Janina Benz

Ridha Azaiz: “Get your idea checked from different angles”

Ridha Azaiz is one of the CODE_n finalists and the founder of Solarbrush. He started studying at RWTH Aachen University and transferred to Technical University Berlin in order to finish his Master’s in mechanical engineering. His research and development activities have led to many awards, such as the  Clean Tech Media Award and the start up award hy! Berlin

Janina Benz: Congratulations on being one of the 50 CODE_n finalists! Could you tell us about Solarbrush?
Ridha Azaiz: Solarbrush is a robotic cleaning system for solar panels. Cleaning is very important, especially in arid regions, as generators lose up to 35% in efficiency in a single month after a sand storm. The robot has a very lean and efficient drive that attaches to the inclined panels, which distinguishes the Solarbrush robot from others. It is also very light weight and can cross the solar panels, costing just a fraction of what competitors charge. We’re pioneers in the field and were first in shifting the focus from the cleaning and maintenance of photovoltaic (PV) cells in Europe to the sunbelt countries. Where there is lots of sun, PV produces the most output but also suffers from deposits. More…

Janina Benz

Brian Moffat: “It’s possible to transform the world we know”

Brian Moffat is one of the CODE_n13 finalists and the founder of Spindrift Energy, a device that produces energy from the motion of waves. Brian has been joined by a team of professionals who share his conviction that the Spindrift Energy device will deliver truly affordable renewable power to the world. Before founding Spindrift, Brian Moffat worked for Disney Imagineering and Google; Google is currently patenting one of Brian’s inventions. He received three undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Irvine, in the fields of computer science, chemistry and biology.

JB: What was the idea behind Spindrift Energy?

BM: After studying existing alternative energy technologies, I realized that many were quite limited in one way or another. The most popular—wind and solar—are intermittent and somewhat unpredictable. And very few are cheap enough to compete with fossil-fuel alternatives without generous government subsidies. The energy in the waves traveling across the deepest parts of the sea seemed to be the optimal target for energy extraction for several reasons. Being far from shore, such deep-sea wave-energy devices would not conflict with the recreational, commercial and aesthetic needs of coastal communities. So I set out to invent a cheap and simple renewable energy technology that could operate in the deep sea for 20 or 30 years with little, if any, maintenance. More…

Andrea Wlcek

How much can be handled by the Web?Wie viele Daten passen eigentlich ins Web?

There are new, exciting start-ups founded on the Web and mobile ideas market almost every day. They enrich our lives with great tools that make life easier. But who is monitoring the sheer volume of data we produce? The capacity of the stationary and mobile Web is limited! When will innovations appear that focus on optimizing data traffic – as is the case of the energy sector with the so-called Smart Grids.

Es gibt nahezu jeden Tag ein neues spannendes Start-up im Web- und Mobile-Bereich. Sie bereichern unser Leben mit tollen Tools, die uns das Leben erleichtern. Aber wer hat denn eigentlich ein Auge auf den Datenverkehr, den wir damit produzieren? Die Kapazitäten für stationäres und mobiles Web sind nicht unendlich. Wann kommen die ersten Innovationen, die das Datenaufkommen optimieren – wie es im Energiebereich vielerorts mit Smart Grids schon Realität ist?

Oliver Gassner

BILL LIAO: “In Europe it’s not OK to fail so people end up not taking enough chances to explore new territory.”BILL LIAO: “In Europe it’s not OK to fail so people end up not taking enough chances to explore new territory.”

XING Co-Founder Bill Liao chatted with us about Steve Jobs, Coder Dojo, and why he sticks to his waterproof Samsung mobile phone.

OG: Hi Bill, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Bill Liao: Hi Oliver and Hello dear readers 🙂 Bill Liao is my name and among several things I am variously known as an entrepreneur, diplomat and author.

OG: Can you detail the entrepreneur part a little for us?

