Roland Dürre
Sunday May 26th, 2019

Turn of an Era: The End of the Digital World?

On May, 16th, 2019, I was invited to give a presentation on “post-digital” at the Hotel Eden-Wolff near Munich Central Station, which was organized by the regional GChACM group and the GI. It was about the question if and how the end of the digital world might be possible.

I try not to give any sales presentations with which someone tries to convince someone else to buy or do something. Consequently, I no longer use any manipulative transparencies that only restrict both the audience and the speaker.

Let the art of painting serve to illustrate how I speak: it used to be painting as true to nature as possible. Then, new forms of expression came along. They were called impressionism and expressionism and led to abstract art. My presentations are similar. I try to serve individual spots of colour dynamically and they are supposed to inspire and make the audience thoughtful. However, not everybody in the audience always understands this.

The question: “Who owns the internet” is such a spot of colour. Because for me, the internet is and always has been something special. The internet, too, has an infra-structure. It is similar to that of the railway or of streets for the motorised individual traffic and trucks.

Today, we have to accept that the internet as we loved and appreciated it no longer exists. And that we have only just started the phase where the network is controlled and used for influencing people. There is no end to gangsters who want to shanghai the internet.

Florian Sesser and yours truly spontaneously decided to give the presentation together. And we said: Hey, let us do a Chautauqua :-). Here is how you pronounce  the word.

The Chautauqua combines entertaining and educational elements as a form of educational oratory. It also has aesthetic standards and wants to motivate the listener towards active participation.


I see myself also as a “digital evangelist”, just like the “technology evangelists of Sun”. This year, I will celebrate my fifty years of digitalization. There is definitely some pride about being able to present myself as a pioneer of the third IT generation.

Here are the presentations I gave at the same place: 
Entrepreneur sketches (roughly twenty years ago with Norbert Weinberger and Alois Wolferstetter) and
Ethics and Computer Science (eleven years ago). 
Today, this was exactly what the focal topic of the current Informatik-Spektrum (membership magazine of Gesellschaft für Informatik) was about. I read it – and I really feel quite motivated to critically discuss what has been written.

Incidentally, I once was a member of the GChACM board of directors – together with Wolf-Rüdiger Gawron. He cannot come today because he is vacationing in Spain. The highlight of my time on the board was the local jubilee event that celebrated the 50-ieth birthday of the huge ACM (1998). Charles “Chuck” House had come to Munich and told us about the huge event in the USA (1998). Many thanks to the then GChACM president Wolf-Rüdiger Gawron who organized the event with the support of BMW AG (Siemens had opted out) and given everything an outstanding setting.

I never managed to visit the ACM jubilee event in the USA in 1997. When Chuck came to BMW Munich, he signed the book with all the presentations of “beyond computing” and gave it to me. So now I was able to read everything I needed to know about it.

How shall we live in 1975 – Hobby title page in November 1955

I was going to show you my “beyond computing“ book during my presentation, but, unfortunately, I could not find it. The important thing about it was that (at least) three famous science fictions authors (on top of many software development experts) were also present at the jubilee event. They also talked about the future of IT and software.

If you translate “Beyond computing” into German, you want to be careful. I just learned from Professor Oliver Kretzschmar (Uni Stuttgart) that the German “künstliche Intelligenz” is not really the same as “artificial intelligence”, simply because intelligence means something in English that it does not mean in German. And this is the reason for quite a few misunderstandings.

I brought the following books/brochures for you to browse:

  • Lexikon der Datenverarbeitung by Siemens, seventh (and last) edition of 1978. Incidentally, the first edition was of 1969. It was sold out so fast that they printed a second improved edition in the same year.
  • 30 Hobby magazines of 1955 – 1967 (randomly selected). 
It is absolutely fascinating how technology, engineering concepts and knowledge are explained in such a way that everybody can understand it. All of them are great magazines, let me pick out two that seem to be particularly fitting today:
  • November 1955. In this edition, they predict exactly how we are going to live in 1975.
  • “Here a car comes flying“ … which sounds extremely modern today (I wonder why I am thinking in terms of flight taxis today??? 😉
  • And a few Science Fiction books (Issac Asimov in the Heyne-Verlag), for example „ich der Robot“ (,_der_Robot – the English version of which was published when I was born!)
    Predictions are difficult to make, especially if they are about the future. (Karl Valentin).

Here comes a car flying … Hobby August 1956

Please note that even the great Hobby magazines are mainly about cars. This also goes to show what a formative effect the focus on mobilized individual traffic has had on us during the last hundred years. There are few digital issues – if at all, it is only Morse codes and similar things. I also seem to remember reading a short article about decoding.

What did I read in those days? After I started grammar school (1960), Karl May was a thing of the past. And Bravo was something I did not find really exciting. Consequently, science-fiction (along with existentialists like Alber Camus) became my favourite literature. At the time, the Heyne pocketbook edition was excellent.

