Roland Dürre
Saturday November 7th, 2015

Founding my Own Company in 1983 – A Retrospective Analysis

logo-HITLooking for a HIT logo, I found this article. It is based on an interview I gave in August 2014. It was perhaps during one of those (totally confusing) many state-sponsored contests for founders of medium-sized firms. Well, one of those many sponsoring opportunities. I no longer know the name of the person who interviewed me at the time.

The article was published in:

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The basic message of the article is:

My own company founding process went well because many necessary requirements were met. Yet we had not planned them a-priori and rationally. Instead, we only found out about them a-posteriori.

It is a personal report on how InterFace was founded. I will modify it a little for publication in if-blog.de, because it is part of my personal life story. With this report, I would like to encourage young founders and also prepare you for the almost finished fourth instalment of my series “vintage project management”, which is soon to come. Here is the text:

Ever since the early 1980ies, I was tempted to become self-employed. One of the reasons was that I (like many founders of today I know) wanted to take responsibility for an enterprise and decide its future, thus also enjoying my work more. Another reason was that I wanted to earn more money. Strangely enough, this is a motive that does not seem to be so important to many founders of today I know – perhaps because today the restrictions at the work-place are a lot more than they used to be and many people are no longer prepared to sacrifice their private life for their career.

For starters, I set out looking for the “ideal partner” as early as 1982 (I did not look for the “ideal business idea”, because even then I firmly believed that there is no such thing as an ideal business plan). Mind you, it was not easy to find the “ideal partner”, either, but after a little more than a year, I was lucky enough to find Wolf Geldmacher.

He brought enormous entrepreneurial power and was down-to-earth, just like I was. With Wolf, founding the “InterFace Connection Gesellschaft für Datenfern-verarbeitung und Entwicklung von Software mbH“, which was the predecessor of InterFace AG, did not take long. Our topics were IT and Unix. On the then new Unix platform, we wanted to create a successful product. It was important for us to actually have a product, because we assumed it was harder to scale a service. Besides, in 1983 (before the foundation in 1984), we were not sure if body-leasing was going to be a business that would endure. Even then, we believed that Body Leasing (“Letting of Workers” AÜG) would be a sector that, from the legal point of view, occupies a grey zone at the least.

Consequently, it was clear that we wanted to build a product. After various ideas (data base, networking,…), we decided in favour of an office-compatible typing system on Unix. As a name, we chose what we wanted it to become: a HIT: Seen in retrospective, we actually succeeded with something rather risky. It took us only a few years to become the most successful text system by far on Unix in Europe. It was like a dream!

Thinking about it later, I identified persons and important requirements or events without which it would never have worked. We simply were moving in the right time and had enormous luck that made so much just right.

The duo “Wolf & Roland“
Even in the early 1980ies, the two of us firmly believed in agile, lean and open. We were in favour of self-organization and self-determination, formulated our ideas and our requirements and then let our teams do the job. It was all done in a profound sense of belonging together.

Necessary “skills“
In 1960, my parents had managed to get me a place at the Augsburg “wirtschafts-wissenschaftliche Oberrealschule Jakob Fugger” after the four years of primary school at Wittelsbacher Volksschule. This had by no means been an easy task. Later, this school was re-named “„wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Gymnasium“ (until 1960, it had still been a business school). Book-keeping and business administration, both of which I was taught at the “wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Gymnasium”, were certainly useful skills when it came to founding a company, but they were not an absolute necessity. The things I had learned at TUM in computer science were basically also not much use. I had learned programming as a student at Siemens. In the Siemens Laboratory, I had learned team work, in the sales department communication, and at Softlab: business.

“The method“
We had developed and lived our own private method of software development. It was a little like what they call SCRUM today. Wolf was the “SCRUM-Master“ (and more than that). He was responsible for the technology and the people. He pointed the colleagues towards quality and made it clear to them that they had to live and give quality, first and foremost for themselves. And I was something like the “product owner” and business director.
There are a few persons who hugely contributed to our success. I would like to give my special thanks to them:

Anton Böck
Stenography and typing had been obligatory at the Jacob Fugger school until 1960, and later, during my time, elective courses. My father forced me to learn both, because he considered these two techniques important advantages when it came to fighting for your professional position.

Anton Böck was my teacher of these two elective courses. I always did quite well in stenography. Whenever I was forced to learn at home, I spent hours drawing stenographic symbols. For me, this was just like calligraphy. Beautiful. And my parents thought I was learning. In reality, I fled into some kind of “meditative drawing”, thus finding solace in my dreams.
Mr. Böck was a strict teacher and he rather liked me because I was an excellent stenographer. But he also forced me to sit behind the typewriter. I hated the typewriter and even when I was sixteen, I dreamed of what a “nice” and “beautiful” typewriter would have to look like. It may sound a little ridiculous, but I am sure that, without this early negative experience of mine with the generation of text, the InterFace Connection would never have developed a text processing system. Which means it would never have become the rather successful product enterprise it was.

