Stories Connecting Dots with Markus Andrezak

Stories Connecting Dots by Markus Andrezak tries to discover the many different ways businesses navigate in an environment of change. Stories Connecting Dots versucht die unterschiedlichsten Wege zu entdecken, auf denen Unternehmen erfolgreich mit drastischem Wandel umgehen..
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May 30, 2021

"Calm down, take a deep breath and just talk to me“


Luke Hohmann’s new mission: Participatory Budgeting in Schools

Luke Hohmann founded FirstRoot to advance participatory budgeting in schools. Let me get straight to the point: You can invest in this company in this early stage. You can also support the cause by talking about or by simply using the free software and talking about it in your kids’ school. 

Luke Hohmann and me go back a long time. I met him ca. 12 years ago in one of his trainings and was fortunate enough to co-train and facilitate with him. He wrote an early book „Beyond Software Architecture“ which to me is one of the best books on software Architecture (sic!) and was ahead of its time. He then got deep into Serious Games with his Innovation Games trainings and a great book on it. Also ahead of its time.

From there he was on a constant path towards which had to end in what he does now. Through his Innovation Games, he made it to participatory budgeting in communities, in the Enterprise and other important places. Also, he built an enterprise SaaS company to further bring his ideas deeper into Companies and also enable distributed Serious Games. Now, he founded FirstRoot, bringing participatory budgeting to schools.

(You will realize over the course of the pod, that we couldn’t constrain ourselves - we wouldn’t be Luke and Markus, then - from drawing all kinds of parallels to Quality of Software, agile, Portfolio Planning, Architecture, Comics for Story Mapping and what have you.)

The underlying problem that Luke is tackling with FirstRoot is inequality of chances by social background, financial illiteracy (lack of education on that topic in school in general) and economic disparity.

First Root is having its part in solving that problem by offering a five step process in facilitating Participatory Budgeting to pupils around the globe, based on a software solution.

Steps are:

  1. Planning
  2. Gather Ideas
  3. Refine Ideas to proposals
  4. Voting (there will always be more ideas than we can afford - „a truism in life“
  5. Projects in implematation

In the pod Luke thoroughly leads us through an example to show us how it works and which impact it has.

I put the core of the idea at the beginning of the cast.

Again: If you believe in this story, you can also invest for as little as a couple of hundred dollars alongside of people like Alex Osterwalder, Lysa Adkins and many more. You also help by just using the software and bring it into schools. Just follow the „Invest“ link on

Mar 25, 2020

Timo Lutter und seine Frau Jule sind Deutsche, die in Oslo wohnen und arbeiten. Timo hat lange als Molekularbiologe gearbeitet und arbeitet jetzt in Oslo im Rikshospitaletals Mikro-Biologe. Jule arbeitet in Oslo als Kindergärtnerin. Beide sind höchstwahrscheinlich wahrscheinlich Covid-19-positiv und tragen die Krankheit in ihrem sogenannten „milden“ Verlauf aus. Die beiden berichten aus Ihrer Erfahrung mit der Krankheit, dass schon das ist nicht mal eben einer lockeren Virusgrippe entspricht.

Ich habe die Chance genutzt, Timo ein bisschen seines Virologen-Wissens zu entlocken und so kommen wir zu Erklärungen darüber

  • was ein Virus ist
  • was es heisst, einen Virus zu sequentieren  
  • warum sich Timo sicher ist, dass das Virus auf keinen Fall ein „Designervirus“ ist
  • was Timo’s Einschätzungen zu den getroffenen Massnahmen ist
  • wie sich Gesundheitssysteme aufgrund gegebener Umstände unterscheiden und
  • welchen Einfluß das auf den Umgang mit dem Virus hat.

Ich wusste vorher nicht, dass Tino so viel Vorwissen zu dem Thema hat und habe einfach diese Fundgrube genutzt.


Ich würde mich über Feedback freuen. Bewertet das Podcast wo immer Ihr es hört. Empfehlt es weiter!

Falls Ihr von weiteren Geschichten hört, die es lohnt zu Corona zu erzählen, meldet Euch gerne. Ich versuche gerne etwas daraus zu machen!

Bis zum nächsten mal,


Mar 20, 2020

This is the story of Peter Bihr and his family whoa actually wanted to visit a wedding in the United States, but instead got stranded in Costa rica. Peter and his family accidentally find themselves locked up in a place which turns out to be a bit of a paradise. There could, of course be better times and conditions to find and enjoy a paradise. But let’s listen how Peter perceives his current situation. If you know of other weird stories happening during these strange and difficult time, let me know and maybe we could make this another episode!

You can reach Peter for more on his great work here

He also publishes a fantastic, interesting and personal email newsletter


Have fun, stay healthy and sane!

Jan 19, 2020

Strategie Machen!

Henning Wolf hat mich im Hotelzimmer bei einer Konferenz interviewt. Es geht um mein Thema Nummer eins, neben Produkt: Strategie Machen! Wir erklären, was an Strategie kaputt ist und wie man es fixen kann.

Wir erklären, was die drei relevanten Ebenen in Strategie sind und wie man sie wieder koppeln kann, um alles zu reparieren. Denn es ist das Koppeln dieser drei Ebenen, was Strategie repariert. Die drei Ebenen sind:

Marker: unsere Identität, ausgedrückt über unseren Antrieb, langfristige Ziele. Alles was ausdrückt, wer uns was wir sind und was wir in der Gesellschaft bewirken wollen. Unsere Identität eben.

Optionen: Das ist alles, was wir als nächstes tun könnten. Alle Möglichkeiten, die wir haben. Da wir nicht alles machen können, was wir gerne machen würden, entscheidet die beste Auswahl, die Qualität unserer Entscheidungen und Committments darüber, wie es uns geht.

Arbeit: Arbeit soll fliessen und es muss passend viel Arbeit auf gute Optionen angewandt werden. Arbeit auf schlechten Optionen ist nutzlos. Viel Arbeit auf guten Optionen bringt viel. Dies erklärt auch warum Output wichtiger sein kann als gedacht ;)

Arbeit realisiert Optionen, Optionen verwirklichen unsere Marker. Umgekehrt helfen Marker Optionen zu bewerten (und abzuleiten) und Optionen helfen Arbeit abzuleiten.

Wichtig ist, die stabilisierende Natur und langfristige Wirkung von Markern zu verstehen und akzeptieren. Ebenso ist es wichtig, die mittelfristige Wirkung und die Notwendigkeit von längerfristigen Optionen zu verstehen. nur Arbeit soll fliessen, nur hier gelten Flow-Gesetze und ähnliches. Mechanismen von Arbeit auf die anderen Ebenen zu transportieren, zerstört diese Ebenen.

Deshalb ist Business Agilität mit ähnlichen Mechanismen auf diesen Ebenen auch oberflächlich gedacht und toxisch.

Viel Spaß bei dieser Folge. Vielen Dank an Henning Wolf für die Zusammenarbeit und die Geduld beim Fragen unter widrigen Bedingungen im Hotel bei einer Konferenz!

Mar 4, 2019

Dan Vacanti - Rightsizing

I met Dan years and years ago in my active time in the Kanban community. Dan was part of the very beginning of Kanban in 2007! Since then he’s been deep into Lean and Agile. Dan authored two books, "Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability“ and "When will it be done?“. He is also the founder of Actionable Agile. Dan always had his independent thought. Most of all, he is a builder of bridges. He worked hard with on integrating the good ideas of Scrum and Kanban. Also, he organises the conference LeanAgile US which just happened from 25 -27 Feb 2019 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Possibly most noteworthy, Dan's twitter Avatar is not the usual egg provided by twitter, but a self made picture of an egg. 

Here excerpts of our conversation as a loose transcript. don't take it word by word, please!

Show Notes: 

The underlying idea for all of us is to maximise customer value.

Cost of Delay is a tool suggested as basis for ranking, prioritising and sequencing on a more objective base rather than gut feel. Hopefully based on basic economic fundamentals. 

An extension of that is WSJF (Weighted Shortest Job First), which is defined by CD3= CoD / Duration. This is meant to give a shortcut to give an answer to which number does this item have in the sequence of things to be done. 

But here's the caveat: It is critical enough to get the number for duration right (how long does this take to be done? - The Estimate!). But the even more critical question is: "how do we even get the number for the value of the thing we are building?" 

This is where my research started, but "Let me be honest with you, and this is just me talking, nothing I found was practical or applicable in my world.“

"More importantly, I felt there we’re a whole bunch of assumptions going into this CoD number that didn’t reflect reality.“ 

"Let’s focus this discussion on the area of complex product development work. And we try to get that number even before start working on something. Which, by definition, is when we have the highest amount of uncertainty. And this is what struck me: How can this CoD number give us the right answer? And that’s were I started my investigation.“ 

Customers will always be able to ask things from us faster than we will be able to deliver them. 

There are fundamental assumptions in CoD to be in place for that to make sense. 

When there is uncertainty involved, we need a probabilistic approach. That means, we have to work with ranges. That means we have to think about CoD as a distribution across that range. The same is true for the duration. 

Those two assumptions are not fatal. There are mathematical tools like Monte Carlo simulation that help us to come up with an answer. 

BUT: If you are in a world, where you no the numbers, then CoD/D = CD3 gives you the right number. If you do not know these numbers, once you deliver the thing, these numbers could be completely different. 

So now CoD can change and as well duration can change. When you now run a Monte Carlo simulation, you will realise that this is not the best tool once uncertainty sets in. 

The best answer in this world is to do things by random sequencing. What matters is: right sizing items. What that means is, we need to break things up to a size where they reasonable flow through our system. So, CoD doesn’t make a difference. Duration doesn’t make a difference. What makes a difference is right sizing your items. 

This flies in the face of what’s lately been said in agile, where there is a lot of talk about outcomes over output. And what we found out is that it’s actually the other way around: It’s output over outcomes. It’s the output that generates the outcome. A metaphor here is gambling, where you would place as many small bets as possible to generate outcome. 

„We’re coming back to a fundamental principle of Lean, which is that value is defined by the customer.“ What is the smallest thing that we could feedback on from the customer? 




Jan 28, 2019

Part II


This is part two of the conversation I had with Jabe Bloom and Marc Burgauer during the Devops Conference 2018 in Munich.

All information can be found in the show notes of part 1, which is Episode 21 of this podcast.

Here some short show notes on this second part.

Show Notes

On Bid Data & being Data Driven

"Russell Ackoff wrote a brilliant paper titled "On Data Mismanagement Systems and the basic thesis is: Managers need data to make decisions and the more data they have, the better it is. Of course, the answer is: Managers don't need more information, they need the right information"

"Of course, big data is a response to a particular problem and the particular problem is "Oh god, we made such big piles of data that no human can actually process it anymore. And now we have to come up with an algorithm to summarise the data for us."

On Change & Culture

"By definition all future things are stories. They don't exist. That's why they're in the future. You can't measure them. You can't use data to understand them. You can only use data to understand what exists now."

"People think that you have to change people's thinking first. You change what they think about things and then they change their behavior and that will change the output. And that's absolutely wrong. You have to change what they're looking at and that will change their thinking. And when you want to change something, that's when you need to create those models and give people new things to look at."


Is speed still an advantage?

"Right now everyone goes rushing towards high cycle time, high frequency: spin as fast as you can. If everyone is playing to the same time cycles, there is no advantage to doing that. … In fact, the advantage will be having the discipline … of having long term vision and connecting them to the capabilities of having a short cycle time. That's the next competitive advantage. We need people to be able to understand how to make commitments beyond two weeks. Period."

"We need to create space for commitments. If everything is an option you have no commitments. If you had no commitments, you have no identity."

Autonomy vs. Agency

"I hate the word autonomy. … I think autonomy is individuating. … The way I hear the word and I think other people hear it - and I might be wrong and other people hear it differently - but the way I hear it is "I have the right to make my own decisions. I have the right to make my own rules."

"If you look up the etymology of the word it means "the owner of the rules". (Whereas) Agency is my ability to chose in that environment and to see the result of it. Autonomy as the ability to act without responsibility is my concern. The ability to act without considering the feedback loop of what s the effect of what I have done.

Thanks for listening!

Remember to give us feedback on twitter, mail, wherever you want! Your feedback on iTunes will help us spread the word! Be prepared for the next episode in a few weeks!

Dec 13, 2018

Jabe Bloom and Marc Burgauer - Designing Systems

Last week, beginning of December 2018, I happened to be guest of the DevOps Conference in Munich. The nice people from the organising company gave me the chance to actually make it a family meeting with my pals J Paul Reed (a giant in the field of DevOps), Marc Burgauer (from Scotland, doing Agile consulting in Banking) and Jabe Bloom (co-founder and chief scientist of Praxisflow).

It was 3 really busy days, the bunch of us were continuously mingling in giving talks, workshops, being active in a panel and all kinds of fun. Finally on the last day, we all gave a huge workshop together, using all kinds of techniques and tools from all of our fields and it felt like really great collaboration - throwing together all our expertise from all the fields we've been busy in and merging the approaches. Collaboration without vanity and really sharing. It rarely feels this good!!!

On the evening before the workshop, Marc, Jabe and me sat down in my hotel room and recorded roughly two hours of ramblings on designing systems. When Jabe is with you, it's always on the highest level and really abstract design theory. But Jabe has this tough in which he can really go sky high, risking to be Icarus. But just before his abstract knowledge makes gets him too close to the sun, he defends to us other mortal souls and he connects back to earth and leaves us all with a "ahhhh, I see what you mean!!!" The background is that Jabe is currently working on his PhD in Design at the Carnegie Mellon University and as such he is a monster in reading about all of the most abstract literature in design theory - specialising in change in human systems in extreme time spans (like hundreds of years). Of course, there are huge connections between these theories and what we are doing. 

