Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 26th, 2017

Shouldn’t Business Serve Humans?!

In Unterhaching, we have a great soccer club, a number of IT enterprises such as the InterFace AG and even world-famous companies. One of them is Wrigley.

Let me relate to you what I learned over the last few weeks. I did not make any attempts at verifying the story, but it is quite possible that things I heard in the form of reports or gossip around here are the truth.

I am sure the degree to which Unterhaching has become considerably more famous even beyond Germany is due to the Spielvereinigung Unterhaching.

Besides soccer, we also have volleyball, gymnastics and several other successful athletic areas in Unterhaching – as well as several more interesting enterprises and a wonderful outdoor swimming pool and much more.

The Unterhaching Civic Office is certainly glad that the famous Wrigley enterprise has its European headquarters here. And perhaps in the future, you will have to say “had”.


The big concerns want power. To this end, they like to swallow up other concerns.


It is quite possible that, with its profit of 35 billion US dollars in 2016, Mars falls a little behind Nestlé (turnover in 2015 was 88.8 billion). That is just more motivation for Mars to catch up with the big rival.

Currently, they are preparing for the merging of the animal hospital chain VCA Inc. (Veterinary Centres of America). Mars wants to spend 9.1 billion US dollars, including the debt. It is supposed to further strengthen the business area “animal health”. To me, it looks more like mania and misdirected late capitalism. I can imagine only too well (or rather, too badly) what the leading US food giant wants to achieve by the merging.


Food producer invests in animal hospital. Shame to him who evil thinks.


Wrigley was swallowed by Mars as early as 2008. Initially the European headquarters remained in Unterhaching. Another important Mars location is obviously in Viersen near Düsseldorf.

Now, Mars wants to centralize a few of its activities in London. One of the consequences will be that people now living in Unterhaching or Viersen will have to move to London. This might hurt some residents of Unterhaching, for others it will be an exciting challenge.

But then, this is what you get in a global world and economy. After all, most of the people seem to like it, since they support it – at least with their consumption habits.
But that is not what this article is about. What gives me pause is the reason they give for moving to London.


Big concerns assume that, in the future, the central key towards success in our competitive world will be the quality of marketing.


To the concern, that seems useful, and even necessary, because it assumes that, in the market for PROVISIONS, only an enterprise that has the best MARKETING can establish itself and perhaps even add to its turnover. And among the top managers, they assume that the most efficient and effective marketing firms basically sit in London. Consequently, they seek close proximity to them – and go to Great Britain. Regardless of the Brexit and such. In my opinion, the Brexit is more an operetta than anything else.

PROVISIONS concerns are, first and foremost, after turnover and results (profit). And, in the eyes of the concerns, MARKETING is the determining factor in this field. Everything else, like the quality of food and the consequences for your health, only plays a minor role.


Business should serve the people, not vice versa!


For the concerns, only one thing is important: the people must buy the cheaply produced mass food at a price that is as high as possible. To make it attractive for the masses, it is made “convenient” and optically seducing. Enriched with aromatic ingredients, “the taste of the world“ is generated and realized. “Cheap” is more important than quality, optical appeal and wrapping is more important than the content, uniformity beats diversity, mass has priority over class, storage life beats freshness, logistic feasibility has priority over taste. …

Thus, there is a strong LOBBY that forbids the legislators in Europe and Germany, for instance, the clear marking of a product if it contains substances that may be detrimental for your health.

And what do the people do? Nothing. They believe what marketing says and buy like lemmings all the products by Mars, Nestle and co. Unfortunately, this is also true for Unterhaching.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Two Magazines I Like – Or: Paper that Deserves to be Read.

brand eins & enorm!

I started “blogging” and publishing my experiences and ideas in the IF blog in 2008. It was a true delight for me to primarily do this for myself. Then I enjoyed noticing how many readers I have and also liked the many events and contacts that developed from it. Then I looked for and found a few co-authors, not many of whom actually remain to this day.

IF-Blog.de was also responsible for me finding brand eins. But more on this later in this article.

The January 2017 Edition

The history (Geschichte) of  brand eins officially starts in August, 1999. In 2008, brand eins was already in its ninth year. In fact, the early stages of its history were even three years before that, in 1996. And yet, like many of my friends, I did not yet know anything about brand eins.

The beginning of the brand eins story was probably with an interview by Jost Stollmann (1996). At the time, Jost was the boss of Compunet; the InterFace Connection GmbH was twelve years old at the time. My personal connection with Jost Stollmann is not only that we are both IT enterprises. No: he was also one of Rupert Lay’s students.

