On Friday,

the arcis-vocalisten

will sing in the Himmelfahrtskirche in Munich Sendling,

I am last-minute advertising this unique concert, but not only because tickets are still available. Above all, I point you towards this concert because it is going to be n absolutely unique experience. One that you will not wish to miss!

One specialty about it is that it is sung a-cappella, which means there are no instruments, let alone an entire orchestra to accompany the singers. Naturally, this is much more demanding for the singers, since nobody plays along with what they are supposed to sing.

Another specialty is that there will be a world premiere:

Markus Fritz is himself a member of the choir. He is also the composer of the work
„De Tranquilitate Animi“
after words by Seneca!!!

You will also hear the “Missa in F Major” by J. G. Rheinberger and the motet Opus 74 No. 1 by Brahms, as well as a few Kaminski songs.

FlyerACapella

If if would not be staying in France this Friday, I would definitely be among the audience.

Not only, but also because Evelyn (EG) sings in the choir.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday August 10th, 2015

Complexity & Cat Food.

Between September, 10th, and September, 12th, I will be in Berlin. Why? Because there is another PM Camp! This is already the third of them. The Berlin PM Camp is about Complexity. To be more precise: this year we ask the question: “Complexity – should we reduce it or increase it?”

Here is my contribution to the Blog Parade of the Berlin 2015 PM Camp – and it is especially for Heiko!

20150810_150437_resizedCats are well off.

They need not work and can do what they want all day long. Consequently, they stroll all over the place or sit at their favourite spot enjoying the sun while looking around. Once in a while, they play “bad cat” with a mouse or a bird. As soon as they start purring, there will always be someone to stroke them. They get their food in the morning and in the evening. Without having to do anything for it.

The “cat mother”, too, has a better life than formerly. Because today, the cat food comes in sacks or cans. Once in a month, you buy a sack or a crate full of cans. That is it. Or if you want to be very modern, you buy baggies, as you see on the left picture. That is the typical contemporary cat food. Even if nobody actually knows what is inside. To make up for it, they are a little more expensive. But then, our cat is worth this extra money, isn’t it?

Let us analyse what “people” did for the cat in order to make it possible for cat-mom to just take the bag and thus make her beloved cat happy.

Let us start with the wrapping.

It is made of extremely thin sheeting, as produced, for instance, with the technology provided by Brückner of Siegsdorf. It is quite impressive to see how these kinds of sheeting are pressed into huge machines to become extremely thin – and then how, during the production phase, both the machine and the product become broader and broader. And how much effort and, above all, brains, the quality control and control mechanisms in general require.

To make this sheeting capable of becoming a container for the food, you need several steps for metallically steaming and further layering and treating it. You need enormous and very special engineering competence in order to do this. Subsequently, the sheeting is printed in many colours. That, too, is a special technology. Incidentally, the image processing for the pictures is done with graphics software. But then, gluing or welding the sheeting together so that you get a water-proof bag is the next sensational thing. Like much of the filling process, it often looks rather unbelievable.

Now let us look at the content.

The world of chemistry makes it possible: it makes both humans and animals believe that something precious is inside. The stuff has a surprising consistency, a very special smell and it even retains its shape for a time. Well, this is all science. It also has a surprising best-before date and a setup of many ingredients will guarantee that the cat, regardless of all this, will not immediately become sick but instead look healthy at least from the outside. It is a miracle – also only possible due to enormous scientific efforts.

This is how they do the mixing, brewing and filling at automated animal food stations. In fact, the entire process is computer-controlled, always with the same quality and with no variations. As an input, the containers with the raw material will be brought to the plant. The output is standardized cartons. And still, mostly our German middle classes are parties in charge, because our “hidden champions” have exactly the right know- how. They build the best machines in the world for exactly these kinds of processes.

Marketing and logistics

The entire affair can only be sold if a world-wide marketing machine is activated. You will see the happy cats enjoying this food on the internet, on TV, in colourful magazines. It is a truly fabulous manipulation, a mixture of emotional images and digital marketing. We understand the message – the right brand will make the cat, and consequently the human, happy.

The logistics are not bad, either. Because, naturally, the modern cat mother will buy the heavy sacks with the dry food and the cartons with the many colourful bags online. With a single click. Because only old-fashioned and mostly elderly persons who still drive their cars will carry the heavy sacks home from the “Fressnapf” in their SUVs, the trunk of which will, however, open and close after just a slight foot gesture, seemingly by itself.

Consequently, Amazon will do its job. They drive the products to their delivery centres with their heavy trucks that dutifully pay their polls in one of the best poll systems of the world. And if the customer orders in the evening, then DHL or the like will deliver on the next day and the cat will have her breakfast on time. How easy to live in the world has become…

And basically, it is all for nothing.