BL: Well I first became an entrepreneur at the age of 27 when I quit my day job and founded my own company teaching engineers how to sell. I then went on to become part of the team that took Davenet Limited public in Australia and have been part of 7 IPO’s total. The most recent was XING AG where I was Co-Founder alongside the Founder Lars Hinrichs in Hamburg. I am also a great believer in lean startups and have written a book on the subject called “Stone Soup – the secret recipe for making something from nothing”.

OG: What is the web or mobile innovation of the past year? What changed your personal life most?

BL: I think that the most striking innovation is a recent one where Apple has chosen to integrate Twitter into iOS5. This is the first time a social network has been integrated into an operating system. Knowing that this was coming I redoubled my Twitter efforts. At SOSventures we also invested in Storyful.com. I also created a conduit for my Google Plus content to be rebroadcast on Twitter. Storyful is an interesting innovation because it finds stories on Twitter then helps human journalists to curate and verify those stories.

OG: Is Twitter here to stay or will it eventually go the way of Altavista andMyspace?

BL: I really like Twitter and so I hope that it stays and I use it every day. I no longer use facebook every day nor Linked in nor even XING but I use gmailg+and Twitter every day. Twitter is much faster than all the other news streams because the messages are so short. I just hope they start to deal with all the spam.

OG: Why did XING fail to make the jump to a global scale? Was it good to concentrate on DACH at some point?

BL: XING always needed to serve its core users best and the core is Germany. The problem with the early days of XING was that it was very hard to get the balance between serving members and also existing in an eco system where many corporate partners wanted to have a white label copy of XING. We were distracted by that and that meant we did not internationalize fast enough although we did do well in some other countries than DACH.

OG: Was Steve Jobs an innovator, a genius or just posessed?

BL: On the couple of occasions I met Steve he occured as pretty brusque and he had a posse of very smart people with him. I think Steve inspired devotion amongst those he worked most closely with, especially talented people like Andrew Ives and he kept these people close him, it seems. He was very good at spotting a technology somewhere and applying it to an existing problem he was trying to solve. Also he had very high standards yet a resolute eye on keeping costs down I think from Apple’s first near death experience. So very smart but not posessed.

OG: So Jobs is no role model for managers? He made his money on the back of very talented people? Or is it possible to be human and have high standards at the same time?

BL: Hey that’s a bit unfair. A great manager gains the greatest potential from the team he works with, and I am sure Steve did exactly that. Also he made far less money than the aggregate Apple shareholders most of whom are pension funds the beneficiaries of which are very happy to any return these days. I think to have high standards is a great expression of human integrity.

OG: What is the difference between a good idea and an innovation? And how do you make money from an innovation?

BL: Ideas are worthless good or otherwise invention, creativity and innovation are only worthless ideas to begin with. They need a story and they need execution to become valuable. Most of the time this involves a lot of trial and error. You make more money therefore by iteration than innovation. Just as lone heroes only win in the movies lone ideas only win in fiction as well. Innovation and inspiration someone told me are also inversely proportional to formality. I do wish Steve had iterated the ipad keyboard more though 🙂

OG: I understand “execution” (and I think: “iteration”, too) – can you put a little detail in the “story” part? Maybe using XING, the iPhone or Facebook as an example?

BL: A story has three parts – Crisis, Struggle, Resolution. And the best stories have a counter intuitive component. Some surprise. The pain that Steve saw was that mobile devices were fiddly to use and he knew that he could make a device that was cleaner and friendlier. The struggle was in back rooms at Apple for years to come up with the right combination for a minimum viable product to test on the market for real in a very crowded industry. The resolution was the sheer surprise and delight of using the iPhone for the first time. It was breathtaking how different and yet how intuitive it was. The iPhone brand still carries all of the story in its DNA and the surprise that a computer company could make a great mobile device still has not been beaten. The iPad is also a similar story which most people do get. The iPad’s most valuable feature is its day long battery life and yet the competitors do not see that because they focus on the wrong parts of the story.