At the time, Rupert drove a red Series-Three-BMW (including a 2.0-litre machine), which was rather extraordinary for a Jesuit pastor. In fact, his car looked a lot like my red Series-Three-BMW (including 2.3-litre machine). That was something we enjoyed very much. Rupert’s BMW, however, was not a business car, but a gift (or item on loan) from Jost. And Rupert very much delighted in his fast red BMW and especially in its origin.

Incidentally, Jost Stollmann remained faithful to brand eins – he gave more interviews with them (in 2009 and in 2012).

(Unfortunately, I could not find the 1996 interview anywhere. I would really like to read it. If any of you has a link or a pdf for it, you could make me happy by sending it).

Florian Prange, Entrepreneur and Treasurer of FÖS.

brand eins is something I first came upon through Florian. At the time, Dr. Florian Prange had just started working for InterFace as a senior consultant. He was a very refined, young and socially active type of person. Today, he has his own enterprise and is treasurer in the board of directors of FÖS (Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft), which is also a very interesting address.

Florian liked my articles and consequently pointed me towards brand eins. In his opinion, my articles deserved a few more readers – and he thought that maybe this could be achieved through brand eins.

In fact, I did not know about brand eins at the time, regardless of the fact that it had already been on the market for nine years. For managers, the “must” magazines were the Manager Magazin or the  Wirtschaftswoche. Both are anathema to me – and I saw that brand eins was totally different and much better.

Consequently, I was fascinated by brand eins and quite a few friends and business partners were given a copy or two of the magazine over time. Giving it to them was always a huge success – many had never heard about it and were surprised. They were happy to get totally new impulses.

It was even beneficial in terms of business. One of my friends (If-blog author Edwin Ederle) managed to be mentioned in one of their editions with his enterprise data2impact (Feine Klitsche). And the reviews (Rezensionen) on brand eins I wrote in IF-blog for quite a few years were also often read.

Frau Gabriele Fischer Giving a Presentation for InterFace (2009)

This is also how I first met Gabriele Fischer, the founder of brand eins. My contact with her led to a great presentation by Frau Fischer at the IF-Forum.

Unfortunately, Frau Fischer did not want to become a “Youtube-Toussie“ (this is how she herself formulated it), which means we cannot offer you a video documentation of her excellent presentation.

And this is how posterity will really miss something very important.

brand eins still exists today – and it is now the established business magazine, not only for managers! And it is still the only paper I deem worthy of reading. …

Wrong!

I should have written:  Was. Because now I found enorm . That is a magazine dealing more with life than with business.

Here is how it happened. On Friday one week ago, I was introduced to Peter Felixberger (who, incidentally, is good friends with Gabriele Fischer). Among other things,  Peter was also the founder of changeX.

Today, he is programming manager of Murmann Publishers. He is the editor and responsible for the edition of kursbuch.edition and of the magazine enorm, as well as publisher of »Kursbuch auf Weltreise« (Goethe-Institut). And there are many other things he does on top of that. My friend Andreas Zeuch also published his latest book  at Murmann.

On that Friday, I had a wonderful conversation with Peter Felixberger. I noticed that there are many similarities between our ideas of value, interests and needs. Consequently, it was very nice for me to listen to him. He really made me quite enthusiastic about his publishing company and his products.

He also showed me enorm, which is a magazine directed at the age group between 20 and 40, but in my estimation it will find and has already found many followers among the younger and older readers.

I can easily imagine enorm in less than ten years being as much of a success as brand eins is today. Consequently, I will now give you a short mini review of the current edition 06 (December/January 2016/2017).

What is it that fascinates me about enorm?

There are two elements that fascinate me: the basic concept of the magazine and the topics.

I would say the basic concept is one of fairness and considerateness.

I rather like the topics because everything I find in the magazine is of high relevance for me. The structure is GET-UNDER-WAY, BECOME-ACTIVE and LIVE.. Under the subsection “Against All Odds”, I find a beautiful collection of topics that I consider extremely important today. After all, enorm has been available since January 2010. You will find all the editions since 2010 in the archive archive on their website. Also full of important topics. Many articles, however, are “not yet set public” – dependent on the edition. I find that reasonable, because especially if you write about important topics, you should also be able to earn money with what you write. Besides, there is still enough to read.

Now I wonder if it is perhaps a good idea to make some enorm editions gifts to my friends and business partners – as I formerly did with brand eins. Especially in the departments with the impossible name “Human Resource“ (HR), enorm might perhaps be extremely helpful in small and big German enterprises when it comes to better understanding the values, expectations, interests and needs of the employees. And there is probably no enterprise that could not potentially benefit from such understanding.

