Roland Dürre
Thursday March 8th, 2018

SPORTS SOLDIERS in the JUNK ARMY

During the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea, I was in the Antarctica. That was definitely not a bad idea for someone who wished to avoid the Olympic Commerce Terror.

Roland in the Antarctica as participant in the Olympic Competition of Hot Dog Pølser (genuine Danish red sausages) eating and beer drinking.

If you are not in favour of the media hype, if you are not all that “nationally” inclined and if you neither want to hail every individual medal nor the ranking on second of the FRG (GERMANY) of these strange “Olympic” winter competitions, then it is a good idea to flee to a place as far away as possible while such “athletic” mammoth events take place.

Now many of you will say:
“What is wrong with you this time? Our GERMANY was really successful at long last! That is really something to be truly proud of as a German.“

It used to be much worse:
When I was younger, in the last millennium, people like me were often called “Traitors“ if they refused to really get into the collective Olympia and world championship euphoria. It was especially off balance whenever the success of the GDR’s National People’s Army was admired. Because all of them were using illegal substances, anyway.

As far as this is concerned, the world actually is now a slightly better place …
Yes, we came in second!

1 NorwayNorway  14  14  11  39
2 Deutschland Germany  14  10  7  31

However, you have to say “we only came in second” after Norway, which is a country with a population of only 5.3 million! We, the great nation Germany have 82.8 million inhabitants. And yet we took 8 fewer medals than they (four silver medals and four bronce medals). Isn’t that embarrassing? The success certainly gets a different perspective.

Let us take a closer look:
It was not we who were so successful (or rather, coming second, so much of a loser). It was the German Customs Officers, the German Federal Police and the German Armed Forces.

I used to believe that our Customs Officers were our weapons during the upcoming trade war against the USA under Mr. Trump. And that the Federal Police had important tasks such as protecting people on Christmas Fares against suicide attacks.

And that our Armed Forces are meant to be a deterrent? And that they are supposed to help such NATO partners as Turkey and also to give qualified assistance with the realization of a number of UN sanctions and activities? That is what I believed.

But all these assumptions are wrong! Those three institutions are apparently responsible for Olympic medals. Even the Armed Forces were quite successfully collecting medals. Although, allegedly, nothing works well at the Armed Forces. As you see, you cannot believe everything you read.

In summary, one can say that more than 100 out of our 154 Olympians in Pyeongchang are state employed (police, federal police, armed forces and customs officers).

Quelle rp-online.de

Even our ice hockey team was decorated with silver. They were 25 professionals (source Wikipedia), but in the total medal count, they only got one medal! Now isn’t that unfair?

It might be asked who was the 26th professional (see above on the graphical representation).

If I disregard those 26 professionals, more than 100 out of 128 Olympians were state employed, that is more than 78 %. This means that customs officers, police officers and the armed forces have a ¾ majority …

And I am annoyed with myself:
I did not stick to my intention to never again write anything trivial.
And I hope that this trivial article will not make me a traitor in anybody’s eyes.

RMD

P.S.
If I remember correctly, then the Norwegian Olympic Heroes, too, were mostly from the Norwegian Armed Forces.

(Translated by EG)

🙂 Well, I remember my promise to write more about sex and electric bikes. Consequently, I will now relate my experiences with my eWMe 627 from CONWAY.

I already told you about our eCargo. Not only is the car no longer at all an option when we go shopping; for the grandchildren and for leisure activities, too, the cargo has turned into the absolute favourite means of transportation for the entire family. And for me personally, the eCargo triggered the “electric bike preference”.

My E-Enduro with a 160-mm drive, the Conway eWME 627 as the second E-Bike in our family.

Formerly, I often went into the mountains with the Mountain Bike. Uphill, I was never very fast. And, naturally, I did not become faster in the last few years.

Which made it more of a challenge for me to go on bike tours in the mountains as a couple or in small groups. My younger and more athletic travelling companions always had to wait for quite some time sitting on top of the mountain until they finally saw me push my bike up. I was not the only one who found this unnerving.

Then came the summer – and consequently the yearly Peloponnesus mountain bike tour (near Gythio and Mani). So I decided to test an electric mountain bike at our familiar bike salesman (Dully’s BIKESTATION).

To say it in a nutshell: I was absolutely fascinated. Consequently, I bought one and now mountain biking is again something I truly enjoy. In 2017 in Greece, I covered about twice the distance (and altitude) from the years before.

About the bike and its technology:

As you know, my eCargo has a rear motor (GoSwissDrive), a simple ladder network and a hub dynamo at the front tyre. I find that rear motors are only ideal for a Cargo bike, the chain is not too strained and, thanks to the hub dynamo, it can also be used at night, even if the battery is empty or you do not carry it with you.

