Roland Dürre
Sunday August 23rd, 2015

Entrepreneur’s Diary – #112 Useless Meetings

“My Post-InterFace life?“

I enjoy telling you about the times when I was active in my job. About what I felt enthusiastic about and about what depressed me. So here I am, sitting in Greece and vacationing, yet writing a small article for my entrepreneur’s diary:

On the negative side, there are, for example, all those many useless meetings I had to/was permitted to attend. Some of them actually lasted the whole day and occasionally the participants did not even want to stop in the evening.

Regardless of the fact, or maybe due to the fact, that the meeting had been going nowhere all day long already. And I – like all the other participants – had no way of influencing the entire round in a useful way.

Whenever I tell these things, I inform my audience that the only consolation with these kinds of meetings was that my “time clock” kept counting the hours. Which means that I was actually reimbursed for my work in those cases with compensation for damage.

Well, this is only partly true and rather a cynical excuse. But then I remember that my own enterprise, too, was full of useless meetings. And there is the question why I allowed this to happen and even attended.

Perhaps it was lack of civil courage? Was I too much of a coward to actually put myself outside the system and break with traditional rules and patterns? Isn’t the obligation to attend meetings part of the enterprise morals and written down in the rules of procedure? And who wants to violate law and order? I never had the courage. Because there was also the desire:

“We need to communicate more with each other!“

And that is something I definitely agree with. Also in retrospect. But it should not happen in lengthy and formal meetings that will then have written minutes – of course because you wish to be on the safe side!

If you need meetings, then they should be short SCRUM-like meetings. If possible, you should not sit down and have them outside the enterprise in a free area.

But talking definitely will no longer make sense if all you do is repeat yourself and if you are not making any headway. In those cases, the only thing that will probably help is a lonely decision and a quick separation.

In a nutshell:
I think the rules and rituals of an enterprise should permanently be questioned. This is especially true for all those meetings, which, more often than not, are also just a consequence of rituals and processes. The questioning should happen all the time and continue all the time, always on an objective level, isolated from individual interests.

And if you find out that you are not making any headway, you need the courage to actually do something about it. Just like, incidentally, KANBAN demands it in its last and – for me – most important rule.

And that is not only true for the enterprise and its projects, but also for politics, for our social systems and for our private lives.

Last not least, I have a very cynical suspicion:
If we did not have all those meetings in our enterprises, all our work-days would end at noon and we would not know what to do with all the remaining time.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For more articles of my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 29th, 2015

LOCKED IN THE TIME CAGE.

Eisenkäfig (hier: Florenz, ausgehendes 17. Jahrhundert) als Folterwerkzeug

Iron Cage (here: Florence, late 27th century) as a torture tool.

A short time ago, I wrote the article “Golden Wire” (Goldener Stacheldraht), where I described how enterprises take total control of their employees, thus making those persons totally dependent over the years. And it happens in a totally comfortable, even agreeable way.

This article triggered a number of exciting discussions. The time cage in which most of us – be it as employees or as freelancers – are locked in is another issue worth discussing. After all, we measure everything in terms of time: work, mobility, leisure time. And it robs us of our live time.

How absurd is the concept that you have to provide a certain amount of hours each week, no matter what needs to be done? In a “Tayloristic System”, this might make sense. You stand at the conveyor belt, execute certain motions and get some money for each unit you worked on. But shouldn’t Taylorism be a thing of the past for many of us?

The alternative of this system, which by now seems like a matter of course to us, was the system of task-work, which followed the achievement principle and was certainly not easy to work in, either. In this system, you are not paid according to time, but according to the number of items you produced. In structures based on Kaizen, you find the group task-work system. It has a positive side (team work) and a negative side (group pressure). I cannot really think of any more alternatives.

The so-called brain workers, too (formerly known for their white collars and ties and now by the fact that they prefer turtleneck pullovers) are paid by time. They get a fixed income for which they “work away” a number of hours, which means that they have to spend the time either in or for the enterprise. In addition, they get a variable income which is determined in the target agreement (a modern sort of task-work).