Having Marc in this round is a totally different perspective yet and I love how the three of us managed to blast through all kinds of topics. Honestly, this one is one for the lodert and possibly for a niche. But I guess the niche will love it.

I'll make it short this time and leave it with the character of the recording: Raw, uncut and a little meandering but always true to the topic and lots of lots of depth. I love this and it feels authentic to how my life and job is.

Thanks guys in being my guests and inspiration in this episode.

This is part 1 of 2 parts. The next part will make up the next episode and will follow in a week or so. This just had to be out there.

Some notes and hints

How different timeframes and different temporality change our thinking and how we have to take care about this. We mention Bungay, User Stories, Epics, Strategy …

The focus of Agile is compression of timeframes. It can be a problem once we loose the language for longer timeframes.

„Employee goes „I can’t think of a way to come up with a chain of two week events that would add up to your one year story. I can’t do it. It doesn’t make any sense.“

The role of middle management in story telling and expertise.

A Peter Principle of temporality, explaining micro management.

OKRs and stories

Humanist culture is about "What am I doing?“ not „How do I measure what I am doing?“ but "What am I doing?“‚

Determinism vs. "The Quality within", love vs. Process

The more efficient you get, the more exploration you can do.

Science doe not have time as a component. The scientific method is always in retrospective. It always thinks about the past and it never thinks about the future. The predictions it does on the future are based on a determined future. There is no **Open** in science.

The thing about the Jony Yveish people out there is that they are able to imagine things that don't exist and can't be measured. You can't use determinism to get there. You can't use quantification to get there. You can only use story telling and narrative.

How can Roger Martin's Knowledge funnel be used in a way that it brings mystery? It needs to be used non-linearly. You throw a thing in the middle, it pops up to the top and a mystery is born. That'd be a different way to innovate rather than simply finding "valuable problems" to solve.

Doing Hackathons more right and more wrong.

Apollo 13 mission story: Time constraints, a known set of components and *isolation* (so the team has to be put away from everybody)

"If we had this, then we could make that!"

Three temporalities to making sense:
- How do I make sense of what's going on?
- Retrospective coherence:How can I later explain why I did this in the future. (constraining)
- Prospective coherence. If I put this thing that doesn't exist into the world, how does it change the stories that I'm in?


I guess this is really abstract stuff. I just love it and I assure that if you are a regular listener, there is a lot in it for you!




Oct 28, 2018

I follow Matt since years. he has a couple of great books out, his latest one possibly being the top pick. It is called "Winning the brain Game". In "Winning the brain Game", Matt explains 7 fundamental flaws of the brain which hold us back from being the best problem solvers we could be. He describes how he discovered them, gives explanations from the fields of psychology and neuro science and finally gives hints on fixes for these flaws. 

I discovered Matt by means of a different book he wrote quite a couple of years ago. The book was called "The laws of subtraction" in which he gave structure on how to make things simpler and how to address that problem. At the time I headed a product which was really a complicated mess and the book helped me think through several of the problems I had at the time and I have it in find memories. 

Matt comes up with the following categories of flaws: 

  • "Misleading", which contains the flaws of Leaping (jumping to the first best, shallow solution), Fixation (being stuck on the first best idea) and Overthinking (not getting into a state of delivery at all.
  • Then there is Mediocre with Satisficing (giving in to a half baked solution and not pulling through) and Downgrading (no, it's not so important to hang in and we didn't mean to reach that level at all)
  • And finally there is Mindless with the flaws "not invented here" (if it's not my idea, I won't listen) and Self-Censoring (It's my idea, it can't be good).


So, again:

  • Misleading
    • Leaping
    • Fixation
    • Overthinking
  • Mediocre
    • Satisficing
    • Downgrading
  • Mindless
    • Not Invented Here
    • Self-Censoring

Also, expect a definition of Strategy and a little gossip on how one of the greats, Roger L. Martin, thinks on Strategy. Also really useful for me was a description of the value of frameworks as a way of describing ways to work with tools in a non sequential, non linear way and still feel comfortable and having a feeling of progress in highly abstract knowledge work.

Another Gem for me was the framing of "assumptions" as "What has to be true? Given our strategy, what has to be true in our industry for it to work out? What has to be true for our org structure? What has to be true about what our customer really values? What about our cost? And what has to be true about our capabilities? Answering that questions opens a space right between the questions of "What is true?" and "What might be true" and help us thinking much more open about these issues.

Show Notes

"True Strategy os not about a plan, it is not about analysis. True strategy s about choice making."

"There’s a lot of talk about thinking outside of the box, And I’m here to tell you there’s an awful lot of space inside of the box, if we think about the box in the right way."

"When people say „culture eats strategy for lunch, what they’re basically talking about is when you march out a plan of action without having the buy-in or the input of those being in some sort responsible for deploying that strategy, the Status quo will defeat that plan.“

"(Culture)  does not eat for breakfast a great set of winning choices that answer - “what’s our winning aspiration?“, - "where will we play?“, - "how will we win?“,- "what capabilities do we need?“ and- "What systems are required?“

"The brain works very efficiently if there's some sort of limit. But you make that limit smart and intelligent. Just enough so that there's guidance but not prescription."

Matt's Mantra 

"What appears to be the problem, isn't.

What appears to be the solution, isn't.

What appears to be impossible, isn't"

"I think the key to able to think differently is to be able to reframe problems"

"They (Toyota) are a very innovative company. They implement close to a million ideas per year, all across the organization."

On Lean in the Toyota Way

"A lot of what we see on the surface as Lean, what really drives it (and can't be seen) is creativity. To have someone who puts on a windshield improve that work. And that's something that took me 4 years to understand."

"One of the training programs was called "Jobs Methods Training". And they introduced the concept of continuous improvement: Little ideas, implemented as quickly as possible as near to the frontline as you possibly can. It was aimed at the supervisor level. Among those was a guy called Deming."

"Until this day, you will not find a Lean Thinking program at Toyota. You will find Toyota Business Process, before that it was PDCA."

"I often get the question on what is the difference between continuous improvement and radical innovation. And it really is just a matter of scope, scale & magnitude. The process is the same. The problem solving process is the same"

It's all problem solving.

"Do I teach Lean? Yes, I do tech Lean Thinking. But looks an awful lot like Design Thinking." 

"In an ideal world, all this stuff (Design Thinking, Agile, Lean Startup. Lean, etc.) would just be called problem solving."

"A neuroscientist will tell that there are only two ways that human beings solve problems. Just two. One is the conscious way. And one is the unconscious way."

What is creativity?

"The best that you can do is to steep yourself in the problem so that you have as best an understanding as you possibly can. And then simply take a break. Just take a break. because that gives the hippocampus time to make the connections that we call the term creativity. Creativity is nothing more than the mash up  of certain elements, connections, criteria and memories that all boil up into that sudden burn of neuro chemical reaction that we term creativity: The Eureka moment."

"Hansei (Reflection) in Japan is a huge part of a Childs upbringing. It's an after action review: What did you expect to happen? What did actually happen? And what accounts for the difference?"

"First of all, Roger (Martin) would say that strategy is not a plan. … he would tell you the distinction is meaningless between Strategy and execution. … Essentially strategy has to cascade down onto every individual."


I hope this conversation was as much fun for you as it was for me and you could take away as much as I did. And I hope you could hear just how much fun I had! 

And honestly I got a little stuck taking down notes for the show notes. It was just just too much good stuff and gems in it! To me, it was a blast!

Make sure you look up the Canvases that Matt talked about. There are links in the show notes.

Also make sure to read Matt's last book "Winning The Brain Game"! Also, the earlier ones are worth the money and time! And maybe, look out for a conference close to you were you might meet him or me or both of us for some chat and a hefty dose of problem solving . 

I say thanks for listening in again. If you liked it, spread the word and recommend this show to your friend, colleagues and ,maybe your boss and leave a review! If you didn't like it, please tell me how to improve! 

And let's all remember the Mantra:  

"What appears to be the problem, isn't.

What appears to be the solution, isn't.

What appears to be impossible, isn't"

Thanks again and hear you in a couple of weeks! 


Oct 9, 2018


Diese Folge ist für mich ganz besonders! Als ich Norbert besucht habe, kam ich dafür in meinen alten Berliner Kiez, in dem ich fast 20 Jahre lang gewohnt habe. (Ich war ganz ausser mir, als ich mich da umgesehen habe ;) Und auch Norbert kenne ich seit den frühen 90ern, als wir noch Autobahnkilometer auf dem Weg zu Mountainbike-Rennen abgespult haben. Natürlich haben wir auch Stunde um Stunde beim Training auf Waldwegen und -abwegen verbracht und auch in Rennen.

Wenn das Gute so nah ist, ist es manchmal schwer zu erkennen, was man überhaupt vor sich hat. Und so hat es bis jetzt gebraucht um Norbert zu interviewen und mehr über sein Geschäft und seine Industrie zu lernen. Und so ist diese Folge noch mehr als viele andere true to title: In andere Welten eintauchen um Verbindungen zu finden. Norbert Haller, designed seit 20 Jahren e-Bikes. Ich habe mich in seiner Werkstatt umgeschaut. Seit langem interessiert mich, wie man das alles in Hardware anstellt, denn Hardware ist cool. Und die Skalierung bei Fahrrädern ist immens: Sehr wenige Designer arbeiten an sehr vielen Modellen in sehr hohen Auflagen.

Wenn wir in Software herum jammern über Prototypen, hört hier mal rein, wie komplex sich der Prozess von Design zu Produktion in Hardware ist. Interessant auch die Beobachtungen zu Märkten.

Für mich war der Killer, dass Elektromobilität jetzt doch komplett von unten kommt. Jetzt ist ein Sweet Spot, in dem die Änderungen bei Leichtfahrzeugen einfach klappen und gehen. Und schon werfen sich in der Lieferkette diejenigen mit in den Markt, die bei Autos die Felle davon schwimmen sehen. Spannend war für mich zu hören, wie lange die Konstruktion ein Suchprozess bleibt, in dem man flexibel bleiben muss. Auch in diesem Designprozess ist es so, dass nach der „Reinzeichnung“ eine Menge Detail- und Dreckarbeit anfallen, weil Design auf dem Papier und die Idee auf eine etwas brutalere (Konstruktions-)Realität treffen.

Norbert beobachtet, dass jede Industrie ihren Master hat. Der Master bei Autos ist der Verbrennungsmotor und alle Lieferketten und anderen Prozesse sind um den Verbrennungsmotor aufgebaut. Das Problem der Autoindustrie ist, dass sich der Master gerade ändert und dabei zum einen unklar ist was genau der neue Master ist, aber auch: dass sie es nicht schnell genug hinbekommen, ihre Lieferketten und Prozesse inkl. Design und Konstruktion auf Batterien, und E-Antriebsstränge umzustellen. Es ist ein bisschen wie zu der Zeit als Norbert mit E-Bikes angefangen hat: E-Autos sehen noch ein bisschen behindert aus und nutzen nicht das Design-Potential des neuen Antriebs.

Ganz am Ende noch ein paar Beoabachtungen, was e-Bikes mit dem Sport anstellen: Wir glauben Diversifizierung ohne Ende und neue Möglichkeiten. Mit e-Bikes fahren ist ein neuer Sport, der erst entdeckt werden muss. Es nicht einfach Fahrradfahren mit Motor. Erste Rennserien entstehen und ich bin überzeugt, wir wissen noch gar nicht was dort passieren wird. Das Level an Technik und Körperbeherrschung wird wieder ein anderes werden

Jetzt aber viel Spaß mit 20 Jahren E-Bike Design mit Norbert Haller!!!

Show Notes

Man muss zielgerichtet sein, aber auch eine gewisse Flexibilität mitbringen, das Projekt anzupassen, wenn man merkt, sass bestimmte Bausachen nicht so funktionieren, wie gedacht."

„Wenn man ein innovatives Fahrzeug für einen neuen Markt baut, gibt es während des Entwicklers teilweise einen Lernprozess. Da gibt es dann auf Seiten des Kunden einige Herausforderungen."