OG: How come most online and mobile innovation seems to come from the US? Is Europe just a (talented?) copycat?

BL: I am convinced that it is because failure is far more celebrated in the US. In Europe it’s just not OK to fail so people end up not taking enough chances to explore new territory. Steve had some notable failures that would have gotten him fired many times in Europe. So Europe tends to try to refine what someone else creates. The problem is that it’s much much harder to copy something that someone else has spent a decade innovating behind closed doors because you don’t have the deep understanding of the complexity that underpins the simplicity.

OG: Well, Jobs was in fact once fired from Apple 😉 – Would you dare to predict the next big thing on the web. Or easier: What should people invest in?

BL: Jobs was fired but by a CEO who came in late with big corporate ideas from a totally non innovative industry. In Europe Jobs would have been fired probably every month… Buy Apple stock it’s still cheap from any perspective. 🙂

Still looking to the future mobile, local, social, useful, fun are all the elements of inevitable things going forward. Investable stuff is that which an endure by the way as it’s even harder to predict what you might quickly make a buck on. So it’s best to hang in there because what the company is doing is going to be sustained.

OG: OK, let’s say: the next NEW big thing on the web or in mobile would be…? A social-local-mobile gamified something?

BL: What has mobile technology not yet solved for you? That’s the place to look. What little daily pain has not yet been catered for? I think the way we learn has huge potential. Look at www.coderdojo.com. It’s a new way to learn how to program computers and its free. No it’s not for investment of money and yet as a parent it may be a great way to invest time with your children if they are bright and inclined to learn logic.

OG: Thanks, I’ll check it out with my 11-year-old.Finally two questions about religion: iOS or Android (you partly answered this already as you seem to do this chat interview on an iPad) — Google+ or Facebook? And why?

BL: Android drives me nuts so I have an iPad but I do not have an iPhone. I have an old waterproof Samsung mobile phone because I like the long battery life.

I think Google+ is really well thought through and Facebook I find very tiring to use. So Google+ is my preference combined with Twitter.

OG: Thanks a lot and let’s hope Twitter survives in the Facebook-G+-Wars.

BL: Well, the wars are not between Facebook and g+ plus by the way. The war is being fought in the cloud. Amazon vs Apple vs Google vs Microsoft – they are the only players. Facebook is connected to Microsoft and Twitter to Apple. Will Twapple beat Amazon or Macebook who knows and its fun to watch. Amazon’s silk browser is the only real threat I see to the iPad. Stay tuned 🙂

OG: Actually silk made me think about getting some *pad, too. We will watch along with you. Thanks 😉

BL: Thanks 🙂XING Co-Founder Bill Liao chatted with us about Steve Jobs, Coder Dojo, and why he sticks to his waterproof Samsung mobile phone.

OG: Hi Bill, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Bill Liao: Hi Oliver and Hello dear readers 🙂 Bill Liao is my name and among several things I am variously known as an entrepreneur, diplomat and author.

OG: Can you detail the entrepreneur part a little for us?

BL: Well I first became an entrepreneur at the age of 27 when I quit my day job and founded my own company teaching engineers how to sell. I then went on to become part of the team that took Davenet Limited public in Australia and have been part of 7 IPO’s total. The most recent was XING AG where I was Co-Founder alongside the Founder Lars Hinrichs in Hamburg. I am also a great believer in lean startups and have written a book on the subject called “Stone Soup – the secret recipe for making something from nothing”.

OG: What is the web or mobile innovation of the past year? What changed your personal life most?

BL: I think that the most striking innovation is a recent one where Apple has chosen to integrate Twitter into iOS5. This is the first time a social network has been integrated into an operating system. Knowing that this was coming I redoubled my Twitter efforts. At SOSventures we also invested in Storyful.com. I also created a conduit for my Google Plus content to be rebroadcast on Twitter. Storyful is an interesting innovation because it finds stories on Twitter then helps human journalists to curate and verify those stories.