Science fiction probably triggered my interest in IT. Mind you, Asimov had written “Ich der Robot …” twenty years earlier – and he had described laws of robotics that might now slowly become reality.

Florian Sesser – a young entrepreneur who fights for a better world.

And I also brought along Florian Sesser. He gave me the book where I found Chautauqua. Robert Pirsig – Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Nachruf NPR). Thanks  to Flo!

Then Florian introduced himself in his modest but very forward way. Let me tell you about him:

Florian Sesser, born in 1983, is a creative person. He loves it if he finds simple and elegant solutions to difficult problems in informatics. He started programming when he was eight years old. In 2014, he was one of the founders of accu:rate. The companie makes huge events and public buildings safer places by using computer simulation.

🙂 We want to jam the Chautauqua together. I am (mostly) the vocalist and Florian will play the instruments. We will divide our teaching speech into two sections with thirty minutes each. And with a biological break. Because otherwise things might get too hard.

BLOCK # 1„Postdigital“
BLOCK # 2 “Digital and Society ”
If the circumstances change – for instance because the audience is more active – then we change our agenda. We might, for example, remove the second block and, if that is what you wish (and Wolfgang finds it is doable), re-schedule it for another presentation.
Here is what the presentation will be about. I will not fill in all the comments. Instead, I will just give you the structure of the presentation in catchwords. This is like a collection of material in two blocks. You can let your imagination run free!
Syllabus BLOCK 1:

•    Post-digital
•    Definition (what comes to mind)
•    Post-factual  🙂
•    Era of irresponsible babble (R. Lay)
•    Digitalization: buzzword, also “post-digital”. Look it up in the internet and you will get the following hits.
•    Definition of “Digitalization ” (as I see it, it all began when the written language was invented). Today, it means something like automatization based on algorithms. A buzzword.
•    In Wikipedia (fairly new article)
•    Accenture (consultant: Bullshit)
•    Digital is not reversible? Irreversible?

•    What might destroy digitalization? Question – trying to find answers.
•    Wikipedia
•    Wikipedia is great (open source, totally based on honorary work, independent, no adverts,…)
•    Question to the audience: Who of you uses, pays for, administration, …
•    Infra-structure of knowledge (founded in 2001)
•    Age and gender???
•    A world of old white men (women are the exception).
•    What will happen if Wikipedia breaks down?
•    Wikipedia is the best example for creative destruction.
•    Wikipedia destroyed thesauri and encyclopedia.
•    What will be the future of the infra-structure of knowledge when those who work it on an honorary basis no longer feel like doing it?
•    Who will then own Wikipedia?
(BRD, UNO or a private agent …)
•    For the editors, it was really bad news
•    Lucrative business models and enterprises were lost.
•    Concerns, as opposed to the internet, will forget.
•    Revenge (copyright legislation)
(free from, because common-good oriented).
•    Politics and lobbies currently practice how to deprive NGO-s of the common good status.

•    Other threatening examples
•    Over-regulation and influencing
•    Facebook/Google example: vaccination enemies are ostracized
•    Upload filters
•    Commercial change (news that you pay for getting priority)
•    Mooresch’s Law (1965)  We are close to the end. But perhaps the future will continue to need exponential growth  (AI, BIG Data, Blockchain …)
•    IT has the power of the potency 
(seed on the chess field)
•    Trinity of computer science has its limits. No more exponential growth.
•    Data storage – we are now in the nano sphere.
•    Communication – we send at the speed of light on glass fibre.
•    Computers – are quantum computers really the solution?
•    Engineers have become priests
•    Asimov (Trantor-Trilogie)
•    Some programmers today actually remind me of it. Once in a while, I get the impression that they “have no idea what they are doing“.
•    Digitalism – a religion. Should we smile at it or take it seriously? Way Of The Future Church ?

•    The infra structure corrodes. Then, there might soon be an end to world-wide communication.
•    Speaking about which, it might be interesting to ask a few questions. Two of them are:
•    Who owns the intenet – in the physical sense?
•    How does it work?
I asked the questions. The result is a good example for the current state of the world – incompetence all over the place. Even the digital top Government cannot answer these basic questions.

…. Translation will be continued soon …


(Translated by EG)


Let me invite you most warmly to the following event!


“My life after digitalization and InterFace“.

On May, 6th, you can hear me as an invited speaker at the monthly event of the regional group Munich of GI and GChACM at the Hotel Eden-Wolff.

Here is the Link. The presentation will start at 7.30 p.m.. Food and drinks will be served earlier.

This will be the third time for me as a speaker at this event. There was one time when we did a wonderful sketch on our adventures with banks as entrepreneurial founders. Along with my entrepreneurial friend Norbert Weinberger and my very much appreciated banker Alois Wolferstetter, I played ”true stories from the life of an entrepreneur“. It was truly hilarious, we all laughed a lot.

