Today was supposed to be a good day – 2048 edition

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[Update Sep 19:] Finally!


[/End of Update]


Lange Nacht der Startups Berlin 2016 (2)

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Nachdem ich mich vor ein paar Tagen schon zum Vortragsprogramm am Freitag geäußert habe, hier noch ein paar Bemerkungen zur eigentlichen Langen Nacht der Startups am Samstag. Die Ausstellung fand an vier Orten statt – bei Microsoft, Volkswagen und der Deutschen Bank in den jeweiligen Geschäftsräumen Unter den Linden und in der Hauptstadtrepräsentanz1 der Deutschen Telekom in der Französischen Straße. Die Startups waren inhaltlich grob entsprechend des Marktbereiches der Sponsoren sortiert. Bei der Telekom gab es zudem auch noch ein kleines Abendprogramm mit Pitches, Panels und Posaunen Musik. Insgesamt war ich von der Vielfalt und Qualität der sich vorstellenden Unternehmen positiv überrascht und der Abend hat mir sehr gut gefallen.

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  1. ein Gebäude, das diesen Namen durchaus verdient

This is what’s wrong with the German car industry

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Almost 6 months after Tesla received more than 300’000 (refundable) pre-orders for an affordable and exiting all-electric vehicle with a promised range of 350 km, BMW’s senior management decided they had to skip a trade show to finally settle the question on wether or not to continue to invest in electric cars. Why does this question arise? Because apparently, their decisively ugly and technologically mediocre1 i3 didn’t sell very well. Reuters broke the news:

BMW’s management board is skipping the Paris Motor Show to hold talks aimed at breaking a deadlock over whether to produce new electric cars, including a battery-powered Mini, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.


Executives across the industry predict electric cars will increasingly gain mainstream acceptance among customers thanks to advances that make batteries get cheaper and more powerful and the VW emissions scandal, which has sparked a regulatory backlash against diesel-engine vehicles.

But BMW has been torn about whether to accelerate development of new electric cars, given its expensive early investments into the area which resulted in only lackluster sales of its i3, which saw only 25,000 deliveries last year.

While VW is understandably and deservedly suffering a lot for their dieselgate cheating, it seems that they finally understood the problem and will push EVs. Meanwhile, BMW believes that we will continue to use cars running on fossil fuels forever.

What’s your plan BMW? EVs will not take over the world tomorrow, but do you truly think they will still be (close to) irrelevant in 2025? 2050? By the end of the century? German luxury carmakers used to be way of the curve2 – the fact that I cannot name a single German thoroughbred EV that I’d buy right away (if money wasn’t an issue) is chastening.

  1. Original model had a range of 190km on the standardized New European Driving Cycle, now they also have a model that makes it to 300km – although real world performance seems to be worse as per BWM website
  2. and maybe they still are in some increasingly irrelevant fields


Lange Nacht der Startups Berlin 2016 (1)

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Am vergangenen Freitag & Samstag fand in Berlin die Lange Nacht der Startups statt. Sie bestand dieses Jahr aus zwei Konferenzen und einer Ausstellung, in der sich junge Unternehmen aus verschiedensten Bereichen präsentieren konnten. Ich habe die IHK-Konferenz am Freitag zum Thema „Partnering“ und die Ausstellung am Samstagabend besucht und werde hier meine Eindrücke und ein paar Kommentare für die Zukunft festhalten.

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Mein Europäischer Moment

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Vor einiger Zeit gab es auf Twitter unter dem Hashtag #MeinEuropäischerMoment verschiedene Wortmeldungen zu eben diesem Thema. Leider versäumte ich es damals, daran teilzunehmen. Vielleicht lag das auch daran, dass ich nach über drei Jahren im Nahen Osten gar nicht sagen konnte, was dieser Moment für mich war und ob es überhaupt nur einen gab – immerhin bin ich schon sehr lange ein großer Freund der EU.

Nun, da ich mich akklimatisiert und eigehender mit der aktuellen Situation und Stimmung in der EU befasst habe, glaube ich eine Antwort gefunden zu haben: Weiterlesen »


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Almost 60 years ago, post-war Europe started an experiment to see whether peaceful existence would be possible in the long term. I personally consider the result of this experiment, today’s European Union1, a tremendous success. Visa- and even passport free travel within most of the member states, cheaper vacations and reduced cost of doing business because there’s no need to pay FX fees, reduced and soon completely abolished roaming fees, passenger rights. Also, peace – for the longest consecutive period in centuries.

Today, the people of the UK decided to start another experiment to see whether they’ll be better off on their own, without the perceived dictatorship of Brussel’s bureaucrats2.

An important difference between those experiments is that the former is based on cooperation and consensus, while the latter is focused on exclusion and new borders – not only between countries. Consensus doesn’t mean everybody will be happy all the time – but it means that we’ll make an effort to consider different opinions and requirements. The campaign that led up to today’s referendum left Britain utterly divided – unfortunately it’s much easier to divide people than it is to unite them. Especially, if you do not feel bound by the truth3 and prefer to use racist and xenophobic stereotypes instead. Now Scotland will want a new referendum on its own independence and who knows what’ll happen to Northern Ireland. Worst of all, there’s a huge generational divide between old people who mainly voted to leave but won’t face the consequences for as long as the younger generation, the majority of which voted to remain.