My mountain bike has a different system. It has a Shimano mid-bike motor at the crank. SHIMANO Steps-System is a system of e-bike components (motor, battery, control, range calculator, …) that was designed exclusively for mountain bikes. The same bikes are also available with Bosch technology. When I tested them, I liked the Shimano system better because of the interval-free support and the better coordination.

As with Bosch, the heart of the Steps-System is the mid-bike motor. It weighs 2.8 kg and is perhaps one of the lightest motors on the market. The mid-bike motor sits in the crank; as opposed to front or rear drivers, it is not a direct drive. Instead, it has a gearing mechanism. You can also easily ride without electricity, the motor will not slow you down. You only have some additional weight because of the motor and the electric gadgets.

That is probably the reason why mid-bike motors will always make a slightly grating noise. The only relatively soundless motors are those from Impulse and Brose, all other motors (by now, many companies along with Bosch, especially from Asia, offer them) are far noisier than direct drives – which you really cannot hear at all. You also always get a slight push when the motor turns itself on for support, which is not what you get with the direct drives that sit in the front or rear tyre.

Regardless, I believe that the mid-bike motor is the best for mountain bikes. The weight of the motor and battery are close to the crank. Whenever you go up or down steep hills, this is definitely an advantage.

Most of the electric mountain bikes have a simple ladder network (one gear-wheel at the front and quite a few at the rear), it is the mechanic Shimano XT for the Conway. It might be a disadvantage that, if you have a mid-bike motor, the entire power (both from the human and from the motor) is transferred to the chain and the gear. But, as I see it, that can be ignored for the mountain bike, because everyone knows you have to change the chain and the pinion at regular intervals.

Range

I am always asked: “How far can you go with one full battery?”. This question is not easy to answer. Naturally, the range depends on such parameters as the incline of the course a biker selected. For long inclines in one row, you need more electricity than if you go up and down the hills alternatively all the time. The frequency of pedalling is also important (If I am correct, the ideal frequency is considerably higher than 60 per minute). And, of course, it also depends on the mode you chose.

STEPS has three modes: ECO, TRAIL and BOOST. If you save electricity by using ECO and if you cut down the motor when you go downhill (due to the mid-bike motor principle, STEP cannot recuperate, so it makes sense to switch the entire drive off whenever you do not pedal – and if you do not pedal, there is, naturally, also ZERO motor-caused resistance), then the range is generally more than 100 kilometres, i.e. in the three-digit area.

If you use the mode TRAIL, I would assume that you can always easily go around 70 kilometres with 700 metres of altitude. However, if I use BOOST and really force the bike up the mountain, then I can easily imagine that the power is low after 20 kilometres. That never happened to me. I assume it would be more like a fun-ride.

For travel bikes, I would not recommend the mid-bike motor. But I will tell you more about this when I describe my Utopia London.

For me, my e-mountain-bike is a constant source of delight. If I go downhill, I no longer have to accept the high speed of former times (I always wanted to make up a little time when I went downhill, because I had always lost so much time going uphill). And above all, the electric day trips now take less time – which means I no longer need to get up so early and I also return home earlier than I used to. If, formerly, the entire Sunday was “wasted”, I now have time left for other interests.

On my trips with Barbara, I now had to wait for her at the top of the mountain. That was also true in Greece. I went with electricity, Barbara without. Circumstances were now reversed.

Barbara’s electric mountain donkey, the Conway 327.

Later, she also bought a Conway 327 – and now we have great fun together. Our day trips to the Bavarian Alps no longer take too much time and we no longer have the burdensome long inclines we used to have. And I truly look forward to the spring and am absolutely sure that, in 2018, we will often spend time in the Alps. And I also truly look forward to the two weeks of biking and swimming in August/September on the Peloponnesus!

My next article will be about my Utopia London with front drive. For me, it is the perfect travel and everyday bike. If I see similarities between the eCargo with and a VW transporter, then the eBike is more like a jeep and my London would be something like the Mercedes S-Class Limousine.

So “my Mercedes” (of Utopia) will feature prominently in my next e-bike article.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took both pictures from the Conway Website – you will find several links to this site.

Roland Dürre
Thursday June 18th, 2015

Heroes, Gladiators and Consumers.

220px-Weltmeister_autograph_1954On one of the early PM Camps in Dornbirn, Eberhard Huber initiated a really great session about “cultural onions”. I wrote about it.

The “cultural onion” describes of such social systems as, for instance, the Federal Republic of Germany in the form of a model. For instance, the peel of the “onion” are its symbols, rituals, basic beliefs, certainties, values, … And, in particular, the “heroes” of a system also play a role.
This session motivated me to look for a “German” hero. I was thinking of the great classics of literature (Goethe, Schiller, … ), modern authors (Brecht, Grass …) and philosophers (Kant, Nietzsche …). Also, I wondered if politicians (Erhard, Brandt …), people who resisted (Scholl, Staufenberg), composers (Bach, Beethoven …) and musicians (Lindenberg, Nina) and many more might be candidates for the role of my personal hero.

