Roland Dürre
Sunday March 6th, 2016


Let me cite Seneca:

Seneca, part of double-herm in Antikensammlung Berlin (wikipedia)

Seneca, part of double-herm in Antikensammlung Berlin (wikipedia)

Philosophy teaches us to act, instead of talking!

What we say should not entertain, but have an effect!

You want control, not tattle!

Seneca was an important teacher and thinker in ancient Rome. If my understanding of history is correct, then he wanted to help his students to become a bit more successful and happy in life. This is a nice goal. I gladly make it my own, both for myself and other people.

During the last year, I, again, spent much time abroad. I had a few great days when I attended a philosophy colloquium with Klaus-Jürgen Grün (Philkoll) that I found absolutely fascinating. As part of the jury during the business plan contest, I also learned many new things. On several PM camps, I exchanged experience and knowledge with many others. Many peer-to-peer meetings with friends, “mentees“, young persons who had just founded a start-up and many more were a chance for me to experience totally new worlds.

🙂 On the whole, I, again, learned more than ever before. And I am almost overwhelmed by all the things I now know. Mind you, this is regardless of me knowing that I know nothing. Consequently, I also have no idea how to best use my knowledge. That is bad news, because somehow or other I am now fed up with just thinking and talking!

I want to do something!
Together with friends, I would like to be part of a cooperative flow that actually has an effect! And that renders the right kinds of results. With enthusiasm for us and others. I am talking ideas that can actually be realized.

So here is what I propose: 
In the future, I will do no more philosophy seminars. To be sure, I return home from these seminars with a full heart, but I do not really know with whom to share all these exciting novelties that made such a huge impression on me. No more barcamps either. To be sure, I meet even more extremely nice and wise persons there, but basically, we all go back home happy because we have been reassured by all the others that what we think is the best thing to think and because of the intense feeling of togetherness we experienced. It is less about listening and coaching groups and individual persons.


Let us do more and act more aggressively!

But how?
Well, I must admit that, initially, I had no idea. Consequently,I took a closer look at my own field of expertise – remembering all the things we software workers and IT experts already managed to pull off. In the enterprises, we abolished the German formal address “SIE” and the ties. To make up for it, we introduced refrigerators and coffee machines. We invented open source and wrote the agile manifesto. We started extreme programming and mobprogramming, as well as peer-to-peer-reviews. We triggered the agile, lean and open concepts. And we created entrepreneurial cultures based on respect and meeting at eye-level, where “participation” and “error tolerance” are no foreign words.

And we also came up with the Hackathon, where industrious programmers take their laptops and meet on week-ends, build up their WLAN and write, for instance, software for an NGO. And said software will already run on the following Monday, waiting for further development during the next Hackathon.

Incidentally, this is now also something they do outside the IT sector. I know a counselling firm where the gentlemen who usually are the advisors take a sabbatical once a year and meet for a long weekend in order to, for instance, build a kindergarden under professional guidance. I rather like this!

Why not establish a kind of Hackathon in this way where the result is not some software but a great business plan? One that has two components: the business idea and its application? Maybe that would be a contribution promoting, for instance, the solution of some of the problems all these refugee seekers will doubtless bring and turning them into something positive? How about, for example, paving the way for creating “refugee enterprises”?

All you would have to do in advance is define a few important requirements.

  • The refugee enterprise must be in the common interest. After all, you want people to realize that something positive is happening – something that helps everybody.
  • The refugee enterprise must not be a competition for established structures. Otherwise, you would immediately get a huge and very productive outcry.
  • The employees must do something in the enterprise that is in accordance with respecting the dignity of said employees and…
  • The refugee enterprise must be self-organized and self-controlled. In other words, there must be no management from the outside. That means the contribution of experienced entrepreneurs and managers cannot be operative. Instead, it must be restricted to helping them to help themselves, i.e. coaching and advising.

So what can we do?

We (between 20 and 30 entrepreneurs, managers and experts) meet for a kind of “hackathon”. But instead of programming, we generate a business plan. We spend two days in isolation. On the first day, we will come up with a business idea. And no later than on the second day, we will work out how to apply it. Let us call this kind of event a StartMaker. All we need is two days – and the right kinds of people. I already know some of them. And I am sure that something great can start from this idea.

So what do you think?

