Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 20th, 2018

Communication

A few decades ago as steersman on our houseboat in France.

For me, successful communication is a very central issue. Without it, human life and cooperation is not imaginable. Whenever a team strives towards more knowledge, whenever new ideas are born and something new is developed, whenever you want consensus, the ability to communicate is of the highest importance for the people who work in a team.

Leadership, “ (the use of the term is already inflated anyway and I start getting fed up with it), too, can only work if communication is intact. Participation in a shared enterprise can only be lived if communication works. And so on … Except – it is nowhere near as easy as it sounds when it comes to communication.

In my model, I distinguish between two basic kinds of communication. They are totally different.

The first kind is the easy chat as we know it in Smalltalk. That is typically the communication you have, for instance, on cocktail parties. It has quite some value, because once in a while you can havevery good ideas during such an exchange. Sometimes, you luck out and discover shared interests that you can make good use of.

Smalltalk is the art of exchanging ideas with people you know and people you do not know in an informal way. For instance if you celebrate something. However, smalltalk is usually not goal-oriented. All you do is listen to others and tell them what you think. And if you open up, you usually create trust.

Whenever you are into business, smalltalk is not goal-oriented enough. But goal-oriented communication is quite difficult.   
🙂 You will notice this even if you communicate with yourself. If there are two of you, it does not get any easier. And the more participants you have, the harder it is to get a consensus and enlightenment.

Even the ancient Greeks had the same problem. That is why they came up with dialectics. It is a communication technique that, for instance, the Jesuits made use of until the end of the last millennium – often talking ancient Greek or Latin, just to overcome language barriers. And because they wanted to practice the classical languages.

Communication is not easy. It starts with listening und the ability to focus on the other party. This sounds easy, but that is not at all what it is.

Business developed its own communication culture, so did philosophy. There were lists of participants and agenda that had to be worked on professionally. This was in order to make the efficiency of communication more goal-oriented and to improve it. I learned the classical and modern formats and I love them:

  • Dialectics of the ancient Greeks, including dialogues, debates, ars construendi vexilla with its sub-categories such as the creation of syllogisms.
  • The honest discourse (Habermas)

I think it makes sense to use such formats in goal-oriented communication. However, these formats have a disadvantage: all the participants must either know them or learn them. That takes time and energy. If you have neither, you will need a competent moderator. And they are few and far between.

The internet brought us a new era. The appearance of Web 2.0 is the latest date you can set as the start of a change: passive participants have become active participants. Self-responsibility and self-organization get priority over a passive lemming existence. And consequently, totally new communication formats developed at the end of the last millennium.

Here are a few examples:

You can read  a lot about these and several other communication formats on the internet. Lean coffee is very easy and works quite well for small teams. The three others are more to be recommended for bigger teams.

The fishbowl  is a particularly hilarious format.  I think the Wikipedia description is not ideal. Basically, there is an inner and an outer circle. The outer circle is for those who listen, the inner circle are the currently active debaters. Inside, you always have to have a vacant chair. Listeners are allowed to move to the inner circle at all times. Then, one of those sitting in the inner circle has to vacate his seat and sit in the outer circle. Also, everyone in the inner circle can leave it whenever he or she so desires. My personal favourite is the rule-based version. And as soon as the inner circle is empty, you have come to an end. Naturally, this will not always work. Consequently, you set a timebox.

Just to repeat it: whenever someone from the outer circle moves towards the inner circle and wants to take a seat, one of the current discussants has to vacate his seat. I always find it remarkable how well this works, even if there comes a time when they start lamenting in the inner circle.

The fishbowl  is especially to be recommended if an expert system gives a short overview and you want to make the listeners part of the discussion. There is no need to carry microphones and the items of discussion are self-organized.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 3rd, 2018

BUSINESS Visualisation

THE BOOK by
Botta/Reinold/Schloss

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

The sub-title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday July 5th, 2018

Fuckup! Nights! Munich!

Something new happens all the time. A few days ago, I discovered the FUCKUPNIGHTS. And I decided that I want to be part of it. 🙂 .

We Live Life Without Filters

That is the motto of this movement, which calls itself FUCKUPNIGHTS. It started in Mexico, from where it continued its triumphal procession into large parts of the world.

It is about failure. We also discussed this in June 2016 at the Berlin PM-Camp. Because failure is simply part of life. It might sometimes even be a source of success. Because there is a lot you can learn from failure. And you can not only benefit quite a lot from what you learned from your own failures. You can also share it with others. It can help those others to avoid failure (= to be a success).