Withbrand eins, it was possible to read all archived articles for free. That seems to be a thing of the past. But I find many brand eins articles on the internet – see also the two Jost Stollmann interviews. And the Inspiration section on the brand eins website also looks very attractive to me.

Incidentally, it is also very rewarding to follow both magazines on twitter. Here are the “accounts“:
@brandeins and @enorm_magazin. So: #FF!

Buy and Pay!

I think it is a matter of fairness to, once in a while, also buy paper articles. If you do not wish to read it yourself, you can make a gift of it. And that will inspire other persons.

So here is what you want to do: walk to the kiosk on February, 24th and buy the next enorm edition.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

actmobcmp_100-300x86#AktMobCmp

In the last few weeks, the topic “active mobility” suffered from too little attention by me. Instead, I was busy doing something about #FRIEDEN and DIGITALE TRANSFORMATION, seeing my grandchildren and my mentees, giving a little support to start-ups and attending to private interests such as riding my bike through Italy. And much more.

I am truly sorry about this, because I keep receiving news and new information that show how badly we need to do something:

  • The fine dust pollution in all the cities of the world is extremely high and still rising.
  • Due to the ever smaller size of pollutants through modern technology (we are talking nano dimensions), they are more unhealthy than ever.
  • The climate catastrophe gets more real, closer and ever more threatening.
  • Our autonomy in life is restricted, our way of life is more and more determined from the outside.
  • This is how, controlled from the outside, we sacrifice what is important to us, giving it to foreign institutions that manipulate us and put their own interests above ours.
  • The metrics of money and profit are onmi-present and rules the entire world and all areas of life.
  • The way how huge concerns manipulate us and rule over us gets more and more outrageous.
  • Fear becomes the determining drive of a strongly increasing irrationality in society and politics.

My conclusion:
As far as I am concerned, I am fed up with the new dishonesty and evil double morals. We need a huge transformation that begins with our cognitive perception. Mobility is an ample metaphor for the current development and the fact that transformation is absolutely necessary. It shows all the things that go wrong and how we badly need to change our opinions and habits for our own good.

The next chance to do something is in exactly one week! On May, 21st, 2016, the next Camp für active Mobility #AktMobCmp will be held in Augsburg. Since it is during the Bavarian Pentecost Holidays, the organizers cut the camp down to one day. They are happy to welcome all visitors  …

On this day, the interests and needs of all participants will be very intensely discussed in the format of a barcamp. The “part-givers” will share their knowledge and leave after a day of shared realizations, ideas and plans, not to mention all the new friends they will have found.

So here is my personal plea to all the “friendly persons” who want to take responsibility for the future: try the Augsburg.#AktMobCmp. If it is only your inertia that keeps you from attending, please overcome your “inner weak self” and come! Register here.

 

Gestiftet von VisualBrainddump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold) Zum Vergrößern aufs Bild klicken.

Donated by VisualBrainddump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold) Click on the image to enlarge.

 

Early last year, we started with a very nice camp in Unterhaching.

We will continue in 2017 – probably on January, 5th and 6th, again in the Kubiz Unterhaching.

Starting in September, our preparations will gain new momentum. We will do some massive advertising and invite many people and institutions we know well by now. And I guarantee that this barcamp will, again, bring many persons together, be extremely enjoyable and bring fundamental additional knowledge.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday January 16th, 2016

ASK AN ANSWER.

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-kunjappu-A19

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.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
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?

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday September 22nd, 2015

Is ‘Social Justice‘ just a Misunderstanding?

Yes – if we continue to hold onto what we have been considering the definition so far! /1/

According to this definition, everybody, strangely, thinks him- or herself socially just yet at the same time laments about the growing injustice in this world.

It seems that this discrepancy is insurmountable.

ApfelpflückerWe are simply too much in love with our unclear terminologies. In fact, we actually wallow in the concept that ‘social justice‘ has to be some kind of ‘moral, egg-laying wool-milk-sow‘, rather than just a minimum standard for human behaviour consisting just a few rules even evil persons have to stick by!

If, however, we accept this definition, we soon find out that ‘social justice‘ tends to have little in common with ‘romantic equality‘. Instead, it has a lot to do with not-so romantic ‘voluntariness‘. And that this is why politics in general have an inherent structural problem when it comes to generating ‘social justice‘, even if it very industriously tries to find and remove ‘legal loopholes‘. It is easy to show this in three steps. All you have to point out is:

   A)  the common principle of ‘exchange justice‘,

   B)  the principle of ‘equal treatment and equality of results‘ and

   C)  the particularly apparent ‘distribution justice‘.

