Category: Innovation


Die Welt ist eine Scheibe?

Ich habe gestern den Bestseller “The World is Flat” von Thomas L. Friedman erstanden.

The World is Flat

Aufgrund einer Empfehlung von Hubert Burda habe ich mich entschieden die Thesen von Herrn Friedman genauer anzusehen. Herr Burda hat in seiner letzten Rede beim Publishers Dinner in München auf das Buch Bezug genommen.

Nach einer kurzen Sichtung der Kerninhalte ist mir besonders die bemerkenswerte Arbeitsweise von Thomas L. Friedman aufgefallen. Er hat während Teile seines Buches zum Korrekturlesen u.a. an den Michael Dell (Dell Computer), Bill Gates (Mircrsoft) und Marc Andreessen (Founder Netscape) gegeben. Zudem führte er Gespräche mit über 30 visionären Personen wie Walt Mossberg (Walt Street Journal) oder Jerry Yang (Yahoo! Gründer).

Bei diesen Bekannten Persönlichkeiten als Gesprächspartner und Ideengeber kann das Buch ja nur ein Erfolg werden. Und so ist es auch – bereits nach weniger Wochen ein neuer Bestseller. Gratulation Herr Friedman. So macht man das!

PS: Spannend sind auch die Gegenargumente mit dem Titel “The World is spiky”.


Neue Social Media StartUps

Drei neue StartUps im Bereich des Social Web gehen an den Start:

Zu den Social Media-Newbees gehören Ning, Wink, Flock und Real Travel. To be watched.


Der Wert eines Blogs?

Via Marcel Reichart:

Der Verkauf von Weblogs Inc an AOL gibt eine erste Richtung vor, wie Blogs aus Sicht von traditionellen Medienhäusern zu bewerten sind. Tristan Louis analysiert die Akquisition auf Basis der Technorati-Links der Weblogs Inc. Blogs. So kommt der Star Engagdet auf über 13.000 Links, Luxist auf 430. Daraus berechnet Tristan den Anteil, den ein Blog am Kaufpreis von 25–40 Mio. $ hat.

Weiter segmentiert er nach Themen wie Consumer oder Life Sciences. Im Ergebnis repräsentiert Engagdet über ein Drittel des Kaufpreises.

“… In acquiring Weblogs Inc., AOL has now provided us with some numbers traditional media are willing to pay for a blog. Looking at the numbers above, one can try to guess at the value of a link from an external site. a single link on the weblogsinc network represents 0.002258559942180087 percent of the overall network. At the different rumored price points from AOL, it looks as follows:

Link $25 million value 30 million value 40 million value
1 $564.64 $677.57 $903.42

I don’t know if those values are based on any real rationale but it’s nice to dream up the value of one’s blog based on this. Should we now assume that traditional media companies are willing to pay between $500 and $1000 per site that links into a blog?”


Social Web

Die aktuelle Business Week hat einen spannenden Artikel über die Veränderungen im Internet. Der Wandel hin zum Social Web findet kontinuierlich statt. Die User werden zunehmend aktiver und agieren direkt miteinander….

Hier der Artikel.


Wearable Media Jacket

My new Post on the CScout Trendblog about the Wearable Media Jacket we’ve just created for our customer.


Hubert Burda blogt!

Seit einigen Tagen gibt es den Hubert Burda Blog. Herr Burda blogt seine persönlichen Erlebnisse.

Nicht schlecht…


eBay kauft Skype!

Eine tolle Nachricht. eBay kauft das Voice Over IP System Skype.

Zwischen 1 und 5 Millarden Dollar sollen dafür auf den Tische gelegt werden. Die Financial Times berichtet von 5 Milliarden Dollar (FT Artikel) während das WSJ von 1 bis 2 Milliarden spricht.

Aber egal wieviele Milliarden über den Tische gehen – das ist ein Hammer Deal für Skype.
Die besten Wünsche an Yossi – einer der Investoren von Skype…


Service Innovation

Rechnungen kann man nun ganz einfach Online verwalten, verfasen und versenden.