None of them was good enough to meet my requirements for a “German Hero”. Since I am a passionate soccer player, I continued my search there. However, Beckenbauer, Haller and Uwe Seeler (although he came pretty close), too, fell short.

And then I had an idea:
The soccer world champion team of 1954 – the heroes of Bern – they meet the bill! This is the team I consider just about good enough to be my “German Heroes”

But then, this was 61 years ago. We now live in the 21st century. A short time ago, I watched the Champions League Final Match   Juventus against Barcelona 2015 in Berlin on TV. And again, I was surprised to see how excessively all the stars of today are tattooed. I also wondered why they all had such strange hairstyles.

And then it immediately dawned on me:
The soccer players of today are the gladiators of our times. The tattoos and dyed red-Indian and other hairstyles are part of their war outfit. They serve the clubs and, behind those, the concerns. That is who they fight for and that is who pays them for it. Along with extensive marketing, this is how the consumers are kept dependent and motivated to buy more and more. Said consumers will cheer “their” gladiators and obediently buy the products advertised by those gentlemen.

Thus, the contests of our gladiators are the biggest spectacles of our times. If the “right team” wins, the people will go crazy, if they lose, the fans (the consumer population) are sad and wish to die, burning their banners.

Soccer players are the modern mercenaries in our times. They “play” for those who pay best. But above all, they fight for mass consumption. This is no longer about panem et circenses in order to distract and entertain the people, as was customary in ancient Rome. Instead, this is all about turnover and profit, e.g. about “the money” of the masses.

As I see it, this development is an indicator of the decadence of our times. Decadence which, in prospering social systems, can be observed as the preliminary stage of the end shortly before the downfall.

However, we know that innovation is creative destruction and I already look forward to what will come next. And we relish the morbid joy witnessing the downfall of all those who are responsible for this development.. Except that this concerns all of us!
RMD

P.S.
There is also a kind of exploitation and insurance organization for the gladiators. It is called FIFA and earns a lot of money with the new games.

Roland Dürre
Monday March 30th, 2015

Laws. Sports. Meaning.

“The FC Bayern is one of the world’s most successful soccer clubs.”

What a beautiful superlative.

But if you look really closely, then this statement is rather imprecise, isn’t it? FC Bayern München is a registered club with many members. Additionally, there is an enterprise in the entertainment business also named FC Bayern München AG. As an incorporated company, the FC Bayern München AG  is a subsidiary of the soccer club.

Other shareholders are the concerns Audi, Adidas and Allianz SE. So, basically, the FC Bayern München AG is first and foremost a very normal business enterprise with turnover and profit and consequently it has to do a balance sheet at the end of each year. And for this enterprise, the same legal rules apply as for all others.

Andreas Voglsammer im Spiel gegen Chemnitz 2012

Andreas Voglsammer during the 2012 match against Chemnitz

And like all enterprises, the FC Bayern AG also has and needs employees with varieties of tasks in varieties of roles. Among others, the FCB needs persons who kick a ball – the soccer players.

If an enterprise is looking to employ new people, German law gives them only limited freedom for shaping the contract. Either their new recruits are salaried, then they are employees (long-term or temporary) or they are paid a fee, quasi as service providers. Then they would be freelancers.

Due to our laws, the freelancer concept is an absolute no-go. Even if you would interpret the respective legislation very broad-mindedly, you would have to assume that the soccer players employed as freelancers would be fake self-employed (taking orders, being dependent, etc.).

Consequently, the only alternative is to make the same sort of salaried contract with the soccer players as with all other employees. Actually, the FC Bayern does the same as all other soccer clubs. Consequently, the professional soccer players are employed like all other employees. For many decades, the soccer clubs have been drawing up temporary contracts with their soccer players. Those contracts will then be extended according to need and situation, sometimes to cover more time, sometimes less.

Blick auf die Hauptribüne - da bin ich bei jedem Heimspiel.

View of the grandstand – from where I watch all home matches.

And this is where the problem lies. Because temporary contracts are employee’s contracts with a fixed end! And those underlie strict legal rules as written down in the “part-time and temporary employment act”. It covers all employees, be it craftsmen, engineers, programmers or soccer players. Consequently, the law could not care less about the actual income or the kind of work involved. For temporary contracts, you have laws and those have to be adhered to. NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT! Those rules used to be a lot more restricting than they are today, which means that violations of the law were rather more obvious than they are now!

In fact, this concept in sports contracts already stroke me as illegal and unjust when I founded the InterFace Connection GmbH in 1983. I never understood why something that is forbidden for normal enterprises should be fine in professional sports. Just like one of the reasons why Wolf and yours truly, when we founded the company in 1984, chose to develop a product because we were not sure how long the system would continue to tolerate the practice of “body leasing”, which clearly violates the AÜG law (fake self-employment).

Und noch mal der Andreas, der jetzt beim FC Heidenheim spielt.

And again Andreas, who is now playing for the FC Heidenheim.