Hans Strack-Zimmermann
Hans was my mentor and the person who had made Unix big, both in Europe and at Siemens (here under the brand name Sinix). He awoke my enthusiasm for his vision and believed in our team. And he helped us a lot. This is how, in the end, our success proved him right.

Dr. Peter Schnupp
Peter was a second generation IT pioneer (I see the generation Zuse as the first and myself as part of the third). IT expert, column writer in the Computer-Woche and also quite famous for many other activities. He had an excellent reputation as an expert.

Peter managed to convince the strategic decision-maker of a huge agency that the future of IT lies in Unix and that there is a great local product for text on the market.
Without this stroke of luck, the project CLOU/HIT would never have been a success.

My projects
Even as a young software developer for Siemens AG in the mid-1970ies, I had worked on a great task. In the course of the development of Transdata, I had developed the “Connection Handling“ and also been part of the team that developed “APS“ (user programming language). “Connection Handling“ has a central importance for “Remote Data Transfer”, as it was then called. With APS, it was possible to decentralize computing power to local “data station computers” (operating system PDN) and thus to be the first to break the centralized main frame principle.

With this “superior knowledge”, it was easy for me to shine during big projects and as a logical consequence of this, I was able to change into the department “special projects sales” at Siemens AG. In this department, my most important project was DISPOL, a central project of the Bavarian Police Force – which, early in the 1980ies had given itself the task of changing from paper filing (data), typewriters (documents) and teletext machines (communication!) to electronic data processing.

I accompanied this project until I founded my own company and in the process, I understood how market, customers and in particular authorities work.

Without this personal history of mine, HIT/CLOU would never have become a successful product.

The people at InterFace 
We employed very young persons for production. More often than not, they were still students when they first came to work for us. And in (almost) all cases, they were the right persons to hire. The speed with which these people became overachievers and took upon them a high responsibility was truly amazing.

The right principles
Along with product development, almost as an accidental by-product, a high-quality counselling and co-operation with Siemens in the field of “Unix Operating Systems” developed. Technologically, we were at the source and we learned many extremely helpful things from our operation systems partner. For instance, we were among the first who started using tools that were not at all common in Europe. And we created many novelties, such as for instance the “National Language Support (NSL)”, which later even made it into XOPEN, becoming the basis for all Unix systems.

We used methods (or rather, we invented them intuitively) such as the four-eye-principle of programming, peer2peer-reviews, “extreme programming“, developer rotation and much more. Those methods did not even exist at the time, or else were not known to us. But it just made sense to do it in this way. In fact, it brought us more than fundamental advantages when it came to developing speed, user-orientedness and quality.

Our developers were always in direct contact with the customers. For instance, they taught the HIT courses for our customers themselves and thus understood what the customers wanted. All these factors contributed hugely towards the quality of our product.

Finances
We were well aware of the difficulties. Consequently, we shared the IF computers during our initial founding phase. For the second phase, the marketing, we had planned to share tasks. The InterFace Connection developed the product and looked after our big customer Siemens. InterFace Computer did the porting to the many other Unix systems and the sales for more hardware producers and partners. Until, later, the InterFace Connection took over the entire affair.
Developing a product necessitates a huge “man power”. And men cost money. In 1984 and the year after that, we solved this problem in a very simple way. Wolf Geldmacher and yours truly worked as consultants. Evenings and sometimes also Saturdays were used to look after the product and the team.

As consultants, we charged 150.- DM per hour. That was a terrific rate and the only reason we got away with it was that US consultants with equal know-how were a lot more expensive.

Now you can do a simple calculation: A good month will bring you 200 man hours (we were rather industrious). Multiplied with 150.- DM, that would earn us 30,000 DM in a good month. Subtracting our salary of 5,000 DM each, after taxes, which makes around 6,000 before taxes, this left us with 18,000 for hardware, Heidi (our assistant, who worked for us right from the start) and our students, the product developers.

As early as a few months after our foundation on April, 1st, 1984, we were able to recruit, and immediately use as consultants, some young computer scientists. They brought us similar money to dispose of. Money we used exclusively for product development. And from late in 1985, the product itself saw to it that we quickly had increasing marginal returns.
Events 
Moreover, there were some rather lucky circumstances that helped us very much.

For instance, Siemens had started a very huge project, wishing to develop their own text system for BS 2000 and Unix. Regardless of the fact that these projects had several times more people working for them than our development team, and also regardless of the fact that the Siemens project developers were all grown software developers, none of these projects seemed to get anywhere. They all turned out more or less complete failures.