Let us take a closer look at all three of them:

   A)  After all, we basically have a very special form of ‘exchange justice’ when, in the name of ‘social justice‘, people demand fair prices and fair incomes!

For instance when it comes to: here the aromatic Alp Butter, there the ridiculous one-euro-eighty; or here the super manuscript and there the low fee. If we were to demand ‘equality of values‘, then we would need the general ‘principle of exchange justice‘! But how to objectively determine this ‘equality of values‘ for every individual exchange process?

For instance: would one ounce of gold be too much for a bucket of water in the Sahara if it means the difference between life and death? And are 50 cents too much for two litres of milk if someone has a lactose incompatibility? Or what is the adequate fee for a manuscript which, later, will only be pushed underneath the one too short table leg?

Doesn’t this mean that the ‘evaluation‘ of an exchange object is by nature a very subjective thing and that this value has nothing to do with equality? Especially since said exchange only takes place because all the parties concerned see the object of exchange differently, which is why each considers his own deal profitable.

Naturally, this ‘exchange profit‘ is just as unprovable as the ‘exchange value‘; but it is also clear that any profit can only exist and be proved if the exchange has been voluntary! Which means that an exchange is always ‘socially just‘ if none of the parties concerned has been forced to accept it!

Of course, this voluntariness in an ‘exchange‘ does not guarantee that both parties can get what they hoped to achieve. Neither is it a protection against erroneous decisions, such as for instance the imprudent purchase of low-price milk regardless of lactose incompatibility. But this is not necessary, either. Because the evaluation of the ‘exchange profit‘ is subjective, which means that it cannot later be forced into a wrong equality measurement just because someone had erroneously and intuitively assumed that this ‘equality‘ in an ‘exchange profit‘ is closely related to ‘social justice‘!

Consequently, we can conclude that prices and incomes are always socially just when they can be accepted without one of the parties having been forced to accept!

    B)  Now let us discuss the allegedly socially just ‘equal treatment and equality of results‘!

Again, our equality mania brings us into a similar logical one-way road, as can be easily shown with a simple example: If, under the aspect of equality, you ask a retired lady, a sportsman and a six-year old boy to pluck apples from a four metre high apple tree with a ladder standing at its trunk, you will get considerably different results; the help you will have to give will, indeed, be rather diverse, before all three candidates will have plucked the same amount of apples – which means they have equal results.

Since, however, there are no two identical individuals on this earth, you will never get equal results if you treat them equally, and vice versa!

And regardless of this fact being absolutely obvious, we keep demanding equality along with social justice. But if equality were really socially just, then the state of affairs where all persons are poorly off would, according to justice theory, be the best that could happen, wouldn’t it?

Luckily, nobody believes this! But still we insist that the logical consequence cannot be to stop seeing equality as a manifestation of social justice.

    C)  The tendency towards equalization is particularly apparent when it comes to discussions about ‘fair distribution’!

To distribute something means to hand out from a supply. Fair distribution demands that this has to done following certain rules. However, the fairness is most obvious when the owner does the distributing him- or herself, because then it is his or her will alone that counts. To be sure, it might be reasonable to consider the expectations of third parties, but that is not demanded by social justice! Social justice is served by the protection of ownership rights.

But it gets truly difficult when you cannot clearly define ownership, as it is the case with all political systems because the spheres of interests of the distributors and the recipients will often be identical. Conflicts are unavoidable and the ‘just solution‘ of said conflicts are not just a theoretical challenge, but mostly no more than a noble goal!

Compared to this, private persons and enterprises have a rather easy life, don’t’ they? All they have to do is not cheat, not steal, not use violence and not break contracts – and already they are just. They need not abide by more rules than that!

When all is said and done, this consideration not only generates a theory of justice, but also a surprising solution for economic and social politics: why not move as many decisions as possible to the private sector – since this is where you have clear and, according to what has been stated above, ‘socially just‘ circumstances?

Well, I assume this will remain wishful thinking, because many will still refuse to abandon the inacceptable ‘equality saturated‘ definition of justice! And they will be even less willing to forego the potential increase in power derived from this ‘usurpatory definition of equality‘!

KH

/1/ Dagmar Schulze Heuling; „Was Gerechtigkeit nicht ist“; Nomos – Verlag Baden – Baden

Werner Lorbeer
Saturday August 1st, 2015

Energy Transition is Germany’s Hobbyhorse

FAZ Kohle beliebt_2015-08-01_0001Well, I admit the headline is a little polemic. I also admit that it is high time for us to “start”. In my definition, however, it involves more than just enjoying windmills and photovoltaic modules or swarm power stations.

