reward for sterilization. However, it did not work very well.

In general, the Chinese are a step ahead.

China already awards social credits for its citizens. Both negative and positive ones. In the end, the difference is calculated. This is how they want to realize the dream of a system of “relative justice” by rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad behaviour.

Thanks to digitalization, it is quite easy.

For instance if someone goes by underground train without having bought a ticket, he/she will get negative points. The same is true if you cross the street on a red traffic light or if you park illegally or drive too fast. If your negative points add up to a certain sum, you will be ostracized from society by a differentiated system.
Isn’t this better than our system?

If you go by underground train in this country without having bought a ticket, you are committing a crime and will sooner or later end up in jail. Since parking illegally is only a violation of a minor rule, you can throw away your ticket without having to fear jail. Is that relative justice?

In China, they have many rich and super-rich – and many poor. In our country, the polarization between rich and poor is not quite as pronounced as there.
This could soon end.

Because Germany is not the only country where the first article of the constitution seems to be: the preservation of your property is the highest priority. That is what the majority of people in this country take as the maxim of their thinking and behaviour.

The protection of vested rights feels like a new human right in Germany.

Consequently, the protection of property has been improved. It happens at all levels. Naturally, because, if 50% of the world’s capital belongs to fewer than fifty people, then these people want to stabilize their situation. And power is always in the hands of those with “the funny stuff”.
The copyright protection that originated in the last centuries is also regulated for the internet. Data are declared personal property and protected by laws. It induces a huge cost that could easily have been avoided if we had simply punished violations of the law.

I never understood the ado they made about data protection. How can any person own data at all? And why do they belong to him/her personally? I used to believe that data (like knowledge) belongs to all of us. At least to all those who know them.

What kind of society is this if my date of birth is a secret? To be sure, I am less than thrilled about my age. I would certainly like to be younger. But why should nobody know how old I am? Why should my sexual and religious orientation not be public knowledge? Why does everyone want to hide something?

My dream is a transparent and tolerant society. Free of violence. We would need no DSVGO as we have it now. Neither would we need upload filters that will now also come officially (we have had them in-officially for quite some time already).

They say that intellectual property needs to be protected. This is because you can earn a lot of money with intellectual property. I feel richer if I can share my ideas with others. I will not want the copyright to my ideas, simply because my ideas have usually been inspired or triggered by other persons.

There is one exception to how the government acts in favour of manifesting property. It is not about the womb that should belong to a woman. Now the government wants to initiate a law that allows them to take the organs of a dead person by default. In other words, if a person did not declare a priori (before he died) that he expressly forbids it or unless his next of kin à posterio gives a good reason why he is against it, the organs will be taken. This weakens the ownership of your own organs. Is that because your ownership terminates with your death? What about applying this reasoning to other property?

It really sounds very humane if you hear about poor people who have been waiting a long time for a donor because they need his organ. As always, however, that is not what it is all about. It is all about business. And business is always justified with reminding people of jobs.

Organ transplants are very expensive medical business cases. And there are quite a few hospitals and people working there who could earn a lot more money if they had more donor organs. The pharmaceutical industry would also benefit. Because people who have been successfully given a donor organ need a lot of medication afterwards in order to continue living with the strange organ.

Also, you are no longer (officially) allowed to own other persons. However, slavery, too, was not abolished for humanitarian or idealistic reasons. It was mostly abolished because it was not beneficial in the sense of profit maximization.

Now I wait for a regulation that protects the right to my own emotions. After all, they, too, can be violated or injured by others. We already have some interesting beginnings, for instance if you violate religious or German-Nationalist feelings (for example if you ignore the flag). This might well become a subject to regulation in the internet. Upload filters come to mind.
I am really happy that I do not have any religious or nationalist feelings. So nobody can violate them. On the other hand: if SpVG Unterhaching lost a match and a München-1860 or Bayern-München fan makes fun of it, he is definitely violating my feelings. And I think he really should be punished for it.

That is one of the problem we have in this society:
How will violations against future regulations be sanctioned?
More and more is forbidden and regulated – it is not only about vaccinations and having children. The planet, the bees, and Europe must be saved. And all of this will not be possible without severe restrictions and solidarity. And voluntary solidarity comes at a high price and will consequently cost a lot.

Consequently, you cannot follow the politically incorrect sentiment that, for example, you are opposed to a Europe that is dominated by nationalist countries and that dreams of a powerful army of its own with aircraft carriers. Just as violations against the environment need to be sanctioned if you want to stop the climate catastrophe.

This is where we come full circle. You will really need a well-paid job or be extremely rich if you want to pay all the fees and tickets you will get.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I just read that the Bayerische Landesausstellung will be re-named “Stadtluft befreit“. The organizers of the event in Aichach and Friedberg in 2020 modified the original title ”Stadtluft macht frei“. Charlotte Knobloch had criticised that the title is hurtful and “poisoning people“.