In fact, the cat would very much prefer eating cooked heart or lungs from the butcher. But then, a cat life, too, is not perfect, is it? And we all have to subjugate ourselves under the modern world – humans as well as animals.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Now don’t say the bag with the wet cat food is not a complex product…

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
Saturday February 21st, 2015

METAPHOR.

Triptychon vom brennendem Dornbusch, Mitteltafel

Triptychon of the Burning Thornbush, Middle Table

How often do I lack the words to really say something precisely? In the way I want to say it. In those instances, the power of a good picture would help. After all, we all know the following example of a metaphor:

“One picture can say more than a thousand words”

At least two of my friends have a special talent. They quickly understand complicated relations during a shared discussion and then can draw a graph of those connections on a piece of paper or into the pad in no time.

All of a sudden, the topic gets easy to understand, the valuable and beautiful visualization is a great help when it comes to literally get a grip through your eyes on often very complicated mental concepts, projects, plans, intentions, future developments and much more.

Unfortunately, being able to draw beautiful images is not one of my talents. Instead, I learned something else. Not too long ago, I participated in a philosophical colloquium organized by my friend Klaus-Jürgen Grün in Munich. It was about the value and meaning of words and metaphors (Metapher).

During this event, I understood that there is a huge power in metaphors, just like there is in images. And that metaphors are ideal for transporting a message in such a way that others will get convinced. Now I make use of this understanding – and consequently, I feel better when I have to formulate sentences. As before, I use slightly meaningless symbols drawn on a board or paper to support what I am saying.

I wanted to test my newly-acquired competence with a friend. I told him about the great film Alphabet by Erwin Wagenhofer and used a metaphor from this film:

“When we are children, we are 98% genius, after our training, only 2% remain”.

This is how I wanted to show him how sceptical I am when it comes to our educational system. However, it seems like I had not chosen an ideal example. After all, the term “genius” can be interpreted in various ways. This fact was a source of distraction from the statement I had intended to make and thus took away some of the strength of my metaphor.

My partner in this discussion immediately noticed this and the first thing he did was ask me for a precise definition of the term “genius”. Well, this actually put me in a tight spot and the only thing I managed to mumble was something like “thinking against the mainstream”.

The second time, I tried a different metaphor. It actually worked. It underlines a message I hold to be important for all your life:

“Do not preach water while you drink wine!“

We all know quite well that “water” and “wine” are. And the same is true for “preach” and “drink”.

Consequently, this is certainly a nice metaphor when it comes to pointing out your “model function”. And that is a function relevant not only for entrepreneurs.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday December 24th, 2014

brand eins in January (2015)

So what to do on Christmas Eve? Well, you wait for the presents. And you read “brand eins”. And, of course, you read in next year’s first edition, even though you are not yet finished with the December 2014 edition. Said edition was titled “Let Them Burst” – and the focal point “pleasure” was not the only thing I enjoyed about it.

Let me say it up front: the new “brand eins” titled YOU and focussing on self-determination gave me a precious Christmas Eve afternoon. It is a truly great affair. Again, I am absolutely fascinated about the editorial part.

Brand eins probably has now become too high-quality. And others, too, found out about it. This might be good news for “brand eins” with respect to business, but it has its disadvantages.

The amount of adverts comes as a surprise to me. And if something is good quality, then adverts will easily find their way towards it. Just think of the 2nd Channel of Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bayern2). I have to listen to ever more minutes of advertising. In fact, I already wonder if it is a good idea to no longer listen to Channel-2 at all and instead “survive on” podcasts only.

Basically, the Bayerischer Rundfunk is publicly financed, isn’t it? Consequently, you would think it could do without advertising in its high-quality programs. I gladly pay my GEZ fees for those.

You can probably not compare this with “brand eins”. The editorial department is financed by advertising. Even if I find this a pity, I cannot change it. Consequently, the first thing I do is get rid of all this extra material. Ever since I started reading the SZ exclusively in its digital version, I lack experience in this field. It takes quite some time, but eventually it is done.

Now my floor is littered with the Austrians wishing to invite me for a skiing vacation (I know how well Austria Tourismus is doing with “incoming operations”). Next to it lie the Saxons. They try to tell me that the future comes from Saxony, which we know to be nonsense. “The Economist” is sitting next to it and also wants to recruit me. The same is true for a Wellness Fond called ÖKOVISION who want me to invest. However, I neither wish to nor will do so.

But you also get adverts that will not leave the magazine if you just give it a shaking, because they has been pinned to the rest of the magazine. This treacherous method is used by LEXWARE – a software nobody will ever need.