The Techdivision– Marketing brought the Fuckup Night to Munich and Rosenheim. On July, 5th, (that is today), the FuckupNight will be held in the Munich Balanstrasse. And they were still looking for a speaker. Consequently, Sacha (the boss of Techdivision at Balanstrasse) asked me:

Hi Roland, would you like to present a personal fuckup example from your life in seven minutes and with a maximum of 10 slides?

Here is all the information on FUCKUPNIGHTS in Munich. Today, the event is already overbooked, as mostly happens with Techdivision events (you will find them all at meetup).

Well, I gladly obliged. However, it also meant that I needed to prepare. Consequently, I started thinking:

  • What were my greatest errors, my worst blows below the belt?
  • When did life really make me feel small?
  • What was it like when I felt I was an absolute failure?
  • What can you relate publicly without exposing other people?

There is also a FuckUpNichts Speaker Manual:

 


Speaker Manual: What exactly are FuckUp-Nights?

“FuckUp-Nights“ sounds offensive? Well, it is not! The FuckUpNights were initiated in order to publicly speak about projects, work and ideas that failed and to share these experiences in the community. In a relaxed atmosphere, precious experiences made by successful managers, enterprises and start-ups are discussed during these evenings in order to learn from the mistakes they made.

For seven minutes, three or four people tell you, for a change and with lots of wit, humour and openness, not about their great successes, but about how everything can go wrong – which means they had so-called fuck-ups.

How to present my FuckUp in seven minutes?

  1. Please send in advance 10 slides that illustrate your failure.. 
The images should be numbered from 1 to 10 and later appear in that sequence. Please remember that each image has only about 40 seconds, because otherwise you will need more than seven minutes.
  2. A short biography, because we need to introduce you on the day of the event (1-2 paragraphs).

During your presentation, you will want to remember the following:

  • Who am I?
  • What was the original idea for the project/business?
  • What went wrong?
  • What should I have done differently? What have I learned from the experience?

And please do not forget!!!
We are talking FuckUp-Nights! People make mistakes. All is well as long as you can tell them with enthusiasm, wit and humour. So enjoy your presentation! 🙂


 

I rather like that. So I gladly think about my personal fuck-ups. I am always hardest hit if a disappointment is personal, especially if people are concerned. They hurt – but I would not wish to publicly speak about them on a fuckup-night, because in doing so, I might not do justice to others or even hurt others.

Consequently, I will focus on my entrepreneurial failures. One of them was the great visionary idea of magicHIT. It cost the InterFace Connection a lot of money and eventually turned into a total failure from the economic viewpoint. It might be a good presentation, I will relate it tonight. And I will write down the story here. It starts with: I was a …


i) Third Generation IT-Pioneer (Computer Science after 1969) and

no longer all that young – but, considering the times, a rather young entrepreneur.

Years of training at Siemens and Softlab.
Focus on: industrial computer science (knowledge for the sake of domination).
Unfortunately, I paid too little attention to “the toys“ produced by Commodore and Atari.
Later, it turned out that this was a huge disadvantage.

 

 

 

 

ii) late founder with instant start (1984 – I was already 34 years old)

Here is a happy entrepreneur, because things worked out.

  • The start went well – Wolf (my partner, whom I had spent a long time looking for) and yours truly were in paradise. Especially when we had our first team and were able to develop a product.
  • In a nutshell, you have four relevant business/income model types in an enterprise:
  • Service, i.e. time and material,
  • the lot,
  • full service,
  • a product

Unix is our topic! And a product is the best of all disciplines. Consequently, our goal was:

We want to develop a product for Unix (because a product will give you identity and a scalable income).

We build CLOU/HIT!

 

 

 

iii) Innovation is creative destruction

Evening event BICCnight it at media / Foyer Funkhaus Bayern /Muenchen / 22.07.2011
Foto: Stephan Goerlich
Foto: Stephan Goerlich

Also Digitalization. Which means: no more filing cabinets, typewriters and telefax machines (all of which were still relevant communication tools at the time).
Data bases instead of paper. Documents will be automatically generated, the communication is via computer networks.

We start with the destruction of the old world.

 

iv) Life is a dream

Absolutely guaranteed: far from everyday problems – a few years ago in the South Sea.

Our product CLOU-HIT sells marvellously.
If your are the leader on the market in no time, this feels wonderful. Major customers (both public offices and enterprises) use our software at a huge scale. They fill our purses with money and give us prid

 

 

 

 

v) The competition does not sleep!

CLOU/HIT is a success. But the product is no longer the newest.

We know that. Regardless, we enjoy the success of our product. And we celebrate it. Parties are an important part of every enterprise.