This “concept of working time” is so deeply rooted in our brains that we consider it absolutely normal. In my role as InterFace AG managing director, I made the same experience. On some weekdays, I only spent very few hours in my office. Yet sometimes I achieved something really important during those few hours. On returning home to my children early in the afternoon on days like these, my super-ego kicked in and gave me a bad conscience.

In my new life (neuen Leben) I discover what nonsense that is. I try to shape plans according to my priorities. And I use as much time as I need for successfully finishing the tasks. And I feel a lot freer than I used to.

I know many freelancers who feel absolutely autonomous, yet they are locked in the time cage as a matter of course. Why don’t you try to calculate your income as what you earn per hour or per day?

During one of the aforementioned twitter discussions, one person was wondering why the “freelancers” hate to call themselves by that name. In the internet, they often introduce themselves as senior consultant, expert for something or managing director (of their own one-person company). One of the answers to this question was that maybe “freelance” is often considered synonymous or “potentially jobless”. Which definitely did not have a nice sound to it, did it?

In my opinion, a freelancer is a day labourer – and as I see it, this is a rather honourable and not at all a bad word. Even if it sounds a little like “slave”. But then, aren’t we all slaves when all is said and done? Aren’t we all serving a master, a system or a mania?

But then, one might also imagine other (more modern?) systems for income determination. Gebhard Borck, for instance, in his book Dein Preis proposes a value contract as an alternative. This is not at all stupid and I rather like the concept. Due to many time cages installed all around us, however, these and similar ideas are (still?) utopia or at least hard to realize for freelancers.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture from Wikipedia. It is of an iron cage (Florentine, late 17th century) on display at the Freiburg im Breisgau Torture Museum (Foltermuseum). The copyright is with Flominator. P.S.
Das Bild ist aus Wikipedia, es stellt einen Eisenkäfig (florentinisch, ausgehendes 17. Jahrhundert), der sich im  in  befindet. Der Urheber ist Flominator.

Roland Dürre
Monday January 5th, 2015

As Time Goes By …

KettenkarusselI need only look back upon the thirty-one years of my life at InterFace AG to see: many things have changed over the years! On all levels and in all dimensions. Looking at society and technology, or the way knowledge is treated today, what I see is more than a little surprising.

Totally new disciplines became important and made huge progress – and, as I see it, they also changed the world. Along with technology, I am also talking sciences such as psychology, neurology, behavioural science, along with game theory and good old philosophy. Not to mention how values and morals, even the concept of life for the individual person as well as in society and collectively, underwent change.

These developments exacerbated each other, thereby increasing speed in a way that I would no longer call linear. In fact, I considered and consider it more like “geometrical or exponential”.

This is why the following model I discovered a short time ago is one I am in favour of. It is about the words knowledgeable and ignorant, as well as competent and incompetent.

You could assign these four characteristics to a matrix with four quadrants. The top line of the matrix is “incompetence”, the lower line is “competence”. The right column is “knowledge” and the left column is ”ignorance”.

The upper left quadrant would then mean “knowledgeable yet incompetent”.

If you take the real-life example of an adolescent who knows that he cannot drive a car, you get the result that he is “knowledgeable yet incompetent”.

The lower right quadrant means “knowledgeable and competent”.

In our example, the adolescent grows to become a young man and learns to drive a car. Now he knows he can drive a car. And he will drive a car. Consequently, he is “knowledgeable and competent”.

The lower left quadrant represents “ignorant yet competent”.

As the young man grows older, he drives his car a lot. Consequently, he will become very good at driving a car, yet he is no longer actively aware of said competence. Whenever he drives a car, he is “ignorant yet competent”.

The upper left quadrant represents “ignorant and incompetent”.

We already can imagine what the story will be in the upper left hand corner. The man has turned ancient. He certainly should no longer sit behind a wheel, because he is no longer fit to drive. Yet he is not aware of this. Consequently, he will continue to drive with “ignorance and incompetence”.

Well, isn’t that a nice example? Yet there is one disadvantage. It suggests that man is the one who, due to age-inflicted change, mutates from “knowledgeable yet incompetent” via “knowledgeable and competent” and “ignorant yet competent” to “ignorant and incompetent”.