Yet the concern Siemens needed such software in order to achieve what they wanted to achieve. Consequently, they had to buy licences from two providers – we were one of them. This is how we became the provider and licenced producer of the then market leader in Germany on Linux.

The “technological time frame” worked in our favour: At the time, Unix replaced the numerous varying computer systems of the “medium-sized data technology” MDT. Our product HIT could not have come at a better time.

Those were also the times when using databases became more and more common. As a brand new definition, you had SQL as a “query language“ based on natural language. There even was a German SQL version! So what better than to extent CLOU, the 4GL (programming language of the fourth generation) that enabled HIT to program text elements, to also include an “embedded SQL“ which would suddenly make it possible to send dynamically generated queries to a database during the running of an element program and to then automatically use the received data for creating a document? That was really sensational, and it also came at exactly the right moment.

Lots of luck and just a little ill luck
It was certainly something special that a federal agency was courageous enough to base its future technology on a totally new technology created by a very small provider. A wonderful market development favouring UNIX. Then there were many more courageous and, for us, lucky customer decisions. And a super team…

There were also some problems
Buying the hardware for the development was extremely expensive. As early as 1985, we had to buy MX500 – which at the time was listed at more than 300,000 DM. For us, this was an unbelievable sum. But it was clear that, without this system, we would never be able to manage the necessary speed of development. Two years later, the machine was already totally outdated. We worked on SUN computers and quasi overnight, new fast PC-s with diverse Unix variants that were considerably less expensive came onto the market.

InterFace Computer backed out, the strategic cooperation was no longer working. Consequently, we were forced to buy the rights to the product. This was a huge investment and a hard decision, yet, in retrospect, it was a decision that paid off.

Other necessary requirements
I am sure there are several more causes and incidents without which the enterprise HIT/CLOU would never have become a success. Some of these might be things I no longer even remember or things I am not really consciously aware of. But without all the aforementioned factors, the InterFace Connection as the producer of HIT/CLOU would never have existed. Many special circumstances and coinciding events taken together caused our huge success.

With this article, I wanted to use my own example to show that many requirements must be met if you want to succeed. And that there are things you cannot plan. I also wrote this to encourage you towards having a (reasonable) readiness towards leaving things undone. Yet I also want to show you that it is not all that easy to found a company and that a pragmatic approach is fundamentally important.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

I am glad to announce that now the video recording of the great presentation by Bruno Gantenbein at the St. Gallen IF Forum of July, 23rd, 2015, is available on youtube and can be watched by all of you:

The presentation ”Learning in Innovation“ held by Bruno Gantenbein at the IF Forum left me deeply impressed. Many of the audience felt the same. But some who also were very impressed by Bruno’s theses came back with the important reply that what he spoke about was not something “normal people” can live in a “normal life” in the “real world”. Because your normal Jim and Jack cannot really manage it. And it simply cannot be done. Once in a while, it sounded really like people were despairing.

To me, it seems the reason is that
“most people cannot really imagine living in another world than the one we are living in“
and that
“we are no longer capable of distinguishing between what is important and what is not important. Consequently, what is unimportant is dominant in our lives.“

To me, this seems to be the major problem both for us and our society. A degree of external control through marketing and lobbyism as we never had it manipulates us in a totally new way. It is totally different from, but certainly no less dangerous than, for instance, religious indoctrination of persons in the Middle Ages or, if we are unlucky, the manipulation as practiced by the Nazis.

The formatting of our lives through a super-powerful but not tangible system took away our autonomy. Now we get nervous and start talking change. Yet we lack all desire to start another life outside our comfort zone. In fact, more often than not, we are not even capable of imagining such a life. For instance, the strength to develop utopias for the future seems to have left us. Looking for values and visions no longer plays a role in our society. In fact, if we do look for visions, it is actually something others are belittling us for. The attempt to re-create a new “social consensus” is smothered in the very first stages. Consequently, we assume that the status quo is true and there is no alternative.

We no longer have the courage for change. We accept our dependence and are happy to be “enslaved”. Be it by technology or as our social concepts of life (our lies of life) determine it. We believe you cannot live without a car, a TV set and electricity all over the place. We believe in the omnipotence of medicine. That the federal administration must and has to guarantee our security and safety. And that the planet will certainly find a way to survive it all.

Except that so many of the things we take for granted can be easily disproved. There is no absolute security. We experience it all the time. The sudden death of an important partner or a surprise illness totally throw us off balance. We can easily fall victim to some mishap.