Now we are more than 30 years down the road – and suddenly something happens in the area of “fake self-employment”. Because now, the legal service departments of the huge DAX enterprises (as we know, some of them are shareholders at the FC Bayern AG) have found out that what has been common practice over decades was not always in accordance with the law of employee rental. Now they are looking to protect themselves.

And now, a soccer player actually found out that the contracts of employed soccer players often violate the “part-time and temporary employment act”. It is true that this law is mostly ignored in professional sports. The former major league goal-keeper Heinz Müller – or perhaps some of his cunning counsellors – now had the idea to sue the club at the Mainz Labour Court. The Mainz Labour Court – simply following the clearly written law – allowed the procedure and came down with a favourable judgement. This judgement rules that the prevalent practice of temporary contracts in professional soccer is clearly a violation of the law.

Because the goal-keeper had had a three-year-contract with Mainz between 2009 and 2012. The contract was prolonged by two more years in summer 2012. And that is clearly against the law. After the first contract, Heinz Müller sued for “stating that the temporary contract is now automatically a non-temporary contract” and, naturally, the judgement was in his favour.

Kampf um den Ball im Sportpark

Fighting for the ball in the Sportpark

Mind you, with this article, I do not wish to annoy professional soccer playing or even the great FC Bayern München. Basically, we all know that such an unimportant person as Roland Dürre cannot do so, anyway. But I would like to show what nonsense some laws are. Because they simply no longer meet social reality.
These kinds of laws are then ignored and circumvented by “reasonable contract parties” (like here professional clubs and professional soccer players). Until someone like here Herr Müller violates the secret codes by suing for what is legally possible. And those are situations that, naturally, you do not only get in professional sports, but also in many other sectors.

Being a cunny entrepreneur, I am offering three different ways how to solve the problem. In applying them, you can both meet and circumvent the current legal requirements.

Leased Labour:
In order to satisfy German law, you could solve the problem by calling the phenomenon leased labour. The soccer players would have to be employed as regular employees by an enterprise, for instance the FCB, the German Soccer League (for example BFV). And then they could be leased by the clubs following the leased labour rules.

Legally, this would be a very simple procedure – however, the dismissal protection might cause a future problem for the DFB.

A special labour agreement:
Just like in normal business, they could come up with a special labour agreement between an employees’ organization and an employers’ organization, both of which would have to be created. 
If something like this would be practicable in a system reigned by the FIFA, UEFA and DFB is another question.

Soccer players become managing directors:
If the employer, such as the FC Bayern AG, is an incorporated company, then the problem can be avoided elegantly. All you have to do is make the players managing directors. For them, temporary contracts up to five years are permitted. And on top of this, you would avoid having to pay the social insurance for the placers. This might not be what the law actually intended, but it would be perfectly legal. 
After all, Thomas Müller is certainly qualified to become managing director, isn’t he?

The last three proposals are correct; however, they are not really meant seriously. Yet you can see what absurd ideas a sub-optimal legal situation can give you.

There will be another new law which will affect professional sports – the minimum wages. If you measure the working time correctly, quite a few youngsters among the professionals will end up working more than fifty hours each week (with all the practice, matches, travel times, additional training, coaching, homework).

Incidentally, I know quite a few pupils and students who spend a lot more than fifty hours each week working for their education and future. Yet for them, the minimum wages and working time legislations is not relevant.
But only fifty hours per week makes more than 200 hours each month. That would mean an income of 200 times 8.50 €, which is at least 1,700 €. And I assume that quite a few clubs cannot or do not wish to spend this kind of money. But then, the education of young soccer players or other athletes is already a profound violation of various laws, anyway.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The first picture was taken during a home match of SpVgg Unterhaching against Chemnitz on November, 23th, 2013. The picture was taken by Stefan Kukral in the Sportpark. The other pictures, too, were taken by Stefan. The SpVgg gave permission to publish them in the IF Blog.
With these pictures, I want to remind you that the SpVgg is my club. I also wish to ask as many friends and readers as possible to come and watch the last three home matches of this third-league season in the Sportpark. We need to support the team in its struggle against relegation.

I have been friends with the Chess Grand Master Gerald Hertneck for many years. Gerald is considerably younger than I. In the late 1970ies, I had quite a few quickies with the then still very young Gerald and his friend Robert Zysk. We were all members of the SK Obermenzing. My chess friends and I were already “grown up” at the time and we had plenty of fun with the young and humorous guys.

Later, when he was already a very successful chess player, Gerald, along with some others, initiated the Munich Chess Foundation (Münchner Schachstiftung).

Since the chess world championship is now under way, he sent us an email:

Dear chess friends,

GeraldHertneckthe count down for the biggest chess event of the year has started! On Saturday, November, 8th, the World Champion duel between the current holder of the title Magnus Carlsen and his Indian challenger Vishy Anand will begin! Here is the official page of the tournament (http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/).