More often than not, however, it is the world or the environment which quickly changes. Whenever you enter a new social system, you will immediately notice that you have to work towards “being able to participate”. You learn the new system and then you become part of it. Except that, even after a phase of being “ignorant yet competent”, you might quickly become “ignorant and incompetent’.

Because the rules and the actual functionality of the system changed so fast and so dramatically that you never even noticed it. That is when you will look stupid and no longer understand the world – in which just a short while ago you felt ever so much at home.

Well, once in a while I, too, feel I am getting caught in a chain carousel that rotates faster and faster all the time, making me feel quite dizzy.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

The picture is called “Wellenflug auf dem Roonkarker Mart”. I found it in Wikipedia with the carousel article. It is originally be Wilfried Wittkowsky.

Detlev Six
Sunday August 24th, 2014

Strategy is not a Glance in the Rear-View-Mirror.

They might end up in the wrong hands – our weapons.

In fact, it is fairly certain.

The weapons the Western Countries gave Gaddafi are now used for destruction all over the Near East.


With the weapons from the West in Afghanistan, the Taliban shoot today.

The IS drives steel-plated US weapons.

And now we are supposed to provide the Peschmerga with weapons, and even the PKK, which, after all, is still graded a terrorist association in Germany? Because there is a slim hope that perhaps worse from the IS could be avoided by this?
 
Remember the sentence by Kierkegaard:
We can only understand life in retrospect, yet we have to live it the other way around.
A strategic decision always includes looking into the future, which means speculation and risk.

Speculation:

The Kurdish part of Iraq is the one in the region most similar to the West (except Israel). It is possible that an (Iraqi) Kurdistan might develop into a country with halfway Western values (pluralism, democracy, market economy). The hope is based on a lasting connection between the Peschmerga and the PKK with the expectation of stability in the new country. It is accepted that the country of Iraq will disintegrate. It will be split into three parts: Kurdistan, a Shiite state and a Sunnite state. The IS is beaten, the weapons remain in Kurdistan.

The Risk:

The worst scenario would be a total victory of the IS and as a consequence, an Iraq-Syrian caliphate. That would be the most intolerant country under the sun. All the weapons would fall into the hands of the IS.

The most acceptable loss: – after failing in the fight, the PKK will disappear in the Kurdish mountains or in Syria, taking along Western weapons.

You can think of endless alternative between those two extremes.

So far about the visible act of armament decisions.

For us (author’s note: I am talking to the members of the community “Strategic Morals”), the main focus of interest lies in what strategic morals the individual players follow in order to get the weapons deal and (in the case of the IS) in order to get a foothold in the counter movement?

The Kurdish North-Iraqi tell the West:

We are your best hope when it comes to your values.

The PKK tells the Peschmerga and the West:

In the end, the blood of the brothers will always win.

The IS tells their comrades-in-arms and their financial supporters (Qatar):
We are the only ones who can end the supremacy of the West.

The remaining Iraq (Shiites/moderate Sunnites) tell the USA:

Do you want all your sacrifices to have been for nothing?

My prognosis:

The West will provide all the weapons, Kurdistan will be founded and then dominated by the PKK.

SIX
(Translated by EG)

This article was published in the google+ community “Strategische Moral”.

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 9th, 2014

Crimea, Crisis, Crass

If someone had asked me a short time ago what country the Crimea belongs to, I would have replied “Russia”. Now we have a “Crimea Crisis” and I learned that the Crimea actually “belongs to” the Ukraine. And every day, the Crimea Crisis is in the news, for instance on Spiegel-OnlineScenarios for the Crimea: Sanctioning, Chaos, War.

To me, the entire situation seems absurd. Basically, the Ukraine is bankrupt. Incidentally, the same is true for many other countries, as well. It is governed by bandits who added to the misery by some plundering of their own. This is also something we know from other countries. Then the country is ceded by its rich neighbour and former ally. Like other countries. And, of course, being poor, they fall victim to the temptations of the rich West.

The people are impoverished and fed up with the situation. As are many other people in other countries. We have uprisings and other strange things happening. Among others, a “German Boxing World Champion” intervenes. Old bandits appear on the scene. And, of course – like many other nations – the Ukraine also has a problem with being a multi-ethnic country with different majorities in different regions, as well as a few minorities.