Taking your pencil and doing the calculations with the unobtrusive FAZ article of July, 30th, will show you that the renewable energy production in Germany amounts to less, 00002 % (2 times 10 to the power of -5 per cent) of the world-wide coal-based energy consumption.

Compared to the global energy level, our energy transition is a technological children’s playground, some kind of lucrative hobbyhorse the progress of which is far too slow and that is far too expensive for broader use.

India, China, Africa, America, Australia will not forgo their rights to use coal. It depends fundamentally on implementing processes of civilization and technology in order to separate the standard of living from the carbon dioxide output. What we need globally is an economical, cost-efficient solution. Because the very bad news was written in the same FAZ issue:

FAZ Weltbevölkerung_2015-08-01_0002The world population continues to grow – and faster than we had anticipated.

Personal Opinion:
Once again, it will pay to think about the relation between investments and carbon-dioxide reduction. There is no doubt that there are better processes with respect to the carbon dioxide efficiency quotient than the ways favoured by us through the EEG. Just remember the filters for dust, NOx, SOx and also CO2? Quick, efficient, cheap! Or the possible green-linking of CO2 through suitable agricultural and forestry-related measures – which would at the same time be beneficial for Africa and South America.

Personally, I would rather pay an EEG extra fee that finally ends the abuse of our atmosphere as the rubbish heap of human civilization and that is internationally available as a development aid than continue to feed German wind and solar barons.

wl
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday November 13th, 2014

Blessed be the Unhappy…

Carl and Gerlinde (XXXVII)

Oh my God – why did it have to happen after this heavenly steak with champignons and broccoli of all times? Even the Riesling had been exactly the right temperature. Which was not a matter of course with Gerlinde. But today: perfection – the temperature! And then this…

Well, it all had started going wrong as soon as Carl had returned from the office: totally unexpectedly, Gerlinde sulked and pursed her very red small mouth after the fleeting welcoming kiss, remaining in front of him and not uttering a single word. The demanding stare she gave him during this mute gesture was actually a little embarrassing. Eventually, Carl ended this grotesque prologue, pretending he needed the restroom!

However, he was well aware of the fact that the culmination of the drama still lay ahead…
Mind you, this was on a day when the company, too had been catastrophe city! To be sure, the ever-enthusiastic sector leader Dr. Osterkorn had initially shown the seventeen Power Point slides with their display of permanently decreasing orders in all sectors of the TRIGA underwear sector without comment, but then he had continued by without any warning projecting in the most brutal way the full dimension of the ’Russian Underwear Catastrophe’ on the screen like lightning had suddenly struck!

After all, since Putin had decreed an import, production and sales ban for all lace underwear in the entire Eurasian Economic Zone earlier this year, there had been practically no more orders from the two Russian underwear wholesalers ’ARMED’ and ’Suwen’! The entire business exchange with Russia had broken down from one day to the next. And all this just because Papa Putin believed he had to take care of both the Ukraine and the health of his compatriots! After all, those non-perspiration-absorbing lace panties and satanic high-heels gave his already terribly vodka-stricken people such unexpected suffering: basically, the fascist scourges of humanity ’inflammation of the bladder’ and ’foot deformity’ were even threatening to decimate the number of Russian females …

Carl hesitated!

Should he really start complaining about all this shit from the company in front of Gerlinde and thus spoil her mood? After the very strange stiffness when she welcomed him home, she was now actually again very lively, parading in front of him and teasing him with delicious snacks. And most likely she was also wearing one of her entrancing lace panties, such as Putin did not like at all – well, he was pretty sure…
No, he was definitely not going to spoil her mood!

He was far too tired and washed-out!

In fact, the most attractive idea at that moment would have teen to not utter another word and not have to share anything with Gerlinde – not even this delicious Riesling – and spoon up this superb meal while listening to Country Music… However, the red lace panties were unstoppable: Carl had only just given the tender steak its due between his teeth, added his saliva, moved it into his stomach and extinguished its fire with three glasses of Riesling, when Gerlinde assaulted him with the question: Are you Happy?

Carl toasted her, trying to appease her and ignore the question! In fact, he – regardless of actually now being absolutely incapable of swallowing another bite – even went so far as to ask her if, maybe, she still had a ’Little Something’ to surprise him with by way of dessert.

”Of course”, Gerlinde impishly said, “I would like to know if you are happy, Carl”?.

“Does that mean my dessert is something to bite into? Meaning the question ’Am I Happy’?“ Carl was now intrigued.