„Wir wissen schon, was Shimano, Bosch und co. in 2-3 Jahren machen. Nur haben das dann die anderen Hersteller auch. Wenn eine Firma wirklich eigenständig in den Markt eintreten will und etwas noch innovativeres haben möchte, Da muss man doch relativ visionär sein. Da kann man dann nicht einfach die Informationen in einer einfachen Marktanalyse holen. Das wäre so als hätte Steve Jobs im nächsten Media Markt gefragt wie das iPhone aussieht. Dann hätten die ihm gesagt „mach mir ein Blackberry mit einer kleineren Tastatur für 200 $ weniger.“

„Kreativität ist schon sehr wichtig. Man muss schon sehr visionär denken. Vor allem aber die Kunden müssen auch visionär denken. Viele denken wir können das einfach abliefern. Wir merken aber, dass das Entscheidende ist, dass der Kunde auch visionär denkt und ein Verständnis hat, was kommen wird - denn der trifft nachher auch die Entscheidungen. Wir können aber auch nur Richtungen geben. Was so verlockend ist: Viele Kunden wollen einfach in den Markt kommen, der hier und jetzt ist. Das kann aber oft der erste Schritt sein, dass der Kunde keine Chance hat.“

„Fahrräder werden komplett elektrifiziert. … die Fahrrad-Industrie wächst immer mehr in die Autoindustrie hinein. Das nächste was kommt sind Lastenfahrräder, der Bereich Motorroller kommt, dann Micro-Cars und die Fahrradindustrie schlägt von unten nach oben auf. Die Autoindustrie tut sich relativ schwer.“

„Wie sehen die Hersteller der Zukunft aus? Ich bin der Meinung, dass sich neue Plattformen ergeben. In der Autoindustrie ist der Master der Verbrennungsmotor. Und es ist eine Industrie, die sich komplett um den Verbrennungsmotor aufgebaut hat. Jetzt auf einmal ist der Verbrennungsmotor nicht mehr der Master sondern er ergibt sich aus neuen Bereichen und der ist noch nicht genau definiert. Er ist bei den Batterien, den Antriebssystemen, der Digitalisierung. Um den neuen Master wird sich die Industrie herum aufbauen. Neue Marketingkonzepte und neue Geschäftsmodelle wie Sharing. … Die ehemaligen Komponentenhersteller, z. Bsp. Shimano switchen auch auf die neuen Master und bieten Antriebssysteme.“


May 6, 2018

Netflix. Wir schauen es alle. Und ich glaube, das es eine der kompliziertesten, koordinierten Arbeitsformern ist, wenn z. Bsp. 20 Autoren eine konsistente Geschichte über 6 Staffeln a 15 Folgen erzählen. Jede Folge hat dabei einen Spannungsbogen, Drehungen und Wendungen, wiedererkennbare Charaktere, authentische Emotionen, Überraschungen und am Ende immer einen Cliffhanger, der dafür sorgt, dass wir am Schirm bleiben zum Binge Watching oder eben nächste Woche wieder einschalten. Wir wissen ein bisschen darüber wie das funktioniert und es muss ein schmaler Grad zwischen Kooperation, Planung und Kreativität und Delegation sein, der da beschritten wird.

Wer ganz viel dazu weiss und überhaupt darüber, wie Story Telling funktioniert und wie wir es einsetzen können ist Christian Riedel, der Gründer von Growth by Story.

Christian ist mein Gast in dieser 18. Folge von Stories Connecting Dots. Christian hilft Firmen dabei, Story Telling gezielt zur Verbesserung interner Kommunikation, Alignment innerhalb der Firma und auch beim Erzählen nach aussen - im Marketing - einzusetzen.

Um das zu können, hat Christian Cultural Studies und Marketing studiert. Das hat ihm aber nicht gereicht. Er hat noch Game Research und Design dazu gepackt und schließlich auch noch eine Masterclass im Drehbuchschreiben durchgezogen.

Das er Geschichten schreiben kann, hat der Kurzkrimi-Preis bewiesen, den er für deine Kurzgeschichte „Terroir" bekommen hat. Beruflich hat er in vielen Positionen und Kontexten gearbeitet. Ich habe ihn durch seine Arbeit bei Jimdo kennengelernt. Bei Jimdo hat er unglaublich dazu beigetragen, der Firma ein Gesicht, eine Stimme und eben eine Geschichte auch aussen zu geben.

In dieser Folge sprechen wir vor allem darüber, was Story Telling kann und wofür man es einsetzen kann. In einer, bald erscheinenden, weiteren Folge sprechen wir darüber, wie Christian mit seinen Kunden am Story Telling arbeitet.

Story Telling ist etwas fundamentales, archaisches und wir alle verstehen Geschichten. Wie Laufen, Sprechen und Atmen können wir es einfach. Umso spannender ist es, sich bewusster damit auseinander zu setzen und zu verstehen was Story Telling ist und kann.

Passend dazu kam mir gerade noch der Artikel Why Humans Need Stories von Patrick Tanguay unter. Geschichten gab es schon immer - sie scheinen der Kitt zwischen Menschen zu sein und die Interaktionen - z. Bsp. Kooperation - zu ermöglichen.

Christian spricht einen sehr wichtigen Aspekt an: die soziale Bedeutung von Geschichten: Wenn wir Aktionen im Nachhinein nicht begründen können, wirken wir autistisch oder asozial. Geschichten helfen uns, Verhalten im Nachhinein erklären zu können - sie helfen uns Verständnis zu schaffen.

Für mich sind Geschichten so wichtig, weil sie Gruppen helfen ein gemeinsames Verständnis eines gemeinsamen Vorhabens zu erreichen. Und die bedeutsamsten Vorhaben bekommen wir nur in Gruppen hin. Alleine sind wir alle Zwerge. Daher setze ich Geschichten ein, wo immer es notwendig ist, in Gruppen dieses gemeinsame Verständnis zu erzeugen. Ich rede gerne davon „Kommunikation zu erzwingen“. Natürlich mache ich das nicht alleine und es ist nicht meine Idee. Die Geschichte von agiler Produktentwicklung ist voll davon und alleine die Begriffe User Stories und User Story Mapping zeigen woher sie kommen.

Geschichten sind letztlich die einfachste und billige Weise, mit möglichen Zukünften umzugehen und diese verstehen zu können. Deshalb haben sie auch einen wichtigen Platz in der Produktarbeit. Bevor wir coden und entwickeln, sollten wir uns - billiger - über Geschichten annähern um zu verstehen ob die ausgedachte Zukunft Sinn macht.

Ich glaube, wir können Story Telling nicht „benutzen" ohne es zu verstehen. Ich glaube, zu verstehen, wie andere Story Telling professionalisieren und fast schon industrialisieren, hilft uns dabei, unsere Arbeit mehr als kreative Zusammenarbeit zu verstehen und weniger als ein „Abarbeiten von Aufträgen". Die Metapher Story Telling macht uns erfolgreicher als die Metaphern „Fabrik" oder „Produktion".


„Man darf die Regel nicht mit dem Ergebnis verwechseln … dafür sind auch zu viele von diesen Prinzipien Ex-Post von erfolgreichen Geschichten abgeleitet worden."

„Never be boring!"

„Das Emotionale führt zu einem Unsicherheitsgefühl, so dass man gegebenenfalls versucht, es über Regeln und Prozesse aus der Welt zu schaffen."

„Aus der Falle kommt man nur raus, wenn man sich von dem Weltbild verabschiedet, dass der Mensch ein rationales Wesen ist, das in seinem Denken einem Computer ähnelt. Das ist er nicht."

„(Geschichten erzählen) … hilft denen mit Visionen und Ideen, die eigene Idee für andere greifbar zu machen."

„Story Telling führt zu einer Klärung, weil ich mir erst einmal Gedanken machen muss, wie ich es jemand anderem erkläre."

„Man ist versucht, das Boot mit dem Ufer zu verwechseln. … Weil es komplizierter ist, sich Gedanken über das Ziel zu machen, macht man sich lieber Gedanken darüber, das Boot zu verbessern."

„Die Magie im Writers Room liegt darin, die Balance zu finden von Strukturierung (meist mit Karteikarten an der Wand) und dem Detail dahinter. Also die Szenen zu planen, aber sie dann von einer Einzelperson ausfüllen zu lassen."


- Growth by Story: Christians Firma
- „Why Humans Need Stories" - Patrick Tanguay bei
- „Our fiction addiction: Why humans need stories" - BBC
- Writers Room - die von Christian angesprochene Serie von Sundance, zu sehen bei Sky Arts


Mar 30, 2018

Ep. 17: Courtney Hemphill - Psychological Safety at Work

I met Courtney years ago at the Lean UX conference. At the time there was a lot of talk of yet another round of inclusion. Where DevOps was going on in one part of the universe, this was the universe, we were talking and discussing inclusion of UX, User Research, Design and other disciplines into what we called agile. Each inclusion brings its own challenges as it takes us away from the trodden path. And somehow, all of these movements attract Courtney. Courtney is all about inclusion. And what all of these movements have in common is also the need for psychological safety. a safe place to be able to try out how we can better work together - coming from all our nice, little, funny, sometimes highly culturally coded environments and all of a sudden be a team.

Courtney has a coding background but now is managing big efforts at and with clients to build digital products, but much help clients embrace the challenges of the digital change that is before us. at CarbonFive, Courtney currently manages the New York office. It is one of the few times I mention a company of one of my guests, as CarbonFive is special in how they are a great place to work, where Courtney and her colleagues try to self apply what they learn about how people can meaningfully work together.

Courtney is also a climber of crazy skills, devotion, focus, love to the sport and perseverance. Climbing - another space to collect those experiences that can make you understand.

Show Notes

"You need to build the foundations of a good culture and the foundations of good technical solutions. It is going to be very hard to work in a risk free environment when the type of systems you have are breaking all the time: There’s bugs all over the place and you can’t release because you have to through 9 levels of QA."

"(Radical Candor shows you ways) where you’re saying the hard truth to someone, but you’re saying it in a way where you have empathy with the person you are talking to. But also you are being self aware in the way that you are going to communicate. You are giving the person you are giving feedback the possibility to tell _you_ how they have perceived the feedback. Because a lot of times you think you are being candid and caring, and in fact you are being obnoxious."

"The best of us have been there where we had a bad morning, went to a meeting and then were obnoxiously aggressive. But then being able to go back and say “hey, I’m learning from this … I need to work on my emotional intelligence. So let me rephrase that in a way where I am more empathetic"."

"We tend to see teams that are much smaller. Microservices have played a role in this, the whole Conway’s law thing. We can now have teams of 4, but we can have 50 of them across the company. How do we manage that? This has been a driving mechanism for the need of - and I hate the term - soft skills! Emotional intelligence - EQ. So it’s less _lines of code_, now it’s _how can teams collaborate with another_ and can be 10X in value, not in lines of code.“

"The reality is that nothing is going to work in any organisation if it doesn’t feel right"

"Climbing is - oh my god - I almost cry when I think of it, I love it so much. It is this perfect balance to the insanity of urban and work life. It allows you to be in a place where you have to be in a place where you are independent, you have to be self sufficient, you have to make these choices but you can not make them independently. You _need_ a partner."


- "Radical Candor - Be a kick ass boss without losing your humanity" the great book by Kim Scott, mentioned in the interview. It is a great read and you will have all these moments of “oh my, I’ve been there“.
- Product Dartboard: A tool for frequent team self assessment. More info
- Carbon Five, where Courtney works

Mar 4, 2018


I don’t really dare to introduce Roman. He is such a big name in Agile Product Management. Since his beginnings in Scrum, he was totally focused: Scrum it will be, Product it will be - and everything that belongs to it. No more, no less. Clarity.

In the field of Agile Product Management, he is really known for his great Scrum Product Owner courses, but also his books. His latest book is called Strategize and is all about product strategy. Unlike with many other books on strategy, what Roman accomplishes with his book, is to get the topic out of the vague. He gives clear cut advice in an otherwise often blurry topic.

Knowing Roman for many years, it actually took me until this interview to actually decode one of his main qualities: Calm and certainty. Roman, in the best sense, gives you the clarity and certainty you expect from a teacher. While many teachers may bring you to the brink of doubt, Roman in a very calm, distinct and respectful way tells you what he found out to be the core of any topic he writes about. He really helps you to accept this things and go on with them.

While I sometimes struggle and have to tell the world about all the different aspects of a topic, Roman already did all the thinking and came to a conclusion. And that helps. He does not leave out the rest of the truth, he just helps you to focus on the core and makes it easy to take the next step in your journey. I guess, it also has to do with his experience: he seen them all and has been in many contexts. He is running his brand as a business since 2006 and was amongst the first Certified Scrum Trainers in Europe. He really was amongst the pioneers and saw the potential when nothing was yet clear.

He also writes a prominent blog on his website. These days, his focus is on leadership and product portfolio topics. It is also the topic of his newest blog posts on his blog.

The Interview

During the podcast we go through the following topics:

  • What is a product strategy?
  • Ways to work on product strategy in the context of new products
  • Working on existing, mature products
  • How to work with Roadmaps
  • What was the writing process for Srrategize?
  • What’s next from Roman?


Here some citations from the conversation:

  • "The main challenge initially really is to get to a launch": On why focus and a minimal good enough product is needed in the beginning.
  • "What good enough means, what minimal means, depends very much on the innovation we’re dealing with."
  • "There is a correlation between the amount of time we spend on something and the level of attachment that results"On why it is psychologically so hard to change plans, even though we know it is necessary.
  • "Two aspects are important: Do we have the right skills? And: are people empowered to do the product strategy work?" Often times, senior management is doing the product strategy work, which limits the strength and growth of the company. Management should do the business strategy and let the product department do the product strategy.“


Oh, if you like the music in the background, it is my first try at doing the music myself.

Jan 26, 2018

Fridtjof „Fridel“ Detzner hat die letzten 18 Jahre mit seinen Freunden daran gearbeitet von einem Bauernhof aus die Voraussetzungen für Jimdo zu schaffen und dann Jimdo mit aufgebaut. Dort hilft er auch noch ein bisschen mit, er sucht aber nach neuen Feldern.

Fridtjof „Fridel“ Detzner hat die letzten 18 Jahre mit seinen Freunden daran gearbeitet von einem Bauernhof aus die Voraussetzungen für Jimdo zu schaffen und dann Jimdo mitkönnen aufgebaut. Dort hilft er auch noch ein bisschen mit, er sucht aber nach neuen Feldern.

Darum hat Fridel ein Jahr hinter sich, dass anders war als anderen vorher. Er ist mit einem Fernsehteam durch die Welt gereist um für die Serie Founders Valley zu drehen. Sie wird weltweit ausgestrahlt und Du kannst sie auch auf youtube anschauen. Dafür ist das Team monatelang durch die Welt gefahren. In anderen Kulturen und Kontexten wurde geschaut,

  • was „Gründen“ dort bedeutet
  • was Gründer dort antreibt
  • welche Probleme Gründer und die Gesellschaft dort haben
  • ob esMuster von Gemeinsamkeiten mit Startups bei uns gibt

Und wenn einer eine Reise tut, dann kann er was erzählen. Und hier erzählt Fridel uns über die Erfahrungen in den anderen Ländern, und was diese Erfahrungen mit ihm machen und zu welchen Erkenntnissen und Konsequenzen sie ihnen treiben. Wir hören von Gründergeschichten im Kontext von Mangel und instabilen Gesellschaften und extremem Kontrast von Armut und Reichtum. Er erzählt von Sein und Schein und vom Kontrast zwischen Erwartung und echter Erfahrung. Wir hören von Glück und Unglück und ihrer Nähe zueinander und von ihren Geschwistern Erfüllung und Trott.