OG: Is Twitter here to stay or will it eventually go the way of Altavista and Myspace?

BL: I really like Twitter and so I hope that it stays and I use it every day. I no longer use facebook every day nor Linked in nor even XING but I use gmail, g+ and Twitter every day. Twitter is much faster than all the other news streams because the messages are so short. I just hope they start to deal with all the spam.

OG: Why did XING fail to make the jump to a global scale? Was it good to concentrate on DACH at some point?

BL: XING always needed to serve its core users best and the core is Germany. The problem with the early days of XING was that it was very hard to get the balance between serving members and also existing in an eco system where many corporate partners wanted to have a white label copy of XING. We were distracted by that and that meant we did not internationalize fast enough although we did do well in some other countries than DACH.

OG: Was Steve Jobs an innovator, a genius or just posessed?

BL: On the couple of occasions I met Steve he occured as pretty brusque and he had a posse of very smart people with him. I think Steve inspired devotion amongst those he worked most closely with, especially talented people like Andrew Ives and he kept these people close him, it seems. He was very good at spotting a technology somewhere and applying it to an existing problem he was trying to solve. Also he had very high standards yet a resolute eye on keeping costs down I think from Apple’s first near death experience. So very smart but not posessed.

OG: So Jobs is no role model for managers? He made his money on the back of very talented people? Or is it possible to be human and have high standards at the same time?

BL: Hey that’s a bit unfair. A great manager gains the greatest potential from the team he works with, and I am sure Steve did exactly that. Also he made far less money than the aggregate Apple shareholders most of whom are pension funds the beneficiaries of which are very happy to any return these days. I think to have high standards is a great expression of human integrity.

OG: What is the difference between a good idea and an innovation? And how do you make money from an innovation?

BL: Ideas are worthless good or otherwise invention, creativity and innovation are only worthless ideas to begin with. They need a story and they need execution to become valuable. Most of the time this involves a lot of trial and error. You make more money therefore by iteration than innovation. Just as lone heroes only win in the movies lone ideas only win in fiction as well. Innovation and inspiration someone told me are also inversely proportional to formality. I do wish Steve had iterated the ipad keyboard more though 🙂

OG: I understand “execution” (and I think: “iteration”, too) – can you put a little detail in the “story” part? Maybe using XING, the iPhone or Facebook as an example?

BL: A story has three parts – Crisis, Struggle, Resolution. And the best stories have a counter intuitive component. Some surprise. The pain that Steve saw was that mobile devices were fiddly to use and he knew that he could make a device that was cleaner and friendlier. The struggle was in back rooms at Apple for years to come up with the right combination for a minimum viable product to test on the market for real in a very crowded industry. The resolution was the sheer surprise and delight of using the iPhone for the first time. It was breathtaking how different and yet how intuitive it was. The iPhone brand still carries all of the story in its DNA and the surprise that a computer company could make a great mobile device still has not been beaten. The iPad is also a similar story which most people do get. The iPad’s most valuable feature is its day long battery life and yet the competitors do not see that because they focus on the wrong parts of the story.

OG: How come most online and mobile innovation seems to come from the US? Is Europe just a (talented?) copycat?

BL: I am convinced that it is because failure is far more celebrated in the US. In Europe it’s just not OK to fail so people end up not taking enough chances to explore new territory. Steve had some notable failures that would have gotten him fired many times in Europe. So Europe tends to try to refine what someone else creates. The problem is that it’s much much harder to copy something that someone else has spent a decade innovating behind closed doors because you don’t have the deep understanding of the complexity that underpins the simplicity.

OG: Well, Jobs was in fact once fired from Apple 😉 – Would you dare to predict the next big thing on the web. Or easier: What should people invest in?

BL: Jobs was fired but by a CEO who came in late with big corporate ideas from a totally non innovative industry. In Europe Jobs would have been fired probably every month… Buy Apple stock it’s still cheap from any perspective. 🙂

Still looking to the future mobile, local, social, useful, fun are all the elements of inevitable things going forward. Investable stuff is that which an endure by the way as it’s even harder to predict what you might quickly make a buck on. So it’s best to hang in there because what the company is doing is going to be sustained.