My last presentation at the Hotel Eden-Wolff was on April, 6th, 2009 for the Gesellschaft für Informartik and German Chapter of the ACM. That is now more than ten years ago. At the time, the topic was a little more serious.
Life, knowledge, computer science and ethics.
You can find a short synopsis in the IF blog if you click here.

Now I am happy to see that the main topic of the last Informatik-Spektrum (that is the official GI regular magazine) was “computer science and ethics”. It only took them ten years.

If I remember correctly, then my presentation at the time was a pleasure both for the audience and for myself. I want it to be the same this time.

Here is the official pre-view:

Turn of an Era: The End of the Digital World?

On the post-digital society


The presentation around digitalization will inspire you, give impulses and motivate contemplation:

What exactly is digitalization and transformation? Where exactly do we benefit? Who owns the internet? What influence does digitalization have on our lives? What will happen when the digital era is over? What are the consequences of digitalization in our work-life and our society? What is AI (artificial intelligence)? Where is Bavaria (Germany, Europe) in the process? Who will rule the world in the future?

Roland M. Dürre (ex-programmer, IT entrepreneur, blogger, business angel)
Born: June, 20th, 1950 (married, father and grandfather)

I will try and make the presentation very open and interactive. Perhaps we will manage to answer a question or two together. Besides, my goal, as always, is to inspire people, to give impulses and to motivate contemplation. And, of course, I also want to provoke people a little bit.

It would make me happy to see many of you. There is no admission, you need not register. If the lecture hall is full, the hotel will have enough extra chairs.

I very much look forward to seeing all and any of you.


Roland Dürre
Wednesday January 2nd, 2019

2019 – My Personal Jubilee: Fifty Years of IT


Today: why the locomotives lost their “E” and their “V”.

After having graduated from high school, I started studying mathematics and computer science at THM (Technische Hochschule München – today: TUM Technische Universität München) in 1969. Computer science was a totally new subject and this was the first year it was taught. You could only take it as a minor subject. Consequently, I take the year 1969 as the official start of my “informatics” career and that means I can celebrate fifty years of personal digitalization.

However, this was only the official start. Because I had concerned myself with computer science a lot earlier than that. And I do not mean the time when I learned to read and write, although the invention of the written language is doubtless also an informatics topic. The written word made it possible to save ideas, stories and other content “digitally”. Consequently, it is informatics.

What I mean when I am talking my first contact with informatics happened when I read a children’s book. It was probably one of the “Famous Five” stories by Enid Blyton. It was always about some villains who eventually were caught by a group of children/adolescents. And in one of the books the villains were smugglers who communicated with their team of smugglers on an island through Morse signals.

So Morse symbols (Morse-Zeichen) were the first code I learned when I was still very young. From the informatics aspect, the Morse code is something special, because it does not have a fixed word length. These days, whenever I give a presentation about codes, I often start with this so pragmatic Morse code.

Simple control panel for three tracks and a railway station lamp.

Playing with model railways (with my Märklin model), I also learned a lot. My father designed a control panel for my model railway. It had two plywood boards, four screws and nuts from the “Stabilo set“. It also had a distributor with three exits, four electrical outlets and one lever. This must have been before 1960.

With this control panel, you could, for instance, transfer electricity to one of the three (1, 2 and 3 in separate circles) tracks at a railway station. Simultaneously, you could switch on and off the light in the station (today, they do it with IOT). There was even a glitch we used as a feature: if the levers were not precisely arranged, you even had electricity for two tracks! Of course only for 1 and 2 or 2 and 3.

My father had designed this for me because he felt that the Märklin panels were too expensive. I also only had manually worked switch points, rather than electronic ones. Well, this limited my automation drive, but nevertheless, you could do work on a few informatics gadgets.

As early as 1962, I founded a Pfiff-Club (Pfiff-Club) with some friends. We tried lots of informatics things. And we also did some true automation on a shared model. There was also a DB newspaper with exciting topics that the Club got every other month from the Deutsche Bundesbahn. It was always very eagerly anticipated.

There are several other digital things I learned from my father. He worked at the Deutsche Bundesbahn and brought the old graphic time tables (of Swabia and Bavaria) home. They were meant to be used up as note paper (also for cutting patterns for dresses to be made) – but for me, these unique drawings of train routes, along with the actual time tables, became very exciting reading material. It was absolutely informatics.

Even better were the technological DB magazines (I forgot the titles and unfortunately none of them is still available to me) my father brought home from work, I think four times each year. It was a little like “Pfiff-Club for grown-ups”. For me, it was exciting to read because it said many things about the real railway management.