Wir stellen fest, dass einiges was spießig scheint für uns überraschend Sinn machen kann, genauso wie Dinge, die zu „corporate“ erscheinen. Aber auch darüber, dass vieles nur im Machen (und dann im Reflektieren) gelernt werden kann. So wie Fridel es meistens macht.

Diese Episode hat mir besonders Spaß gemacht: Fridel und ich kennen uns seit langem und wir haben einiges zusammen gemacht. Wir teilen aber auch viele Interessen und Einstellungen im „Beruf“ und im Rest des Lebens miteinander. Vielleicht hört man es.

Viel Spaß bei dieser sehr persönlichen Folge von Stories Connecting Dots.

Wenn es Dir gefällt, empfiehl die Folge und den Podcast bitte weiter und schicke mir Feedback und Ideen. Gern aber auch, wenn etwas für sich nicht stimmt! Hilf mir und schicke ein Review mit 5 Sternen an iTunes!

Bis in ein paar Wochen mit Folge 16!


- Founders Valley bei der Deutschen Welle
- Founders Valley bei youtube
- Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk „How Great Leaders Inspire Action“, den Fridel mehrfach anspricht.
- Das Buch „Start with Why!“ dazu von Simon Sinek

Dec 12, 2017

Episode 14: Christopher Avery - The Responsibility Process


This episode is quiet. Quiet and deep. I am happy that Christopher Avery took the time and explained the Responsibility Process to us.

I will let Christopher explain it in the podcast - the topic is complex, deep and sensitive. He's much better in this than I am. I think it is important to try to wrap your head around this model which might change your understanding of responsibility from a model of blame and shame to a model of freedom to choose and to be conscious.

Some quotes from the podcast

"We've been taught that to be a responsible person, you have to give up your impractical ambitions and do something more practical"

"How are you?" is an awkward question for Europeans, we tend to answer. Here is Christopher's reply to the question:

"How are you?"

"I am free, powerful and at choice, thank you!"

"Conscious choices on repetitive behaviour do have effect.

Central ingredients to the Responsibility Process

"Intention, Awareness and Confront!"

Which answers does the responsibility process bring for teams?

"A team to really be called a team is when a group of people rise to the occasion of shared responsibility"

At ca. 1:01 Christopher comes up with a great summary of what responsibility means for teams.

"It's not so much that we divide accountabilities, it is more that we feel aligned and integrated as a unit towards something".

"For us to be successful, we have to actually get past accountability processes and get to the place of real time communication around shared ownership for something bigger than myself."

Work Life Integration

"Work life balance is a metaphor of scarcity. I prefer work life integration, which means that <i can be same person all day long. It means I don't have to put on a suit of armour and switch between roles"

A different programme

As an interesting observation, Christopher is offering a programme which is 100% clear to be free of recipes and all the work needs to be done by you on your own and applied to yourself.

On requesting change

"The next time you get upset at people who won't change, think about the last time you changed yourself".

On commitment on outcome

"The more I have practiced responsibility, the more I focused on the means and let the outcomes go. Because I can not control every outcome. But I can control whether I did my best. Whether I did my best thinking. … I can't control all the outcomes, but I can control what I do towards making an outcome happen."



Oct 27, 2017

Welcome to the first Episode of the second season of Stories Connecting Dots.

Shenzhen Life

Listen to Peter Bihr, telling the tale of Shenzhen, where hardware is software is hardware. And everything is hardware is software is hardware. And where cycle time is close to zero. Shenzhen is a place where you can go and order anything from ideation on your product to a 3D print in industry quality and all of that in days rather than weeks or months.

"The future is already here, it is just not very evenly distributed" - William Gibson, of course, 1999

Listen to Peter help us understand what this means and what the consequences are. And what we can learn from it. As a side aspect, understand the role of WeChat in China and how a future of a platform-that-integrates-everything already exists.


Join us onto this little excursion into one of the futures that are already present. And not just as a Gibson-eqsue Blade-Runner-like-fantasy but in the real world and in cinemascope.

References and background

Peter's written report on Shenzhen: View Source Shenzhen

A flickr album (hey, flickr! - still around!?) on Peter's travels to Shenzhen.

Ben Thompson (of Stratechery fame) writes on the magnitude of integration of WeChat (which is beyond imagination to our culture)

Scotty Allen] on how he "made his own iPhone in China" - just a great idea and video on the fringe of what's possible in tech today. Also great Shenzhen impressions. A must watch.

And of course, Peter Bihr is The Waving Cat for work. Reach out to him. He is just great.

If you want to get more into hardware and the IoT, join [thingscon], the conference that Peter helps to organise and roll out globally.


Thanks for listening to this episode. If you liked, please spread the word and leave a 5 star review on iTunes. If you have complaints and suggestions, please give me a nudge! I love it!


Jul 23, 2017

Peter Bihr - Ethics for the Internet of Things 


I was thinking for a long time on the title of this episode. No one short title would be enough.

Peter Bihr does so many things in so many flavours. If you live in Berlin you would need to live under a rock not to be aware of some of the things that Peter is part of. I am happy to know Peter since years and whenever we meet, we have these great conversations on whatever topic. 

Peter, since ages, is writing about the impact of technology on society. His instincts brought him to the topic of ethics in the Internet of Things.

That lead to getting to know the community around the Internet of Things, which again led to organising the first Thingscon in Berlin. An epic experience in starting a conference, low on budget, high on energy and even the attention of Bruce Sterling. 

During the conversation, you will hear a lot about how Peter sees the world. And as I did not choose Peter by chance, you will hear a lot of things on

  • how to start things off
  • how to open things up for a larger community 
  • how to be inclusive
  • how to have impact as a person or a small boutique
  • how to work in early phases once things are in genesis so that your impact may still be there when things grow to utility

But my favourite sentence remains:

"Sometimes simply not being a dick is good business" 

Regarding not being a dick: Here a major publication by the Thingscon world: 

"Thingscon Report - the state of responsible IoT"

And, yes, Peter also founded a small fashion business with his wife - Zephyr - which is all about clothes you can wear at work and at home in great, high tech fabrics which can take outdoor and sports abuse but don't look awkward at work. 

Many of the things I mentioned read like being general. I am sure that, after listening in, you get an insight on how you can mover the needle and how much you can influence you can have on your environment. How Thingscon was created and became a huge global thing is just one of the examples.


  1. 00:00:00 The Retreat
  2. 00:04.26 Introducing Peter Bihr
  3. 00:10:00 Thingscon emerges
  4. 00:18:17 Getting Things going and opening doors
  5. 00:27:00 Letting the community scale Thingscon 
  6. 00:33:00 Ethics in the Internet of Things
  7. 00:48:00 How a data protection initiative made it to the big corps 

Random Chapter Notes

1 - Introducing Peter Bihr

Peter as the accidental inbound marketing guy - how publishing creates the jobs you want: From writing and expertise to great jobs.

Working on topics you are convinced of, staying true to your own moral compass can simply generate events, opportunities and finally jobs and money. 

"Once you have a stage to offer, it's a more fair deal to ask for someone's time"

2 - Thingscon emerges

Peter had been following the internet of things before the name was there. Out of it emerged the Thingscon - a huge success of a conference and meets all over the world. 

Another thing that emerged out of sheer interest. Listen how.

"We just set it up on a super short time frame. Which is the only way I could ever commit to such a thing. If I thought through the consequences before, I'd never commit".

"(once it's made public) it also gives others a chance to come out of the woods and be part of it. Because: a lot of these things happen in at millions of places at the same time. … "if someone puts a flag in the ground, all these people come out …"

Getting Things going and opening doors

"I thrive on group dynamics and a certain amount oaf ambiguity".

"We try to be inclusive, we focus on diversity"

"I could go to a conference and easily spend a whole day no talking to a single person. But if you're the host, you have a totally different mandate. In my mind, it flips a switch …"

and finally: How to keep the spark alive by putting trust in the community

Letting the community scale Thingscon 

Extending and letting go.

How the ignite model (treat them as adults) contrasts with the Ted X model (tight boundaries) and what emerges from it.

"I enjoy going to conferences and prefer seeing something that totally breaks the mood and that may spectacularly fail in interesting ways rather than seeing a polished rehearsed talk"

Ethics in the Internet of Things

Solutionism of IoT = Solutionism of HTTP ^2

Why early phases are good starting points for entrepreneurs and small boutiques. 

"Political science and economy was explicitly designed after the second World War to be put into societal benefit"

Why working in early stages may even pay off in utility.

"When you join a new team, try to be humble and try to be a zero" Chris Hatfield

How Uber is a net loss to a whole network of parties.

"All of our networks are schewed towards value extraction"

How a data protection initiative made it to the big corps 

"Those small things can have a big impact because one person owns them and takes them to a big company. But also, sometime you won't notice until years later."

"But I think it was potentially dumb luck" 

"Just not being a dick is actually good business"


Photo credits:

Picture of Peter Bihr by Nina Zimmermann on flickr 

Picture of Peter Bihr and Markus Andrezak by Markus Andrezak on the go


Jun 26, 2017

This time my guest is John Cutler. He is the hardest working man in product business. At least he is the hardest and most writing man in product business. since ages he writes, thinks and muses about things he observes and wonders about in what we see as our jobs in product work.

John might actually really be one of the hardest working men in our business. On top of writing on a nearly daily basis, he has a plain normal day job. Well, what’s normal. He is Senior Product Manager for Search and Relevance at Zendesk.

Asked how he gets all of this done, he says he needs it. He says, he accepts mediocrity in his writing to get anything done. That’s close to the things Denise said in the last podcast.

What I really love about what John writes is his (in the best sense of the word) pragmatic and un-ideological view. I see this in many people who still have a day job. Not being connected to and being reliant on consulting and methods and marketing sometimes helps bring things to the point.

Not only does John write a lot, he writes good stuff as well. A couple of months ago he wrote a blog post on feature factories, places where we don’t feel the impact of what we are doing. Listen to how that came about and how we take that topic to more interesting insights on how innovation in product might soon occur in unexpected places.

And now, please join our chat! Have fun!


  1. 0:00:00 Why and how John writes such a lot
  2. 00:08:58 Context and tensions in the product world
  3. 00:11:44 How the most common sense things can be useless in a different context
  4. 00:18:15 The common thread in John's writing and viewpoints
  5. 00:21:52 Tangible vs. digital products
  6. 00:26:50 The huge story of the feature factory and what we learned from it


Chapter Notes

00:00:00 Why and how John writes such a lot

"I am a pattern matcher .. I go through my pattern library"

"The first thing I had to do was to accept I wouldn't get it right every time"

"It starts with an emotion in lots of cases"

"I like to ask why! when I was in school, I was part of a performance and my costume was a question mark on the top of my head."

00:08:58 Context and tensions in the product world

"I think as product professionals one of our core skills is understanding the fitness landscape."

"When I think of hiring, the no. 1 thing I look for is 'does the person display a strong ability for sense making and understands systems thinking and how things are fitting together'?."

"You know, systems thinking can be a bit of a curse, too … there's the 'why-askers' and there's the 'shut-up-and get-this-shit-done-people' and you need this balance between those things."

00:11:44 How the most common sense things can be useless in a different context

"When we put up a large portfolio board, all the frontline engineers immediately loved it, as they could see what's coming down the line. When the first executives saw it, they resisted, they actually wanted it to be taken down."

"You have to be yourself. Because if you're trying to not be yourself - unless you're really good at that - you gonna be less than yourself."

00:18:15 The common thread in John's writing and viewpoints

"I like all the crazy diverse engineers that I work with, the UX folks I work with, I like the hackers, I like the problem solvers, I like the designers. And if there's one theme - I guess I have a point of view - I think we make better products that way."

"It was actually a satire on how people can act like they let their team participate while they're not. Like: tell your team that you build an MVP to iterate on it and then don't iterate on it. And you'll steal their soul. Or take credit all the time without mentioning the team. Or: organise a hackney for one day so that everybody feels great for one day and then get back to work."

00:21:52 Tangible vs. digital products

"It's a service ecology. And when I say that I like that, because I think products may be like touch points. But if you think about it, I think that this might bring back the idea of craftsmanship. The idea of being people again and again. … And I think that many designers … there is something beautiful about delivering the thing … and I value this idea. But what I also love is to see this thing evolve."

"And often designers and other people see agile development as a curse. They think that this is antithetical to delivering a wonderful experience. And meanwhile I see it as an amazing opportunity. The problem is not to reduce the complexity in your product, not to make it a Frankenproduct. But it doesn't need to be that way."

00:26:50 The huge story of the Feature Factory

"No everybody wants to take the adventure the same way"

"I think we do junior product people and people working in this a little bit of a disservice by training them on the highly transactional type of work in exclusion of some of the systems thinking stuff."

"A feature factory is an environment is optimised for output. -and which is optimised for output over understanding if those things work."

"It is optimised for output but on a human level you're not sensing the impact, you're only sensing the cost."

"An interesting problem is rapid growth. Let's say the problem you're trying to solve requires 160 people to work on your particular problem. … If you want to copy Spotify, what you should copy is to get Agile coaches in. … What I love about Spotify is that they say they are bad at big projects."