But then, there are also harmless examples. The stamp collection we inherited
from our grandfather that was so precious, but for which now not even the wastepaper trader is prepared to pay, shows us how difficult it is with security. Many things that used to cost a lot are totally valueless today. I made the same experience when pay day came for my direct insurance. What a discrepancy between the money I received from what I had expected when, decades ago, I first signed the insurance contract. Instead of the imagined free-hold apartment, the only thing I got for it was a medium-size car…

Regardless of all this, the (alleged) security of our modern financial world suggest for some that we actually are in total control of the risk of our material life through retirement money and savings. Except where will the Euro be ten years from now? Will we be able to solve future problems with it? What will money be worth? Have we not learned a long time ago that “you cannot eat” money? Especially if it is just virtual money and perhaps out of the blue will have to be shortened by the occasional digit.

To make up for it, we capitulate for fear of terrorism. And we are prepared to sacrifice our present freedom for these kinds of mind games. Sacrificing freedom for what we believe is an investment in increased future safety! And we are even prepared to start a modern (crusade) war for it.

This is how we follow the stupid and brazen battle cries of politicians and economic leaders who, more often than not, are no longer sane. We swallow pointless laws they serve us with, regardless of the fact that we know those will do more harm than good. And we surrender before the stupidity of our “representatives”. In fact, I actually yearn for a German or European Spring. But I do not mean one triggered by hunger or poverty like the one in Northern Africa – which inevitably dooms it.

Why do we believe them when our politicians tell us that “without the Euro, there would be no Europe” and that the so-called “Grexit” would ruin us all? Why do the politicians tell us such fairy tales? We know as well as the politicians that the Euro is good for those who stand in the light. And it is detrimental for those standing in the shadow. Just as we all know that the exploitation structures, both globally and within Europe and Germany, must fail or cause conflicts, either in the near or not-so-near future.

But we get the impression that we cannot do anything about it and perhaps that is really what happens. Also, we no longer have the courage to oppose the structures of the administrative and economical systems that rule over us. And we no longer stand up against this, even though we know that human beings – which is we! –, and not system interests that have de-personalized and de-humanized themselves, should be the centre of the society, politics and economics. First and foremost, the economy and the state must serve the interests of the people. Just like it is written in the Bavarian Constitution.

The system of the oligarchy of the parties (Oligarchie der Parteien ) – see Jaspers -rules over us and the morals of mercantile metric in economy sharpens the boundary conditions of our behaviour. Thus, the systemic mills will continue to grind, making the restrictive nets of bondage tighter and tighter. It happens in small portions, which means that we often do not even notice it and almost consider it normal.

Consequently, here is what we need to do:

Let us also get back to remembering that we, as “natural beings” are also part of the “natural world”. To be sure, the “cultural world” we created makes some things easier for us, but it also took a lot from us. It made us lazy. And we forgot that the price we are paying is rather high.

As I see it, we should return – and radically so – to thinking about whether, perhaps, we could also live in other worlds and probably even be happier living in other worlds. As you all know, my favourite example is the “away from the car” and turning towards active freedom through “active mobility”. Yet it is just as important to take a close look at the working and living conditions we subjugate ourselves under, be it in social systems such as families or otherwise. We need to question all that seems self-evident and draw conclusions from the answers. Formerly, one would have said: Destroy what destroys you.

Part of this is also to live a “life in harmony with nature” as Seneca formulated it. And he meant more than just the biological nutrition process and the preservation of the environment. He also meant we need to listen to our inner voice.

After all, Seneca was a great teacher who wanted to help his pupils on their way to become successful and happy persons. So let me finish this article with another sentence by Seneca that might perhaps make it a little easier for us to start travelling towards other worlds:

“It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It is because we dare not venture that they are difficult”.

Yet – there is hope. What is currently happening on the internet is actually something I rather delight in.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday July 23rd, 2015

Ada Lovelace and Unschooling?

Here is my introduction to the presentation “Learning in Innovation” by Bruno Gantenbein  “Learning in Innovation” as I would like to see it tonight. What I am going to say is meant to connect the person ADA LOVELACE both with the term “unschooling” and with “project management”.

Ada Lovelace 1836, Gemälde von Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1793–1872)

Ada Lovelace 1836,
Painting by Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1793–1872)

ADA LOVELACE was a very controversial lady. As I see it, she must have had a very exciting – both successful and desperate – life. Even reading about her in Wikipedia gave me the following ideas.

If we want to become masters of our profession, we have to exercise the “best practice” of great masters and make use of humanity’s experiences condensed in “design patterns”. Until we reach a dead end – where we have to say good-bye to what we learned. Now you have to rebel and question “things” like “but that is how we always did it”.

Consequently, learning means familiarizing yourself with patterns and sticking by them.

Learning in innovation, however, calls for breaking with patterns. Breaking old patterns and developing new patterns will lead to creative destruction. Thus, living in a social community means you have to not only accept but even use the compromise between your individual needs and the collective rules for your own unfolding.

We love the formatted life, because it is secure and comfortable. We are prepared to subjugate ourselves under morals, because we want to be good.

On the other hand, we crave for freedom and novelty. Because we know that a moralising society will take away our freedom and confine us, at the same time making us look small.