It was about new railway control centres and new switch yards, and always about future technologies. About new locomotives and railway cars. In each of the magazines, you could find a particularly important topic as a highlight. I remember the opening of the as-the-crow-flies-line (that must have been around 1963), Roll-In-/Roll-Out Ferries, new sleeping compartments, the attempt at creating twin vehicles that could move both on the street and on railway tracks, new signalling and security systems and much more that definitely had an informatics background.

And in one instalment of the magazine, they celebrated the introduction of the new data processing technology at the Deutsche Bundesbahn. Let me explain:

In Germany, they used to have only state-wide railways. Some of them had their own locomotives. The Bavarian S3/6, one of which can still be admired at the Deutsches Museum, is a famous example. With the merging of the state railways to become the Deutsche Reichsbahn, there came a uniformity. The purpose of this merging had been to make the entire system more efficient through higher numbers.

Since the beginning of the railway was the steam locomotive, they noticed that the categorization would have to be between types 0 and 99. They called these types model ranges. Famous model ranges are, for instance, the 01 and the 03 (both are express train locomotives), the 10 (incidentally, that was the old Bavarian S3/6) and the 50 (a locomotive for freight trains). To the best of my knowledge, the last steam construction that actually took up work was the BR 10, but it did not work long.

With the advent of other drive systems, they put initial letters before the names. Electric locomotives received an E and the combustion motor (diesel) was given a V in front of the number. That meant the E-locomotives were now called E10 or E18 (fast train), E44 (passenger train) or E63 (switch engine) and the Diesel locomotives were now called V200 (multiple purpose locomotive) or V60 (switch locomotive). Other vehicle types were the VT (diesel railcar), the ET (electro railcar) and ETA (electro railcar with accumulator) – and more.


The species were something like CLASSES and the individual locomotives were the OBJECTS of a class. As with all huge technological devices, each OBJECT of a CLASS had its individual distinctive features that became more as time went by. In this system, the classes were described by the first two letters, then came – with a space that we today would call “blanc” – the object classification. That was the number of the individual locomotive, mostly in the same sequence as they were built. With most of the produced units, this number was a three-digit number, if the type was very successful, you occasionally got four digits.

Various BWs and BAs were assigned to the locomotives (objects). This is where they were serviced and maintained. This information was (incrementally) documented with tags on the locomotives, the same went for technological specialties as, for instance, for the compartment temperature or the compensating air (that kept the tyres away from the brakes through air pressure).

One significant difference between individual (steam) engines of a series was, for example, how they were lighted – with coal or oil. Naturally, this was quite a determining factor for the use, because a steam engine that was powered with oil could not make use of coal. If you were a member of the Pfiff-Club and spying out locomotives, you would be able to recognize the type from a long distance. Consequently, I am not sure if the lighting of a locomotive was also documented with a tag. For me, it was self-explanatory.

And there was a central register for all locomotives. In my imagination, this is a very big collection of very thick file folders. One for each locomotives – and they become thicker and thicker with time. All those data were to be transferred to electronic data processing.

And thus, there came a day when the magazine’s highlight was the information that, with the introduction of electronic data processing, the “number tags“ on the locomotives were no longer to have letters but numbers instead. Now all the locomotives got new number tags – and the old tags became well-loved collector pieces for the Pfiff-Club and other railway friends.

The number was probably the key to the locomotive in the then perhaps still sequential database. I think that must have been around 1965 – and even then, I found it rather annoying that electronic data processing (informatics) could not process letters.

? And this is how the E10 became the 110 and the V200 became the 320. What a pity.

(Translated by EG)

After my learning years at Siemens, I had the chance to be part of the team that wrote the proposal for an X25 network based on a separate BASA cable network of the Deutsche Bundesbahn at the Munich Bundesbahnzentralamt (BZA). That must have been in the early 1980ies and it was a really great project. However, the end was not really glorious. … 
(but I will write more on that at another time)

Roland Dürre
Sunday October 28th, 2018

1969 – 2019: Fifty Years of Computer Science.

It is now autumn of 2018 – which means that, before long, we will have 2019. 2019 minus fifty is 1969. In the autumn of 1969, I had my first intense contact with “computer science”. I started studying at TUM as a mathematics student, minoring in computer science. At the time, TUM was still Technische Hochschule München (THM). In fact, I found that name even nicer that TUM, but that is neither here nor there.

This means that, next year, I will have a very special personal jubilee – fifty years of computer science in my life. In the light of this, it is probably justified that I consider myself an IT pioneer of the third generation. In my view, the first generation was represented by people like Konrad Zuse, whom I was lucky enough to meet in 1985 during the InterFace bike tour to Hünfeld (where Konrad Zuse lived at the time).

The second generation is represented by people like my teacher Friedrich L. Bauer, who, among other things, gave the first lecture in computer science at THM (now TUM) in 1969. I was there.