A year ago in Chennai, Carlsen won clearly and without being beaten with 6,5:3,5. To be sure, Magnus Carlsen is still the world’s number 1 and therefore the favourite for the duel. However, during his last two tournaments, the Chess Olympics in Tromsö and the GM Tournament in St. Louis, Carlsen had to be content with coming in second. In March, Vishy Anand surprised many experts, winning the candidates’ tournament easily – and in September, he won the Grand Slam Finals in Bilbao.

As I see it, the psychological advantages is with the long-standing world champion Anand, since this time around he enters as the challenger who has little to lose, while in the worst case Carlsen will have to give up the title of world champion – which would also minimize his market value.

I also think Anand will be better prepared for the fight in terms of opening theories. He will have learned from being beaten last year. In particular, he will try to play more dynamically, rather than letting himself be pushed into Carlsen’s favourite domain. What I mean are slightly better final matches which, with lots of patience and enormous stamina, Carlsen can win.

In short: as I see it, chances in this exciting match are totally even, even if the difference in terms of ELO numbers seems to be a clear statement: 2792 for Anand versus 2863 ELO for Carlsen. Statistically, this equals an expectation of winning of 60 per cent versus 40 per cent. But especially in a match with 12 individual games, psychology and dynamics play quite a significant role!

Now there is the question how to best follow all the individual games of the world championship. For the first time ever, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, along with the Munich Chess Academy, decided to offer an online report this year. If you click here: Link (http://www.sueddeutsche.de/thema/Schach-WM), you will get a 10-minute video with Chess grand master Stefan Kindermann after every game. He will discuss the highlights of each game and give an insightful illustration. It would make us happy if you took the time to follow the report.

Gerald Hertneck

Here is some information and contact data on the Munich Chess Foundation:
With the innovative training concept: ”Schach nach Königsplan“, the Munich Chess Foundation teaches children and adolescents precious competences for their future development.

Besides the ability to concentrate and the development of efficient cognitive structures, motivation and trust in their own competence are the key concepts of the promotion program.

The positive consequences of chess training on the mathematical competence, reading and orthography, as well as the emotional and social development of students have been clearly documented in numerous scientific studies.

I also witnessed the process myself. When, around the age of 12, I started playing chess in the chess club, my “school grades” suddenly improved considerably. And I also firmly believe that, through my entire professional career, there is a lot I have to thank chess for.

The thing I admire most about the foundation is that many children who had already been considered lost for society due to their under-privileged situation in life were brought back to social life and turned into a success.

Contact:

Münchener Schachstiftung

Zweibrückenstraße 8
80331 München
fon (0 89) 95 89 43 30 
fax (0 89) 95 89 43 32 
info@mucschach.de
www.mucschach.de

Roland Dürre
Friday August 15th, 2014

Start-up (1) – Failure

As during many summers before, I am currently camping at Porto Ageranos. The campground is situated on the Peloponnesus, on the middle finger, about 10 kilometres south of Gythio, shortly before the mild climate of Mani. From our tent, you have only 10 metres to go before you reach the ocean. The first night was truly great. And since we know the region quite well, we have been feeling really at home from the outset!

I take advantage of the time I spand at this place for relaxing, contemplation and, not least, for making plans. And, of course, I also do a lot of swimming and bike-riding, I eat well and simply spend quality time with my beloved family and friends. And, naturally, I also write some articles (for the IF Blog).
This time around, my main topic is start ups.

I know many people. With some of them, I am good friends. Among them are also quite a few young colleagues. It seems to me that I am actually doing quite well when it comes to getting along with the young generation.

A few years ago, I started getting interested in the foundation of new enterprises. For instance, I am constantly asked to sit in the jury for a business plan contest. As a mentor, I counsel persons and enterprises, sometimes intensely, sometimes sporadically. Consequently, I know a little about what is going on.
Most of the teams I know and acompany are truly great teams. They are industrious and creative and they try to lead their lives independently and to build up an enterprise, investing the utmost personal enthusiasm on many levels based on an exciting idea.

And then they fail.

Some of them fail at the very outset, others as soon as promotion programs, such as EXIST are over, or else after the first financing. More often than not, the period of suffering will continue for some time. Once in a while, they find an “emergency exit”. And only very few of them will be a success – and those mostly in a totally different way than they had originally planned.

Most of those who fail leave behind a huge amount of strength and also money. The only consolation for them is that they learned a lot, in other words: they “failed successfully”. Yet this is not much of a consolation, is it? After all, if they had taken up an alternative life line, for instance through a good job with a medium-sized company, they could probably have learned a lot more for their personal future.

As I see it, this is a gigantic waste of capital, creativity and industriousness (“waste” in the sense of Kaizen). Also, the frustration and disappointment many of the young persons concerned suffer is painful. And I often think that this frequent failure might have been avoidable in many cases.