”Yes!“

”Whatever makes you ask such a thing?“, Carl irritably said.
”Well, you know, I just would like to know? In fact, Hannelore is not happy!“
”But then, this is hardly a surprise with this eccentric cow“! Carl enthused.
”Why are you so aggressive all of a sudden“?

”Because I suddenly get the impression that, again, someone wants to plant disharmony somewhere! It would not be the first time, would it?“ was his acid reply.

”Carl, you must not be so supersensitive! Can I not even ask a simple question?“

”Ok, Gerlind. Fine. Ask as much and as long as you like to about ’happiness’! But please do not expect me to literally drown in ’happiness ’ while you go on about it! To be perfectly honest, I would find it a pity in view of the wonderful steak inside me. In fact, I actually do not know what this ’happiness ’you are inquiring about is supposed to be, or not to be?”, Carl was now annoyed.

”Maybe you could be a little less theatrical?“

”Of course! Yet I truly have no idea what you mean with ’Are you Happy’?”, Carl said indignantly while in vain seeking consolation with his now room-temperature Riesling.
”How should I know? But then, in adverts, all people are always happy, too, aren’t they!“

”Do you mean this heavenly ’purgative happiness’ of the no-longer-quite-young blond woman whose intestines are de-knotted ’giving her happiness’ in each one of her advert appearances?”, Carl provocatively asked.

“Yes, that is one of them!“

”Or do you mean the beaming grandmother who, thanks to Voltaren, suddenly re-discovers her grandchildren, because now she is able to go down on her knees?”, Carl continued.
”Her, too…!“

”Well, I am sure you are aware”, Carl went on, “that in all these examples, it is always women who become spontaneously happy – never men?“

”Carl, as always, you tend to simplify! In fact, there is actually ’happiness ’ beyond adverts which also very much concerns men?“

”I am all ears …?“ Carl pointedly.

”For instance the often thematised happiness of love?“

”Hm“ grumbled he.

”Or, to put it bluntly: are you now happy with me – or are you not?“

”Oh my God – Gerlinde, now what is this about? I assumed this topic was one we really had dealt with once and for all?”, Carl lamented.

”Then why don’t you just say ’Gerlinde, I am happy with you’!“

”Certainly! Don’t you know this by now”, Carl was getting bored.

”In that case, you actually know the meaning of ’happiness ’?“

”I probably have a vague idea, Gerlinde! And I am sure it has a lot to do with security and contentedness, if you like the sound of those words”, now Carl’s words sounded almost ceremonial.

”Does that mean that you are at least content with what I have to offer?“

”Yes – if that is how you want to call it! But then, I am content with everything around me, my dear Gerlinde”, Carl added sentimentally, “among other things also how nicely you keep everything clean, also with this half-empty bottle of Riesling which will soon be empty, and, of course, also when we will afterwards go to bed… “

”Are you saying it in that order – cleanliness, Rieling, bed – randomly, or is that something you chose very deliberately?“

”To be perfectly honest: I rather like this order”, Carl was now surprisingly self-confident, “somehow or other, it is just correct and also important for me if I am supposed to feel something like ’happiness ’!”

”And do you think your order could cope with a slight variation?“

”What variation do you mean …?“ Carl hesitantly asked.

”What I mean is the slight variation: – cleanliness, bed, and then Riesling! If you chose that order, I could actually also find a little happiness once in a while!“

”A-h-a“, Carl moaned. This was the moment when he started regretting that the meeting about the poor TRIGA ordering situation was no longer under way…

KH
(Translated by EG)

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
Tuesday June 3rd, 2014

June, 20th, 21st, 22nd – PM Camp in Berlin #pmcamp14ber

”Cooperation in the 21st Century” and „Wisdom and Intuition of the Multitude“

Those are the two focal points of the Berlin PM Camp  between June, 20th and June, 22nd, 2014 – which means from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.

Doesn’t that sound exciting!

Consequently, late in the evening of my birthday, I will board the sleeping compartment of the night-train from Munich to Berlin and leave it to said train to bring me to my destination. And I already look forward to meeting many friends and in particular Heiko (Heiko Bartlog).

Heiko is a member of the organization team of Berlin PM Camp and put enormous energy into preparing for this event. He asked me if I would like to supervise a session about the two exciting topics of the Berlin PM Camp. Isn’t that nice of him?
Well, I would certainly always like to do just that. Consequently, I now start thinking about it. There are certainly a lot of topics. Here is a list of what comes to mind:

  • Target Agreements

    In 30 years as “The Boss” of InterFace AG (and even before that in my more passive role as employee at Siemens AG and Softlab GmbH) I made a lot of surprising experiences with goals and target agreements. I learned that target agreements are very problematic in many respects. Consequently, I believe it is quite possible that more and more of these “control mechanisms for humans by material rewards” will be abolished in the future.