"We've moved past custom and genesis type efforts. We're in the product/commodity era. And so the innovation might come in other dimensions to do that. And, again, it always comes at a cost.


Oops, the ending sounds like more and it seems we have to explore a little bit more at some time on how different stages of genesis, custom, product and commodity require different vectors of innovation. So, let's see and hope that there will be more on this in the future!

This chat really was a fun experience and incredibly easy to edit. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. And I hope this also made you a little bit hungry for more!

And I also hope that - if you didn't know John before - what I meant with pragmatic and un-ideological. But I also see these statements as so so including and inviting.

If you enjoyed this episode as much as I did, please recommend us, send us feedback on any of the channels we are available and give us that review on iTunes and whatever helps us to reach out! I hope you listen again in a couple of weeks, when it's time for episode 12!

Jun 6, 2017

Episode 10 Denise Jacobs

This episode is on doing your best work and how creativity supports that. Really!

My guest today is Denise Jacobs.

Denise has her roots in Project Management and Software Development. Denise’ first book was a bestseller on CSS and she made a speaking career out that profession. But then, something happened, she got bored and was looking for a new challenge.

Denise decided to become a public speaker and a „real“ book author on the topic of creativity. Until then, Denise spent years in teaching creativity techniques and exercises as well as giving keynotes on the topic. She discovered that there is an enemy to creativity in all of us: The inner critic.

Following that insight, she focused on that topic and now, in June 2017, after years of research and practise, her new book will be published: „Banish your inner critic - Silence the Voice of Self-Doubt to unleash Creativity and do your best Work“

What I found extraordinary in this book is that it is not about some tree hugging might work fantasies, but that it is grounded in brain research and psychology. A book full of stories, exercises (creative doses and insights that will help you do your best work.

Show Notes

0:00 Intro and the book will be published

9:09: „The matter of the fact is that nobody is going to be able to say what you have to say. … Nobody in the world has your experience, … your knowledge, your combination of experience and knowledge. … You are a unique confluence and expression of life. Past, present and future: Say it. Say what you gotta say!“

13:15 „It’s better for something to be done and exist and to be something that you can put in front of people and take on a life of its own than to have something that is always in the state of you trying to make it perfect.“

14:00 On the value of early feedback on imperfect work

„I got to a point where I would share drafts that were like 55% with my editor, which was something I was extremely uncomfortable with. I didn’t even know you could do that“. „In many ways it was like a validation of my ideas. … It also helped me to see which parts were irrelevant and which parts were relevant.“

22:56 Turning fear into curiosity to be more creative

„Maybe there is a way that you can reframe it (feeling unprotected, feeling exposed) so that it’s more like curiosity.“

„I still think that if you can take it to a place where you’re doing something and you’re not attached to the outcome, you’re more curious about how you can make it better … and it’s more like a discovery process than a testimony of who you are or your skills and capabilities.“

25:30 Creativity as a vehicle

„Creativity is really just the vehicle, but the outcome is getting to that place where you really feel empowered in you work and other areas.“

„It’s about how to become a better contributor, a better collaborator and a better leader.“

31:00 Researched foundations of the book

„I don’t say you should practice mindfulness because mindfulness is a good idea. Mindfulness is a good idea, because all these studies have shown that mindfulness treats conditions like depression, it treats conditions like compulsive obsessive disorder and it actually helps people rewire their brains …“

38:20 „I need more. I needed to know why this works. I knew this works. But I needed to go deeper. I needed to know why.“

43:00 Ideas revealing themselves & Creative Doses

„Good ideas fade into view“ -Steven Johnson, author of „Where good ideas come from“

On the importance of repetition of creative doses (creativity exercises): „Those thought patterns that for the inner critic, you have though them over and over and over again. And to change them, you have to practice.“

„The point of this book is for people to work better“

„And the porter interesting thing is that (in business) people try to act like business relationships and personal relationships are completely different“.

„And I’m like: You are talking about people and you are talking about thoughts and you are talking about emotions and you are talking about people interacting. I don’t care what the context is. This is about people and relationships. Period.“

1:04:50 Becoming Denise Johnson

„Actually, it wasn’t ok!“

„And then I read „The Artists Way“ and that lead me to making soap. and then a coworker came and bought a bar of soap from me and I thought „I guess I’m selling soap“. And then people started asking me „how do you make soap?“ … and so I had a group of five people over at may house to show them how to make soap. and I did that a couple of times and I thought „What about when I teach 20 people how to make soap?“

„And after that (first soap workshop) I felt like 3 feet off the ground. It was THE BEST THREE HOURS!“

Getting there: Going through the experience of self doubt for years … and then a night of flow! „It was the first time I didn’t think this isn’t good enough. … It was the first time I just did it. …. and this was when I was thinking: it was because I didn’t have these thoughts that I was in this flow! And that was when I had the realisation that I want to help other people feeling like this.“


Denise Jacobs
The book: „Banish Your Inner Critic

Steven Johnson
His book „Where good ideas come from

May 14, 2017

I am incredibly happy and proud to have Jan Chipchase as the guest of this show! I have followed Jan’s work and steps since years and years.

Then, he was first the Executive Creative Director of Global Insights at frog and then Principal Scientist at Nokia. For me, it all started when I wanted to get deeper into understanding how I can learn about the clients that use my products. When guessing wasn’t enough and guessing how to get closer also wasn’t enough. I sucked up all the writing and presentations by Jan, that I could find in the Internet. For years, I (we!) had to guess how he is doing things and were impressed by his decisiveness and his uncompromised search for exploring the boundaries of what he (we) knows and how he approaches extending that knowledge through experiences.

He pushed the boundaries of field research and goes to where the potential clients of his clients are: From the streets of Tokyo to the highlands of the Hindu Kush or small towns in Zimbabwe. He does that with what he calls Pop Up studios.

Now, finally, after 6 years of work he has funded his next book - The Field Study Handbook - on kickstarter. And he has done this with huge success but much more with lots of experiments - again - and the most interesting kickstarter rewards, like a walk on The Hindu Kush with him or a three day mountain retreat.

Also, beyond owning, managing and driving his innovation and research consultancy, Studio D, he „discovered“ his own luggage brand - driven from the requirements of his road work. This company - SDRTraveller - now also, has transformed from an - as he says - expensive hobby or side line project - to a business.

Please enter with me, the world of Jan Chipchase, and learn how he helps companies discover what to do next, drive their organizational wisdom and how he makes all this his reality - in places ranging from San Francisco, Tokyo and Berlin to Tajikistan and Afghanistan.


  • 00:00:26 Intro - Those Projects
  • 00:11:04 Organizational Wisdom - How to figure out what to do next
  • 00:19:14 The Art & Science of those projects
  • 00:28:17 What can we learn from remote experiences on the edges
  • 00:32:17 Many ways of doing research - from light to intense
  • 00:36:59 Finding people for those projects
  • 00:40:01 Creating a luggage brand: SDR Traveller
  • 00:45:30 The Field Study Handbook

Chapter Notes

00:00:26 Intro - Those Projects

„(Our clients) normally have a lot of data at hands that reveals what people are doing and how people are doing. And what we provide is the Why.“

„I personally want to push myself and part of that is taking me into places that I am less comfortable“

„Something I learned a while ago: If you are the first person to go into a place and start to ask questions, you can have a disproportionate impact, because the learning curve is really steep. I love to be in that environment where I know little and have to get a lot done.“

00:11:04 Organizational Wisdom - How to figure out what to do next

The cone of possibility - the sense of where an organization is now and what it thinks is possible in the future.

Work on the fringe of the cone of possibility: „Turning a hunch into data into information into knowledge into insight - and that’s typically what that first phase of a project is.“

„A really great project will turn that insight into organizational wisdom“.

„Sometimes the highest accolade for such an early phase of a project is that people say that it’s common sense.“

„And then, of course, common sense changes over time“

„What we as a studio do, is make them understand (the things) they can not measure.“

00:19:14 The Art & Science of those projects

„How do you structure projects so that every one from the CEO down to the intern know they will come away from a project knowing they experienced something they won’t experience again in their life?“

„And everyone who was in it will become an advocate …“

„The science is understanding how humans absorb information and energy levels and all these other things. And the art of it is when to step away from process and let things play out.“

00:28:17 What can we learn from remote experiences on the edges

The example of understanding money transactions on mobile devices in Zimbabwe.

00:32:17 Many ways of doing research - from light to. intense

„There are many different ways to figure out what to do next.“ „Everyone who sells a process without trying to figure out what the client wants is an idiot, frankly - or is a traditional consultancy.“

00:36:59 Finding people for those projects

„Two people flying in, hire a local team of 10 in three cities, then bouncing between these local teams - that’s a fairly typical setup."

„In my experience, I only need one local I trust to build up a local team.“

„I would hope that pretty much every person we’ve hired over the years, we could go back to and they’d be comfortable continuing to work with us.“

00:40:01 Creating a luggage brand: SDR Traveller

"The trigger for it was: I was on a trip to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. And the piece of luggage I had, which is their really nice ArcTeryx bag: Two people died to steal it and every single boarder crossing I went through they searched it inside out. And I said: OK, I ant a piece of luggage that people ignore and does the job.“

„Ultimately I created an absolutely minimal Duffle called the D3. … It is designed to be ignored, fundamentally. … when people see it, we want them to dismiss it.“

„We started the brand three years ago, and then last year ago it transformed from an expensive hobby into a business.“

„We have a bunch of products that are quirky, wonderfully quirky.“

The story of the money bags: „We built the product based on a real need, and then we brought the product out there and it’s really interesting to see the people who buy that stuff. … it’s what you would imagine and then times 10 in terms of diversity of use cases and places.“

00:45:30 The Field Study Handbook

„With this projected, I decided I want it to take as long as took. I thought it would take two years. The whole project, what it took was six years. … it was for three years, every single day between one and eight hours.“

„And then, 2 years ago, I decided that I want to design the book.“

„This project was not about hitting a deadline. It was about taking as long as it took to get the job done. And recognizing that I will probably never be able to do another project like this again and recognizing that I should probably enjoy the moment.“

"And then Dan said I should consider kickstarter. And then two weeks before we did the kickstarter, we said, maybe should launch a kickstarter.“

„Two weeks before we hadn’t anything in place. … we created a bunch of rewards. I woke up, I think, at two am. I set the reward total two 22.000. We thought that would be right goal to aim for. I have to say, I never thought I will get the money to pay the book off. And that’s not ultimately the motivation. Then at 6am we pressed the button and started the kickstarter. Went away and had a coffee. Came back and 4 hours later we hit the goal.“

„The reason to work with kickstarter is really to learn how kickstarter works.“

„(The motivation to put artifacts out there) is really driven by the motivation to attract interesting conversations. Because interesting conversations lead to projects. And this projects then affect ten of thousands or millions of people.“

„(One of the rewards) is to sign up to a borderland expedition, which is to Tadjikistan. And if you’re maybe a little bit more on the edge, a reward is a short walk in the Hindu Kush. So: come with me to Afghanistan.“

„When someone clicks on that button that says „I pledge 10.000 Dollars“, really, they are committing to something that is far greater than merely a trip. And I’ve been through it myself and I understand the psychology of it. That process is in itself a thing that will shape who you are.“

Links to people, things and places mentioned Jan’s activities


Presentations & Articles by Jan

Now, with this being sad, if it is still before May 27 2017, I urge you to visit the kickstarter page of The Field Study handbook and see which reward you want to choose rather than if you want to choose any. Participate while it works. If you listen to this podcast later than that, I am sure there will somehow be a way to obtain the book. An epic like this deserves it.

In any case, take a look at the luggage by SDR Traveller and whatever might have triggered your interest. Also, the homepage of Studio D and Jan have great inspiring content, well written and enriched with awesome fotos, giving a great impression of what is possible.

If you liked this episode, please don’t forget to share my podcast, send me feedback or give me that five star review on iTunes!

If you are new to this podcast, have a look at the older episodes. There are some gems amongst them.

Thanks for your interest and hear you soon! Markus

May 7, 2017

Episode 8: Stefan Roock und Henning Wolf / it-agile und die Geschichte von Agil in Deutschland


Episode 8 ist für mich eine ganz besondere und sehr persönliche Folge. Und das hat mit den Gästen zu tun. Ich habe die Folge mit Stefan Roock und Henning Wolf in den wunderbaren Büros Ihrer weithin bekannten Firma it-agile am Hamburger Hafen aufgenommen. it-agile ist für mich die Firma für agile Kultur, Methoden, Techniken und Transitionen.

Mit den beiden und ihrer Firma verbindet mich unglaublich viel: wir sind Kollegen, Partner und Freunde. Wir arbeiten zusammen, wir geben hie und da gemeinsam Trainings. Stefan und Henning haben aber als meine ehemaligen Coaches in der Transition von einen unglaublichen Einfluß auf mich, meine Arbeit und meine Leben gehabt, der bis heute wirkt. Stefan hat mich - ein kleines Beispiel - zu meinen ersten Vorträgen überredet.

Diese Folge ist vor allem ein entspanntes Gespräch über die Zeit von 1995 bis heute und über das was im agilen Umfeld so passiert ist. Es hat sich natürlich angeboten, mit den beiden die so lange in diesem Geschäft sind, einen Rundumschlag und Überblick über das anzugehen was in der gesamten Szene und Bewegung in all den Jahren passiert ist.