Inside the magazine, too, you will find no end of adverts. The first two pages, as well as the rear page are filed by two luxury clockmaker labels: PATEK PHILLIPE and IWC Schaffhausen. Starting from the front, the next advert you will find is by Bethmann Bank (ABN AMRO), before RIMOWA wants to sell its nice suitcases. Microsoft even goes so far as to propose turning me from car-park attendant to concern boss (make it happen).

Immediately after that, a sinister-looking gentleman from CONSORSBANK.de is planning a COMING OUT (THERE IS A SMALL BANKER IN EACH OF US. NOW IS THE TIME …). Occhio wants to supply me with perfect light. I am to buy a blue FORD FOCUS including parking assistance and to listen to music “wireless” with harman/kardon.

Shortly before the focal point of the magazine, I am asked to drive Porsche on four pages. Incidentally, Porsche wishes to create excitement inside me, because that is their basic duty (???). Immediately after Porsche, you will find vitra. (including the full stop), wishing to sell a “Soft Pad Chair EA 208″. I turn the pages and it gets even worse: two federal ministries (Employment and Social Affairs, Business and Energy, along with the BfA) want to do an Expert Check. Unbelievable!

Mind you, I am now only on page 40 of 162. I fear the worst, but will not give up: consequently, I continue searching for adverts.

And again I am supposed to buy office chairs. From interstuhl. And the chair is called SILVER and said to be the CHAIR OF CHAIRS. After a short break, you get DKMS who want to “QUICKLY SAVE LIVES”. They think it is high time that I, along with my company, do something against leukaemia. After this, you get two adverts for a “brand eins” event (along with TAGESSPIEGEL, the lobby for children and dm) and for a “brand eins” publication.

And here comes the Airport Düsseldorf with “Düsseldorf Airport Advertising”. What a blessing that they only use the third part of a page (up until now, all adverts took one entire page or more). Later, I also find rather unassuming vertical adverts over a third of a page by PSYCHOLOGIE HEUTE and the “branding institute – wien”.

I find no more adverts at the moment: an entire series of pages is totally advert-free and only consist of text and pictures. Yet this series ends with page 87: the Handelsblatt wants to sell a digital passport (again occupying an entire page).

A few pages later, I am supposed to read H.O.M.E, because they say they are at home in modern life (another full page advert). On reaching page 92, I am confronted with the Spiegel (full page) offering “History” and “THE BIBLE” (THE MOST POWERFUL BOOK OF THE WORLD). And, of course, I always can get everything as APP. Only one page on – again full-page – SAT.1 tries to make me happy with “ONLY LOVE COUNTS”. As often before, the letters are extremely huge.

When I finally reach page 98/99, I find the aforementioned Lexware advert which is pinned to the magazine. I wonder if I should remove it. But the process might damage the entire magazine. So I continue.

Next, I arrive at classified and self-advertising. Actually, after that I get an advert-free zone up until page 109. When I reach page 110, the “Neue Züricher Zeitung” – which in fact I appreciate – tells me that there is something like a Swiss perspective. After only one other turn of the page, “domus” assaults me as “the ICON among the ARCHITECTURAL MAGZINES – now in German with local articles”. Wow!

On page 117, they want to make me the “star of festive lamps” (Frankfurt Fair) and, a little later, I am asked to read “Stern” (full-page). Well, that is not what I want. On the opposite side of the same page, also full-length, you get ramp with AUTO.CULTURE.MAGAZINE. asking if I am “KEEN ON AUTO CULTURE”. Well. Cars and culture – basically this is a contradiction per se.

I am still not willing to give up my search for adverts in this magazine and will be cruelly punished for my perseverance. On the next page, “Die Welt” advertises with the (unspeakable) slogans: “the world belongs to those who swim against the current on the internet, as well” and “AND THE WORLD BELONGS TO THOSE WITH INNOVATIVE IDEAS”. Can it get worse than that?

The answer is: yes – because here comes ONSCREEN with “boredom was yesterday. Today we have ONSCREEN.” Outch – that hurts! And worse is coming. Because on page 138, 7 (PRO?) adverts with “BEAT RAAB”, calling me with “WE LOVE TO ENTERTAIN YOU”. Well, now is the time to admit knock out and activate the “ignore adverts filter”.

Now I wonder if it might not be a good idea to take the digital version of “brand eins” in the future. Basically, I have no problem with paying the great work the editors are doing. But such an amount of stupidity on high-gloss paper actually makes me physically sick. Not just because of the gigantic waste. I find it truly a pity that the newspapers need such stupid indirection in order to pay their employees.

And now the time has come for opening all those presents.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I would like to apologize to “brand eins” and its team for my critical comments on their magazine. But then, due to the prevailing “journalism”, I never even touch any of the other business magazines.