The reason was that the old title violated feelings. If feelings are property that needs to be protected (because you can hurt them), then – following the current political concepts – you need a GSGVO (regulation for the protection of feelings) in the internet, too. And since we already have update filters, why not exclude everything that hurts your feelings? Such as city air will make you free. Or Haching is a shitty club.

In my opinion, “city air will make you free“ is a very important metaphor. Because the social, political, cultural and all other progress in Europe happened in the cities and through networking.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday March 5th, 2019

After Mardi Gras, There is Ash Wednesday.

 

Property, violence, justice, safety and abstinence …

 

It does not matter if you run, ride a bike, ski or drive a car. If you hit someone, then this is violence. Speed is violence.

 

Stone mask from the pre-ceramic stone age around 7,000 before Christ. One of the world’s oldest masks (Musée Bible et Terre Sainte, Paris)

Today is Mardi Gras. You can wear masks. You can wear costumes. Fool’s freedom means that you can take another role. And you need not stick by all the rules and keep up all the moral laws.

That feels nice. For several weeks, they have now made laws that look arbitrary to me and that I cannot understand. Because now the Great Coalition have changed from the argument mode to the working mode. Since laws mostly are not very good, I preferred the argument mode.
After they took the German Citizenship away for IS fighters, there is an EU-wide attack on the internet. But they also discuss the great liberty of German car drivers, the speed limit. A Swedish (?) producer restricts the cars to 180 km/h. Somehow or other, this is unimaginable in Germany. Basically, I do not even understand why cars that drive faster than 130 km/h are allowed on any streets at all.

Because I am personally against all speed. Both in life and in a car. For instance, I would feel a lot more comfortable if cars were allowed no more than 30 km/h in towns and no more than 70 km/ on highways, along with a maximum of 120 km/h on motorways.

But on the other hand, I am against all sorts of prohibitions. How can I solve this dilemma and still give a good reason for limiting the speed of vehicles? By introducing the factor violence! After all, in our times, the application of violence is a monopoly of the state. That is also true for weapons (let us ignore for the sake of argument that there are many exceptions, even in this country). This means that humans consciously agreed to not use violence and that only the state can use it in very clearly specified situations.

Well, knocking down a pedestrian or cyclist is just as much an act of violence as driving into another car. And that is exactly what people in civilized countries have agreed to forego. That makes it quite simple when it comes to speed limits and limitations for objects of the MIV (Motorisierter Individual Verkehr), part of which are also electrically powered vehicles, such as e-bikes.

What is left in our times that actually moves people? As I see it, the answer is: property, justice, safety and abstinence.

Property.


Does it make sense that legal persons have the same rights to property as actual persons? That ideas – we know they should be free – can become private property? Or that even data are considered private property? 
What about common land? What exactly belongs to the common land and how to treat it? What about the self-possession of persons? Or will we get a new form of fiefdom?

Justice.


Arithmetically, it is impossible, at least that is how it seems ever since Aristotle. But what is suitable? Should society award social credits in order to regulate it? Or should some be expropriated?

Safety.

What is safety. Perhaps protection from violence? That would mean we come full circle. We do not want violence against us. If I am a pedestrian, I do not want to be hit by a car or bike. And so on.

Abstinence.


Everybody knows that, if we want to save the planet, we will not only have to change many of our habits, but also practice abstinence. And what do we do? We fly more, drive bigger and bigger SUVs and eat bigger and bigger portions of meat.

Besides property, justice, violence, safety, power and abstinence, there are many more inter-related topics. They are so complex that the only chance to contain them is a new social consensus.

Tomorrow is again Ash Wednesday. Then the hilarity is over. I already dread the political meetings with their speakers. They will again bark and beat. Both men (CSU) and women (Grüne, SPD). Because this is all about the sovereignty over the regulars’ table. And not about peace and social consensus.

It is really sad – so take off your mask and atone.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Freedom? Morality? Principles? Facts? Certainties?

Using beautiful terms and buzzwords, both politicians and the marketing of huge concerns try to impress people (and motivate them to buy things). The former do it because they want our vote, the latter because they want our best – the funny stuff.

Consciously treating language shabbily is part of this “new dishonesty“.

Language is supposed to have a manipulative effect. There is an endless number of terms that are very suitable if you want to seduce people. These terms are used whenever someone says something great. In particular, it is used by people who believe they are in possession of the truth (if you are precise, you will have to call it certainty). They use terms they themselves do not really understand, but still they hope that, by using those terms, they can sell their certainties.

They will not concern themselves with what these words actually mean. Instead, they just parrot them. Consequently, we should put all statements that are put before us under really thorough scrutiny. After all, we live in times of irresponsible blabbering.