OG: OK, let’s say: the next NEW big thing on the web or in mobile would be…? A social-local-mobile gamified something?

BL: What has mobile technology not yet solved for you? That’s the place to look. What little daily pain has not yet been catered for? I think the way we learn has huge potential. Look at www.coderdojo.com. It’s a new way to learn how to program computers and its free. No it’s not for investment of money and yet as a parent it may be a great way to invest time with your children if they are bright and inclined to learn logic.

OG: Thanks, I’ll check it out with my 11-year-old.Finally two questions about religion: iOS or Android (you partly answered this already as you seem to do this chat interview on an iPad) — Google+ or Facebook? And why?

BL: Android drives me nuts so I have an iPad but I do not have an iPhone. I have an old waterproof Samsung mobile phone because I like the long battery life.

I think Google+ is really well thought through and Facebook I find very tiring to use. So Google+ is my preference combined with Twitter.

OG: Thanks a lot and let’s hope Twitter survives in the Facebook-G+-Wars.

BL: Well, the wars are not between Facebook and g+ plus by the way. The war is being fought in the cloud. Amazon vs Apple vs Google vs Microsoft – they are the only players. Facebook is connected to Microsoft and Twitter to Apple. Will Twapple beat Amazon or Macebook who knows and its fun to watch. Amazon’s silk browser is the only real threat I see to the iPad. Stay tuned 🙂

OG: Actually silk made me think about getting some *pad, too. We will watch along with you. Thanks 😉

BL: Thanks 🙂

Oliver Gassner

GUNTER DUECK: “Steve Jobs had a kind of emotional intelligence – for machines”GUNTER DUECK: „Steve Jobs besaß so etwas wie eine emotionale Intelligenz – für Maschinen“

In his years at IBM, the thinker and author Gunter Dueck earned the nickname “Wild Duck”. We spoke to him about IBM’s innovative power, the sense and nonsense of business plans for start-ups – and about Steve Jobs, of course, who unfortunately left us far too soon.

Oliver Gassner: Hello, Mr. Dueck!

Gunter Dueck: Hello.

OG: What do you consider to be the biggest development on the web or in mobile world over the past twelve months?

GD: Well, the constantly increasing hype about the iPad, which has a lot to do with the now cheap flash storage; now all we need is LTE (Long Term Evolution) everywhere…

OG: Will LTE-enabled tablets save the publishing houses, or is that wishful thinking?

GD: I think that many people now read on-screen. As a writer, people ask me almost daily to urge publishers toward eBooks. On the other hand, people no longer read that many books; I feel that quite clearly. Digital natives prefer a snappy speech on YouTube – something new is on the rise!

OG: Was Steve Jobs innovative? Or driven? Or a “good” manager from the “Wild Duck” perspective?

GD: Jobs gave a lot of thought to what enthusiastic people would want from a computer. That they don’t crash, that they are easy to use – stuff like that. He was the only one who didn’t make any compromises in this area. He had a kind of “emotional intelligence” – but for machines! And he definitely had a talent for attraction. Most techies don’t have it. They don’t comprehend it, and regard it with suspicion (because techies are usually verrrry introverted and tend to be embarrassed in front of audiences, for example). And since they don’t consider it to be quite kosher, they can hardly copy Jobs’ success – even though they read about it every day in the paper, while shaking their heads over it.

OG: Guy Kawasaki recently said that Apple was planned as a kind of anti-IBM back in the mid-80s. They also had that Orwell commercial back then. Has IBM and the rest of the IT world learned anything since then?

GD: Tough question. People always accuse IBM of having missed out on the “consumer front”. But IBM caters to enterprise customers, and understands them very well – in that segment the company is uncompromising and even attractive! It’s very hard, if not impossible, to have several such corporate souls. The critics don’t understand that point – that it’s too hard to be everything to everyone. Our political parties in Germany are trying that right now – what can I say?

