The beauty and the detail


My kids cannot wait to see the first snow falling this year. Most adults fear it coming as an annoyance. The difference is, that while we  see ourselves in roadblocks and defrosting our cars in the first snow falls, our kids see the miracle of jewellery falling from the sky…

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The day after I attended the TEDxVienna event, I went out for a long walk with my 8year old daughter. She was curious why I spent a full day away from home, listening to so many people out there on a conference. So I gave her some examples of what speeches I found inspiring.

One of them had reminded me of the term ‘Ubuntu’, which comes from the language of the Zulu and Xhosa. ‘Ubuntu’ is commonly known in South Africa for describing a sense of connectedness between the individual and the society, or the world as a whole (the literal translation we learnt would be ‘I am because we are’).

My daughter kept asking me questions about the deeper meaning of the term, and what the speaker actually wanted to say. I replied, that it was an important term, and an important way of living peacefully together. She kept asking me, why we would need that term, she did not seem to understand.

So I pondered for a while, trying to distill the essence of the speakers’ message. I tried to explain that Ubuntu was a concept of living together, not against each other; that it seems we all forget this in our so-called civilized world, and that all the people at the event, seemed to feel gracefully reminded of what is important in our lives. She still did not understand.

Then I stopped and looked at her.
“What is it, that you don’t understand? I thought I tried to explain ‘Ubuntu’ as something important to you?” I started feeling guilty of being too complex, too hard to understand, or my daughter just being too young for such a high-level topic of connectedness, the ethical concept of some African tribes, and that I should not discuss with her pilosophies on how to save the world.

“No, daddy, I do understand ‘Ubuntu’ already, that is not my point. Being connected is important, like love is an important word, and like life is important, and all of that… But daddy, what I do not understand is – why did the people in that meeting have to talk about this over again? Shouldn’t that all just be natural?” – That same moment I realized, it was me who did not understand…

Learn from your children

I have the best two kids I could ask for, they give me more insights to life than any single book could. Every single day, their being reminds me of the responsibility we all have to safekeep our world – their future. This one is for them:


‘While we breathe the same air that
went through our fathers’ lungs
we can still make better use of it
with our very own tongues.’
– MP

Modern technology and the impact on our relationships

Sherry Turkle – Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at the MIT – speaks about the impact that modern technology has on our relationships:
she speaks about phantom phone ringing, where people are anxious to get more exciting news; global connectivity that makes us always on; and how remote and alone we finally remain within this illusion of being connected.
– A speech so brutally true, that I should rather not have posted it on Facebook where people tend to create the ideal image of themselves. Even if Sherry puts her words with quite some drama and does not really provide solutions, we should THINK TWICE how we want to treat technology better, before it is treating us worse…

Some quotes:
“from multi-tasking to multi-lifing” – “technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies” – “technology is seductive when its affordances meet our human vulnerabilities”

“we are lonely, but fearful of intimacy; connectivity offers for many of us the illusion of companionship, without the demands of friendship. We can’t get enough of each other if – if – we can have each other at a distance in a manner (?) that we can control. Think of Goldilocks (siehe Wikipedia: ‘Goldlöckchen und die drei Bären‘), not too close, not too far, just right.”

“connection made to measure [..with..] the ability to hide from each other” – “too put it rather too simply: we would rather text than talk”

“often we are too busy communicating to think, too busy communicating to create, too busy communicating to really connect with the people we’re with in the ways that would really count, in continual contact, we’re alone together…”

People and numbers

People could not care less about numbers on a paper, unless it is about their own account statement. When I look at some of today’s management practice, I am wondering if we really got the message. People don’t follow spreadsheets; they follow people.

– Marcus Pietrzak

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What difference will you make…

If words could change our world, we would have been saved on October 15, 1940.*

Good things may take time, and big changes may even cross the Millenium.

Yet don’t we all think, 70 years are enough time to THINK TWICE and start acting … ?!

What difference will *you* make on October 15, 2011 ?

*) Source: Source: The Great Dictator (*1940 with Charlie Chaplin)
More: Wikipedia

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Steve Jobs was not perfect, by any means he was not the iGod as some of his most enthusiastic followers would have labelled him. But whatever we may conclude about him as a person, he ultimately was a human being that dared to make a difference with his products and ideas. Still, what will keep him in our mind for some time after this, will be something non-commercial: his will to make a difference by sharing his insights to life, and by encouraging others to go their way.

Find below some of the quotes I personally found the most touching from his June 12, 2005, commencement speech at Stanford University.

May he rest in peace, and may his being encourage others to unrestfully work for peace.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.