In 1983, I was lucky enough to attend a very high-profile management seminar on dialectics in Frankfurt under Rupert Lay. In those days, Rupert Lay had the reputation of being the German Nestor as far as “Ethics in Management“ was concerned. It was a very modern topic, almost “hype”. I learned a lot during that seminar. And I tried to continue learning for the rest of my life.

I was 33 years old when I learned language, i.e. when I learned what exactly it means to use language properly. Well, that is rather late, isn’t it? The six other seminarists were all top managers from industry or presidents of associations or politicians in high office. They were all around thirty years older than I. That means they were all a lot later than yours truly, doesn’t it?

After a short warming-up discourse, they all agreed that freedom was their most important property and that they would immediately die for it. When I distanced myself from these two statements, I was treated like a pariah. To be sure, I was the youngest, had the longest haircut and did not wear a tie. Consequently, these older silvery-haired gentlemen could not really take me seriously, could they?

Unfortunately, the entire affair was symmetrical. Because to me, these six persons looked very much controlled from outside, which means they were the opposite of free. To be perfectly honest, I thought my six co-participants in the seminar were the prototypes of unfree persons. They were typical system agents who were caught in their fascist jails.

This did not bode well for the entire seminar. Regardless, this seminar is where I started to see philosophy and rhetoric as something important in my life and to appreciate their value. Thus, I learned to listen carefully, to analyse language and to treat difficult terms with caution, rather than negligently. And ever since then, that is what I have tried to actively do.

Concerning the image below:
Be not afraid, my blog is not going to turn into advertising CDU. I will never vote for or support a party the members of which, shortly after WW-II, conspiratorially  and in secret meetings prepared for German re-armament, and then realized it against the protests of the people (and to the benefit of the German Armament Industry).

Because I believe that those were the days that a unique chance for us people was lost for good, just because some people were scared.

No, this is about the text on the poster, or rather the text on the tweet.

The picture illustrates a tweet that was shared by the verified account of the CDU (excluding Bavaria) .
Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer forwarded this tweet under the account @akk . That is how it ended up with me.

Here is the text as it was shared by @akk at @CDU– Tweets with this picture:


In an interview with   admonished the readers: “I expect people who come into our country to accept our values – and above all, I expect us to fight for our values”.


To me, it seems like a sentence directly from marketing. In some way or other, it is a stroke of genius in its bi-polarity. After all, it contains a demand that seems to be easy to accept.

Those who “come to us” should “accept our values”. We, “since we are “us” because we are here already”, should fight for our values. Of course, the weak point in this sentence is the term “values”. What exactly are “values”. What exactly are our values?.

Why do we expect those who come to our country to know our values if we ourselves do not know them?
As I see it, it would be a huge social obligation to work out a consensus about what our values are. Even if you probably cannot solve this problem.

Here are a few ideas.
If I want to understand the meaning of “value”, I first look for related terms, such as morality and principles. I am looking for a general term (because it is easier to understand and describe a word if you have a general term you can use in order to distinguish between the less general terms. That is what you learn in the first semester if you study philosophy).

In Wikipedia, you will find an overview  on the individual letters of „VALUE“. The first cube contains an enumeration of how the word VALULE Is generally used. For our purposes, this is not helpful. Incidentally, this cube is not even complete: you will, for instance, not find what the “value” (content) of a variable is in the game with words used by programmers.
In our context, the second cube of the article is relevant. Here is what it says.

(Wikipedia – value – version of February, 3rd, 2019, second column of text)
Value stands fo:
• Ethics, i.e. characteristics and qualities that are considered morally desirable
• social norms , i.e. social regulations for how to behave.
• christian values
• Ethical values, see: ethical law

Well, I do not really know why Christian Values are part of the definition. I would find “religious” values more appropriate. You could exemplify them by using “Christian Values”. And you would then have to include the values of other religions. Perhaps you could also describe these values as mindsets. Consequently, our values would be described as our mind sets. But do we have a common mind set?

If, in our historic tradition, the Christian-Occidental values are propagated, then I always remember that, until the end of the 18th century, the Christians were also among those who supported and used serfdom , which is just another word for slavery  . Well, at least in my eyes that does not make the tradition any better. Bear in mind that mostly serfs were also dependants .The landlord was mostly also the owner of the farmer. And who owned the land?

I like the first entry in the upper cube ethics a lot better. We learn that this is all about our concepts of values. So what exactly are concepts? Visions or hallucinations? The entry also shows us how easily you get into close proximity of morality  that judges if we apply values. After all, morality is something that believes in possessing the truth about what is good and what is evil. Can you tell me what is good and what is evil?

In Wikipedia, you will also find on morality:

Morality is about mostly actual behavioural patterns , conventions and rules or principles of certain  individuals, groups or cultures.  . A violation of morality is called immorality. Amorality is the denial or the purposeful refusal of moral principles and can culminate in the total absence of moral feeling.