Alles über einen neuen Service namens BlinkSale



The Digital Home

Via “The Economist”

Technology firms are pushing a futuristic vision of home entertainment not because consumers are desperate for it but because they themselves are
RECENTLY, at one of the fast-proliferating conferences devoted to the “digital home”, John Burke, an executive at Motorola, a maker of mobile phones and digital gadgets, showed a video that presented his company’s version of this vision. In the clip, a youngish man wakes up to a rock video that automatically starts playing on a screen next to his bed. He gets up to have breakfast and the rock video follows him to a screen in the kitchen. He moves into the living room and up pops the rock video on yet another screen. When he leaves his flat and gets into his car, the video starts playing on a screen in the steering wheel.

To ordinary humans this sort of thing must seem like silly—or downright frightening—marketing claptrap. In fact, even Mr Burke’s audience of self-selected technophiles seemed sceptical. “Did you notice that the guy was a bachelor,” said Tim Dowling, the boss of Pure Networks, a software firm in Seattle that helps users to set up and troubleshoot home-computer networks. “That alone tells you that they’re out of touch. I thought: How dumb.” Real people do not want to be hounded through their home and their life by some video stream, he argues; they just want help with basic headaches, such as getting the kids’ laptop, mom’s Apple Macintosh and dad’s Windows machine to share the family’s printer.

Whether or not computer, software, consumer-electronics, telecoms, cable and internet companies are in fact out of touch with consumers may be the biggest question facing these industries today. That is because the “digital home”, a concept and category hugely hyped in executive circles but still rarely heard in discussions among consumers, represents their greatest hope for revenue growth. Demand from corporate buyers of technology has barely recovered from the dotcom bust and is widely expected to be unimpressive for years. By contrast, the homes of consumers appear to technology vendors as a barely tamed analogue wilderness. Darcy Travlos, an analyst at CreditSights, a research firm, estimates the market opportunity of the digital home at $250 billion in America alone and $1 trillion worldwide in three to seven years.

“We view the digital home as critically important,” says Craig Mundie, one of three chief technology officers at Microsoft, the world’s largest software company. “The home is much more exciting than the workplace.” Computers have already led to small revolutions in boosting productivity in the office and helping people to communicate and to be creative, he says, so “we’re pretty confident” that computers will have a similar effect on the way people consume entertainment. Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor maker, recently reorganised itself into new business divisions including, prominently, one called “digital home”. Last week it formally launched Viiv, a bundle of chips intended for use in digital-home PCs. Consumer-electronics firms such as Sony, computer-makers such as Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Apple, telecoms giants such as Verizon or SBC, cable companies such as Comcast, internet firms such as Yahoo!, networking-equipment companies such as Cisco—all agree that the digital home is where the action will be and are investing furiously to make sure they have a good chance of playing a leading role.

Their first challenge in stimulating any sort of consumer interest is the difficulty of merely explaining what the digital home is supposed to be. You might think, for instance, that the term refers to the long-established trend away from analogue and towards digital media. In music, most people have completed their migration from vinyl records and tapes to digital CDs. In films, the trend from videotapes to DVDs is not far behind. In photography, traditional film is fast being replaced by digital cameras and pictures. TV and radio broadcasters are also shifting to digital transmissions, with Britain leading the way.

Confusingly, however, that is not what vendors mean when they talk about the digital home. Instead, they invariably mean a home in which all sorts of electronic devices—from the personal computer (PC) to the TV set-top box, the stereo, the game console and, in some versions, even the garage door and refrigerator—are connected, both to one another and to the internet. Hence the Motorola marketing video that Mr Burke was showing. Its purpose was to illustrate what Motorola, like Microsoft, calls “seamlessness”, as digital content hops automatically between various devices and screens. The excitement, therefore, is not so much about content being digital, but about its delivery switching from physical things (such as CDs) to photons (such as wireless downloads or streaming), because this requires consumers to buy new gadgets.

Believers in this future point to encouraging statistics. Parks Associates, a research firm in Texas that specialises in the digital home (and which organised the conference at which Mr Burke gave his keynote address) surveyed a group of internet users and found that 84% of them use their PCs to store digital photos, 59% to store music, 36% for video clips and 26% for personal videos. If one includes devices other than PCs—such as TiVo, a popular digital video recorder—17% also store movies and TV shows. In theory, these people could soon avail themselves of new wireless-networking technologies, such as an emerging standard called “ultrawideband”, to pipe all this content from their collections to electronic picture frames, screens and portable devices.