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday January 30th, 2016

What I Personally Just Cannot Understand

rolandswimmingpoolbesserWell, basically,
I just cannot, 
or maybe no longer,
or maybe I never understood,
if I am totally honest.

  • Why father and mother had so many and so very unnecessary arguments;
  • Why I was beaten at school, (too);
  • Why there was a totally senseless war fought in Vietnam when I was young;
  • Why a country like the BRD never made use of the historically unique chance to live without an army, just because they were afraid of the Russians … (re-armament);
  • Why the Israeli act exactly like they basically must not;.
  • Why the Federal Army is to get 130 billion euros between now and 2013 (while at the same time we urgently need money for other important things, such as education);
  • Why everybody ignores and tolerates the deaths on German motorways, reasoning that otherwise jobs would be lost;
  • Why they justify endless stupid projects saying otherwise jobs would be at risk;
  • Why people today are not happy to see how you can drink water from all taps and how you can buy everything that makes life more agreeable – for instance fresh full milk with normal durability and 3.8 % fat in the brown glass bottle (isn’t that something to be really happy about!);
  • Why the elderly gentlemen in the public swimming pools keep let the warm water under the showers run for several minutes while standing in the ante-room and having conversations;
  • Why people buy yoghurt and similar things in plastic containers and why said containers are often more important than what is inside;
  • Why there are still people living in Munich who eat walnuts imported from California;
  • Why cars have become the means of transportation for everybody as a matter of course;
  • Why sex is still a taboo topic;
  • Why so many persons think prisons might be a way to make the world a better and safer place;
  • Why some others believe in “creativism” but still think there is no “climate catastrophe”..
  • And a whole lot more …

Well – if these things do not make you shake your head, than what does?
(Many thanks to Bert Brecht, because I took parts of his Dreigroschenoper as a model for these lines).

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday January 19th, 2016

Why I no longer drive a car.

(One of several reasons)



Yesterday (Monday), I found this item of news (Meldung) in the SZ. I publish it because it happens rather frequently that I read about such or similar accidents – often with more detrimental endings – happening even in our region. In this particular case, the driver was rather young: 66 years old.

Not too long ago, for instance, a considerably older driver ran into the display window of a toy shop on the Ottobrunn/Riemerling Kufsteiner-/Ottostrasse – the car had just started from the “park” position!

Perhaps they should really start thinking about whether persons beyond pension age are assumed to still be able to remain in control of a machine that has the energy of several hundred PS and that weighs 1.5 tons and is rather dangerous, such as a SUV.
If you really have to do it and can truly not go by foot or bike or use public transportation, why could you not, for instance, use a light-weight and slow electronic car for your oh-so-much-loved individual mobility.

I will be sixty-six next summer. On the whole, I still feel rather well-preserved. However, if I listen closely and watch my own body, I also notice that all these years left their mark. And they will continue to do so. Which is also the reason why I stopped playing soccer two years ago.

Also, it happens only very rarely and with an absolutely dwindling tendency that I sit behind the wheel of a car. One of the reasons is that I would not wish to destroy my so far lucky car balance sheet (I never injured anybody when driving a car, not even lightly).

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday January 16th, 2016


Jolly Kunjappu

Is a good friend of mine. We first met during a charity event organized by the Munich Chess Foundation. The Munich Chess Foundation (Münchner Schachstiftung) is concerned with the poorest children of Munich. In cooperation with several schools, they try to teach chess to those lost children. An experienced street-worker told me that some children who have been deprived of mental stimulation and therefore live at the fringes of society are best approachable through chess.


Jolly gave a wonderful presentation for the foundation – or rather for the children supported by the foundation. I was invited, listened to him and afterwards made his personal acquaintance. Immediately, it became clear to me that we are like-minded mentally, spiritually and with respect to our activities. Consequently, we also became friends.

Ask-an-Answer_1m-185x300Now he wrote a book. It is bi-lingual (German and English) and the title is ASK AN ANSWER. Shortly before Christmas, it was sitting in my post box, with best wishes from the author. In the book you can read about the ideas Jolly has had over many years, sometimes concisely, sometimes he elaborates a little more.

And, similar to when I read Seneca, I find all his ideas very interesting. Thus, ASK AN ANSWER is a very fine-tuned message in favour of a better world where Jolly writes with a lot of respect yet rather clearly.
It was a wonderful Christmas present. I enjoyed reading and browsing through it during the “quiet days”. Also, it gave me courage and joy.