So now we are again dealing with patterns, conventions, rules and principles! So let us continue – which means we end up with an article about principles . Now things are really getting complicated. Consequently, we will only take one sentence:
Generally speaking, a principle is a maxim or a basic rule you stick by.

So now we can ask:
Did the author (I am sure it was not AKK herself who wrote it) really mean values with this beautiful advertisement? Or morality? Or principles?
Or does it mean that those who come to our country had better stick by our rules and regulations and that it is our job to see to it that said rules are not violated? 
- Which makes it sound quite differently.

I strongly suspect that the person who wrote this sentence did not even know what he or she actually wanted to say.
Because he or she did not think of such a thing (and perhaps was not even competent enough to think of it). It was simply going to be a nice marketing slogan that sounds nice and makes a good impression. Insofar, it is a good match with the general dishonesty in our communication.

If you are interested in finding out how Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer interprets the sentence on the poster, why don’t you send her an email @akk and ask her?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday January 5th, 2019

RADICAL.

Long Live the Radical Heretics!

When Hans Bonfigt’s article was discussed and commented on, the term “radical“ played an important role. This motivated me to become contemplative about the word RADICAL. Because, to me, it seems that being radical is very important.

According to de.Wiktionary.org/wiki/, similar words are either 
[1] hard, ruthless, reckless, stubborn,  or 
[2] clearly, thoroughly, noticeably, definitely, all-encompassing.

{
Laut de.Wiktionary.org/wiki/ sind sinnverwandte Wörter entweder
[1] hart, rücksichtslos, unerbittlich, unnachgiebig
oder
[2] deutlich, gründlich, merkbar, merklich, umfassend
}

I found no useful definition of the word “radical” in (the German) Wikipedia. In the political context, there is a link to radicalism . Sociologically, radicalism is a characteristic of change, see social change.

Well, at least in the German Wikipedia, there is no definition of the often-used word “radical”. This shows clearly how difficult the discussion of the term is. To me, this sounds almost logical, since we humans are famous for having arguments about things the meaning of which we do not know. Simply because we tend to put particular emotional stress on terms that we do not understand or cannot define.

Let me make some guesses as to what radical might mean. Or rather, how I understand it. It took several days of contemplation for me to come up with an answer. Then I discovered that, to me, “radical” is particularly important when it comes to thinking. That means we are talking radical ideas. Which, as I see it, Hans Bonfigt time and again does not apply.

To my way of thinking, “radical ideas” mean that our ideas can develop in straight lines without having to consider moral fields. In other words, our ideas should not be influenced by the restriction: “You do not want to think along these lines“.
And I believe that radical ideas will soon make you a heretic. I rather like heretics if they are capable of questioning their own so-called truths.

Let me describe a few theoretical results that can spring from radical ideas.

  • Religions and God were invented by humans. How can a person call something an absolute truth if he himself invented it?
  • Who are those who benefit most from war? The weapons industry. Consequently, the weapons industry needs war. And whenever there is no war, it will see to it that there will soon again be war.
  • First and foremost, I must be considerate of myself. Because only if I love myself, I can also love other people. Consequently, martyrdom is socially detrimental and should not happen – nor should it be glorified.
  • Humans are not evil. If anything, then their actions are evil. Consequently, you should not condemn humans but instead their actions.
    (Rupert Lay once said that Hitler was probably not an evil person, because maybe he mostly followed his conscience. Perhaps his conscience was rather alien, if not pathological. To be sure, Rupert said it during a festive presentation for famous guests of a big German Bank. And legend has it that he was then interrupted by the managing director and escorted from the premises. Because he had broken a taboo – there are things you cannot think, let alone say).

Well, I guess I had better stop writing before someone comes and escorts me from the writing stage.

RMD

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 16th, 2018

Why is Germany so Far Behind When it Comes to Digitalization?


A short time ago, someone asked me during a presentation about the reasons for our (the German) weakness when it comes to digitalization. After all, haven’t we always been the country of engineers?


On this picture, I do not look like a happy person wearing a uniform. I would have preferred to play with a computer.

Well, I had to do some thinking. After all, there was a time when German enterprises, such as Siemens, were the top of the world in technology and IT.

I try to consider the IT scene as a whole over time. I notice that, for a long time now, innovations have rarely come from the technology laboratories of the mega concerns or huge research institutes.

Instead, innovations are introduced by movements that are mostly initiated by young persons with passion. This is especially true for computer science, i.e. the IT and related technologies.

At Siemens, I myself was part of those who developed what I call industrial informatics in the late 1970ies and in the 1980ies. We developed – in an absolutely engineer-like manner – expensive and heavy mainframe computers with the matching periphery.