Because the mass-failures are easily explained. Mostly, the founders work just like the expertise of a past epoch tells them to. And this pattern never really worked very well. Today, it generally does not pan out at all. How are the success patterns of yesterday supposed to work in the world of tomorrow, anyway?
And the very few exceptions – incidentally, they are all due to the accumulation of particularly lucky circumstances – only prove this rule.

Why is failure normal?

The answer is simple: for instance, big concerns, too, constantly try to throw new products onto the market. These concerns have everything you need for a new product idea: capital in masses, a well-known brand, excellent marketing, strong marketing organizations, world-wide access to the markets, great engineers and providers, and much more. And above all: they know their market, because more often than not they have been “learning” and “working towards it” for decades.

And still their new product inventions often fail. If they are lucky, as few as 10 % of such new inventions will become more or less a success on the market. Make your criteria for the definition of “success” a little stricter, and you get an even lower number.

Except how is a young team that has none of these things supposed to compete? Just with their young light-heartedness and creativity? This is nonsense!

One conclusion might be that young founders will only have a real chance on totally new markets. That would mean young founders should shirk (almost) all business ideas around existing technologies and solutions. The current development seems to justify this argument. Well, perhaps I can give a first tentative piece of advice to start-ups:

Be careful if you wish to enter into markets where others already have their standing.

To be sure, great concerns with their organization and processes are their own stumbling block when it comes to creative topics. Their success has the negative side that they will always think in old patterns. They know this and consequently look for innovation outside their own walls. The foundation of “acceleration“ departments and their looking for cooperation with start-ups is their way out of it. After all, this is also the latest idea of “UnternehmerTUM” of Munich Technical University. The same is true for the new first mayor of our state capital Munich, Mr. Reiter.

The magic word “cooperation between concerns and start-ups”, however, will not work, either. Firstly, the old enterprises intensely live the rejection from outside as in: “not invented here“. I witnessed this quite frequently and also made the experience myself in strategic cooperation with big firms – more than once. And I could also name quite a few examples where the results of XXX acceleration or XXX invest failed.

But the “old methods”, too, are only successful in few exceptional cases. Let me exemplify this with almost all “tax-saving models”. For many years now, we have witnessed this not only in sectors such as “film”, “realty”, “shipping”, or “alternative energy”. The huge losses suffered by investors in projects around railway and canal building are also good examples.

Mostly, their failure was not because they fell victim to fraud or untrustworthy businessmen. To be sure, those also happened. But mostly the reason was that the underlying business models and plans were just wrong. Regardless of the fact that they had been made by experts in a “professional” way. Experts who really knew their markets. And regardless of having been controlled critically by other experts, for instance in banking. Mind you, those banking experts were really serious, because, after all, they had a share. Here, too, I could write about very personal experiences: in one case, the Sparkasse München, which I hold in high esteem, lost a few million Euros – in my own case, we are, luckily, only talking something in the middle five-digit range.

But if even projects written by experts and validated by many other experts do not work, how can you then expect a young team of founders without any experience and knowledge of the market to steer their enterprise successfully into a non-predictable future?

Seen under this light, founding a new company is basically a hopeless or at least very courageous adventure. An adventure no sane person should by any rights let himself be drawn into.

However, I think that it is possible to improve the chance of success for a start-up from what feels like 1 : 100 to something that perhaps even comes close to 1 : 1 (success versus failure ratio)..

I know that this is a rather courageous announcement of mine. Consequently, I plan to use my two weeks on a campground at the southernmost end of the Peloponnesus on Mani for writing a few articles about “start-ups” here in my IF Blog. This is both for the start-ups I myself counsel and all others.

RMD (Translated by EG)

P.S.

I will start with my own experiences as a young entrepreneur in the next instalment. As I see it, you can already learn quite a bit from it.

Roland Dürre
Thursday July 3rd, 2014

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #226

Here are my tweets of last week on
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

140710 Whenever you can pay tribute to someone, do not be stingy with your praise – also when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140711 In through one ear, out through the other side – normal state of affairs when twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140712 On lies is always accompanied by seven others – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140713 Many have been sorry for cheering ahead of time – also when blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140714 If someone tells a serious lie, you should blow a whistle – here we go, bloggers and twitterers! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140715 Too much honour is halve shame – not to forget when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140716 Too much politeness borders on doltish – be careful whent wittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See twitter.com and “follow” RolandDuerre!

Enjoy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

I turn more and more into an “active mobile person”; in other words: more and more often, I use my own physical energy in order to get to my destination. Also, I now initiated a new personal mobility program for my life. It is called “Away From the Bike”. Simply because I discovered that it can also be quite nice to walk.

My (not so old) winter bike now has almost 10,000 kilometres showing on its tachometer – and I never really liked it. When I recently discovered that my Utopia dream model “LONDON” is now available for a fantastic price as a special bargain “Classic Line”, I gave in to temptation. And the consumption devil took hold of me; I ordered a very basic “Utopia London” – albeit with a Rohloff gearshift.