What usually happens also happens here: the old, perhaps not very legitimate boss, although he has been elected, is displaced. There is a new boss (who was not directly elected). And in his first speech, he underlines the “inviolability of territorial integrity”. And he also has rather dubious supporters.

And then there is sanctioning and big crisis debates. The entire world is getting involved. Politicians make themselves important, talking sanctioning. And in the end, there will be a new order in this region as well – no matter what.

Simultaneously, they celebrate the “Olympic Games of the Handicapped”, an afterbirth of the Olympic Games that were useless, anyway: since all they did was serve the dictator and the western entertainment concerns.

Is not all of this stupid?

Was Yugoslavia not also divided? Czechoslovakia is now two countries. A short time ago, the “Germen entrepreneurs in Catalonia warned against the dire consequences of an independence of the Spanish region”? And in Italy, we also have “Liga Nord”! Does it really make such a huge difference for the world if the Crimea is Russian or Ukrainian? Will there not be many new orientations of nations and territorial borders all over the world in the near future? Isn’t it unavoidable, because the old suits just no longer fit?

The EU protects its borders against the evil economic refugees from Africa through the “border protection agency” Frontex (see my article  of January, 24th, 2010). It is doing so with an army that will shortly be massively upgraded – and it all happens without any parliamentary control.

But strangely enough now the EU wants to help the Ukraine to the tune of 11 billion Euros. Is that in order to make it easier for the Ukraine to pay its even greater debt to Russia? And then they will owe new debts to the EU.

However, the concept “paying off debts” will not be possible. After all, as opposed to us, the Ukraine got their gas with a friendship discount of 30%. Now the Russians have stopped this subsidy. And the Ukraine needs plenty of gas…

Which, incidentally, is also true for the FRG.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday February 2nd, 2014

Between “Agile” and “Planned”, Intuition and Ratio.

A short time ago, another friend of mine told me how great he felt about his participation at a barcamp weekend. He said how much frontier-spirit he had experienced and how much energy he had filled up on. And how he sadly had to confront everyday work-life again on Monday after this ever so enthusiastic weekend and how it felt painful to get propelled back to hard reality.

That is when, again, I started pondering a few questions which keep making me thoughtful:

Acting and planning:

Why is it so hard for us to be “agile” and why are we sticking so persistently with “planning”? Why do we not accept that the future is unpredictable?

Deciding:

Why do we mistrust our intuition and will in the end prefer basing our decisions on ratio, which seems to be the level of reason and where we give ourselves security by the most complex explanations?

Or, to say it in a “populist” way:

Why are persons who think and act intuitively and who sail through life in an agile way and who promote things successfully to the benefit of all constantly thwarted by Apperatschiks (Apperatschik) who manage to destroy what has been laboriously built with their never-ending rules and regulations?

Here are my answers …

My guess is that, on the one hand, we have been taught to do it in this way by our elders and, on the other hand, our fears make us do it this way.

Let me first give you an example for what past generations said:

Everything is under control, we can achieve everything we wish to achieve, all we have to do is plan properly. We have to organize our world like clockwork, then nothing can go amiss. Boys do not cry and emotions are not good counsellors. Consequently, you should free yourself from emotions – they can only do damage. And, above all: do not fear progress! Technology can achieve anything! Wars are there to be won! So, boy, be reasonable! Basta!

The generations of our forefathers believed in this. They fell victim to the explosion-like developments of the 19th and 20th centuries that seemed to promise limitless opportunities for humans. In the brains of the people, the concept of being omnipotent took hold. It was based on the belief in technology and progress. All of a sudden, homo sapiens was almighty, death was suppressed.

The sudden abundance of available energy (in particular from fossil sources), along with the ruthless technological progress seemed to make anything possible. This is how a feasibility and planning mania like the history of homo sapiens had never known was created. Everything was oriented towards progress and modernity.

Words such as “humbleness” and “caution” were frowned upon or else called backwardly. With a degree of ruthlessness, violating nature and life like we never did before, we declared technology and progress the new Messiah.  A full-fledged war against nature started. In their abnormal social systems, the planners of the future even wanted to create the “new human”, just like they had built their new cities.