Yet we know that innovation continues and that we need something new. Because if you sit on your laurels, you have them at the wrong part of your body.

 

 

 

 

 

vi) We start developing MagicHIT …

This is how Christian and Daniel see me(©
Visual-Braindump) – at least it is how they saw me on the last Dornbirn PM Camp in 2016.

… the first ODA-/ODIF-EDITOR (ODA/ODIF is ISO norm) world-wide, as a “wysiwyg“ system with the extremely powerful semantics on UNIX and X11).
Every document is an object of a category, its semantics are determined by the category (examples: invoice, contracts, official orders, …).
We port MagicHIT on Windows
A special team with ten employees works in a huge old flat Im Tal near the Munich Viktualienmarkt, where they have their special work environment.
After a few years, the first version of the product is finished. There is a wonderful manual.

 

vii) Many warnings!

Wake up! The bell rings!

Famous partners from huge enterprises and offices warn us:

“You must be suffering from brain-damage. You cannot win against MS?!“

We are idealists and ignore the warnings.

After all, there is (still) enough money.

 

 

 

viii) One customer is not enough!

CAREFUL – I know them.

After huge efforts in sales, we have found only one customer for the new MagicHIT – the German Armed Forces.

They want to turn their command posts into automated commands through MagicHIT.

Things start to get messy. The costs remain, but there is no success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ix) Game over

“My post – InterFace life ?“

All offices and huge concerns buy word and windows. It no longer makes any sense. We capitulate and give up. The development of MagicHit is terminated.

 

Maybe someone will need it many years from now.

🙁 And I must postpone my exit …

 

 

x) Fiasco and Happy End

We have to do the calculations. For almost ten years, ten or more of our best employees worked for nothing. Depending on how you do the calculations, that is an investment of between 10 and 20 million DM/EURO. For nothing!

But:

The know-how we gained in this way is extremely helpful. We learned a lot. That helps us to survive for the next ten years. Basically, it helped right up to this day.

 

 

xi) Lessons learned

Many thanks to Jan Fischbach, agility master and my photographer this time.

David will not always win against Goliath.
Wonders will not repeat themselves.
The product that is most beneficial will not always win.
Progress is slow.
More often than not, you cannot fight against power, corruption and fraud.

But still, it was nice!

RMD

P.S.
Basically, it was a three-times fuck-up. Because around ten years later, we again implemented MagicHIT for Siemens and the Bavarian Justice System – we called it ForumStar-Text for them.

Due to the ignorance of a partner, we later lost the bidding process that had already been practically won (second fuck-up). For similar reasons, we also lost the visionary project to – in cooperation with TUM – bring ForumStar to the Bavarian Justice System and Siemens AG as an Open Source. Even Siemens, represented by (chairman of the IT provider ), had already agreed. It might have been a great hour for Germany or even Europe.

Then Siemens AG cancelled the meeting between representatives of TUM, the Bavarian Justice System and us at short notice. They did not appear. Fuckup, von Hammerstein left the SBS a short time later and became an important reformer at Kabel Deutschland. You can admire the remainder of SBS at ATOS and the InterFace AG still does its business, now with IT compliance, CLOUD and still with software development (our motto is: ”long live devop!“). … And the Justice Systems in Bavaria and

Germany  public authorities concerning judiciary are now serviced by IBM. Such is life.

P.S.1
And many thanks to the great Lydia of Techdivision for all the huge support she gave me!

October, 22nd was a rather challenging yet nice day for us (Christian, Knud and yours truly). We met in Nuremburg in the morning because we wanted to try something in the evening. The idea was to “communicate in a really creative manner”. We simply wanted to say a few things that would remain with us and be sustainable.

We, that is Christian Botta, Knud Johanssen and me. We met in a small apartment at the Nuremburg congress centre. Because on this Wednesday, we wanted to star in a small show in the evening. Consequently, we had to practice a little bit.

Before that day, we had met exactly three times. We had worked on the idea and then developed the content and the dramaturgy in a “shared document”, because that seemed the best way to overcome the space-time-distribution.

Starting at 11:00 hours, we practiced “jamming”. It took until 16:00 hours, then we relaxed. At 17:00 hours, the time had come: as the finishing number of the DOAG Yearly Conference #DOAG17 “soft tracks”, we went onstage. With “creative communication”.

On this photograph, you can see us after hard work:
Christian,  our “host” Dietmar Neugebauer, Knud and yours truly
(from left to right).

But before that, the motto was:

“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” and above all 
“Do not lament, instead jam!“



Here is the premiere of November, 22nd, 2017.