I think that fifty years of contact with IT are definitely something special. There are so many stories I need to tell.

However, the current digitalization hype is something I am fed up with. For me, digitalization started happening when they came up with a method to write down what you said. And what we today call digitalization is basically nothing but normal progress.

And I intend to tell many stories from those fifty years in 2019. I will relate anecdotes that are quite useful when it comes to understanding how things were done in those days. Without internet and wikipedia. And I will also talk about the influence our entrepreneurial cultures had on society. And how we ourselves were influenced and changed.

It will be a potpourri of individual contemporary stories that go well with each other and that describe many different aspects of change. Since there are many exciting stories, I will make two presentations out of them. Part one will be the first twenty-five years from 1969 until 1994. Part two will relate the time from 1995 with the change of the millennium until today. However, I will not only speak about yesterday and today. There will also be some tomorrow. I really look forward to it and I will see to it that both the audience and the speaker will enjoy the presentations.

Well, I already told some of the stories in the IF blog, didn’t I? For instance when I wrote about Tools Making Tools …  (Werkzeuge machen Werkzeuge …) in 2017 or when I wrote about My First Project (Mein erstes Projekt) in 2015 or My Best Slide… (Meine schönste Folie …)  of 1981 (written down in 2008) – but these are all only examples. Of course, my presentations will not be quite as lengthy as my IF blog articles.

And the occasional missing story will also become an IF blog article. And, of course, I will also tell you in the blog where and when the presentations will be given.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday September 24th, 2018

Disruptive Technologies & Fear of the Future

Afraid of IT?

Are you scared of the more and more speedily growing complexity? And do you long for such buzzwords as agile, resilient, anti-fragile?

I never knew either of those fears. For me, the change was something exciting and I looked upon all the buzzwords as the normal result of more and more nonsense being talked without any responsibility in our times.

Because I believed that, even today, we experience nothing but very ordinary progress. Which, of course, at all times, has massively changed the world and society. Just remember the times between 1918 and 1938! Those were twenty years during which everything was in uproar.

And those times, too, can be summarized quite adequately by the words of Bertrand Russell:

» Every increase in technology will cause the same increase in wisdom, provided it is also meant to mean more instead of less human happiness. «

Because even then, it did not work.

There are at least three exceptional and particularly exciting technological dimensions.

  • World-machine interaction (sensors) instead of human-machine interaction.
  • Total networking of machines (IoT).
  • Learning machines at the roots (artificial intelligence) .

Well, these factors have the potential of new superlatives when it comes to change. Because the machines get exponentially more intelligent, they are connected world-wide and they will no longer need humans as connecting agents between themselves and the world.

Taken together, this will probably change our world and society as much as (or even more than) the triumphal procession of the “individual mobility based on combustion motors“ changed it. And that is an idea that brings even me to a point only slightly short of fear. Because the triumphal procession of the car really had tremendous consequences and it probably minimized the happiness of mankind considerably.

Well, the only hope that remains is that people will become wiser with the same speed as the “technological advancement“ gains momentum.

(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt

Erfolgreiche Projekte

Wann gelingt ein Softwareprojekt ?

Über “Projektmanager” und ihre Wünsche nach “Resilenz” und “Agilität”
kann man sich trefflich amüsieren. Vorausgesetzt, man ist nicht darauf
angewiesen, daß die bedeutungsschwangere Gruppe selbsternannter “Indivi-
dualisten” (mit Google-Einheitstelephon) irgendwann einmal liefert.

Deutlich schwieriger ist es schon, aufzuzeigen, wie man es besser
machen könnte. Nun hat mich jemand genau danach gefragt, und warum
sollte man nicht einmal die Projekte aus 35 Jahren Berufserfahrung
Revue passieren lassen, die gelungen sind ?

Dabei möchte ich mich unterscheiden von üblichen “Ratgebern”, die unre-
flektiert postulieren, was sie im Herzen bewegt. Ich nehme mir statt-
dessen reale Projekte und bilde Schnittmengen gewisser Merkmale.

1. Der Sinn eines Projektes muß allen Beteiligten klar sein.
Nur so kann die Unternehmensleitung Rückendeckung geben,
nur so erlebt ein Entwickler die Freude an sinnvoller Arbeit,
nur so wird das Endprodukt vom Nutzer angenommen.

2. Ein Projekt muß wirtschaftlich erfolgreich sein.
Vor allem aber: Man muß diesen Erfolg auch transparent machen

3. Die Einfachheit und die Eleganz eines Entwurfs entscheidet !
– Das zu impementierende Verfahren sollte so einfach sein, daß
man es einem Siebenjährigen erklären könnte. Vereinfachen,
vereinfachen, vereinfachen.
– Das, was nicht vereinfacht werden kann, wenigstens sauber
modularisieren !
– Immer nur EINEN Standard für einen bestimmten Schnittstellen-
typ auswählen !
– Lieber die Aufgabenstellung reduzieren als das Team überfordern.
Tatsache ist oft: Erst wenn das Endprodukt unter realen Bedin-
gungen läuft, stellt man fest, was es wirklich leisten kann und
welche Funktionen auch tatsächlich genutzt werden !