The belief that an exploding technology, paired with limitless availability of energy, the future can be controlled through ratio and that everything can be determined and mechanically developed was supported by the corresponding ever stronger fear of freedom.

Our imagined omnipotence created a chimera of security that we wish for and that relieves us. Even if it is very treacherous. The greater our imagined security, the greater is the fear of losing it and the greater is our fear of taking responsibility and accepting freedom.

Now more and more people realize that all this was just one of many cavorts humans have liked to embrace during their history. The assumption that the future of humans can be planned through ratio, too, proves more and more often to be wrong. We know about the climate catastrophe, yet we do nothing about it. Just like we know about all the many problems of our social and economic world, yet here, too, we do nothing.

But it seems that we are approaching the turn of another era. All of a sudden, everything changes quickly. We have the internet with its new density of information. We feel that something is wrong.

Consequently, more and more among us flee from this imagined security. They realize that contentedness cannot be bought, not to mention “happiness”. They no longer want to bend before the forces of a society controlled by material desires. A society which gives all its members the one format: consumer.
They no longer want to become the slaves of a strangely economized world. Instead, they just want to start living again. They want to live their lives in responsibility and freedom. And they are fed up with the laws of a late-capitalist and globalized world.

I think that the more we humans will manage to regain our autonomy and independence, the more we will be collectively prepared to overcome our fears and go the agile and intuitive way in society, as well. And our willingness to accept the necessary transformation in a proactive way will also increase – regardless of the radical consequences with their many, non-predictable alternatives.

The more, however, we humans base our lives on alleged security and on the ownership of property and the more we pretend  that all is under control because everything can be planned since it is deterministically explainable and mechanistically designable, the more we will lack the courage to decide intuitively and to live agilely. And we will have no chance against the confusion created by scenarios which, just like our fears, only happen between our ears. And then we will rather abruptly be confronted with changes we will not like at all.

The war of survival can probably only be won through “agile” and “intuitive”. And the great singer Janis Joplin might actually have been ahead of her time with her song Me & Bobby McGee – where she gave a totally different definition of the term “freedom”:

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose …

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday January 19th, 2014

As Time Goes By …

InterFace_Icon_30Jahre_01-94Around the turn of the years from 1983 to 1984, Wolf Geldmacher and yours truly were rather courageous when deciding to found the InterFace Connection Association for Data Processing and Communication Software mbH together with Dr. Peter Schnupp (InterFace GmbH) and Claus M. Müller (via InterFace Computer GmbH).

And to this day, we have had much joy with what we had done. Wolf and I were the active associates. Initially, we each held a share of 30 %. Exactly 30 years ago, on April, 1st, 1984, the day had come! The InterFace Connection (today InterFace AG) officially started its work.

It was not an “April Fool’s Joke”. After all, we now can look back on 30 exciting and successful years in business. On March, 31st, the Interface will have existed thirty years on this planet. We will celebrate this birthday appropriately on June, 27th, 2014 with many, many friends.

Maybe you want to mark the late afternoon of that day in your calendar, and then the night, as well? Here on the IF Blog, I will also report at length about the event. We will also inform and invite our friends through many other channels.

After thirty years at InterFace AG, I am now in the position of holding the majority of the shares and of being the managing director. My roles at InterFace were diverse. We started out as a rather successful production firm and then developed into a service and counselling company. And we assume that the future of InterFace AG will also be a good one.

This year is my last as managing director at InterFace AG – which is certainly a reason to look back. There is no “Today” without “Yesterday” and no “Tomorrow” without “Today”. So we need to do some remembering. Well, quite a few things come to mind and also seem remarkable.

I have to think of all the many comrades who accompanied me through those 30 years or through parts of the way. I have to think of the many enterprises that came and went. I enjoy thinking of our great customers, for whom we always enjoyed working. And how it always made us happy to see that our software and services contributed to our customers’ success. In fact, there are some customers of ours we served from day one and still serve today!

Many famous and powerful enterprises appreciated us as their supplier. There is quite an illustrious sound to some of the addresses. Some of them have even disappeared by now. For instance the Kirch-Gruppe and the WestLB. But also quite recently the Weltbild publishing company. What marvellous projects we worked with these enterprises! Luckily, however, most of our big customers survived.