Um das ganze ein wenig zu strukturieren gehen wir anhand von Büchern und Ereignissen zumindest grob chronologisch vor. Ein paar Muster habe ich erkannt und werde sie am Ende noch einmal zusammenfassen. In dem Gespräch streifen wir alle möglichen Themen angefangen von keinem Prozess, über Extreme Programming (oder was daraus gemacht haben), Scrum, Kanban, DevOPs, Kultur und Leadership, Transitionen und Skalierung. Es kommen die Möglichsten und Unmöglichsten Anekdoten zu Erfahrungen, erfolgen und Misserfolgen auf.

Ich will jetzt gar nicht zu viel vorwegnehmen! Viel Spaß mit dieser Folge und dem gesammelten wissen von Stefan Roock und Henning Wolf.


  1. 00:02:38 - Jahre 1995 bis 2000
  2. 00:29:52 - Jahre 2001 bis 2005
  3. 00:47:38 - 2005 Ops und Produkte spielen eine Rolle, Disziplinen spalten sich ab?
  4. 00:52:04 - 2008 Transition bei beginnt, wir drei lernen uns kennen, lustige Anfänge
  5. 01:08:28 2009 Kanban, David Anderson, Don Reinertsen
  6. 01:21:58 2009+: Fokus auf Produkt: Luke Hohmann, Roman Pichler, Lean Startup
  7. 01:31:53 2011 Continuous Delivery, DevOps
  8. 01:36:48 2011 bis heute Skalierung; SAFe, Less und Anderes
  9. 01:49:34 Ausblick: Wie geht es weiter mit agil?


00:02:38 Jahre 1995 bis 2000

Erstes Scrumpaper Das Wort agil gibt es noch nicht Viele machen noch Rational Unified Process oder andere schwere Prozesse, nur ein paar arbeiten anders. Alls war „wir coden". 1999 „Extreme Programming explained" erscheint

00:29:52 Jahre 2001 bis 2005

2001 XP Buch Roock und Wolf

Schwaber Beedle „Software Development with Scrum"

Schwaber „Agile Project Management with Scrum"

Erste XP Konferenz, Sardinien, Italien - Gepäck geht verloren, man sitzt nass in den Konferenzräumen auf Sardinien Erste XP Days Deutschland

00:47:38 Jahre 2005 bis 2007 Ops/Produkte spielen eine Rolle, Disziplinen spalten sich ab?  

„Man kann doch nicht erwarten, dass die Leute in 2-3 Wochen etwas erreichen wofür 12, 15 Jahre gebraucht haben"

00:52:04 - 2008 Transition beginnt, wir drei lernen uns kennen, lustige Anfänge

Eine Menge unreifes Scrum.

„… wir haben uns in Projekten belohnt mit Storypoint, z. Bsp für Bugfixing. Mein Gott, hatten wir Velocity."

„Rezepte": Es war klar, dass man das macht, es gibt interne, die Feuer fangen mit denen man arbeiten kann. Es war klar, wer die anderen sind, mit denen man reden muss. Der Kunde hat nicht die Idee, dass die Coaches da sind und die Probleme lösen.

Muster: „Transitionen sind dann erfolgreich, wenn sich interne Mitarbeiter in das Thema Einfräsen. Schwierig wird es immer, wenn sich solche Mitarbeiter nicht finden. Die Energie, die dazu notwendige ist, kann nicht dauerhaft von aussen zugeführt werden."

Change Modelle hatten wir noch nicht. „Wir sind da einfach reingestolpert. Ich habe mit allen möglichen Leuten geredet um mich abzustimmen. Ich habe ich ständig mit dem CTO häufig abgestimmt und fokussiert. Wäre das Warum nicht klar gewesen, hätte das wahrscheinlich nicht geklappt und ich wäre frustriert gewesen und mir wäre nicht klar gewesen warum das nicht klappt."


01:08:28 2009 Kanban, David Anderson, Don Reinertsen

Auf welchen Umwegen it-agile Kanban entdeckt und für sich entwickelt. Ein Stahlwerk spielt eine Rolle und ein großes Versehen.

Dissonanzen zwischen Scrum und Kanban. „So wie Scrum ein verweichlichtes XP zu sein schien, schien Kanban ein verweichlichtes Scrum zu sein."

Erste Kanbanschulung mit David Anderson in Deutschland.

Diskussionen mit der Scrum-Community: Ist der Schutz noch da,

Kanban vs. Scrum Tree Hugging

Kanban als Möglichkeit mit Operations umzugehen.

Arne Roock wird Mr. Kanban Germany und schreibt unglaublich viel, organisiert die erste LKCE Konferenz.


01:21:58 2009+: Fokus auf Produkt: Luke Hohmann, Roman Pichler, Lean Startup

Lean Startup March bei it-agile intern.

Feststellung: „Wir sind einem Missverständnis aufgesessen, dem viele aufgesessen sind, die damals das Eric Ries Buch gelesen haben. Wir haben das Gefühl gehabt, wir müssten unheimlich viel quantitativ validieren."

„Wir haben Adwords Kampagnen geschaltet und dann hat da keiner uraufgedrückt. Und dann weisst Du nicht was los ist. Gibt’s das Bedürfnis nicht? Ist Deine Lösung doof? Oder hast Du nur falsche Keywords benutzt? Wie lange muss man denn warten? Ist es schlimm wenn nach 24 Stunden noch keiner raufgedrückt hat? Sollen wir noch warten? … Was wir am Ende den gemerkt haben war, dass quantitative Auswertung viel zu früh ist und wir auf qualitative Auswertung umsteigen müssten."

01:31:53 2011 Continuous Delivery, DevOPs

01:36:48 2011 bis heute Skalierung; SAFe, Less und Anderes

Grund: Die Umgebungen in denen agil angewendet wird werden komplexer, große Teams und Teams von Teams arbeiten zusammen.

„Das größte Mistverständnis ist: Viele skalieren an der falschen Stelle. Wie kann ich 150 Leute binnen 2 Monaten agil kriegen? Aber das wann dann bekommen ist wahrscheinlich doch etwas mechanisch. … eine Tücke an diesem Skalieren ist, dass die Leute es ist so schnell wollen."

„In dem was wir gemacht haben sind ja auch eine Menge Techniken eingesetzt worden, die heute in SAFe drin sind. Aber sie sind eben nur da eingesetzt werden wo sie notwendig waren und nur so lange wie sie notwendig waren."

„Und das ist auch eine Geschichte davon, dass Du dienen Softwareentwicklungsprozess selber besitzen musst."

„Im Komplexen kommt man nicht drumrum dass man selber denken muss. Es gibt zwar Hilfestellungen, aber die eigentliche Arbeit muss man selber machen."

„Die einzelnen Entwicklungsschritte in den Firmen sind nicht nachzuvollziehen, wenn man die Geschichte der vorangehenden Schritte nicht kennt."

Skalieren Firmen an den richtigen Stellen? Sollten Banken eventuell alles auf den Kopf stellen und bei den Cobol-Systemen anfangen zu agilisieren?

01:49:34 Ausblick: Wie geht es weiter mit agil?

Alle Großkonzerne werden einsteigen. Management und Leadership wird eine größere Rolle bekommen und auch die Theorie darüber wie Transitionen funktionieren. Scrum geht dahin zurück wo es herkommt: Zur Hardware-Entwicklung. Es gibt eine zweite Welle der Agilisierung für die Bestandteile der Unternehmen, die nicht software-Entwicklung ist. Die kleinen Startups in Berlin als Feigenblatt werden nicht für immer für die großen Konzerne funktionieren. Wahrscheinlich muss man doch an die verkrusteten Strukturen ran.

Wrap Up: Ein paar Muster

Ein paar Dinge, die bei mir hängen geblieben sind und die vielleicht auch nur erzählt werden können um klar zu machen, wie zufällig vieles im Moment wirkt und wie klar es im Nachhinein dann doch sein kann. Und auch wie stark das mit den Erwartungen an einen eventuell industrialisierteren Beratungsprozess kontrastiert, wie es sie heute vielleicht oft gibt.:

  • In vieles snd wir einfach hineingestolpert und haben vieles einfach probiert.
  • An vielem sind wir im ersten Anlauf gescheitert und haben es erst im Laufe der Zeit herausgefunden
  • Im Nachhinein war alles klar und einfach.
  • „Transitionen" klappen besser wenn
    • der Grund klar ist
    • commitment zur Transition klar ist und nicht in Frage gestellt werden kann
    • auch wenn das „Wie“ noch nicht klar sein kann
    • sich interne Mitarbeiter finden, die für das Theme wirklich brennen und die Freiheiten haben das Notwendige zu machen. Dazu gehört es auch, immer wieder Unbequemes anzusprechen und zu diskutieren. sonst ist Verbessern nicht möglich.
  • Nichts klappt schnell, Eile im Umbau ist kontraproduktiv
  • Man muss den (Software-Entwicklungs-)Prozess selber besitzen. man muss selber nachdenken und die Arbeit machen.
  • Man wendet nur die wenigen Mittel an, die man gerade braucht und nur so lange man sie braucht.

Ein paar Links aus der Episode

it-agile, die Firma -

Stefan Roock auf twitter, Bücher von Stefan bei amazon

Henning Wolf auf twitter, Autorenseite bei amazon

„XP explained" von Kent Beck

Ken Schwaber bei Wikipedia

Kanban" von David Anderson, deutsche Ausgabe -

The Lean Startup" von Eric Ries -

Continuous Delivery" von Jez Humble -

Blog von Arne Roock, Stefan’s Bruder und deutscher Kanban Pionier -

LKCE Konferenz

Apr 16, 2017

Episode 7 - Jeff Patton - User Story Maps and the discovery of great products

Another one of the greats. I follow his work since years, I integrate lots of what he does in my work. Everyone knowing me or having had a training with me, knows what he does with Story Maps. But having come up with Story Maps and having written the first book around is „this little thing“ to Jeff Patton.

Jeff is really deep into product work and he has lots of thoughts to offer on Agile and especially on everything around stories and story thinking. And one of the reasons he knows all about that is because he was already there when it happened. He was in the same building with Kent Beck when Extreme Programming happened and Stories came up. He was coached by Rob Mee of Pivotal Tracker fame.

So, this is not just a deep dive on stories and the Story Mapping technique that emerged form it but also some oral history on how and where it all started to happen.

Nowadays, Jeff more and more dives into the discovery phase and at the end of the podcast we will hear lots about this and where this might clash with Agile or how it is taught in most cases.

But what is so relaxing is that we really don’t talk much process. And I think the reason is that product is much less process than it is orthogonal to process and it is about thinking of quality, what quality means to whom, for whom we’re building things and having empathy for them.

Speaking of empathy: Enjoy a nice conversation with a humble, humorous and relaxed Jeff Patton!


  1. 0:02:04 (User) Stories - the base of all
  2. 0:13:19 Documents are like vacation stories
  3. 0:31:43 Story Maps - what it is, how i emerged
  4. 0:43:10 How to teach Story Maps
  5. 0:55:34 Struggling with the backlog as a prioritised list
  6. 0:57:54 Products we like: A BMW 335 convertible, Netflix and Spotify, an EV 320 Microphone and a Sonos speaker
  7. 1:04:34 Why have (Agile) things gotta be so complicated?
  8. 1:11:44 Is software harder than software and: First off, no process is going to help you

Chapter Notes

2:04 (User) Stories - the base of it all

Going down memory lane, meeting lots of now famous people, e.g. Kent Beck

"People have gotten User Stories wrong from the beginning"

"When I first heard the term "Stories" I thought it was stupid - what we’re doing is important stuff. Stories  … that sounds like fantasy or fiction … it doesn’t sound serious at all"

"What Kent meant with stories was really stories. We should be talking with each other and telling stories about the products"

"The goal is building shared understanding"

"What we are talking about isn’t what to build. What we’re talking about with each other is: who’s using this product and why and what benefit they get. and understanding that we can then talk about together about what to build."

"Where things go horribly wrong is when people use stories and try to do what they used to do."

"So, people try to use stories as an alternative to other specification algorithms, when that’s not what they were meant to be"

How stories are not precise and complete

8:22 Comparing stories and UML The promise with UML was that you had to learn UML and then you had to talk to someone who knew UML. Stories fix all this.

"Stories fix all kind of crappy documentation. Because know we have humans to talk to to explain things"

"I keep telling people that if you’re using stories, you have to change your process" 

"The problem stories don’t solve is the way you specify. … If you’re using stories, you still have to figure out ways to specify."

"I think people write documents because they don’t like to talk to each other."

11:15 Documents are like vacation photos

 „The minute you write stories and hand them over without having a conversation, that’s the moment when things start to go wrong.“

17:14 How Kent Beck never called "stories" "user stories"

Rumors and misconceptions on stories and sizes and templates 

How somehow people and many Scrum Master are spreading the rumor of „we have to use (User) Stories all the way  

"The way Agile works is we build little things, and we work in short cycles. … But the problem is that when we build a product that is supposed to go to the market and create value it is not something we build in days."

"Those things we can build in a few days hardly have value and it becomes hard to tell a story about those things"

"I learned these things around 2000 and we called them stories and not user stories, and we didn’t use the term epic and you know, the user story template - we certainly didn’t use that."

23:14 How the founder of Pivotal Tracker, Rob Mee, was Jeff’s XP coach, refused using the template in his tool and now it does anyway: "I’m never gonna put that stupid template inside of Tracker … well, it’s in there now. And I’m sure not because Rob thinks it’s a good idea."

"But the template falls apart super easy. … The conversations we need to have are far more sophisticated than that."

"As a user I want just dumbs down all the rich conversations we need to have …"

The three (or five?) C’s of stories

Ron Jeffries 3 C’s: Card Conversation, Confirmation

"The conversation is not about the acceptance criteria but about Who, What and Why! … It’s meant to be a bit of a back and forth."