At the same time, simple computers for at home were thrown onto the market. For example the Atari (1979) or the Commodore (1982). Both in the USA and here, the children “played” with these or similar computers.

We “industrial computer scientists” also took a close look at these home computers. However, we only considered them toys that need not be taken seriously. We never realized what a fascinating potential these systems had.

As I saw it, for instance, the non-existent technological perfection of these systems was irritating. For example, they used a noisy cheap TV set as a screen (we called it data viewing device). Data were saved with cassette recorders on unreliable audio cassettes. And the input keyboards, too, were nothing that could make you optimistic.

Well, I lived to regret that I had given this new technology so little attention. Consequently, the PC wave and later the success of the technologically so weak Windows with its graphic interface and, above all, with its games such as solitaire, were ignored by me.

I already knew the graphic interface from devices such as the Xerox Star, which Siemens sold as an office computer. To be sure, it was a professional machine, but its cost/benefit analysis was extremely poor. Consequently, only very few German enterprises used it. I only know about Lufthansa in Germany who indulged in this luxury. This is why I did not take this technology seriously, either.

The young generation often only knew the world of the new computers – and they really gave them a boost. That happened in the USA – and you can easily read what happened there. For example if you read the biography of Steve Jobs – a book absolutely worth reading.

Back to our initial question:


Why is Germany so far behind in IT?

I do not think that there is one central reason for this German digital weakness. I am sure there are several reasons.

But I can give you one – probably a little rhetorical – answer:


I believe the compulsory service might have been one determining factor.

In the time that was crucial for IT development, we had around 500,000 young men under weapons. That is a considerable part of the male inhabitants of the country – at the best age. The national army was comprised mostly of people who were removed from normal life for 18, later 15, months. Most of them were young men.

Even today, you will mostly find men among the MINT (mathematics, engineering, natural sciences, technology) professions. In those days, it was even more pronounced. And compulsory service only concerned the young men and thus was detrimental for their development.

IT was – and is – a top-performance discipline. You have to stick to it with passion over several decades and, in the process, you have to suffer and understand a ruthlessly fast development. If you are forced to desist for an entire year, you will be at a considerably disadvantage. You can compare it to a young top soccer player who has to pause in his training for 18 months. I would assume that, normally, this would be the end of his soccer career.

There are a number of good reasons that support my theory.

My personal experience
In the autumn of 1969, I started my first semester of “Computer Science” at TUM. On April, 1st, 1970, they drafted me and I served until September, 30th, 1971. In these 18 months, I learned the meaning of the words “drink” and “chill”. The only positive result was that I learned how to survive such perverse systems.

In the autumn of 1971, I again started with the first semester at TUM. This is how I remained in chill-mode. It took until the spring of 1973 for me to finally get rid of this mode, because the interim-diploma was before me and I was woken up a little roughly. It was stressful and I continued with my “training along with studying” (more at Siemens that at TUM with quick learning from books). And I even managed to pass the interim diploma on my first try.

After my diploma, I had a few years of learning at Siemens and Softlab. It took until 1984 for me to establish my own enterprise. I was considerably older than thirty. If the army had not intervened, it would probably have happened several years earlier …

Experiences at InterFace
In the early InterFace AG years, we had many students on board. Some of the people working for us were even still at high school. They were fascinated by the new technology and wanted to get a first impression of what it was like in practice. They often came with a recommendation (for instance as children of our customers).

These young persons did excellent work and soon became important employees. As soon as they were nearing their final high school exams, they started getting nervous: would they have to serve? For us, this would have been a great loss.
We often helped them when it came to organizing a reason why they could not be drafted and thus could continue to work for us while they studied. Without these young talents, we would never have been able to realize our product CLOU & HIT and many other innovations.

The American founders
Looking at Silicon Valley heroes like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others, we see that none of them was hampered by military or similar compulsory service. Instead, they terminated their studies at university in order to focus on the new technologies and their enterprise.

German founders
If you look at the public cv-s of Hasso Plattner and Dietmar Hopp  (both from SAP), you find that they, too, have not served in the German Army. Of a very creative founder like Peter Schnupp, one of the co-founders of Softlab (born in 1934 and thus exempt from compulsory service), I know it because we are friends.

Start-Up Scene …
For more than ten years, I have now been one of the BayStartup jurors. It is probably Bavaria’s leading enterprise for topics such as business plan contest, financing, business angels,…
Depending on my availability, I evaluate around 100 business plans every year. Consequently, I learn a lot about the current technological trends and, above all, I also meet many young people who want to establish their own firms. And I notice that there is no new topic that does not mainly explain its specialty with the software that was developed for it.

It is thus a good thing that all start-ups have software persons on the team. They proudly tell me that they started programming at the age of ten and changed to sensible and modern computer languages and modern technology by the age of 12 or 14. A forced pause of fifteen or eighteen months would mean a huge drawback for them, if not the “out”.