And I am particularly happy that, next spring, we will cooperate when it comes to introducing ASK AN ANSWER at InterFace. Jolly will be the centrepiece and I hope to create a suitable background.

And if you cannot wait until April and instead wish to read the book as soon as possible, feel free to send me an E-Mail.

(Translated by EG)

It is quite possible that the book can also be bought at the Indian Mango. That is the Munich Zweibrückenstrasse restaurant owned by Jolly. You can eat quite well there and at the same time do a little reading. Well, if that is not double the pleasure, then what is?


Now About:

All Power to Nobody! LIVE!

andreaszeuchAll Power to Nobody – that is the motto proclaimed by Dr. Andreas Zeuch. In his new book, which was published on September, 8th of this year, he discusses “entrepreneurial democracy” at great length. And it certainly is not a theoretical pamphlet, but an exciting report full of life. I would call it a courageous and provocative work that is the exodus of quite a few prejudices.

I personally met Andreas at the 2014 Berlin PM Camp. He gave the impulse on the morning of the first day. His topic was “how much intuition can an enterprise stomach?”. This presentation was such an inspiration for me that I spent the entire morning with Andreas. Consequently, I missed all the first sessions of the PM Camp morning.

Here is some of what you can read in the preview:

Entrepreneurial democracy – is that the future of work-life, or the punchline of the week? Can enterprises be a democratic event at all, or will shared decision processes not disable the enterprise and cause bankruptcy? After all, we do not exclusively need captains, but also privates, don’t we?

What happens when a CEO is elected? If a bank abolishes all its hierarchical levels, if employees choose their own tasks or if the cleaning personnel gets a vote when innovations are discussed? Will chaos be the consequence, or will the inner motivation of all start blossoming?

Andreas Zeuch went on a journey and found enterprises that show that entrepreneurial democracy is a living and economically successful alternative of the centralized top-down system.

InterFace-Logo As always, you can register for the IF Forum by sending an E-Mail. Again, I will be permitted to moderate and I already look forward to exciting discussions and nice conversations!

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday May 23rd, 2015

Mumbai and its Skyscrapers.

11352466_10206989829248912_592815073_oWe are spending this week in Mumbai and living with my son in the Mumbai Dodha housing complex. At first sight, it looks like a very well-maintained housing area with a beautiful club building and swimming pool. It has two towers with 49 structural levels. My son lives on the 29th floor with bright rooms that are considerably higher than three metres. It is a very nice flat with a wonderful view of the ocean. However, they built a new skyscraper with many flats exactly between the ocean and Dodha, which now makes it impossible for many of the Dodha flat holders to see the ocean. We just manage to look around the new skyscraper.

Late in 2013, I already lived here. During my first night in 2015, I was surprised, because I seemed to remember even more noise. So what had happened? Well, the answer is easy: not far from the building we are staying in, more skyscrapers still in the construction phase rise to the sky, among others the one I just described. During our last visit, they were just in the construction process, and I mean day and night – and that had made the noise almost unbearable.

20150522_051554_resizedNow the construction work has been terminated one year ago. As likely as not, it will never be resumed. Because the construction company closed down. The skyscrapers facing our flat have become hideous ruins. But they are not the only closed down skyscraper construction sites in Mumbai. You can see huge building shells without any construction activity going on in many places all over the city. Many of them already look like ruins.

There is a simple explanation for this.

Either the construction companies are bankrupt. After all, in India, the concept for getting rich is simple: for instance, you start a realty project and sell the flats in advance. There is more than enough money in India. Then you build the house. Naturally, as you proceed, the costs will increase. But not only by around 70% as in Germany with huge projects. Here, too, the Indians have surpassed us.

So what do you do if you find it will cost more? You start new projects that will be planned and sold. Using the money from those projects, you finish the first building. And you use the good press you get for even more projects with which to finance the old ones. Except this is a snowball principle, isn’t it? And since they are always finite, you will soon have a few concrete skeletons sitting around. For me, they look like threatening memorials of a degenerate economic system.

20150522_095506_resizedSometimes, you also see skyscraper construction sites where work has been terminated for another reason. The builder-owner dramatically ignored the official requirements. Perhaps he was hoping to get away with first creating facts which later can be cured by bakshish. Except this method is not always a success, perhaps even because the competition offered more money. Now the authority demands deconstruction.