328_Klassik_Line_111003You get the rather full program, including the 14-G. Rohloff for a price of 2,359.00 Euros. Considering that we are talking an Utopia London with its beautiful steel-cross-frame, this price is almost sensational. But then, the special price is only valid until the end of January.

Reading the technical details, the weight of the bike strikes me: 16.8 kilograms for a permitted total weight of 180 kilograms, which means 160 kilograms of loading weight.

And then I think that 16.8 kilograms is quite a lot, isn’t it? But then, touring bikes with full equipment usually are in that range.

I continue with my calculations. If one bike weighs 16.8 kilograms, then 10 bikes will weigh 168 kilograms. And ten times ten, which is a hundred bikes, will weigh 1,680 kilograms. And then I remember that a normal medium-size vehicle in the auto-mobile (that is: non-active mobile) sector is about as heavy as a hundred of these beautiful Utopia bikes. And that mostly these vehicles also just carry one person.

Incidentally, a hundred bikes are quite many. In order to get an idea, I think about how I would stow a hundred of these bikes on my now smaller property: 10 bikes on my driveway, 10 next to the garden cottage, ten next to the compost heap, 10 on the chess board, … now it gets a little tight. And I still have fifty to stow. Our guest bedrooms will probably also have to serve.

Just out of fun, I continue with my calculations. If I divide 2,359 Euros by 16.8 kilograms, the bike price per kilogram is 140.42 Euros. Compared with this, the car price per kilogram is actually quite cheap. If you take a price of 13,000 Euros for a medium-size car of 1,680 kilograms, you get 17.86 Euros per kilogram (and if you are talking a Daczia for half the price, just half of this!). Basically, this seems rather a low price to me, considering all the steel, electronics, plastic and rare ores and what not that are part of such a car. Not to mention all those five to ten tons of crude oil (source) you need for the production of an automobile.

Damn – riding a bike is rather expensive, isn’t it? How can anybody be so stupid as to buy a bike?

But I continue with my calculations. Our car with a net weight of 1,680 kilograms can usually load no more than around 500 kilograms. Which means that the carrying capacity price is 60 Euros per kilogram. As opposed to this, a hundred Utopias can carry 16,000 kilograms. That is a price of 14.74 per carried kilogram. Now this looks a lot better.

We could continue doing calculations. But then, I would not wish to bother you with it. After all, it is just a joke.

The only thing that is clear is: some way or other, active mobility seems more reasonable than automobile mobility. Except: hiking is even better.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture from the website of utopia-velo.de.

Roland Dürre
Friday March 15th, 2013

Chess & Management

When you have reached old age in the form of being more than 60, you will look back on your own life more and more often. And since I am rather happy with what I achieved and accomplished, I also once in a while think about the persons who helped me in life. Well, there are quite a few. Studying mathematics and computer science was certainly a good choice at the time. I learned a lot when I worked at Siemens. All through life, I kept meeting people who accompanied me for some of the way, thereby being a huge help. And it also seems that I married the right woman.

But some other things also helped a lot. For instance the fact that I learned accounting and business very early in life when attending the business-oriented Jacob Fugger Grammar School.

And something else, too, had a very beneficial effect on me: playing chess. It all started on those Sunday afternoons with my father. Even then, I had a lot of joy playing chess. But during the first few years of grammar school, when I started really getting into playing chess as a competitive sports in the club, my grades at school also quickly improved. Simply because chess had told me how to really concentrate.

But chess gave me a lot more than that. I would even go so far as to say I learned for life through playing chess. Difficult situations, both in private and business life, certainly have a lot of similarities with problems you face on the chess board. The problem solving strategies I learned while playing chess were useful for me in real life. Chess will help you to solve difficult problems “with intuition and strategy”.

I also made many new friends while playing and competing in chess. Dijana Dengler and Stefan Kindermann are two examples for like-minded people. Both of them are also chess players, although considerably better than I. Dijana holds a diploma degree in economy and is FIDE champion. She already took part in many Olympic Games. She made chess her mission and is chief coach of the Münchner Schachstiftung. The Münchner Schachstiftung is very successful when it comes to re-socialization of extremely disadvantaged children. An experience Street Worker of Landeshauptstadt München confirmed that chess is often the only means by which these children and adolescents can be reached.

Stefan is Chess Grand Master and managing director of the Münchner Schachakademie. He, too, took part at Chess Olympics and even once qualified for the world championships. He works as a coach and psychological counsellor, as well as author of several books. Together with Professor Dr. Robert K. Freiherr von Weizsäcker and Dijana, Stefan developed the Master Plan. He coaches leaders in seminars and workshops in this discipline.

And this here is also about the Master Plan. Because it transfers the strategies of chess into real life. And it helps you to make “decisions” by a prudent change of perspective towards an advantageous combination of ratio and intuition.