4. Prototypen bauen !
Viel wichtiger: Wenn sie funktionieren, gnadenlos löschen und
neu beginnen !

5. Tote Pferde nicht weiterreiten !
So gut wie jede Entwicklung kommt an den Punkt, wo sich Fehler
in der Konzeption zeigen. Gnadenlos zurückbauen.

6. Keine Demokratie und vor allem KEINE KOMPROMISSE !
In der Sache nachgeben mit Rücksicht auf persönliche Empfindlich-
keiten (Na gut, Meike, Du kannst Dein Modul auch in JAVA schrei-
ben …) erzeugt eine sprudelnde Quelle von Problemen.
EINER leitet das Projekt, genau wie auch nur EINER ein Auto fah-
ren kann. Das ist das Erfolgsrezept der Seefahrt.

7. Mitarbeiter respektieren !
Auch vermeintlich “einfache Codierarbeit” ist erstaunlich nicht-
trivial. Der Architekt sollte den Maurer mit Respekt behandeln
und umgekehrt.
Aber niemals sollte ein Architekt mauern oder ein Maurer planen.

8. Kommunikation standardisieren.
Keine Dokumente und Codefragmente
hin- und herschicken. Kein kompromittierendes “WhatsApp” oder
“Twitter”. Schon gar keine “Google-Accounts” !
Wir müssen Kundendaten treuhänderisch behandeln.
Klare, eindeutige Begriffe verwenden !
Die Fachtermini des Kunden verwenden !

9. Anzahl der Mitarbeiter
benötigte Externen und benötigte
Zukaufprodukte reduzieren !

10. Die Werkzeuge müssen sich der Idee unterordnen und nicht umgekehrt.
Haskell, Lisp oder “Clojure” machen noch keinen genialen Entwurf.

11. Die Chemie im Team muß stimmen !
Die “menschliche” Komponente ist zu 70 Prozent entscheidend für einen Projekterfolg.

12. Keine “Gnadenhäppchen” für die Mitarbeiter
in Form von “kostenloser Maté” und “Kickerautomat im Flur”. Das ist keine Wertschät-
zung auf Augenhöhe. ORDENTLICH ZAHLEN ! Das garantiert souveräne Mitarbeiter.

Abgesehen davon: Arbeit kann und soll durch sich selbst schön sein und
muß nicht mit albernen Spielereien “aufgepeppt” werden. Was dabei heraus-
kommt, kann jeder sehen, der ein aktuelles “Windows” öffnet.


Roland Dürre
Saturday May 26th, 2018

The Good Children and the Evil Internet …

Selfie in Greece, antireflection coating in Greek and English.

There are about seven billion people living on this planet. Less than half of them have internet access. The majority do not have it. It seems to be clear that those people and nations that have internet access will become richer. And those that do not have access to the internet will become poorer. They already talk about the new poverty caused by the lack of digitalization.

Something similar is true for children. If children learn to handle the internet early, they will usually have better chances in their lives than if they are kept away from it.

In our country, children under the age of sixteen will need the formal consent of their parents if, for instance, they want to be part of social media. Among social media are: FB, Twitter, Instagram, MeetUp, LinkedIn and many other often very useful systems that change the world.

If I activate a usercode in Wikipedia, I will be member of a large social media system. Even in Wikipedia, there is a huge danger that it will swallow me whole. And there is a lot of mobbing going on, too  – I can really tell stories from personal experience.

Now let me ask the lawyers and all those wise legislators:

Will a thirteen-year-old genius who won “Jugend Forscht” need his father’s written consent in order to become a Wikipedia member?

And here is a question for you all:
Will a Mormon father (small religion with perhaps 20 million people) or an Islamic father (huge religion with about 2 billion believers, slightly behind Christendom but with a better trend) give his child said consent?
I am not sure. The mother will not be allowed to do it.

But let me switch from general considerations to my personal experiences and mental experiments.

As some of you know, we have seven children. I am sure that nothing in life taught me as many positive and important things as my children did. That includes my parents in the same way as my mentors and teachers, perhaps even Barbara. From whom I also learned a lot. As opposed to school, which you can forget about.

That was true for life in general and especially for digital life. And this is true regardless of me having been the IT professional (and pioneer) in our family who actually created some of it.

Today, if a grandchild of mine wishes to participate in facebook or twitter, then I will support him or her. I would give advice and ask if he/she likes it if I follow. And I would learn the new things he/she would bring me. The only way I would be worried would be if he/she chose a “private modus”. That would actually make me doubt if he/she has been socialized properly.

