brand eins in April

Today is a beautiful spring Sunday. I am on my way back home from Frankfurt. Yesterday, I met my mentor Rupert Lay and many other well-loved friends in Frankfurt. I listened to a wonderful presentation, added many new memories of long-gone times to my stock, made new discoveries, ate a good dinner, slept soundly through a quiet night in a good hotel, enjoyed a small breakfast in the DB lounge at Frankfurt central station – so what more can you want?

Now, I am going back home on the EC 113. My first-class ticket was extremely cheap, around the cost of a long-distance coach. The EC 113 even has a waggon going all the way to Zagreb. This is actually something you still find these days. It reminds me of the “Autoput”. However, the train goes at a leisurely pace, passing Darmstadt Central Station, Bernsheim, Weinheim (Bergstr.), Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsburg, Günzburg on its way to Munich Central Station.

Of course, you cannot really call it leisurely – the train takes less than four hours. The EC 113 is not very crowded, so I can clearly understand why the Bahn AG still suffers under a deficit. I enjoy the ride in the huge compartment and read my “brand eins” copy. And again, my love of the good old trains is reawakened.

This time around, the “brand eins” looks rather multi-coloured. On the title page, I find a cloud with catch-phrases your normal “oldie” might consider the usual linguistic outpourings of the young generation. But fear thee not: the young and attractive ones are already ahead of this.

The magazine is an appeal: ”Quiet!“ Consequently, the focal point is Concentration. It perfectly fits the train trip. The very idea of now sitting in a car and driving from Frankfurt to Munich – which, unbelievably, I actually did quite frequently in former times  …

brandeins04_2014

About the magazine: even the very first glimpse at it pointed me towards the fact that some of the topics are exactly what I have been looking for:

Bitcoins

Here is where I meet again a good and very cherished acquaintance of mine – Dolf. Dolf Diederichsen – at the time he was still a business consultant – used to be a mentor at the same start-up as me. I had a huge amount of respect for what he did: I guess we probably supplemented each other quite well. The “brand eins” article about bitcoins is the first objective and balanced one I ever found in the press – perhaps thanks to Dolf.

For me, it is obvious that the artificial construction “money” will also undergo radical change. Even if technology were to simply remain on the current level, the traditional understanding of a means of payment is totally outdated. But even if change continues with the same speed as before – which is what I expect – totally new and differently organized ways of accounting will win. As I see it, it is totally irrelevant if the Bitcoins will prevail or disappear – such strange currencies as the EURO, US-Dollar or RMB will not survive the coming transformation.

Bike Trailers

Of course, this is one of the topics where I see everything through my spectacles as a person who no longer drives a car. Personally, I firmly believe that the future belongs to the bike, including the bike trailer, and that it will be the classic innovation of tomorrow.

As always, the World of Numbers shatters collective concepts (number of prisoners in various countries …).

It is cheaper to throw things away than to donate them to charity.

Again, we are reminded of the well-known and basically unbelievable fact that, in Germany, an enterprise will have a considerable economic disadvantage if they donate left-overs to charity, rather than destroying them.

They show a ”utopian enterprise“ in Egypt which, basically, should not exist at all (and as I see the local circumstances, it will soon have disappeared). Mind you, utopian ideas can also work out – as you can best see with the company that makes my favourite bike.  In the 1980ies, they called their newly founded bike manufacturing firm “Utopia“, because they could not believe that you can actually make good money selling good bikes.

There is a nice description in numbers of the FIAT Coup. It is a didactic play showing how you can sell desperation as a dubious success.

The long article on energy is a balm for the soul (“what moves business”). In my opinion, this is the first correct and neutral summary of this unfortunately stupidly emotionalized topic that truly covers all the relevant dimensions.

Without having to look very long, I also found two other very important and competently discussed topics, both of which move me very much indeed: “open-plan office“ and ”meetings“. With these articles, “brand eins” is carrying coals to Newcastle for me. After all, I believe that open-plan offices are detrimental for your psychological well-being. As I see it, they also have a negative effect on your achievement. And the more I listen to what happens in the world and start understanding it, the more I realize that 90 % of all meetings are pointless – and mostly they are even doing damage.

Somehow or other, “brand eins” and I, again, think alike. However, this does not make the magazine less interesting for me. Now I am in Stuttgart, where you actually find a railway station that is worthy of its name. I will finish writing and instead continue reading in solitude.

A good Sunday to you!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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