So here you read a few arguments that might give some credit to my theory.


Now I really hope you know me well enough to realize that I would not declare that such an original theory is actually the truth.

However, I am convinced that the re-armament of the FRG after WW-II and the re-establishment of the weapons industry at least destroyed a unique chance for a great and peaceful Germany. And that the compulsory service and militarization in Germany are the reasons for immense economic and social damage.


The people who were responsible for this development, both today and then, were old white men like Adenauer with their prejudices and cynicism. Driven by fear, he had started as early as 1950 to work towards re-armament with criminally subversive methods and secretly.

If you want to find answers to the question “what exactly happened in those days?“, then you will probably want to read the Wikipedia article on the Bundeswehr and on Wehrpflicht.. They are very interesting.

But now I am happy that the compulsory service has been suspended and hope that this service will never again be re-installed.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The history of the pictures 
On April, 1st, 1070 (after having studied one semester of mathematics and computer science at TUM), I was draftet. Roland Dürre became Private Dürre. Unfortunately, this was not a bad April-Fool’s-Day-Joke. After one night in Lagerlechfeld (where you got the six-week mixed basic training for young people who had successfully graduated from high school) and a few nights in Landsberg, I was sent to Ulm. Because I was considered recalcitrant.

In Ulm, they put me into a training unit that was supposed to turn the recalcitrant recruits of the air force into appropriate security soldiers. Since I was the only one in my unit who had a high-school diploma, they kept me as a teacher, which means I spent five quarters among the other teachers.

Each quarter, I had to lead a unit and I also took tasks like company training. For instance, I explained to recruits who had never finished school how our democracy and our constitution work and tried to make them understand the meaning of legislative, judicative and executive powers. Or else, I taught them how to use their weapon (G3, P1, I forgot the name of the machine gun…).

Here is an anecdote from those times: 
During the basic training (the first three months), the recruits were only allowed to leave the barracks wearing their uniform. That was also true if you went home for the weekend. Well, at least they allowed us to go home every other weekend after the first few weeks in the barracks, but this trip, too, had to be in uniform. Most of us were the opposite of enthusiastic about moving in public in their uniforms and then having to turn up at home in it as well. Even though our parents rather liked it and everybody wanted to take pictures of us wearing our uniform. This is also how the two photos in this article came about.

Some of the recruits were especially cute. They went to the toilet at Ulm Railway Station wearing their uniform – and when they came out again they wore their civil clothes. However, they did not know that the army had positioned spies (in civil clothes). They immediately confronted the disobedient young soldiers and took them back to the barracks. Thus, the weekend trip was cancelled, along with that of the next weekend.

Mostly, the spy duty at the railway station was not something you wanted to do. It was probably a little like having to be one of the shooters in war when the enemy is lined up for execution. During the remaining 15 months, I avoided this duty because of my teaching position.

During my first trip home in my parents’ living room.

P.S.1
Impulse
This article was triggered by the current discussion about § 219b and the attempt at questioning the reform of § 218 (which, given certain stipulations, still allows a punishment-free illegal abortion). I heard from the right side of the “bourgeois centre” that “we would not have needed guest workers if we had not had abortions”. I found this theory so appalling and inspiring that I decided to postulate: “without compulsory service, we would not be digitally retarded in Germany”.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 27th, 2018

The CIO

Giving support only when there is a puncturen.

I always like helping people who are looking for a job. Actually, I even developed a small strategy. I call it “alternative job application”:

We sit together and draw up an “alternative job application“. It is a text where the person who is looking for a job offensively describes his or her strengths and develops a vision that outlines what extra value he/she can and would like to bring to the target enterprise with all his/her enthusiasm and courage. This sounds simple, but demands from the applicant that he thinks a lot and accepts many ideas, besides being creatively open.

As soon as this document is finished, we use the story as a text for our “alternative job application”. Additionally, we might also do a video recording that shows how the applicant can convince any audience with his personal attributes – including a link for responses – as a substitute for the commonly used gangster photos.

? All of this will be individually adapted to the job and the enterprise the applicant feels he/she would like to become part of and work in. My underlying idea is that the one thing an entrepreneur is most interested in is how the applicant can “be beneficial to his enterprise” and how and if said applicant can follow somebody’s train of thoughts.

And, as a general rule, the “alternative curriculum vitae”, will usually be followed by job interview invitations quite quickly. Naturally, these interviews, too, will have to be prepared thoroughly. After all, success mostly is not the consequence of passivity.

More often than not, the people I coach have wonderful classical curricula vitae where they describe many details in the common classical way in tables. You will read what they did and what their roles were during the last (20 !?) years, full of workshops, trainings and certificates. All these lists have been written well and with diligence.