So here is a mental experiment:    
What would I do if he/she were to experiment in the “darknet”?    
Note: the darknet is an attempt at moving through the internet in absolute anonymity through wearing a mask. You hide your authenticity (what you really are) in order to move under an identity that cannot be tracked back!

Argh! That is exactly what the tax agency wanted to abolish, which is why Swiss numbered accounts were made illegal.…

For technological IT reasons, this goal is just as impossible to reach as absolute data security – even if it is supported with very archaic methods, it can basically not be guaranteed. If this were not so, the success of the cyberspace armies in the darknet would not be possible. All you need to know is how it has been programmed. And you need to be good and industrious. Perhaps a little more proficient than the enemy. But there are always ways.

My grandchild – if he/she has learned a little more in the internet – will soon contradict me and point towards blockchain technologies and bitcoin.

After all, in these scenarios, it is guaranteed (even at a high price) that, as soon as you choose your identity, you have a guaranteed part of a percentage of a totally virtual (and limited) number without having had to give your authenticity. Or rather: back-tracking is made impossible (which, incidentally, is only true for the one who actively and successfully does the “mining“).

A normal buyer will definitely have to identify himself or herself, again and again (at least until his/her bitcoins have become worthless).

So if my grandchild were to start moving in the darknet or trying bitcoin , I would probably get a little worried, but I would not ask them to terminate their experiments. In the case of the darknet, I would recommend the highest degree of caution, in the case of bitcoin, I would fear that they will probably go crazy. After all, I personally know quite a few people who believed in it and some of them ended really tragically (or, in the best case, they only went crazy).

Well, basically, I can also well imagine that children under sixteen might, strictly under the law, be allowed to generate some part of a bitcoin – even without the consent of their biological parents. After all, all they would have to do is find a clever way of joining a few asic systems –  don’t young people enjoy to experiment a little?

And if they successfully generate bitcoins, then they have them. Regardless of the fact that they do not actually own them. It is more like “possession they achieved through computer capacity and algorithms” – which, strangely enough, is a very small part of a virtual and limited range of numbers. Numbers some analysts believe in and some gamblers are prepared to pay money for. Just as it was a long time ago with tulips in Holland.

Because, as far as I know, the exciting question if bitcoin is virtual possession or virtual ownership has not yet been answered. At least the tulip bulbs were real – allegedly, you could even eat them when they no longer had any value.

Now this was heavy material. I know that even many of those who regularly talk and write about bitcoin and blockchain will not understand it. So, please, excuse my digression.

There are so many exciting – and also simpler – things happening in the internet that I could write about, and whenever there is an opportunity, I will probably do so. And over-emphasized topics such as “mobbing in facebook“ are certainly not the most important issues, even if some grown-ups like watching their occasional porno (which, of course, they will deny). Neither are Parship, Elite-Partner or Tinder the real problem. There are many far more exciting things happening – in many dimensions.

But now our children have to ask dad and mom if they want to test a new social media platform on the internet. Mind you, there are so many more important things the parents need to do, such as earning money and washing their first and second cars.

But currently, I am in Greek and the sun is shining – and, to me, those are more important things! So long.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday September 15th, 2017

My USP :-)

What is my value?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Roland Dürre
Wednesday April 5th, 2017

IT Upland BarCamp on May, 12th, 2017 in Holzkirchen!

The BarCamp on Digital Transformation and its Social Consequences

In those days, the author still thought in terms of hardware 🙂

Currently, the buzzword DIGITALIZATION is ever present. There is a Zentrum-Digitalisierung.Bayern (ZD.B) and in the Bavarian districts, state-subsidized digitalization centres are being established.

Except that digitalization was yesterday. Those were the days when clocks, tachometers and thermometers suddenly got digital displays. I think it must have been around 1985, when Apple 2 and MacIntosh were modern and the German computer scientists still earned a lot of money in their industry nostalgia with BS2000.

Today, the internet and google are old. Even a few decades ago, we dreamed of self-learning systems – due to our AI (Artificial Intelligence) euphoria. The more modern persons among us gave the German KI the English title AI, because we already knew that it was not going to have much of a chance in Germany. In those days, we dreamed of Lisp and Prolog. Now we have thinking systems that quickly learn by themselves – in areas like translation and traffic – because the hardware is so powerful that it starts to work properly. Even without Lisp and Prolog.