OG: In that case, it was of course appropriate for IBM to sell its consumer division to Lenovo. To come back to Steve Jobs: in his “stay hungry, stay foolish” speech, he put his success down to the fact that he failed more than once: as a college dropout, and the first time around as the CEO of Apple. Both experiences opened new perspectives for him: calligraphy, design, Pixar and Toy Story. Is it still OK these days – for managers and regular people – to explore interesting sidelines and learn from mistakes?

GD: Mistakes! Ugh, don’t use that word in my presence! You have to see innovation as an exploration of the unknown, not as something you can do correctly or incorrectly according to a timetable. Personally, I ONLY learn while exploring! Enterprises today don’t understand that, and neither do lenders who expect start-ups to submit a business plan. These days, it’s best if I stay in the basement until I’m done exploring. Not that that would work for the pharmaceutical sector and the like…

OG: I’m aware of who I put that question to, and I find it reassuring that the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t do its research in the wild. What distinguishes a good idea from true innovation?

GD: An invention is not an innovation. Leonardo already had the idea for a flying machine (albeit some time after Icarus). But so what? You not only have to perfect the technology – you also have to build airports, set up an air traffic control system, invent luggage carousels, and get the whole system to work at a ticket price of €49. Taking that initial idea and adapting it to reality is innovation, so we can define innovation as the remaining 99.9 percent of the work.

OG: What would you require from a startup instead of a business plan before you would be willing to give them 100,000 or a million euros?

GD: I would study the new entrepreneur as if it were a job interview, and I’d ask myself a hundred times whether I trust him to handle it, whether he knows what to expect, and whether he has a realistic perspective. I’d want to be sure he’s a good innovator.

OG: Your output in terms of books and lectures is impressive. And you even used to hold down a “normal” job while working on them. What do you personally need to be creative?

GD: In life, I’ve often seen things going fundamentally wrong. And that’s when I need to take a stand. I can write well, and so that’s what I do – to disseminate “my idea” or “the truth”. Now it would also be good (as an innovation) to sell those truths so that they change our lives. I’m still working on that.

OG: Would you be willing to predict what the web’s next big thing will be? In Abschied vom Homo oeconomicus, your predictions regarding mobility were spot on.

GD: And those about China, India, wage dumping, burnout and 2.0 weren’t bad either, right? And now? China’s economy will catch up with the U.S. around 2015, and that’s not very far in the future. But the exact timing doesn’t matter: China will continue to grow for a long time, and the world will experience a new phase of growth that will encourage innovation. The direction: the internet will become the world’s “operating system”, followed by growth in new and specialized fields such as medical, bio-, genetic, solar, nano-, and other technologies.

OG: And finally, two fundamental questions: iOS or Android (or Blackberry)? Facebook or Google+? And why?

GD: I have a Blackberry because it’s the only device that supports IBM mail. So I haven’t yet had a choice. My Blackberry is fairly new, and now that I’m no longer with IBM, I’ll wait until LTE devices are available and then get myself an iPhone 6 or whatever. Or an Android, we’ll see. I’m not dogmatic – I choose according to the features I need. And to answer your other question, I have the feeling that Facebook is more friendly and appreciative, while Google+ tends to be sober and critical. So the choice is a question of your personality. That’s why the front between the two is so fundamentalist. I personally feel more comfortable with Google+ because criticism and tough arguments (and rudeness, unfortunately) benefit me more than being “liked”, although that’s also nice. I’m on both platforms.

OG: Thank you for your time, Mr. Dueck.

Der Denker und Autor Gunter Dueck verdiente sich in seinen Jahren bei IBM den Spitznamen „Wild Duck“. Wir sprachen mit ihm über die Innovationskraft von IBM, den Sinn und Unsinn von Business-Plänen für Start-ups – und natürlich über Steve Jobs, der leider viel zu früh von uns ging.  