However, these applications are not too much of a success. The applicants get negative replies all the time, which will be quite frustrating for the poor applicant. To me, this sounds totally plausible, because how are you supposed to prove to anybody how competent (knowledge + competence) you are?

Quite frequently, the “classical” curriculum vitae is something nobody is interested in. Consequently, we make it more concise and then only use it as an additional attachment. As such, it shows that there are good reasons for making yourself look optimistic in your “alternative job application”.

More often than not, the first thing I have to do is give the depressed applicant some hope and belief in his own value.

Some of the people I coached were women. After having spent several years educating their children, they now wish to get back into work. And I must say that, whenever we together manage to be a success, we are extremely happy. I share all of their joy and belief in the future.

A short time ago, I accidentally worked with a true “top-class” person. He had been manager of a very good medium-sized IT enterprise. Now he had given notice. His reason for giving notice – which was absolutely rationally acceptable – lay in the fact that the owners had sold the enterprise and the new masters had decided on a policy and goals he was not at all prepared to agree with.

Quite courageously, he gave notice without having found a new job. Now he is looking for a job as CIO (Chief Information Officer) with a well-established medium-sized company. And then, at least that was my perception, he was surprised that, regardless of excellent formal qualifications, he did not find it easy at all to land a new job.

When we talked, he turned out to be an extremely nice person in the prime of life. He also said many rational things. In many respects, he came pretty close to perfection. His personal record in life, too, looked absolutely a success to me. He also had a wonderful classical curriculum vitae.

In some way or other, I got the impression that he was not only depressed but also no longer quite up to date. Especially when it came to the internet and the turn of the era that has perhaps been initiated by digitalization. For me, his rather negative and relatively one-sided verdict on twitter, which he himself (naturally) does not use, was somehow significant.

After our conversation, I accompanied him to his car. And I was eager to see what kind of car I would see. I won the bet – it was the biggest Audi SUV available in Europe.

I had offered to support him during his application phase and said that I would also listen around in my network. All he would have to do is come back.

He never came back. Perhaps he did not think it possible that someone who rides a bike can actually help him.

Well, that is fine by me. It gives me more time to help those who perhaps need my assistance more. And perhaps I should have given the CIO the book on “The U Tactics” by Otto Scharmer?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 4th, 2018

We Replace Many Others.

On this picture, you can still see me at the Uhg Outdoor Public Swimming Pool (no cameras allowed).

? Here is a non-fiction story.
It shows to treat employees and how you save money these days. Since it is slightly embarrassing, I will not give you any names. Except the name of the enterprise that plays the major role in this story. It is the Weva, which is an anagram for the German 
“Wir ersetzen viele andere“ (We Replace Many Others).

Maybe it already tells all you need to know. Just as it says in Wikipedia: Nomen est Omen.

So here is my story …


I try to swim regularly. During the summer months, I visit the public outdoor swimming pool There are times when, in summer, I manage to go there every day. With the seasonal ticket from the Unterhaching Civil Office, I really enjoy the pool.

During the cold months, from Mid-September until May, I visit a public indoor swimming pool that has been more or less privatized. Since it is a private indoor swimming pool, it is obvious that they have to economize wherever they can.

Regardless of the fact that I find the entry fee slightly overpriced, I am totally happy. I can easily overlook the occasional flaw and manage to go swimming several times a week. After all, I am quite glad that there is still an indoor swimming pool somewhere near home that I can reach by bike.

In this indoor swimming pool, they have strict rules. For instance, you are not allowed to shave at the sink. For hygienic reasons. I did it once – without knowing about the rules – and then a lady who was responsible for the cleanliness of the place told me in friendly but no uncertain terms that this is forbidden. Even though I cannot really understand the prohibition, I have stuck by the rules ever since. Because that is what it says in the regulations.

Now this changed. Over several weeks, I have seen that the employees of the public indoor swimming pool who were responsible for cleanliness have now been replaced by a service provider. Now the people who clean in the swimming pool area wear blue polo shirts with the logo “Weva – We Replace Many Others” (in German: Wir ersetzen viele andere). To me, this logo looks like a true threat.

Then I witnessed something. After my early morning swim, I got back my breath in the ante-room and checked my smartphone for what happened in the world during my absence. The ante-room was empty, I was sitting alongside one of the walls and a WEVA employee was vacuum cleaning the ante-room. He was working quite systematically, from left to right and top to bottom. He was not making any noise. Soon, he was finished with half of the place. I was close to revising my opinion about the enterprise that calls itself WEVA: “well, this is good news, at least they use soundless vacuum cleaners”.

My contemplations were interrupted. A lady – she, too, was wearing a blue WEVA shirt – appeared on stage and talked to the vacuum-cleaning colleague in a language I did not understand. However, he did not seem to understand her. Consequently, she started gesticulating.