This is the case both in private life and in our work life (if the distinction is still permitted at all). In the social communities of our private lives, we permanently manoeuvre between often paradox positions. And the same is true for our professional lives.

Because the enterprise where we work is also a social system, albeit with an economic purpose. Leadership is communication and communication is, again, a balancing act – between listening and speaking.

I do not know many biographies more laden with the conflict between autonomous self-determination and external control than those of the great mathematicians and Mrs. Ada Lovelace. Spontaneously, the only other person who comes to mind is Nietzsche, who was born a little less than 30 years after ADA LOVELACE.

I think we can only be “good” project leaders, managers and leading personalities if our important projects are a success. To me, it seems like the most important project for all persons are their own lives. If we want to meddle in other people’s lives, the first thing we have to do is make our own life a success.

However, our own life can only be a success if we focus on the really important things and if we change habits detrimental to life. Consequently, I have to be prepared to unfold my own life autonomously and bring order into it. In my personal life, I chose my mobility. I try to avoid unhealthy mobility as far as possible. It is very simple, isn’t it? –

How am I supposed to live a self-determined life if, for example, I cannot even manage to do it with respect to my own mobility? Consequently, I have to change and practice. Instead of letting myself be externally controlled.

Well, this is what I associate with the disrupted life of ADA LOVELACE.

During the presentation by Bruno Gantenbein, I would recommend that you look for parallels with your own life.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 1st, 2015

Bruno Gantenberg of Zurich PM Camp at InterFace AG!

A little late, but so much the more motivated, we at Interface AG open the year 2015 under the Ada Lovelace symbol, starting our much loved lecture series “IF-Forum” with a high profile speaker and a topic as controversial as it is exciting.

I would like to personally invite all my friends, in particular those from the PM Camp environment, to come and watch this presentation. You will not regret it. At the Zurich PM Camp, the speaker – Bruno Gantenberg – moved his audience in the truest sense of the word. As far as I am concerned, I already very much look forward to speaking the introductory words for the presentation.

Here is the original text taken from the InterFace AG corporate blog.

Bruno GantenbeinOn July, 23rd, Bruno Gantenbein, who is a senior counsellor and project leader at CSP AG, will speak about “learning, too, is evolution”. The Swiss unschooling pioneer will allow us a glimpse into the practice of this new way of learning, at the same time building a philosophical bridge towards project management. Taking his own family and the circumstances of same as an example, Bruno Gantenbein will describe the unschooling approach. He will also introduce the “Spirit-Hand-Heart-Head” Model, he himself developed, which the Gantenbein family has now been practicing successfully for ten years. Applying the results won in this context to project management shows a relevant technological connection with IT and the InterFace AG.

What is Unschooling?
Unschooling is a way of learning controlled by children in their normal everyday environment. It includes the cooperation of their parents or other nearest persons of contact without trying to imitate traditional schools or their curricula. Consequently, there is no planned teaching or certain times of the day when special school-like activities are obligatory. Topics are discussed whenever the child is interested. The parents – or other persons living in close proximity to the child – are less teachers than supporters or comrades-in-learning.

In his provocative book: “Drive, What Really Motivates You”, the best-selling author Daniel H. Pink writes about intrinsic motivation, giving the interesting advice: “Let un-schoolers teach you one lesson!”

Well, Mr. Gantenbein, that is exactly what we are going to do with great pleasure.

The presentation will be on Thursday, July, 23rd, 2015 at 18:30 hours in the InterFace AG offices at Unterhaching (Leipzigerstrasse 16). We welcome our guests from 18:00 h.

As always, you can easily register for this IF Forum via E-Mail. We already look forward to exciting discussions and an inspirational exchange of opinions!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday May 16th, 2015

Torturmtheater Sommerhausen & InterFace Part 3

probenfoto_IIThis is the third time that the Torturmtheater did their rehearsals to a new piece in the offices of InterFace AG in Unterhaching.

After “Fast Perfekt” by Nicole Moeller and “Sag nix!“ – the love dialogues by Fitzgerald Kusz –it was now the “Norman” by  Mike Stott. “Norman” is a one-person performance translated into German by Gerda Poschmann-Reichenau.

Norman is played by Christian Buse and directed by Eos Schopohl. Those two spent several weeks working quite hard in our KreatIF room.

I was lucky enough to watch a few minutes of rehearsals and was truly impressed. And I will definitely again go and watch the performance.

probenfoto_VThe premiere in the Torturmtheater in Sommerhausen will be on Wednesday, June, 3rd, 2015 at 8 p.m. And starting from then, there will be performances for two months.

Angelika Relin is the boss and creative muse of the perhaps most exquisite theatre in Germany. Again and again, she manages to bring great theatre onto the stage under the roof of the tower.
This is all I want to say about it at this time.