Except how to deconstruct a skyscraper you started with twice the base area you were supposed to? So what you do is just let the concrete skeleton with all its many floors sit there. In neither case, you need to continue, because, after all, you already did your business. The money has been earned and ended up in all the various private purses.

And we are talking a lot of money. Let me take the towers I am living in with my son as an approximation: there are six flats on each level. If you have 50 levels, that means 300 flats. Depending on the situation within the tower (before the unfinished skyscraper was built right in front of it), the flats were between 1.5 million (lower floors) and two million (upper floors) USD. That gives you a total project volume of 45 million USD: Well, that should suffice for all the parties concerned to become rich: the financiers, the salespersons, the project workers, the lawyers.…

The ones who suffer are those who bought the flats. However, they are mostly so rich that they hardly notice. Besides, they also know where and how to retrieve their money. Eventually, it will be the public. As usual – the profit has already been privatised, the loss is socialized – at some future point.

Consequently, you see them more and more often, the Mumbai ruins. But it seems that nobody is really upset about them. The poor ones living down in the streets are certainly not upset. Why should they revolt against things they cannot change, anyway?

However, in Mumbai you also keep coming across new construction sites where people work industriously. Among them are those buildings that, a few years from now, are supposed to be the highest buildings used purely as living quarters world-wide…

Please note that, when writing this, I do not wish to criticise India or Mumbai – in fact, no matter what I see here, I always have to think of back home!

(Translated by EG)

The building I am currently living in is perhaps 15 years old. Yet some of it looks like, basically, a renovation is more than due. At least if your socialization happened as middle-European as mine did.

Roland Dürre
Saturday February 14th, 2015

Changing Your Life-Style – But How?

The art of living as propagated by Rupert Lay, Hermann Schmitz and Wilhelm Schmid

Rupert Lay was my most important mentor. Even before I founded the InterFace AG, I first attended one of his seminars in Frankfurt early in the 1980ies. This is now more than 30 years ago. The meeting was the start of a long cooperation, leading to an intense friendship I am very happy with.

Carsten Lange (also a friend I met in the network created through Rupert) of Lange Communication pointed me towards a dissertational thesis. I contacted the author Stephan Thiele and we had a very nice discussion.

Here is the dissertational thesis by Stephan Thiele, also about Rupert Lay, for your download:

Sein Leben ändern - aber wie? (840)

Written at and with a certificate from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig in order to earn the title of “Doctor of Philosophy” – Dr. phil. – by Stephan Thiele, born July, 3, 1966 in Zeven.

For me, it is very important to make material about or on Rupert Lay available for as many persons as possible. Especially also for all the friends I first met through Rupert. This is a reason why you will find many videos and presentations by Rupert Lay on my Youtube-Channel (Roland Dürre), some of them from the times of the “Ronneburg Circle”.

It seems to me that this dissertational thesis is an important contribution worth reading for all those persons who are willing to think about their personal concept of life. And you are always permitted to disagree. Even the author himself told me that he would formulate some theses and topics differently if he had to write them today.

Many thanks to Carsten Lange (who pointed me in the right direction) and Stephan Thiele (the author).

(Translated by EG)

Since today the state of affairs for all humans is more critical than ever, it is absolutely imperative: ”You Must Change your Life” (after Rilke)
(by Peter Sloterdijk)

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 (

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 (, 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.


Münchener Schachstiftung

Zweibrückenstraße 8
80331 München
fon (0 89) 95 89 43 30 
fax (0 89) 95 89 43 32

Roland Dürre
Friday July 11th, 2014

Roland Dürre – Hierarchy or Networking

Here is my own presentation given in our technological IF Forum series:

“Self-Organization as a Formative Model for Enterprises”

It was held on June, 27th, 2014 and is now available as video recording (creative commons).


Now the only presentation still missing is the introduction to the topic by Wolfgang Menauer. You will get it tomorrow.
Thanks a lot, Friedrich (Friedrich Lehn).


Roland Dürre
Monday July 7th, 2014

Eberhard Huber – “Resilience beats Efficiency”

Here is the first presentation of our IF Forum

“Self-organization as a formative model for enterprises”.

It was held on June, 27th, 2014 and is now available online (creative commons – ).

Many thanks to our speaker (Dr. Eberhard Huber)!

I am assuming that all other presentations will now follow in quick succession. Many thanks for this to Friedrich (Friedrich Lehn).

(Translated by EG)