Since this, too, did not seem to help, she took the electric plug that hung from the vacuum cleaner, pulled it out and applied it to the nearest electricity outlet. With an unmistakeable gesture towards the man, she left the room. Now there was a lot of noise – so this was not a “soundless vacuum cleaner”, after all. The vacuum-cleaning employee continued with his work where he had stopped. And I fled from the ante-room and rode my bike home.

On the whole, I do not get the impression that the place has become cleaner over the last few weeks. Perhaps it even became a little worse. I am not complaining, it is still ok. And I certainly do not want to be finicky, because I am glad that the life-guards always have a watchful eye on critical situations and always look after minor flaws.

However, I believe that now, if I feel I need a shave, there is no reason for me to fear being scolded. I find it hard to believe that the WEVA service persons know the regulations and that they will point out my offense to me in a language I understand.

? This proves how there is no bad thing that does not come with a good thing.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday October 29th, 2018

Sugar Coating (Entrepreneur’s Diary #126)

Last week, I learned some new vocabulary – sugar coating.

Following the motto “having a soccer table in your office does not in itself constitute #newwork“.

For me, it is quite clear that, in our social life as well as in our work-life, transparency within the enterprise and the participation of the relevant stakeholders (employees) are very important.


”Sugar coating“ as part of ”culture engineering“?

In my book enterprises are social systems where people work together in different roles for an economic goal – i.e. the goal of offering products and services that they will benefit from to people. Just like the Bavarian Constitution says.

Basically, enterprises are not machines that can be mechanically controlled by “management” that tries to minimize the input and maximize the output. Instead, enterprises are composed of humans.

A Great Team – InterFace Connection GmbH 1986: Celebrating.

That is extremely important. Just like I also consider values such as appreciation, respect and general considerateness when dealing with each other absolutely relevant in an entrepreneurial culture.

#newwork needs just as much communication as it needs civil courage and constructive disobedience. The elite of an enterprise should not be system agents. Instead, they have to be coaches, inspire people and give impulses. And the vast majority of an enterprise also has to try (and be able) to live the values they formulated.

For me, these are the pre-requisites and the basis of #newwork.

Especially in my sector, I discover more and more enterprises that “sugar-coat themselves”. Regardless, they still move at the edges of the German work legislation. And they form their processes and the entire system with an absolute priority on profit. For them, “entrepreneurial health management” is basically just an investment that is supposed to minimize the number of people who call in sick. For them, modern work environments are just a means to save on the rent for office space. And their decor is a sugar coat with great design and life style, both of which are supposed to impress the employees.

If you want #newwork to have any effect, then you cannot make it part of a strategically planned, human resource controlled ”enterprise culture engineering“. Instead, it must be lived by the employees –with intrinsic motivation.

This is what I have been preaching for decades, both because it is my personal experience and because of what I see in many enterprises.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 3rd, 2018

BUSINESS Visualisation

THE BOOK by
Botta/Reinold/Schloss

Behind this really harmless title, you will find a truly exciting non-fiction book. I would call it a book for people between six and ninety who want to have more joy and success in life.

The sub-title

A tour guide for curious and visionary persons
already gives an idea about the book being something really special.

Special? Well, I read it and I would call it revolutionary. It is about a trip into a new world I very much love and cherish. It is a world full of creative and appreciative communication and of “living together”. And it leads into a world that will continue to change and grow.

Basically, it is not a book you will read, but more a book you will feel your way through. In an exciting and humorous way, the trip of a young lady whose name is Barbara (Babs) into an agile adventure is described. This trip brings her through the world of modern communication, beginning from listening and understanding and ending in a very rounded way via the creative when the results are documented.

For me, it is quite clear: communication is the basis for all kinds of “social systems”. And communication will work better if we make use of innovative formats (some of them are actually very old). Part of this concept is the use of images and haptic – as part of a new and very sympathetic mental frame.

During my activities, I am often surprised to see how many people simply ignore the “agile change” that takes place around them, or else they are almost overrun by it. The book, which was written as a co-operation project between Botta, Reinold and Schloß, could be a solid introduction to this “new world“ for non-experts. But also the “experienced agilest” will find quite a few innovative ideas.

I can guarantee that this book will remain exciting from the first to the last page. It is not one of those works where the message is clear after the first fifty pages and where said message is then artificially lengthened and repeatedly proven in a boring way. No – you will find something new on every page. It remains full of humour at all times and the joy of reading will never end.

I would wish that the authors were to write more books about more trips, because the wonderful world of modern communication is endless. The book really contains a lot of it – but naturally not all of it. Barbara (the hero an inspiration of the authors in real life) could easily take us with her on many more great trips.

That would be nice. But I already very much recommend the first trip. For entrepreneurs and (project) managers, the book is a must.

RMD
(Translated by EG)