But: Angelika took scene pictures during rehearsals and sent me some of them. I think they are great and can actually publish them here.

probenfoto_VIIncidentally, a trip to Sommerhausen is well worth it. To be sure, it is just a small but very beautiful village. There are a few nice hotels and you can eat well.

How to get there:

The best option is to take the Regional-Express to Winterhausen (coming from Ansbach or Würzburg). From the Winterhausen railway station, it is a nice and leisurely walk across the Main bridge to the Sommerhausen theatre. Exactly one kilometre.

In order not to make you guess endlessly when you see the left picture – yes, Christian Buse is standing on his head.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Theater & InterFace AG

torturmtheaterThe team of TORTURMTHEATER SOMMERHAUSEN were again the guests of InterFace AG at Unterhaching until Tuesday, March, 17th. They rehearsed a new work in the “KreatIF” (that is the brainstorming room in the basement of our building).

On Wednesday, they moved to Sommerhausen. Until the debut performance on Wednesday, March, 25th, at 8 p.m., they will work on the final subtleties. Because that is when the debut performance of the piece written for the Turturmtheater by Fitzgerald Kusz

SagNixIIISag nix! – Liebesdialoge is scheduled.

There is no need to introduce Fitzgerald Kusz. After all, he is often called the “poet of the Franconians”. He became famous through his work Schweig Bub!

Let me cite from the announcement:

“The love dialogues start – you would not expect anything else, would you? – with pure tenderness. Quasi in alphabetical order the fantasy of endearments pours out with words like: angel, eye-catcher, lovey, piggy and sugar-pie. Later on, you get other dialogues, such as:

Woman: sometimes I get the impression that I am air for you.    
Man: you know – you cannot live without air.
In between, you get cosy assurances of love and well-meant lies, unscrupulous discussions and endless hatred tirades, evil silence and melancholy memories.

With “say nought”, Fitzgerald Kusz may not describe the dialect, but still he describes a common day in married life from A to Z through a wonderful, inimitable language melody, with tight-lipped Franconian briefness and acid comic. You get all the stages between pining and ending the affair. Perhaps just like you find it behind many doors. A delightful persiflage, dazzlingly comic and yet subtle and melancholic!”

sagnixIX

The actors are Dorina Pascu and Konrad Adams, Oliver Zimmer is the producer. You can watch Sag nix between March, 25th and May, 30th, 2015 on all Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. On Saturdays, performances are at 4.30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
For tickets and information, dial 09333-268 on performance days after 4 p.m., or send an email to kartenbestellung@torturmtheater.de
Barbara and I will go and watch the show on April, 1st. That is the Wednesday before Maundy Thursday. I already look forward to the nice trip to Sommerhausen – including a delicious dinner at the “Ritter” and a nice overnight stay, for instance at the “Sonnenhöfle”.

And I would be very delighted to see a few familiar faces in the theatre. Sommerhausen is a beautiful place –  ideal for a little honeymooning! And the wine, too, will make it worth the trip. So why don’t you come?

And here is another piece of advice for getting there:    
You will want to take the DB Regio to Winterhausen – and then you hike a little less than one kilometre over the river Main until you reach Sommerhausen on the opposite shore!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday February 3rd, 2015

agile.ruhr Camp 2015

A short time ago, I had a telephone conversation with Dominik Rose. He told me that now the agile.ruhr Camp 2015 he organizes along with Berthold Barth is no longer far away. In less than three weeks, it will actually be upon us!

“Agile” is something I rather like. After all, it is my conviction that you should always approach everything “ALO”. ALO being short for agile, lean and open.

agile-camp-ruhr-595x114

Consequently, I am glad to hear that the organizational team of agile.ruhr Camp for the first time invites people to an “Anti-Conference” for agile procedures in the vicinity of projects and software development this year. On February, 21st and 22nd, the barcamp Unperfekthaus will take place in Essen.

Of course, I find it particularly satisfying that the InterFace AG is part of the event and supports the organizational team as an official sponsor.

The agile.ruhr Camp is for change and convictions. It aims at providing a modern platform for persons, organizations and enterprises where they can exchange experience and knowledge. Because knowledge is the only raw material that increases as you share it.

How to successfully make use of agile methods and tools? What is the potential of agile concepts and behaviour? How can we manage the necessary changes? And not only with software development!

And, of course, the classic pattern for a free anti-conference on agility is the “barcamp”, where, as opposed to a classic conference, you do without a restricting agenda and instead generate above average knowledge gain through honest discourse and open dialogue.

The agenda are decided upon by the attendants. Everyone thee-s and thou-s everyone else, you meet at eye-level and listening is more important than talking. This is the only way how participants can offer “their” sessions (on a topic of their choice) and thus become true participants.