    For instance, I could tell my life story, including paying models and target agreement design as an entrepreneur and in projects.

  • The Change in Management

    In the early 1980ies, Hans Ulrich, perhaps the founder of the St. Gallen Management Model, wrote a wonderful essay on “8 Theses on Change” in management. By now, we already have the Version V4.0 of the St. Gallen Management Model. We did a review of this model with Professor Dr. Johannes Rüegg-Stürm and many Swiss enterprises. In the process, we discovered how unique and modern Hans Ulrich’s theses are still today.

  • Leadership – Principles and Values

    Being an active participant in a Blog Parade initiated by Bernd Geropp, I have recently been made aware of how diverse the answers to the simple question: “What are your three relevant leadership principles?” are. I took quite some time thinking about it, and then suddenly, it was very clear to me: I am an ALO man (agile, lean, open). But how does this translate into daily practice? Or why will this often not be possible? And what could we do in order to use this principle more frequently?

  • Leadership is Communication!

    Another topic is communication. Communication has always been a difficult issue. But here, too, humans and their values, expectations, interests and needs changed. And I mean radically. Similar to “basic beliefs” and “basic behaviour”. Except that some bosses, project managers, managing directors and superiors did not notice. And consequently, many of them communicate like in times long past – which is true in several respects. There is really a lot you could improve – and in fact, you have to improve on these things if you wish to make the “future” a success.

  • “The Future Cannot be Predicted”
    and all decisions will always have an “uncertainty factor”.

    Well, this is just how it is. And in managerial circles, the awareness that this is how it is now also is being heard. So this would be another exciting session topic.

    I think a team cooperating at eye-level is better equipped to distinguish between “good” and “evil”, for instance when it comes to a project. And this is how, with a shared effort, more “right” than “wrong” decisions can be made than, for instance, if an isolated project manager has to make them.

  • Discovering Collective Constructs!

    Projects or enterprises are social systems, mostly with a decided goal. Social systems, however, tend to develop collective constructs which increase by themselves in a very special way, often also when those who are normatively and strategically responsible become system agents. Social systems can then easily make themselves independent and de-personalize.

    The only way to prevent this phenomenon is to have a culture of civil courage lived by the majority in the enterprise or project, thus making it possible to fight back against a perversion of collective system constructs in constructive disobedience. In other words, an immunity guaranteed by a “Crowd” inhibits the social system.

These are all topics I find extremely fascinating. I also have lots of personal experience with these topics and learned much from my mentors. It is my pleasure to share my experiences. However, this kind of thing always has to be in harmony with the barcamp and consequently, with the PM Camp. That is why I always wish to decide at short notice what exactly I will talk about. For instance after having digested the impulse presentation and the feedback in the discussion. Or maybe after the first PM Camp day.

Besides, I am quite ready to let others do the speaking, only getting active when I notice that there seems to be a shortage of volunteers for session. Except if I find something really incentive :-).

So I look forward to being in Berlin. And as to the rest: let us wait and see. In other words: instead of planning, I just let things develop.

There is no doubt that the Berlin PM Camp will be a first-class event. I can promise!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

At this time, I would also like to inform you about the next two PM Camps:

The PM Camp Rhein-Main is all about “project communication” It will be from the evening of June, 26th, until the afternoon of June, 28, in Bad Homburg #pmcamprm and #pmcamp14rm. Unfortunately, I cannot be there, because on June, 27th, we have our big 30-year-party – all PM Camp fans are invited.

In July, Munich will host an event between the 24th and the 26th (again Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon). The motto of the PM-Camp München is: “sharing knowledge – increasing knowledge”. And that certainly also sounds familiar: #pmcampmuc or #pmcamp14muc. Of course, I will again be one of the participants at the PM Camp in my home town!

Sometimes, I really come up with strange ideas.

For instance, one evening, I start wondering which of the many electronic devices in our household is the most useful. And I try to determine which of them I actually really need.
Well, the ironing machine seems to make some sense. But then, I could also let my shirts be cleaned by a professional service. The shoe-shine machine, the electric tin opener, the electric coffee mill and the huge beer tin cooling/dispensing head cannot be among the number. After all, those were the devices that – along with some others and the electric Christmas candles – were thrown away when we moved.

The fridge certainly makes more sense when it comes to cooling beer. But then, I could also drink my beer in one of the numerous pubs situated around our house – where I would have company at all times.