So what about the EU? It’s still an experiment without any recent precedence, so – naturally – not everything is going perfect. I am still hoping that it will remain strong and united. Until yesterday, we tried to make concessions to the UK in order to keep them in. Starting today we’ll have to negotiate strongly for the remaining 27 members. Making the exit too easy, will result in further exits and eventually the decay of the EU. The UK had its say4, now it’s time for the remainder of the EU to have its own. The fact that Cameron wants to delay the formal notice until October shows that the UK is still trying to play games. Out is out, now face the music.

  1. officially, the UK is and will remain a member for quite some time. Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon has not been invoked yet
  2. Even without EU regulations, there will be national regulations, it’s just that the Brits too often didn’t get their way in a pluralistic discussion of 28 stakeholders
  3. Two of the main leave arguments were that a) Europe is too expensive (just have a look at today’s development at the markets and see where your money went) and b) there’s excessive immigration (a field in which the UK always made their own rules)
  4. Though it seems some didn’t have a clue what they were voting on

30 before 30 ✔︎

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About a year ago, a friend of mine told me about a challenge to travel 30 countries before turning 30 years old. The latter happens 30 days from today so I’m quite happy to announce that I’ve made my goal a few weeks back. So, where have I been?

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Denmark
  5. Egypt
  6. France
  7. Germany1
  8. Greece
  9. Hungary
  10. That other state in the Middle East
  11. Italy
  12. Jordan
  13. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia2
  14. Latvia
  15. Lebanon
  16. Morocco
  17. Malaysia
  18. The Netherlands
  19. Norway
  20. Oman
  21. Persia3
  22. Russia
  23. Slovakia
  24. Spain
  25. Sri Lanka
  26. Sweden
  27. Switzerland
  28. UAE
  29. UK
  30. USA

To complete the alphabet, I’m missing:

  • Q: Qatar4
  • T: most likely Turkey5, maybe Thailand
  • V: I’ve been to Vatican City, which doesn’t count for the same reasons as Turkey. So it’ll be either Vietnam or Venezuela
  • W: Turns out, there’s no sovereign state starting with W, so I’ll have to wait until either Wales or Wallis and Futuna declare independence6.
  • X: …
  • Y: Yemen7
  • Z: Wikipedia claims it’s easier to get to Zambia than to Zimbabwe, so I guess that settles the question.
  1. Yes, I was born here, but it still counts. I’ve seen more places in Germany than anywhere else. And since I was born in the GDR, it should actually count twice :)
  2. Ok, maybe I cheated with the name because I needed a country with K
  3. I needed a P as well
  4. Should’ve thought of that before, I guess
  5. Already spent a few hours in Istanbul, but because I didn’t stay overnight, it doesn’t count
  6. So there is a potential upside to this whole Brexit referendum
  7. I’ll put that one on hold for some time

Congratulations, SpaceX

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SpaceX just completed their ORBCOMM-2 mission, deploying 11 satellites in low-earth orbit and managing to land the first stage for later reuse. The second part – even though it was just a „secondary test objective“ – is an amazing achievement, because it will greatly reduce the cost of sending things and people into space and will ultimate pave the way for even greater adventures. I wonder how much wear and tear results from such a trip and how often they can send a first stage up.

To see some genuinely excited people, watch the recording of their webcast!

How should VW make up for the environmental damage caused by its cheating?

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Option 1 – Fines: Penalties and sanctions may hurt the company and they have the potential to avoid more cheating in the future, but they won’t be able to compensate for the damage already done. Even their suitability to discourage future misbehavior can be doubted. Not only because they put pressure on the company to somehow still deliver the results its shareholders expect, but also because fining an employer often means relieving employees from individual accountability and liability. 1

Option 2 – Recalling and fixing every affected car: Like penalties, this option inflicts financial damage on VW while doing little to make up for the damage already done. Each recalled car would marginally reduce the total future negative environmental impact but would at the same time externalize the cost of VW’s malpractice to the owners of the troubled cars. That’s also the reason why it’s really unlike to get a significant number of cars outfitted with any fix.

Option 3 – Burden VW with an environmental liability. And offer a way to pay actually pay it off: Weiterlesen »

  1. Whether or not individuals should be liable for actions taken in their roles as employees shall not be discussed in this article. Currently very few employees face criminal or civil charges due to non-compliance in their job, especially in high-profile cases.

A Conversation on Entrepreneurship

The Other Hundred & A Conversation on Entrepreneurship

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The East Wing Gallery was hosting an exhibition of works from the series „The Other Hundred – Entrepreneurs.“ The collection, initiated by the Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), aims to provide a counterpoint to the various top 100 lists of famous and infamous people that are published by different magazines, most notably Forbes. Instead of focusing on high profile entrepreneurs that often are – or at least seem – to be detached from the realities the majority of mankind is facing, GIFT wants to look at the many forms of activities and ideas that people all over the world bring to life in order to make a living or the world a better place. While still not representative, the photos – and the stories behind them – provide a much better view on what entrepreneurship means. In connection with the exhibition, the East Wing Gallery was also organizing two „conversations on entrepreneurship.“ The first one took place Oct 3, 2015 and the second one week later. This post is a collection of thoughts from the first talk, not a complete summary. If you’re interested in the full event, you can find a (mediocre) audio recording here.

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