"What I see people doing these days is: Card -> Conformation"

Documents are contracts and with stories "we finally recognise that documents are never gonna be good enough, they’re never gonna be precise enough and what matters is understanding and the only way we get it is by talking to each other."

"Shared documents aren’t shared understanding" and that will make a lot of people uncomfortable.

31:43 Story Maps - what it is, how it emerged

A solution for breaking big things down that take weeks and weeks to build into little things we can build in days.

The metaphor of rocks that when you break them, remain rocks … just: little rocks. Just like big stories (no matter if you call them epics or not) that when you break them down just remain … stories.

"Story mapping is the thing that I used to do to get from a big idea to break it down into small parts." How story maps emerged from the technique called "User Task Model" over "Span Plan" (influenced by the Poppendiecks) to Story Maps (which name came up in a discussion with Alistair Cockbourn).

How Jeff wanted to write a huge book on everything outside of Agile, but then Story Maps took off and then the small book on story Maps got bigger and bigger.

A next book is planned. Jeff is not afraid, and still has lots to say. It’ll be easy. Ha!

Jeff’s book has three forewords. It reflects the mantra of product work, being credited to Marty Cagan, that it’s all about the intersection between valuable, usable and feasible. The three forewords represent that by having representatives from UX - Alan Cooper, development - Martin Fowler and finally product itself - Marty Cagan. That trinity is called a Core Team and is still widely used.

43:10 How to teach Story Maps

Two good ways:

  1. Simply mapping something live and lead discussions, conversations.
  2. Mapping a morning from waking up to getting to work, then let a group mix the individual morning stories and change it, because some strange event happened, like: Getting up too late.

These are ways that lets people focus on writing down activities rather than things or functionalities. Also, it makes obvious that different people behave differently. Further it teaches how to slice and cut things away, e.g. because there is less time than usual. some things can not be sliced out (morning hygiene) but need to be thinned out.

Maps are useful for still seeing the whole while we flesh out the small things.

"We need details when we go into the next sprint, but we still need to be able to see the whole. Because it’s the whole that has value. That’s the real value of a map."

An application in a workshop: Planning the first release of a wine shop.

55:34 Struggling with the backlog as a prioritised list

"There’s a lot of things I disagree with on how Agile gets taught and used and abused. One of the things I struggle with is the way it is taught that a backlog needs to be a prioritised list."

"If you think of a new product … it would be completely impossible to understand what it is … based on a prioritised list of features."

"It is so valuable to see the whole. And you don’t get that in a flat backlog."

"When you talk about parts of a thing, you normally need all of them."

57:54 Products we like: A BMW 335 convertible, Netflix and Spotify, an EV 320 Microphone and a Sonos speaker

Trying to find out why we like them.

For starters, the BMW is super impractible for where Jeff lives, as they have lots of snow. He still loves it.

Netflix now works for Jeff as a traveler, because downloads are possible.

"Why we encourage people to talk about why they like a product is because why you like a product has a lot to do with who you are."

"The toughest choices are not what features your product has, the toughest choice is who your product is for and the really hard choice is who your product is not for."

"If people really love a product, I always ask: "What did you use before?"."

"When you’re using a good product, you can sorta smell the thought and care that went into creating the product."

"That’s what I really worry about when we talk all about Agile and breaking things into little pieces … that we lose sight of who its for and that we lose sight of all the little things that matter so much … and start working about acceptance criteria."

1:04:34 Why have (Agile) things gotta be so complicated?

While teaching discovery (e.g. in 5 day immersion workshops), Jeff realises that people no longer know, see and have empathy with their clients, users, etc.

"We have to come with a lot of process junk and waste to help us manage what we’re doing when a little bit of empathy and understanding of who you’re building for goes a long way."

"In a lot of contexts it’s not easy to get to the customers. And to what you say, even if we could get to them, we don’t want to. It’s not comfortable talking to those people - and it’s unnerving sometimes."

1:11:44 Is software harder than software and: First off, no process is going to help you

When Apple had a problem with a new carrier, it was normal for a developer to linger around at the carrier. "At Apple it was not not unusual, no one was asking: why aren’t you at your desk? Why aren’t you writing code? It was absolutely rational to do that."

At a different spot:

Q: "If you think of Apple, on a range from 1 to 10 where would you put the quality they ship at Apple?"

A: "I’d put it at 9."

Q: "Where would you put what you ship here?"

A: "About a six."

Q: "If you were at Apple and you would ship a six, what do you think would happen to you? You ship 6 here all the time."

A: "We celebrate that we ship all the time."

Conclusion: "Something has to change around here that is not process"

"Everything is becoming more blurred all the time."

"The hardware isn’t even the hardware. It’s the software that’s changing it."

"More and more you buy a piece of hardware and it’s not like it’s in the box and the partnership with the manufacturer is done. There’s an ownership lifecycle that supports it."

"I was at a conference in Australia and the speaker right before was a designer at Lego. and he came up with that idea that they came up with that perfect Lego model that was really testing well but it was too expensive to build. And he said „you know how it is when the perfect solution is too expensive to build and we have to figure out something different.“ And the audience was quiet and the audience was „no, I don’t know what you’re talking about."

"I see so many people in the software world arguing for what’s best and not for what’s feasible and not understanding that it’s not about best …"

We have to learn again to prototype.

"And at times a prototype is more expensive than the real thing."

"What’s interesting is that Agile Development has gotten totally effed up when it comes to this prototyping thing. There is all this emphasis on potentially shippable software, there is this emphasis on software being built and tested, but look: we’ve lost our ability to use code to build rough stuff to see if we’re building the right thing."

"More and more I talk about learning velocity vs. building velocity."

"If you’re trying to learn something the most expensive way is to build production quality software."

"Building the wrong thing at high quality is waste."

„If there is gonna be a contemporary agile way of building things t’s gonna be this mix of product thinking and customer centric thinking and Agile thinking and I’ll be honest: It’ll break the Agile Manifesto."

Great final words

"What makes a product better is not more stuff, it’s good stuff."


Mar 26, 2017

What have the following things got in common? Weasels, the San Jose public budgeting process, bootstrapping, disposable software, games and mods of games, figure skating, and a Nike sprinter show falling apart after reaching the 100m line? Well, it’s Luke Hohmann they have in common.

I learned an awful lot from Luke. Years and years ago I attended one of his Innovation Games trainings and while I really really liked it, it took me years to realise what I really learned. For me, personally, this was the event that finally made me decide to leave the developing world towards the product or business side of the world. This event moved a switch in my head.

But what I really realised years later was that I really groked games, game design and above all, I had learned how to facilitate. Luke is so deep into „designing“ his games that never is it by chance if Luke stands, sits, is in the middle of the room, or in a corner or if he even tears apart some game thing that hangs on the wall. Even designing the simple name tags in the beginning of a class is transformed into a designed game, when Luke does it.

But Luke got carried away by the games he found. He bootstrapped an enterprise software company that produced a platform for playing a serious games framework at massive scale. Several thousand payers do not bother him. Scaling world wide also does not bother him. No problem seems to be deep for him to tackle. And this then led Luke to extend his activities to facilitating public budgeting rounds, which he started in San Jose. Also, he applies his framework to education. Who knows what’s next?

This interview really is a rollercoaster all over the place and also contains really personal stories on why Luke chose the path he chose and what led him. You can see from the show notes how far and deep we went. I’d really urge you to listen to the end. The interview gets even better as longer as we sat together. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did and you learn much as I learned!


  1. 0:03:00 What are Serious Games, Innovation Games?
  2. 0:23:30 Applying Innovation Games
  3. 0:48:24 Scaling Innovation Games in several dimensions & Luke, The Entrepreneur
  4. 0:59:04 Personal Choices & the power of collaboration in wicked problems
  5. 1:32:22 Concepts - self application of games, disposable software, extrinsic vs. intrinsic quality, strategy frameworks as the next tipping point

Chapter Notes

0:03:00 Chapter one: What are Serious Games, Innovation Games?

What are Serious Games?

„You play a serious game not for pleasure but to have a business outcome. Innovation games are a collection of different games as we have different business problems to solve. A game has four components: (1) It has a goal, something you want to achieve. (2) It has a set of resources and rules and interactions, (3) it has a space or a field of play (4) a way to keep score Why Luke calls games frameworks nowadays.

10:52 The role of fun (or not) in Serious Games; Facilitating Games; (Designing) Games as a way to give permission

17:15 Details matter: A pencil without an eraser „If you want me to engage in the act of design, then don’t give me a pencil without an eraser.

18:20 Explaining the „Speed Boat“ game as an example, how it can be applied (e.g. as a technique for team retrospectives or identifying improvement potential in products. Games have the potential to de-personalize feedback and critique and thus make feedback more acceptable and actionable

0:23:30 Chapter 2: Applying Innovation Games

23:30 Scrum as a game and changing the rules of a game; Modding games is great and the goal; When you learn innovation games, you learn modding them

28:23 Modding Monopoly as an example why modding makes sense 31:18 Innovation games as a way to discover why and intent and why you don’t send bug reports to Richard Stallmann

34:12 Scaling organisations w/ Innovation games „It’s not the picture on the wall that drives behaviour, but it’s the picture in the head that drives behaviour. That means: You gotta change the picture in the head before you change the picture on the wall.“

35:42 Using the „Buy a feature“ game to discuss portfolios „Any performing executive team will always have more ideas than it is able to fund. So the question becomes „how to pick?“. So McKinsey has the following rules and you want to listen to McKinsey and not Agilists. McKinsey says: pass one - do ROI. Get rid of the projects that are not attractive for ROI - that’s easy. But you still gonna have too many. The second pass: Look at the passion and interests of the team. Now, how do we get to the passion and the interest of this team? Well, we have this game!“

39:28 Explaining great experiences is hard: „Reading about riding a bike is not riding a bike“

41:58 - An example of shrinking a portfolio of 38 projects to 6 „There is no way a human being can keep and compare 45 things in his head. I will do better then I put them on the board“

0:48:24 Chapter 3: Scaling Innovation Games in several dimensions & Luke, The Entrepreneur 

48:24 Scaling games to gigantic size: (1) Scaling for magnitude of the problem. From market research to internal use to use in agile organisations (2) Scaling the number of participants: From few in person to several thousand online (3) Scaling in industry, e.g. the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich) „Really, is my Scaling Agile book that I’m supposed to follow really more than 400 pages?“ „You’re reading these books on Agile and they’re anything but. It’s like I’m reading the top ten books on Agile and they outweigh me“

55:16 Entrepreneurship - building an enterprise software company without venture capital funding, Adventures of bootstrapping.

0:59:04 Chapter 4: Personal Choices & the power of collaboration in wicked problems

59:04 Getting personal - choices in life: Figure skating as first exercise in latching onto something without compromise. The way of the weasel. Latching onto something and sticking to it. Not chasing the easy way, but the only way possible. „So, yeah, I thought: I’m gonna live like a weasel for a rest of my life“

65:01 The power of collaboration - „I really do believe - and it’s not just Luke, it’s also my team and people like you in our network - we really do believe that collaborating teams are the best hope we have for solving the problems we face“ „Teams are everywhere, Teams are the foundation of our work in the future“ A list of books (links below): Team of Teams Team Genius The Silo Effect Exponential Organisations The Connected Company

1:06:51 Extending games to public matters, like funding and budgeting decisions for the public: Every Voice engaged foundation 1:11:16 Games in education, on the example of middle school 1:15:16 Not the easiest way to live, but the most satisfying. The Weasel way again. More examples by Luke and Henry Rollins

1:20:56 The importance of the support of others and support in success

1:25:33 „And So I’ve stopped talking to VCs“ and what Luke still learned from VCs

1:32:22 Chapter 5: Concepts - self application of games, disposable software, extrinsic vs. intrinsic quality, strategy frameworks as the next tipping point 

1:32:00 Self applying the cure to the Luke’s company so that everyone knows the experience to the companies’ benefit.

1:36:45 Disposable Software 1:39:02 Release quality, intrinsic quality, extrinsic quality

1:39:45 „They improved quality so much that they lost all innovation.“ „You know, the guy who built Flappy Bird, I don’t know if he had green bar automated tests. Did he have an automated production pipeline? CI/CD? No, I doubt it. He was just a kid having some fun. And he built an incredibly high extrinsic quality App. Now, I don’t know about the level of intrinsic quality … and the point is: It doesn’t matter.

1:42:28 Why the ideal Sprinter shoe should fall apart after exactly 100m

1:46:28 Strategy frameworks on the tipping point: The Ansoff Matrix - an early approach on strategy „As we move from physical labor to knowledge work - and we continue to move down knowledge work - these (strategy & problem solving) frameworks are the next tipping point and it’s really fundamental“

Links and Notes

Books and resources by Luke Hohmann

Organizations andPeople mentioned and more resources

Books mentioned

People mentioned 



Mar 5, 2017

Dave Gray - Liminal Thinking

To be honest, doing this podcast is the treat of all treats I am giving away to myself. Already in the small, tiny history of this podcast – this has been an opportunity for me to connect and re-connect to all these people who’s ideas and work are so important to me, mean a lot to me and really changed the way I think and work. And now, for this episode, I’ll talk to Dave, Dave Gray.

And there’s a funny story that connects me with Dave and I mean that literally. Years ago, I already read - and applied - Dave’s earliest book Gamestorming. And to an even wider degree I sucked in his book „The Connected Company“ - which I think is one of the most brilliant descriptions of the change that companies will have to face when they want to keep up in the … I don’t know how to call it … maybe, digital era. But really, while I loved these books, I did not know at all who Dave is.