30 years of InterFace also means we saw many partners and competing enterprises come and go. Here, too, I have to say that there were famous names among them. We respected them greatly. And then they were gone.

As I think back in this way, I notice that we are something like a “Surviver”. And that probably not too many of those exist. And that we are actually doing quite well. So what more is there to desire?

Except a few more years of good living.

In order to make sure this will continue to be so, we plan a huge party on June, 27th, 2014. We want to celebrate our survival. We will invite as many friends as possible who accompanied us, still accompany us today and hopefully will still accompany us in the future.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For more information about our party, click here: IF-Open!

Roland Dürre
Thursday October 17th, 2013

The American MCA (Maximum Credible Accident) …

… was once again prevented. Apparently, it was a last-minute rescue. And, basically, nobody was impressed by the threat. Neither the stock market, nor the citizens. Let alone the economy. Everybody continued doing “business as usual”. Regardless of the fact that we should have put a stop to all of this a long time ago.

And everybody is happy, because it certainly would have been worse than the crisis of 2008. Now I can still remember 2008. Yet I felt nothing of the crisis at the time. The InterFace numbers were just as good (or as bad – after all, everything is relative) as in the years before and after. I was doing fine and so were most of my German fellow humans. If this is what you call crisis, then I would wish for a permanent crisis.

However, the “maximum credible accident” has only been postponed. Perhaps until February 2014. The red ink will continue to grow and reach a new border. And since I am a cynic leaning towards the morbid, I already look forward to that day. After all, how should anything change until then? How are the US of A supposed to manage the necessary “turnaround” in four months?

But then, perhaps everything is nowhere near as bad as we think? Perhaps because we are talking a very virtual reality. For instance, if the USA had intervened in Syria, it would have become very expensive. Regardless of the fact that the entire military outfit is partly something you “have to pay, anyway”. However, it would not have made a difference for today’s (almost) bankruptcy.

And also because the one reason for the MCA that sounds still most plausible to me still seems rather clinical in my view. I read the following:    
All kinds of funds for all kinds of purposes were spent by investing a lot of money into receivables against the US. A US bankruptcy would have the effect of a downgrading of the credit rating by all rating agencies from AAA. But then, the diverse funds are not permitted to have non-AAA shares in their portfolio – which means they would have to sell them.

Is this really true? Why can’t the funds simply change their rules and keep the shares? After all, the “scientific field” of economic studies assumes that a country cannot be bankrupt.

In any case, I already look forward to next February. And I intend to go skiing when the next day of bankruptcy arrives. I hope to have sunny weather and then I will lie in my deck chair and look upon the financial MCA or the prevention of such while enjoying the glass of beer sitting on the table next to me.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Don’t you all experience it once in a while? Hideous demons trying to penetrate your everyday life. Demons like fear of the future, fear of the unknown, scepticism when it comes to commitments, avoiding change or mistrust instead of trust. How often do we lack the willingness to just try something new? We are burdened by an unwillingness to leave well-known paths. Or else we benumb ourselves with things we neither want nor need.

All those are the reasons why we humans withdraw and thus minimize our personal lives. Instead of promoting our talents and potential, we make ourselves smaller than we actually are. We try to gain security through precise planning, but said security is only allegedly secure. In return, we reduce ourselves. Step by step, the unfolding process of our lives decreases and a rather unpleasant, self-enhancing vicious circle starts. Our joy of life disappears, our social life is reduced.

Between the ears, more and more assumptions are made; our sorrows threaten to smother us. Asking questions about all the possible evil scenarios that might befall us gets more and more domineering and objections rule our thinking. And fear will grow, sorrows will develop a life of their own and the joy of life is lost. All this will happen if you are not willing to live your life in self-responsibility, to actively enjoy what happiness life has to offer you and to leave no chance to moroseness through an agile life-style.

Consequently, I believe that, in private life as well as in our other projects, an agile way of living makes everything a lot easier. There is no need to always plan everything down to the most intricate detail and think about all possible consequences. After all, we will never know which of the assumptions we make will be valid in the future, anyway. So come on and let us push back all those brainy excesses that basically only burden those miserable lives of ours! Because our fears, too, first and foremost happen between the ears.