Unfortunately, I cannot attend on February 13th and 14th. I want to visit a totally different “anti-conference” where I have been a regular guest for several years at the same time: the “Biike” in Westerland on Sylt. The “Biike” is just a tradition. Good friends use the time for their anti-conference.

Well, life is a chain of missed opportunities, isn’t it?

But perhaps one of my IF Blog readers can attend the unique agile.ruhr Camp. And then report on his own blog or on twitter?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
As soon as I know the hashtag of agile.ruhr Camp 2015, I will give it to you her.
I propose: #AgileRuhrCmp

P.S.1
In this context, you can read something worth reading (Lesenswertes) about InterFace AG.

Yesterday, we had our Christmas party. The house was packed and the music was great. Since there was so much turmoil, I did not want to present the entire speech I had prepared. Instead, I only told the audience about how InterFace started in 1984. Here is the speech as I had prepared it:

"Mein Leben nach InterFace ?"

“?? My life after InterFace??”

2014 is/was my last year as managing director of InterFace AG. Consequently, this here is the last time I am speaking to this audience.

I enjoy looking back over all the InterFace years – that includes the last year. Regardless of the fact that it was probably not the easiest year in our history.
It all started in the early 1980ies. Wolf Geldmacher and I had found each other and were planning to establish an enterprise in 1983. After a lengthy preparation phase, we finally started in April 1984.

It was the “InterFace connection company with limited liability for communication software and data processing”.

We knew that the success of the enterprise depended on three factors:

“Creating Usefulness”

Our products and services should be something the market needs.

“Satisfying Needs”

The people in the enterprise should work with courage and joy.

“Meaning”

All parties concerned must be able to give meaning to their work.

More than thirty years ago, we started in the UNIX environment with the development of the text system HIT-CLOU! And it was really on the mark! Everybody in the enterprise followed our star. This was the only way for us to work a huge miracle with our small team. The way up was fast and steep. At this time, I would like to welcome especially the colleagues of the first hours.

After Wolf quit, we continued following our star. It was not easy. Stars sometimes disappear behind clouds or a mountain. Once in a while, you enter a forest and have to continue without seeing the sky. Or the straight path is blocked and you have to go a detour.

As the decades went by, the InterFace grew. People came and went. Tasks and business models changed. The environment also had a huge impact on the enterprise. The InterFace as a(n eco-)social system is shaped by humans. Wherever humans interact, you get “the human touch”. Also, systems have a tendency towards developing their own lives. It was not always easy, but we always brought the “system InterFace” back on track.

Almost exactly 15 years after the InterFace was founded, we already had a similar situation. That was fifteen years ago. It seems like we get a crisis every fifteen years and have to overcome said crisis. Consequently, my wish would be that the next crisis will not come before another fifteen years have gone by . It seems that neither the lives of humans nor the lives of enterprises can function totally without crises.

A few years ago, the InterFace steered off-course. It was only a little bit and almost unnoticeable. Then a little more. Against the wishes of the managing directors. We were like the employee in his office working with concentration and not noticing that it gets dark outside. And who then, all of a sudden, notices that he has to switch on the light.

This is how our ship, slowly and bit by bit, drifted into an undesired direction. The reasons were not really easy to make out. In retrospective, you can find quite a few different explanations, none of which I now wish to expand on.

We were no longer capable of action, among the directors and in their immediate vicinity, discontent grew. Discordance made us unable to act, which might actually have ended quite dangerously for the enterprise. This is how, this summer, the board of directors was broken up. The board of supervisors had to step in and we all know the consequences.

Now, we are steering back on course. This is important for all the people working for the enterprise – and, of course, also for the enterprise itself. Personally, I love the InterFace if it is an enterprise more or less meeting the following requirements.

  • All the people working there can fill their place with courage and joy.
  • It offers a fear-free space and promotes the flourishing of life.
  • It remains simple with respect to its structures and avoids over-regulation.
  • There is a culture of togetherness at eye-level.
  • The teams cooperate in a mutual understanding of success.
  • Every employee can give meaning to his or her work.
  • Self-organization is a daily principle.
  • No hierarchical tree overshadows the organization as such.
  • It is primarily concerned with satisfying the needs of the customers and employees, rather than its own affairs.
  • It finds the right compromise between “bureaucracy” and “holy-cracy” (of the two, I would rather have too much “holy-cracy” than too much “bureaucracy”).
  • Common sense is always paramount.
  • The leading persons see themselves in the role of providers of a service, rather than sun-Gods and knights.
  • Mental concepts and mind-sets are as they should be.
  • It works in the sense of welfare economy (as demanded by the Bavarian constitution).
  • The individual panels of the enterprise work for the enterprise (rather than being used for personal purposes).
  • It serves the people, rather than itself.