Joined-up thinking
That is not at all what they want to do today, however. Another study by Parks Associates found that 89% of people with a home-computer network felt that the relatively modest goal of sharing internet access is its most important function, with printer-sharing the second priority. Worse, 27% of people who bought network gear said that they ran into problems during configuration, leading many to call the help desk of their internet service provider (who may or may not be responsible for the problem) at an estimated annual cost of $1.4 billion to that industry. Even downloading entertainment, as opposed to buying it on discs, appears over-hyped. According to a study by the OECD, there were over 230 websites offering 1m tracks in America and Europe at the end of 2004. But these online sales accounted for less than 2% of total music revenues; even with fast growth, they are projected to rise only by 5-10% by 2008.

All this points to a huge problem with the digital-home vision: the lack, among most consumers, of any sense of crisis about the status quo in entertainment. “We don’t think many folks are looking for an electronic nerve centre in their homes,” says Pip Coburn, who runs Coburn Ventures, a technology-consulting and investment firm. After all, popping in a DVD, say, is so easy and works so well. By contrast, getting a digital home up and running promises several lost weekends of fiddling with manuals and settings, and hefty expenses in new gear. According to Mr Coburn’s formula for evaluating new technologies, whereby adoption is a function of the users’ sense of crisis (ie, motivation to change) outweighing their perceived pain of switching, the digital home ranks as a clear “loser”.

This miscalculation—if that is what it is—by the large vendors stems from their history of catering to companies rather than people, says Pure Networks’ Mr Dowling (who used to be at Intel and who hired some 40 of his 60 employees from Microsoft). During the information-technology boom, the industry sold its wares mostly to chief information officers or chief technology officers with big budgets. These are customers who tend to be receptive toward buying “solutions” rather than products, and often hire consultants such as IBM Global Services to pull together hardware and software from various vendors. But “consumers don’t buy as an IT manager does,” says Mr Dowling. “They buy spur-of-the-moment and hodge podge; they buy things, not systems.” To the extent that the digital home is not a thing but a solution, he thinks, “the vendors are all fooling themselves.”

The vendors, naturally, disagree vehemently. “When you ask customers what they want, they will never tell you. You have to show them first,” says Microsoft’s Mr Mundie. That is why Microsoft has, since 1994, had an impressive (or, to some people, intimidating) mock digital home on its campus in Redmond, Washington State, which it updates with the latest gadgets. Intel, NETGEAR, HP and most other self-respecting technology firms have similar mock-ups for display. There is, argues Motorola’s Mr Burke, a huge “need to educate consumers about the value of a connected home and lifestyle.”

Talking the same language
Outside the controlled environment of a mock home or conference demonstration, however, educating consumers tends to backfire. That is because real-world digital homes usually do not work very well. The premise of the entire vision, remember, is that heterogeneous devices talk to one another and readily transfer content to wherever the consumer wants to access it. This requires compatibility—“interoperability” in the jargon—among vendors involved in two technological categories.

The first is file formats and codecs (short for coder-decoders), which encode digital information—such as a picture, song or film—compress it for transmission and storage, and decompress it again for viewing and listening. The second is digital-rights management software, or DRM, which protects such content against piracy and unauthorised copying. DRM allows the copyright holders of content—film studios and record companies, in essence—to define such parameters as when a film or song that is downloaded “expires”, or how many times it can be copied to another device, such as a portable player.

The trouble starts here, with a bewildering list of acronyms that no ordinary consumer should ever have to know, but currently needs to know, to set up a digital home. The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is an industry body that defines widely used codecs such as MPEG-2 for video and MP3 for audio. But the big vendors prefer their own codecs—Microsoft its WM9 (short for Windows-Media-9), Apple, the market leader in online music sales, its AAC, and so on.

In DRM, the situation is even more chaotic. Microsoft pushes its Windows DRM; RealNetworks, which makes rival media software, has Helix; Sony has OpenMG; Apple likes FairPlay, and so on. The upshot is that consumers cannot mix online services, gadgets and software from different vendors and be sure that the content they have paid for actually works. Music bought online from Microsoft’s MSN or Yahoo!, for instance, does not work on Apple’s iTunes or iPod, and vice versa.