As far as I am concerned, I firmly believe that we are much happier and more content if we practice agile living. A non-agile life also prevents many couples to go ahead with a very natural step – namely to have children. Because if I will always and throughout all my life evaluate, plan, explain and safeguard everything, then children will very easily be just perceived as an unreasonable risk which only daredevils would be willing to take. And then, once again, something absolutely self-evident is taken away from your life.

In my book, having children is part of an agile life. Our children enriched my life in more than just the emotional dimension to a more than huge extent. I am almost tempted to ask: what is a life without children?

Especially children are something you should not plan. Instead, you have to “let them happen”. They are probably the most natural way of finding meaning in life and enrich our diversity in life. And it can only be a hindrance to plan them, because the right moment will never really come. To make up for it, you will (hopefully) have a life-long experience. Incidentally, the attempt at helping them in life a little cannot be planned either. Actually, it is a highly agile project.

So you could say that “agile living” also helps in private life if you want to kick out the demons. Naturally, living in an agile way will give you a far more light-hearted life – an agile life will make you more content and happier.

The only reason I am recommending this is that it is my own personal experience.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
These were ideas I had while sitting in the train from Frankfurt to Munich today.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday May 1st, 2013

The Working World and the E-Mobile World

Confessions of a (work) junky on May, 1st

These days, my work is done (almost) totally mobile. Meaning simply that I do it wherever I happen to be and without cables. Neither for electricity, nor for the internet. It means I can work (almost) everywhere. There are some consequences…

As soon as I wake up, I start working in my “home office”. In fact, I enjoy doing it in bed. After having finished the most important tasks, I ride my bike to the enterprise. It feels nice to ride my bike: I am all by myself, enjoying fresh air. There is time to think and prepare for what comes next.

In the enterprise, my main computer only gives me limited mobility. Usually, I work at my desk. As it happens, I actually have something as old-fashioned as a PC (and my own office). It is about time for me to do something about this, isn’t it?

My office computer is connected to the central electricity network almost at all times. The internet connection, however, is wireless. Because once in a while, I take it with me for in-house meetings of presentations. And why would I wish to plug and de-plug a second cable? Luckily, the magnetic electricity plug is easy to handle.

My times “on the road” vary greatly. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less. If I have to cover long distances, I mostly take the train. I do not carry a “mobile five-seater”. Instead, I always have one or several “mobile offices” with me. They are places, or rather devices, enabling me to work, write and read. Sometimes I can use them for relaxing, if I so desire.

Mostly, I can use the waiting times during my travels quite well. If I cannot find WLAN or a “Hotspot”, I just take my old stick or my cell-phone. To be sure, this is not quite as comfortable, but it is certainly serviceable.

In Munich, I have several “city offices”. I sometimes change places and they are mostly coffee shops or restaurants. A nice atmosphere is mandatory, because you have to be able to meet and work there. The coffee should be drinkable and, of course, there absolutely has to be a WLAN connection.

I also try to make good use of my leisure time. After all, leisure time, too, is just some sort of work (or vice versa). For instance, if you relax. You have to consciously “do nothing”: going for a swim, playing soccer or chess. In general, I always try doing just one thing at one time. Go to the theatre, listen to some music, read a book. Enjoy a film. Perhaps even watch TV. Although this is mostly too boring and tends to be nothing but vegging in front of the tube.

Incidentally, at work, I also try to only do one thing at a time. As a general rule, I do not carry my cell-phone (which, as we all know, is now a smart phone) in meetings.  And I do not send emails while at the same time talking to a person. I always try to concentrate on what I am doing and then hopefully will do it well.

I used to work less. Still, I had less time. Luckily, I always had enough time for my small children. By now, they are all quite grown-up. Which (in this case unfortunately) gives me more time.

But in former times, I spent a lot more time doing stupid things. Just think of all the time I spent sitting in a car! Or all the time I sat in front of a TV set! I also used to spend far too much time reading stupid and meaningless magazines and newspapers. What a pity! But then, matters are like they are and they were like they were.

But still: in some way or other, life did improve through all these mobile devices.

RMD
(Translated by EG)