I know quite a few enterprises on the IT market and consequently, it seems to me that we are not doing too poorly, indeed – even if, at times, we show some weakness or other. This is only possible because we trust each other. Trust, however, will not come through seeking the counsel of an attorney or through writing contracts. It happens through “honest behaviour”, “trust-based cooperation” and “open communication”. Trust is the best weapon against concepts of the enemy and stupid allegations.

InterFace, too, will find its enemies where you will find “internal politics”, “bureaucracy” and “dogmata”. Matters will be particularly dreary when the shared interest is violated for individual interests. It does not matter if this happens voluntarily or just frivolously. All these escapades are something I clearly counter with the outcry: NO!

This is my good-bye to the InterFace board of directors. YOU remain and you are the enterprise! You can shape the future. Will you, please, see to it that we remain the successful “champions in connection”? If you do that, I will gladly remain close to the enterprise and support you from the distance of a supervisory board member with all my strength.

And, please, for those (few) among you who have not yet understood what this is all about: remember that you do not want to bite the hand that feeds you.

My interests in the board of supervisors will be:

  • To support a constructive mental concept.
  • To see to it that the “customer” remains the focus of attention.
  • To make it possible for all our colleagues to have a meaningful life and work.
  • To utilize my network for the future of the InterFace AG.
  • Being a share-holder, I will demand sustainable business practices.

In the future, the IF needs less “institution & constitution”. Instead, we need more intuition, common sense and a clear commitment of all parties concerned to a modern, agile, slim and transparent entrepreneurial culture. On these factors, you get a clear outcry from me: GO!

The board of directors now consists of the following persons: Dr. Christof Stierlen, Maximilian Buchberger and Paul Schuster. I totally trust these three colleagues. My wishes for them is that they may have right touch as often as possible and for us all this certain amount of luck you always have good use for in life.

Above all, I now wish you all – dear colleagues, dear families, dear friends and dear guests – and the InterFace only the best. And now I wish us all a nice party, a Happy Christmas and a successful New Year 2015.


🙂 Well – such is life. I organized 31 Christmas parties for IF and gave 31 speeches – and now it is all over!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

As of now, you can download the video of our last IF Forum presentation in the series ”Galileo Galilei – A Visit of the Present” by Thomas de Padova with the title “The Secret of the World”  on my YouTube-Channel RolandDuerre.

Now those who could not be present during the interesting presentation about Galileo Galilei and his contemporary Johannes Kepler, too, can watch it:

:

Enjoy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

InterFace_Icon_30Jahre_01-94At InterFace AG, 2014 is dedicated to Galileo Galilei.

The three IF Forum presentations all have the motto:
“Cosmos, Humans and The Turn of an Era”.
We will invite Galilei Galileo to “visit us in the present”.

In the first IF Forum, on February, 27th, Jörg Schindler told us about the “Third Turn of an Era”.  On July, 17th, we welcomed Dr. Stefan Gillessen as our guest. He talked about the cosmos with “Big, Bigger, Sharpest”, where we also heard how he and his colleagues do research in this field. Incidentally, many of the presentations are available on the InterFace AG youtube channel.

On October, 23rd, we will have Thomas De Padova with us. His topic is

ThomasdePadova“The Secret of the World”.

Four hundred years ago, two totally different scientists cross the borders of the then known world. Galileo Galilei takes a good look through his telescope in Venice and discovers the Jupiter moons.

He publishes his spectacular findings in »Der Sternenbote«. In Prague, Johannes Kepler cannot stop reading about Galilei’s observations until the end of the small book, because the observations therein fit perfectly with his theory of planetary laws. An exchange of letters between Kepler and Galilei about the new cosmos develops. This is an exciting expedition of human intellectual ideas – and simultaneously it is the Turn Towards Modern Times.


Thomas de Padova
 (* 1965 in Neuwied on the river Rhine) is a German scientific publicist.

De Padova studied physics and astronomy in Bonn and Bologna. Between 1997 and 2005, he was a scientific writer for the “Tagesspiegel”. After 2005, he started working as a freelance scientific author. De Padova lives in Berlin and has been a member of the “Kuratorium of the Magnus-Haus of the Germany Physicists Association” and a member of the program the Program Committee of Urania since 2006. In January and February 2014, he was the “Journalist in Residence” at the Berlin Max-Planck-Institute for Science History. [Text: from Wikipedia]

Thomas De Padova is also the author of the science book of the year “The Secret of the World – Kepler, Galilei and How the Heavens were Measured”, which was selected best science book in the category natural sciences/technology by 20,000 readers in 2010.

The presentation will be on Thursday, October, 23rd, 2014 at 6.30 p.m. – we will welcome guests from 6 p.m. in the seminar zone of our Unterhaching InterFace AG building.

As usual, you can register by sending an E-Mail. As always, we already look forward to exciting discussions and nice conversation!

RMD
(Translated by EG)