To this day, many new things happen. They happen at a speed that we can no longer follow. And it seems to only just start. An unbelievable wave of products rolls towards us. It will again radically change the world. Many laws and regulations will no longer function in the future. Many questions come to mind:

  • Today, everybody discusses the “self-driving car”. But I wonder if that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes in our lives. And maybe much more will, palpably and impalpably, change before that?
  • Aren’t we living in the time of sensor technology, which creates a totally new connection and interaction between informatics and the world? And will not soon the time come when this is no longer about the interface humans-machines, but about the interface world-machine?
  • Is it really possible to practice data protection rationally? Or is it just a chimera of those who eternally live in the past? What does it mean for our society?
  • What technological elements do smart solutions need in a modern IoT architecture? Incidentally, what exactly is the meaning of “smart” – and what exactly do we mean when we say IoT?
  • What about the rules for robots (self-driving cars)? What does the Federal Ethics Commission have to say about it?
  • What about fighting robots and drones? What does all this mean for war and peace?
  • Should we not be thinking new concepts with respect to many elements of our social order as a consequence of technological development? Or even define them anew?
  • What does this mean for our social framework? Will politics remain the means by which to form it, or have machines already taken over?

These and more questions will be discussed openly, honestly and considerately during the Oberland BarCamp in Holzkirchen – which is what we mostly do on barcamps.

That is why I registered for the BarCamp on digital transformation and its social consequences – aka Oberland BarCamp. It will be in the RSC Factory – Trainings- und Coachingzentrum für Digital Business & Innovation in Holzkirchen on May, 12th.

And I already look forward to meeting many friends!

(Translated by EG)


In the autumn of 1985, I was the first to bring this book to Munich after having bought it at the Uniforum fresh from the printing machine.

A short time ago, I retrieved it. It reminded me of having been at Uniforum conferences with friends of mine in February 1985 (Dallas, Texas) and in 1986 (Anaheim, California). It was great. In those days, the Uniforum was the one and only UNIX conference in the USA. We were thousands of enthusiastic visitors from all over the world. I experienced a huge atmosphere of dawn at the time.

There was also a small sensation. Copies of the very new book on C++ by Bjarne Stroustrup (see left on the picture) right from the printing machine were delivered in the middle of the conference and sold directly from the palette. I bought a few of them and took them home. They were probably the first C++ books to ever reach Munich.

This brings to mind: in the 1980s, I constantly gave presentations on software development. At the time, the change in programming was the central topic, and the catchword used most often was OBJECT-ORIENTED.

I also wrote quite a few presentations on “OBJECT-ORIENTED” for IT managers. Among them was a “high-up” at Siemens AG in UB D at D AP (or was it already SNI at the time?). He was asked to tell his “team of leaders” what exactly OBJECT-ORIENTED meant. Afterwards, he said the presentation had been well liked – but it certainly did not really make a difference.

Today, everybody programs object-oriented. In fact, it is even a little too much for my taste.
Later, I gave up my “programming career” and became something like an “entrepreneur”.

Now I was no longer preaching the gospel of technology. Instead, I spoke about leadership and management. And in particular, I talked about the “smart” pentagram that consists of the terms “agile”, “digital”, “lean”, “open”, “social” and how they interact.

For instance, I related why courage and joy in those working for an enterprise is also a central requirement for economic success. And I also told the people how necessary mutual respect and appreciation of each other are (not only) in an enterprise. Why meeting at eye-level and shared participation and responsibility are the basic requirements for innovation. And why humans are not resources. And how change can only happen in an agile environment.

“Pro Agile“on the DOAG Podium /Yearly Conference in 2013.

I explained why processes, rules and bureaucracy are obstacles to the necessary change. I also explained what a huge damage Taylorist developments cause in an organization and how much waste (as opposed to “lean”) is created by an overwhelming administration and the rising bureaucracy in an enterprise as a consequence of those developments. And that it is totally useless to have endless meetings.

And that departments such as “human resource”, “customer relationship management”, “marketing”, “legal service” etc., basically do not guarantee the success of an enterprise. In fact, they come closer to endangering it.
And that the young and well-educated persons of today prefer working in an enterprise the central element of the culture of which is trust.

I can easily give you good reasons for all I said. After all, I myself was part of the scenario when we software developers made a (as I see it: central contribution) towards a new understanding of work that now spreads more and more to other sectors (#newwork). And this is how it helped to change the world.

I wonder if my call for “agile, digital, lean, open, social” as a “smart” pentagram will do any good? I am not sure.

I also got the impression that my audience mostly saw it in the same way. In fact, it would make me happy if we in the German Industry were to talk less about industry 4.0 and more about entrepreneurial culture. Be it 2.0 or 5.0.

Even the big bosses must understand that our enterprises and we ourselves can only survive well if we are prepared to question what we used to consider certainties and to change what we were used to.

Of course, I understand that it hurts to question hierarchies, cherished sinecures and structures you have become used to. Especially if you are the boss. But please keep in mind: we no longer live in the times of Henry Ford’s conveyor belts and even the prime time of the Chicago slaughterhouses is coming to an end.

(Translated by EG)

I took the star from the central media archive Wikimedia Commons.