On the other hand, there is still a small cool box. However, it is no longer as full as it used to be, because I prefer eating fresh food. And I try to make a general rule of eating less. Besides, the children are almost all out of the house. Consequently, I do not find it a good idea to store food. It constantly puts me under the obligation to control how long they can be kept and then I need to eat what will soon be past its “best before” date.

This is where our integrated water shaker and cooler comes in. It is a great thing and was the pride of the entire family for a long time. But now it has been out of working order for more than two weeks – because the “Grohe” company no longer replies as fast as they used to – and what do we notice? – You can do without. Because you can actually also drink your water directly from the tub.

Let us remain in the kitchen. We have the cooktop (induction with virtual cooking field) and the stove, the steamer with water supply, the dishwasher and the bread cutting machine, the ESGE miracle rod, the food processor(s), the electric lemon and orange squeezer, the grain mill, the cream whipping machine – they are all electric. And in our basement, we also have a microwave.

Back to soft drinks. The electric coffee machine is used a lot. I really enjoy my coffee and (probably) too much of it, too. But still, I cannot say I really need this machine badly. After all, you can easily cook Arabian coffee in the pan, can’t you? I still have a filter for the coffee pot, a coffee stamp and a small Italian espresso machine which, like the two old coffee mills, actually work totally without electricity.

The yoghurt device is sitting among the flea market things. I really do not need it. I do not like using the vacuum cleaner, because it is rather noisy. I prefer disposing of the dirt on the ground with my broom and shovel. In our household, wall-to-wall carpeting is a “no-go” and carpets belong in the fresh air, where they need whipping, rather than vacuuming. The electric razor is just for emergencies, because I prefer shaving wet. To make up for it, I rather appreciate the electric toothbrush. But do I really need it?

Suddenly, I remember something very important – my laptops, tablets, the router and the printer! And not to forget: the small electronic device that produces the “Tans” for bank transfers. All these things seem to be absolutely essential for life, regardless of the fact that once there was a time when we lived without. In those days, we had telephones, radios and TV sets – all of which we still have, but in several rooms at the same time. Apart from the fact that, today, they are more like huge tablets which can also be used for watching TV. And basically, I no longer watch a lot of TV. In fact, I prefer listening to the radio. Or else I use the sound system, which I really enjoy.

We also have another beautifully exotic device: the electric ice machine. Barbara sometimes uses it in order to make particularly tasty ice cream (cinnamon or mango, because our son brings those fruits back from India). But this, too, happens far from often. In fact, it happens almost as seldom as me setting up and letting run my electric toy railway in the basement (never). But then, this is something I keep for my grandchildren (despite modern children having no inclination at all to play railway – after all, they have computers).

There is also an electric drill in the basement. We actually used it when we moved. Even though I once learned that the average time of usage for a German drill can be counted in minutes. Diverse electric saws, glue-pistol and more similar do-it-yourself equipment can also be found in my basement. It makes me think of “shared economy”. And immediately, I think of the house technology (heating, solar energy for heating water, and photovoltaic), all of which are, naturally, also electric devices. Mind you, it is quite reasonable to use “solar” energy.

But then, what is truly the most important electric device in our household? The electric clocks cannot be the solution, because the problem might easily be solved mechanically. Perhaps the lawn mower, because it keeps me from having to perspire. But then, this, too, is something they solved differently in former times – just look at the scythe, which is a word you hardly even know today. And then, is it not “out” to be kept from perspiring.

The electric gate could just as easily be worked manually. Electric bikes – so-called e-bikes – are something I, luckily, do not yet have. Otherwise I would be burdened with all the maintenance and uploading. To make up for it, I have several bike computers (one per bike) and two GPS systems – well, they, too, are electric systems, aren’t they? And I also have a video supported supervision system in order to discourage bike theft. This is in order to have the evil thief filmed while he does his robbing.

Lamps, too, are electric – and quite basic – devices. Especially in the evening, it is rather nice to have light.

🙂 Suddenly, I remember the shoe horn. It is a truly wonderful device and I used it every morning – but then, it is not an electric device. Maybe we have an idea for a start-up here?
Isn’t it just scary how many electric motors work – or rather do not work – in our homes? As I think back, I seem to remember that, in the year 1950, when I was born, we had “ZERO” electric motors in our household. And speaking of electric devices, the only ones that come to mind in those days are the lamps and the radio.

🙂 But then, you have to take into account that I am a leftover from the last millennium.

So here comes the quintessence: do we really need all those things? I will soon take a closer look at all the pairs of shoes I own and for what purpose I use them. Or even better: all the things I buy although I do not really need them…

RMD
P.S.
Barbara is looking over my shoulder and she has a spontaneous idea: the washing machine! Accepted with gratitude.