One day, though, Jabe Bloom, now working with Praxis Flow, introduced me to Dave and suggested we’d have to talk. At the time, Dave was interviewing people for his new book. And so we met on Skype and talked. At the end, I asked Dave what the book will be all about and Dave said, he wouldn’t yet know.

And then, roughly mid last year, his new book came out and it stunned me: The book is called “Liminal Thinking”.

And from my perspective it is the distilled and abstracted learning of all these interviews that Dave took. Rather than explaining how people and companies have to change, what this book explains is how each one of us has to change and work on himself to have an impact on our environments. At least if we want to be happy at work, keep people happy at work, want to have the right direction of impact or … just want to be happy.

While being not the thickest of books, it is a read that I would recommend to take in small steps and really enjoy - and also take all the challenging exercises.

Dave is a guy of many facets. At the core, it seems to me, he is driven by finding ways to influence the world of work to be a better place. Since early on he was driven by looking for tools that help people to get a better understanding of what is going o around him.

Since being a kid he is working on visualization of context and he treated this as an art form. Along the way, he discovered games as a meaningful form of understanding.

In 1993, he founded XPlane, a company that helps companies to understand and, well explane, you guess it, mainly by ways of visualizing.


00:00:00 Intro

00:03:08 What Is Liminal Thinking

Punk & Rap & R&B; Thresholds; Transitions

00:08:28 Changing yourself to impact your environment rather than changing others

The dog story - The way you look at the situation influences the outcome; „We underestimate how much our beliefs about another individual tend to create the behavior we expect“

00:19:23 How Dave’s latest book „Liminal Thinking“ was conceived and written

It started as a missing book on Agile and become something different. The process of extending and abstracting the message (by extending the research)

00:30.13 The structure of „Liminal Thinking“ and why it works

00:34:32 How things that are good for you don’t always feel good

on the example of „Liminal Thinking“ being on the brink of nearly not being written at one time and the catharsis of re-re-revising the book again and again.

00:41:13 How Dave Gray discovered and developed the art form of visualization

and how that helps him and even drives and carries his own company.

“What we can draw is always ahead of what we can make. We have to be able to draw it before we can make it. Not everything that can be drawn can be created or done. But: If it can’t be drawn it can definitely not be done.“

„To me that (visualization) is my art.“

„The polite way to say NO is „sorry, I don’t understand that“

0:48:30 How visualization can help communication and overcome the effects of the telephone game in companies

and thus align companies over strategy and other concepts. The journey to visualize is even more important than the effect of having the visualization. Visualization helps communicate and come up with the right questions.


If you liked this issue, please make sure you give this podcast a five star rating or any other form of appreciation. Also, I am always happy for any comments sent to me on any of the available channels. Thanks for listening in and I hope to have you as my guest again for my next show.

Good bye!

Feb 13, 2017

In der vierten Episode bin ich zu Gast vor Ort bei [sipgate] in Düsseldorf und habe sie dort in Ihren Räumen in Düsseldorf aufgenommen.

sipgate macht Telefonie für zu Hause, unterwegs und das Büro. Und das macht es nicht irgendwie. Sondern sipgate macht alles selber. sipgate ist also eine kleine Telekom, aber eben vollkommen anders.

Das Interview führt von der ursprünglichen Geschäftsidee - Vorwahlnummern für Auslandstelefonate im Internet anzeigen - bis zur heutigen Ausbaustufe: Telefonie in allen Stufen selber bauen und anbieten. Dabei wird - hoffentlich auch bei Euch zu Hause - deutlich wie ein Unternehmen wächst und durch welche Stufen es geht. Von der Gründung im Studentenwohnheim, über das Schlafen im Büro und auch einmal nur noch 7000 Euro auf dem Konto bis zum heutigen, ausgebauten Produkt.

Wir beschäftigen uns natürlich auch damit, was eine Firma ausserhalb des Produkts machen muss und wie sie dem Markt gegenüber immer aufgeschlossen bleiben kann. Vor allem: wie schafft es sipgate in diesem Markt innovationsfähig zu bleiben?

Nebenbei hören wir auch, was eine Küche, ein Restaurant, [ein Buch] und [die Veranstaltungsreihe LeanDus] damit zu tun haben.

sipgate ist eine Firma von feinen Menschen gemacht und das führt direkten Weges dazu, dass es eine ganz Feine Firma ist. Im Gespräch hören wir aber, dass auch das nicht selbstverständlich, sondern eine ganze Menge Arbeit.

Wie gesagt, es gibt keine Abkürzungen!


0:00:00 Intro Aufbrüche

0:02:02 Genesis - Selbstanwendung, Daten eintippen, 19 Raucher und ein Nichtraucher

0:13:02 Einbruch und Neuerfindung - 7.000 EUR, Ein Schwenk / Pivot in 3 Monaten, Hyperspeed, all hands on deck

0:18:35 Radikales DiY

0:24:32 Regulierung, na und? - „Um Regulierung haben wir uns damals nicht so gekümmert.“ ; „Wir haben damals tatsächlich die Grundgebühr abgeschafft“

0:27:28 Aller Anfang ist … improvisiert

0:29:44 Fertig? Nö! Stabilisierung

0:34:22 Wandel und Kultur - nach einem Blick in ein schwarzes Loch

0:39:26 Richtung geben - Rollen ändern sich

0:44:00 Kommunikation überall Vorne bleiben

0:46:52 Gestalten bis der Arzt kommt - nach innen und außen

0:50:26 Das Restaurant - der Hub, ein Ferrari, unerwartete Effekte

0:58:10 24 Work Hacks - das Buch

1:01:22 Marketing und Sales - the sipgate way

1:11:14 Lean DUS - embrace

1:15:53 Ein toller Abschied

Die Geschichte von sipgate ist spannend und ich hoffe, Ihr konntet das so lebendig miterleben wie ich. Es ist schon beeindruckend, wie direkt und aus dem Leben die Phasen von sipgate waren und wie intensiv das alles gelebt werden musste.

Und das ist wohl auch der Unterschied zu einem Innovationsansatz „by the book“. Der Unterschied ist „skin in the game“.

„Skin in the game“ hat bei sipgate dazu geführt, dass sie genau die Firma gebaut haben, die sie bauen mussten, weil sie eben damit leben und glücklich werden müssen.

„Skin in the game“ hat auch zu unglaublicher Identifikation mit dem Service und Produkt geführt und in der folge zum Übernachten im Büro wenn es sein muss.

„Skin in the game“ sorgte auch dafür, dass eine Erneuerung des Geschäftsmodells (und der Technik) in Monaten erfolgte.

Und „Skin in the game“ sorgt bis heute dafür, dass man sich der Notwendigkeit zur Erneuerung ständig bewusst ist - und handeln muss.

Auch bei sipgate wird wieder deutlich, wie die handelnden Personen die Kultur definieren. Weil sie müssen. Die Gründer definieren automatisch, im Vorbeigehen die Kultur und im Nachhinein wird deutlich, welche Weichen sie gestellt haben um dorthin zu gelangen. Dadurch ist sipgate unverwechselbar sipgate und die Art und Weise wie geführt wird drückt sich in allem aus.

Genauso beeindruckend ist aber, dass man dieses Geschäftsmodell nur „entdecken“ konnte. Stück für Stück. Würde man heute hingehen und versuchen dieses Geschäftsmodell am Reißbrett entwerfen würde man scheitern oder seiner eigenen Arbeit nicht trauen. Den Telekommunikationsmarkt hacken wäre als Investitionsmodell kaum möglich oder glaubwürdig in einer Präsentation. Um das zu schaffen muss von Grund auf Pioniere werden.

Ich bedanke mich für Eure Aufmerksamkeit. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn Ihr Bewertungen und Kommentare hinterlasst oder über irgendeinen Kanal an mich schickt! Und genau so freue mich auf die nächste Folge in ein paar Wochen, die wieder ganz anders wird Bis dahin, Markus

Jan 27, 2017

Michael Foley, author of the bestseller „The Age of absurdity - why modern life makes it hard to be happy“ is the guest of this episode. The book is a celebration of insight from the most diverse philosophers, and an examination of the states we’d like to achieve and desperately are missing to hit. All his books center round deep insights around everyday life. Michael lives in London and since 2007 has completely devoted to writing.

In one of his latest books, he goes into depth with Henri Bergson, a french philosopher, who lived from 1859 to 1941, son to a Polish jewish composer and an Irish jewish mother. At the time he was one of the most influential thinkers and kind of pre-dated quantum physics, chaos theory amongst other topics n science. He also won the nobel price.

One of Bergsons many contributions was process theory. In a nutshell, process theory says that everything is in constant movement, there are no finite end states, everything is connected. While this may sound trivial, the consequences are overwhelming. With this model, Bergson lay the model for models that ended up being discovered by science only decades later. Statements of Quantum Theory, Emergence and Chaos Theory and lots more are such examples.

So, embrace yourself for an entertaining deep dive into what the process view is, how Bergson sees Emergence and chaos theory, what bottom up and top down thinking and approaches bring to us and how tension helps us to innovate and much much more.

Make sure, you also have a look at Michael Foley's books: „The Age of absurdity - why modern life makes it hard to be happy“ "Life Lessons from Bergson" and many more ...

What really keeps me thinking after this episode are two things:

1) How parallel and connected Michael Foley's world of thinking is connected to mine, although coming from totally different angles and professions.

2) How it is possible that a nobel price winner like Henri Bergson is so unknown today, after laying such broad foundations for philosophy, literature, science and much more. Incredible!

Chapters are:

  1. Intro
  2. Chapter One: Henri Bergson, his process theory and what it means for modern life, (non)determinism
  3. Chapter Two: Emergence and Chaos Theory: Is emergence crawling or also big bumps? Emergence and it’s meaning for agile. Emergence and innovation. The meaning of randomness and serendipity in innovation.
  4. Chapter Three: Bottom up vs top down: properties of approaches and combining them via feedback loops to create great systems
  5. Chapter Four: Tension is good for innovation; Tension and facilitation and much more
  6. Chapter Five: Process thinking and fun & comedy; petrification; Paying attention a means against getting petrified; Urge for the next thing, FOMO, Silo and specialisation as features of top down thinking.

Some statements from the interview:

Chapter one

Henri Bergson, his process theory and what it means for modern life, (non)determinism

"The first mistake is to think there is some final way of doing things, that can be quantified and written down“

"It is a different way of looking at things, which doesn’t accept any finality“

"Linear logic is a good way to develop technology but not helpful in understanding human situations and human systems“

Chapter two

Emergence and Chaos Theory: Is emergence crawling or also big bumps? Emergence and it’s meaning for agile. Emergence and innovation. The meaning of randomness and serendipity in innovation.

"We accidentally developed consciousness, which is our great blessing and our great curse.“

"We only recently understood the principle behind it (emergence), which is the feedback loop and the feedback loop is one of the most important concepts ever discovered in the 20th century“

"And the beauty of it is: it’s so simple“

"Everything goes round in a circle, there is no linear cause and effect“

"Life is the constant creation of the absolutely new, the unpredictable, the unrepeatable“

"Success and failure are emergent feature, I think. … What people like to think is that they control success and failure: when people succeed they think it’s due to their own effort. When they fail, they put it down to bad luck or fate or someone else’s fault.“

"The genius idea is to suddenly connect two things that haven’t been connected.“

Chapter three

Bottom up vs. top down: properties of approaches and combining them via feedback loops to create great systems

"It is a general tension, there is good things and bad thing about both“

"Basically everything started bottom up, through evolution“

"The internet is a great example for it (the interaction of bottom up and top down) "Bottom up is creative, imaginative, energetic … but it has no direction“

"Top down is very good for discipline and control and direction, but it has no energy or imagination - it tends to become fixed“

"Populism is the bottom asserting its energy“

"A mistake of bottom up is to think that anything new must be better“

"Flattery is the most important management tool“

"The bad news, again, is that people think flattery is easy … it is an art“ "Flattery is jut a tool, it doesn’t mean people are good or bad.“

Chapter four  

Tension is good for innovation; Tension and facilitation and much more

"Tension is what’s happening between top down and bottom up, for example“

"I think tension can be a creative force, providing the people can hold the tension in balance without trying to suppress the other parties.“

"... (if out of balance that can lead) to a violent relationship. so what you want is harmonious tension. Hard to achieve, though“

"Justice and merci, the demands of the individual / the demands of others, there is no answer to these things. They are tensions. they can be creative tensions if we hold them together and understand them and try not to let the one dominate the other too much. The trick is to hold them in tension“

Chapter five

Process thinking and fun & comedy; petrification; Paying attention a means against getting petrified; Urge for the next thing, FOMO, Silo and specialisation as features of top down thinking.

"Of course, it’s difficult. But then, everything is difficult. Life is meant to be difficult.“

"Philosophy is just about learning“ A

re products meant to make things easy? Easy vs. experience.

"… there is that tendency today that experience is about doing something new, going somewhere new, finding new people. We see this constantly in relationships too. People constantly want new people rather than understanding the value in the people they are actually with. So it’s a problem of potential. The world is obsessed with potential.“

"Q: Living in the moment is something we need to practice?

Michael: Yes, but I really got to hate that phrase because it has become such a cliché. We also have to stop using the word mindfulness. … I agree with the principle, totally. But it’s become a cliché.“

"Comedy could become the new mindfulness.“

"My theory is that play is the new fashionable thing, play is the new mindfulness.“

"The paradox is: you can detach in order to engage more“

"The essence of excellence is to make it seem effortless“

"I am working on a book that combines everything, that’ what I want to do. Not just philosophy, but fiction and poetry. … What I want to do is pull them all together in one strange book. … and it’ll never be published because my agent hates it.“

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