I keep experiencing how what I learned when playing chess also helps me in real life (both in private and business life, but they cannot be separated, anyway). It helps me to evaluate situations a little better. I find it easier to determine whether I am in a good or poor position. Based on this evaluation, I manage to come up with the right decision, instead of the wrong one, a little more often.

And I believe a small advantage like this can contribute hugely towards feeling well and having the chance to become a content person.

Since you can learn so much by playing chess, I am assuming that you can learn even more from the masters of this discipline. Consequently, I will go to an open seminar day “Master Plan” on Saturday, May, 11. The seminar is from 9:30 to 17:00 and the location is in central Munich, at Zweibrückenstraße 8. That is directly next to the Deutsches Museum.

I look forward to the seminar and, of course, also to all the people who will share the Mater Plan experience with me.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
There is another seminar even earlier: on Friday, April, 26, 2013, at the same place. It costs € 580, including VAT. Meals for the day and a signed copy of the  “Königsweg” are also included. For information on the Master Plan, click here Website. Registration: here.

Roland Dürre
Thursday November 29th, 2012

Projects Will Ruin a Healthy Enterprise

And probably the same is true for the health of the people involved! This is a polemic essay about project culture.

A short time ago, I found a nice article (article) in Jens Hoffmann’s blog. It asks whether or not projects make sense. Here are a few interesting citations:

“Projects have outlived themselves. Their days as an organizational form are numbered. Agile Coaches think projects are not suitable instruments for solving entrepreneurial problems. They do not allow customer-oriented value creation and cannot efficiently control permanent change. So what justification is there for projects these days?”

I read the entire article several times and was also busy commenting Jens‘ blog. This inspired me to write a short polemical essay:

Athletic success is probably even harder to generate than entrepreneurial success. Let us take “soccer” as an example. Of course, my favorite club, SpVgg Unterhaching, will serve as the “use case”. And it will be our super team of the 2012-2013 season. The pictures are also taken from their home matches.

I am imagining myself playing the role of the responsible coaches. If they were to structure their projects in terms of projects, then “good night”. They would immediately have (far too) many projects. In each program, there would be any number of comrades and enemies, paid and unpaid employees and consultants. Both desirables (such players’ parents) and undesirables (such as players’ parents).

Let us look at the individual projects: if you play soccer, you know the proverb “after the match is before the match“. Consequently, the next match would always have to be given top priority. It is easy to define the beginning, the end and the goal of the match. The project will start when the n-th match ended and end with the (n+1)-th match (n is a natural number). And it is pretty easy to define the goal: three points. Mostly, our project goals are not that easy to define.

As a general rule, a project lasts for one week. Actually, this is also well within the range of a scrum sprint. Build up the team, motivate and coach the players. Point out what was well done and what was not so good the last time – and then, depending on how the last match ended, either build up morals or de-emotionalize the situation… video analysis, tackling details, etc.

So this was the first project. It also consists of many small sub-projects. A lot must be delegated and the results must be integrated. But so far, everything sounds quite easy.

Except – it will not be good enough to just think in terms of “from one match to the next“. You also have to make sure that all available information about a future opponent is meticulously recorded. Practicing must be made systematic and diverse in many dimensions.

Every player represents (at least) one project. It does not matter if he is a regular player, if he has to be a substitute, or if he was not nominated at all.

Both the inner and outer environment must be considered, opposing interests must be balanced. In between, you also have to think about next year’s team. You have to take a close look at youth matches and try to find local talent.

More and more projects have to be managed. And you always have comrades in arms. Both paid ones and unpaid ones, desirables (such as players’ parents) and undesirables (such as players’ parents). There is no end to stake holders. And you also get many who always know better – not just among the fans.

Such a soccer club has an enormous complexity. And now one should come and do all the planning. He will press it all into processes and then build up a mechanical organization, classical style. So how long will it take before you lose all control?

The system “sports” has so many inter-linked and inter-dependent tasks. If you want to describe them as projects, the classical project manager will soon realize how limited his methods are. And very quickly, the goal “rising to the next level” will be replaced by the striving to retain your current class in the stadium.

First and foremost, the competence of the active team is a determining factor for athletic success. If possible, it should be coupled with a thoroughly felt trust and almost blind understanding between the parties concerned. In particular, the protagonists in the club have to feel well in each others company. They must all have the same goal. Each of them must – instinctively – make the correct decisions and do the right things. Someone must take responsibility. It must all happen in a shared desire to make everything better at all times and to get better at all times. Everybody must feel the shared great wish to win.

But then, where is the huge difference between this and a medium-sized enterprise?

RMD

(Translated by EG)

P.S.

Of course, all these nice pictures were taken at SpVgg Unterhaching home matches (where else?). At the sports park, the photos were taken by Stefan Kukral.

P.S.1

🙂 And tomorrow night, Friday, they will again play – against Darmstadt, at the sports park, starting at 7 p.m. You do not want to miss it!