With and by us: (man with the pen), (with ALTO, the alto saxophone, or rapper and ventriloquist). And I ( – at the “speech“) was also part of the team!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Here is the link to the video:
https://youtu.be/JZPp_OCiZPU
And for those who prefer reading about it I will publish my texts in my next post.

Roland Dürre
Sunday October 15th, 2017

Great Orators and Their Stories – #7 Jolly Kunjappu

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

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

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

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

I bow to Jolly and his life work.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Friday September 22nd, 2017

Krampfhennenreport #1: VerbraucherschützerInnen

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Die Winderhitzer der Völklinger Hütte.

““Die Winderhitzer der Völklinger Hütte”. Also Vintage”

Regardless of the fact that I consider email vintage technology, I still have some email addresses. Many useless and stupid messages arrive.

It is my task to then delete those emails and ask my communication partners if, please, they could use other ways of communication.

Today, something happened that made me smile. I received an email from a beloved and long-time friend whose technological competence I rather appreciate.

He sent an email to a lot of people ( (all@XYZ.de):


Hi,
Could you please leave us alone with this totally irrational discussion!!!!!
I, too, said what I think about mail distributors and internal mail in the survey about new communication forms.
This is another typical example illustrating the fact that intra-company emails are total nonsense and why email distributors inparticular should be immediately made redundant.
To all, and I really intended to write this!


Incidentally, the “totally irrational discussion” was about the problem with rechargeable i-phone batteries and their exchange.

I replied as follows:


Your email made me smile. 🙂
After all, I totally agree with you – except that I am even more radical. Email is no longer a general communication channel. Instead, it is a totally old-fashioned one which – it goes without saying – should no longer be used in modern enterprises.
Emails to third parties should only be sent in those few instances where in former times you actually wrote a letter, sent a telegram or went to a public phone booth. Everything else should be done with tools that are adequate to the task.
Best wishes and a nice weekend to you!


Yes, I, too, dislike emails. More often than not, they have huge footers made even larger by artificial nonsense and totally uninteresting advertisements or stupid legal disclaimers.

I hate email dialogues that cause a constantly growing series of email incarnations through more and more dialogue steps. With every reply, you create a new email that contains the same as before, with the addition of the last reply.  When the internet was first introduced, they made an attempt to make the design of email communication a little more agreeable. For example there was the so-called tofu rule.

Unfortunately, however, “tofu” was only applied by very few users and consequently failed.

As a general rule, communication will be carried out as a “thread“. Ever since we have the perfect chat, email is mostly obsolete. In the “peer2peer“ thread, I can always immediately see what has been recently said. That is also true for persons with whom I rarely communicate – where it is extremely valuable. Threads are also a good tool for more than two persons who wish to communicate. If you use email, you immediately get a catastrophic flood of “cc”-s and “bcc”-s.

Moreover, I enjoy using images, audios or small videos in my daily communication. How cumbersome is this both for the sender and the recipient if you use email? Just look how easily bbm, wechat, whatsapp, the FB “messenger“ or Skype, the twitter  “dm“ (direct message) etc, work. Not to mention Snapchat, the system with the most modern and simple of all user interfaces.

Even better for structured communication, even in bigger teams/groups than chat systems are “communities”. There are many communities in the internet, for instance in Google+. They show you how it is done. And how you can communicate well and yet very structured and highly efficient with very simple means within an organization. And how you can do totally without the email nonsense, rather than flooding the non-interested and non-concerned parties with spam all the time!

Note also:

The telephone is also OUT. I only use my telephone after having made an appointment in advance to do so, if there is something important I need to do or if I want to talk with someone and pay full attention. Consequently, I no longer use the telephone in the car or in public places like trains. And even for important issues, I only use the telephone if image telephones (Hangout, Facetime, Skype, Cisco, Citrix …) are not an option because the person at the other end prefers the good old telephone.

In case you forgot: the “telephone” function on the smartphone is also just an app for synchronous spoken communication that enables your connection with addresses made up from telephone numbers (digits) and through “voice-over-IP“.

Consequently:
If someone calls me and I reply with
“Now who interrupts me in my work?“,
then I kindly ask you to forgive me.

I continue to be available on the telephone for all those who need me. Here is my physical telephone address 0049 171 4850115 (unfortunately, the symbol telephones have now been out of fashion for a long time). But, please, only call if it is really important and totally urgent!

In all other instances, please ask yourself if it might not be enough for you to use asynchronous (spoken) messages through one of the chatters I use or, if it is about a specific topic, for you to send a message to the respective community.

RMD
(Translated by EG)