Oliver Gassner: Guten Tag, Herr Dueck!

Gunter Dueck: Hallo.

OG: Was ist für Sie die Web- oder Mobile-Entdeckung der vergangenen 12 Monate?

GD: Na, der Rummel um das iPad, der immer mehr zunimmt. Es hat viel mit dem nun billigen Flashspeicher zu tun, jetzt brauchen wir noch LTE (Long-Term-Evolution) everywhere…

OG: Retten Irgendwas-Pads mit LTE die Verlage? Oder ist das Wunschdenken?

GD: Ich denke, dass nun viele auf dem Bildschirm lesen. Ich werde als Schriftsteller fast täglich angemahnt, den Verlag zum eBook zu drängen. Andererseits: Die Leute lesen vielleicht nicht mehr so viele Bücher, das fühle ich deutlich. Den Digital Natives ist eine schwungvolle Rede auf YouTube lieber – da kommt etwas Neues!

OG: War Steve Jobs innovativ? Oder besessen? Oder ein „guter” Manager im Sinne von „Wild Duck”?

GD: Jobs hat sich genau überlegt, was sich ein begeisterter Mensch von Computern wünschen könnte. Dass sie nicht abstürzen, gut bedienen lassen und so. Er ist der einzige, der da keine Kompromisse gemacht hat. Das hat also so etwas wie „Emotionale Intelligenz“, aber für Maschinen! Und dann hat er unbedingt eine Gabe für Attraktion. Diese Gabe ist den meisten Techies nicht gegeben, ganz unverständlich und auch suspekt (weil Techies meist seeehr introvertiert sind und sich etwa auf Bühnen schämen). Weil ihnen das eben auch suspekt ist, können sie den Erfolg von Jobs kaum kopieren, obwohl sie ihn täglich in der Zeitung studieren, aber auch bekopfschütteln.

OG: Guy Kawasaki hat in einem aktuellen Audio gesagt, dass Apple Mitte der 80er als eine Art Anti-IBM geplant war. Es gibt da ja auch diesen Orwell-Spot von damals. Haben IBM und der Rest der IT-Welt seitdem etwas gelernt?

GD: Zu schwere Frage… IBM wird immer vorgeworfen, etwas an der „Consumer-Front” verschlafen zu haben. IBM ist aber für Großkunden da und versteht die wiederum sehr genau – und ist da kompromisslos und auch attraktiv! Es ist sehr schwer, mehrere solcher Unternehmensseelen zu haben, wenn es überhaupt geht. Die ganzen Kritiker verstehen diesen Punkt nicht… dass es zu schwer ist, für alle dazu sein. Unsere politischen Parteien in Deutschland probieren das ja gerade. Tja.

OG: Dann war es natürlich sinnvoll, die Consumer-Sparte an Lenovo abzustoßen. – Um das Jobs-Thema abzuschließen: In Jobs’ „Stay hungry, stay foolish“-Rede führt er ja seinen Erfolg darauf zurück, dass er mehrfach gescheitert ist: als Studienabbrecher, als Manager von Apple das erste Mal. Beides eröffnete ihm neue Perspektiven: Kalligrafie, Design, Pixar und Toy Story. Darf man heute – als Manager oder Normalo – überhaupt noch aus Fehlern lernen und neben der Hauptkompetenz wildern?

GD: Pfui, das darf man in meiner Gegenwart nicht sagen! Fehler! Man muss Innovation als Exploration von Unbekanntem sehen, nicht als etwas, was man nach Plan richtig oder falsch macht. Ich persönlich habe NUR beim Explorieren gelernt! Heutige Unternehmen verstehen das nicht, auch nicht Kreditgeber an Start-Ups, die einen Business-Plan verlangen. Ich komme heute am besten nur noch aus dem Keller, wenn das Explorieren fertig ist… aber bei Pharma oder so geht das ja nicht…

OG: Ich wusste schon, wen ich das frage und bin auch beruhigter, wenn die Pharmaindustrie nicht in der freien Wildbahn forscht. – Was unterscheidet eine gute Idee von einer echten Innovation?

GD:An invention is not an innovation“… Leonardo hatte doch schon (allerdings einige Zeit nach Ikarus) die Idee zum Flugzeug. Na und? Man muss da nicht nur die Technik lösen, sondern auch Flugplätze bauen, Flugsicherung einrichten, Gepäckbänder erfinden und alles so, dass es 49 Euro kostet… Dieses Einpassen der ersten Idee in die Wirklichkeit ist Innovation, also besteht Innovation aus den restlichen 99,9 Prozent der Arbeit.

OG: Was würden sie von einem Start-up statt eines Business-Plans verlangen, bevor sie ihm 100.000 oder eine Million Euro geben?

GD: Ich würde mir den neuen Unternehmer wie in einem Bewerbungsgespräch anschauen und hundert Mal prüfen, ob ich ihm zutraue, das alles zu stemmen, und ob er weiß, was ihn erwartet, und ob er eine realistische Sicht hat. Ich will sicher sein, dass er ein guter Innovator ist.

OG: Sie haben ja einen sehr beeindruckenden „Output” an Büchern und an Vorträgen. Und das früher ja neben der „normalen” Arbeit. Was brauchen Sie persönlich, um kreativ zu sein?

GD: Ich habe oft im Leben gesehen, dass etwas fundamental falsch läuft. Da muss ich doch aufmucken? Schreiben kann ich gut, dann mache ich das so, also „meine Idee” oder „die Wahrheit” zu verbreiten. Nun wäre es noch gut (als Innovation), diese Wahrheiten zu verkaufen, dass sie also das Leben verändern. Daran arbeite ich noch.

OG: Wagen Sie eine Prognose, was das nächste große Ding im Netz sein wird? In „Abschied vom Homo oeconomicus“ lagen Sie ja zum Beispiel bei den Voraussagen zu ‘mobile’ sehr gut.

GD: Na, auch zu China, Indien, Lohndumping, Burnouts und 2.0, oder? Und jetzt? In 2015 oder so wird Chinas Ökonomie so groß sein wie die der USA, das ist nicht mehr lange hin… Egal wann genau: Da China noch lange wächst, kommt eine neue Phase des Wachstums in der Welt, die zu Innovationen anreizen wird. Richtung: Das Internet wird “Betriebssystem der Welt”, dann ein Aufschwung neuer Felder wie alle Spezialtechnologie: Medizin-, Bio-, Gen-, Solar-, Nano- etc tech.

OG: Und zum Schluss zwei Gewissenfragen: iOS oder Android (oder Blackberry)? Facebook oder Google+? Und warum?

GD: Ich hab ein Blackberry, weil die IBM-Mail nur darauf kommt. Ich habe also noch nicht überlegen dürfen… Nun habe ich das Blackberry ziemlich neu, bin nicht mehr in der IBM und warte jetzt, bis es LTE-Teile gibt, dann kaufe ich mir ein iPhone 6 oder so. Oder ein Android, was weiß ich. Ich bin nicht dogmatisch, ich wähle das nach Funktionen, die ich brauche. Und zur anderen Frage: Ich habe das Gefühl, dass Facebook mehr „freundlich/appreciative” ist und Google+ dagegen nüchtern und kritisch. Je nach Persönlichkeit wird man das eine oder andere bevorzugen. Deshalb ist auch die Front so fundamentalistisch – zwischen den einen oder anderen. Ich selbst fühle mich bei Google+ wohler, weil ich von den Kritiken und harten Argumenten (und auch Unhöflichkeiten, leider) mehr profitiere als „geliked” zu werden, was aber auch schön ist. Ich bin auf beiden Plattformen.

OG: Vielen Dank für das Gespräch, Herr Dueck.