This challenge is daunting because DRM technologies should not only be compatible today, but for all eternity. Otherwise, consumers will be afraid to pay for content, and will stick with CDs and DVDs, which seem painless and safe by comparison. “If consumers even know there’s a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we’ve already failed,” says Peter Lee, an executive at Disney. The same goes for codecs. “The user shouldn’t know or care what format they’re using,” says James Poder, an engineer at Comcast, America’s largest cable company and broadband internet service provider, because “consumers don’t want to be IT administrators for their own home.”

Prisoner’s dilemma
It may seem ironic, therefore, that vendors are refusing to make their technologies interoperable, thus potentially killing their own vision. On the other hand, it makes sense for each to try to make its own proprietary technology the winner, in order later to grab a disproportionate share of the market. The starting point of cable and telecoms companies, for instance, is as providers of broadband pipes into the home. So they are investing in IPTV (internet-protocol television), a vision in which content resides on the network and is pulled into the home on demand. Thus, says Cyrus Mewawalla, an analyst at Westhall Capital, a broker in London, America’s Verizon and SBC and others are investing hugely in laying fibre-optic cables to homes (at a cost of about $1,000 per household), hoping that IPTV and the necessary set-top box could “evolve into the primary gateway to the digital home.” By controlling this gateway, they could offer a bundle of telephony, internet and entertainment, in effect “owning” the customer.

This would at the same time help them to parry their biggest threat: Microsoft. Microsoft has itself invested in IPTV, ostensibly in partnership with telecoms and cable companies. Like its loss-making investment in game consoles (called Xbox), however, Microsoft intends this as a purely defensive hedge, says Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research outfit near Seattle. Instead, thinks Mr Rosoff, Microsoft’s strategy is to establish the Windows-run PC as the uncontested hub of the digital home. Hence its all-out push to establish its codecs and DRM as the standard. This would allow Microsoft to keep selling Windows upgrades and to earn royalties from hardware and from consumer-electronics companies that make “spokes” for the Windows hub, such as portable music and video players, screens and online services.

Microsoft’s most explicit attempt so far is a version of its current operating system called Windows Media Centre Edition (MCE), which puts a simplified menu on top of the desktop screen for use with a remote control from the sofa. The MCE was first launched in October 2002, and has been upgraded several times since, but it has so far been mostly a dud, running fewer than 1% of all PCs sold last year. Microsoft now hopes to make MCE more relevant by selling “extenders”, little devices that can hook on to a TV set or stereo and communicate with the PC over a wireless network. Its biggest hope, however, is for Vista (previously known by the code name of Longhorn), the next version of Windows, which is due to be released late next year (after several delays).

According to Microsoft’s Mr Mundie, there is no question that the Windows PC will win this fight to become the central repository for all digital content, for a simple reason. The cable and telecoms companies, he says, are hampered by their business model, in which the set-top boxes sit on their own balance sheet and are leased, at subsidised rates, to consumers. This means that their incentive will always be to make the boxes cheaper. By contrast, Microsoft’s incentive is to make its operating system more sophisticated, in everything from parental controls to usability. By the same logic, Microsoft will beat the consumer-electronics companies (such as Sony and Samsung). Their business model relies on selling devices rather than on recurring licence revenues. This leads to clutter in the home, without organisation of the content.

Tom Berquist, an industry analyst at Citigroup, broadly agrees that the PC is likely to win. The on-demand world on offer from, say, Comcast, is simply not portable enough, he thinks. By contrast, he says, moving content to PCs potentially “liberates you from proprietary technology and lets you use content on any device.” In this sense, the only real competition to Microsoft is Apple, whose Macintosh operating system is widely considered to be more elegant and user-friendly than Windows, and which has a considerable headstart with the huge popularity of its iTunes music service and iPod player.

Apple’s problem, however, is that it has only 2.6% of the world market for PCs, whereas Windows runs on almost all the rest. Apple also differs from Microsoft in that it simultaneously wants to be the main portable-device maker. It is, in other words, a software, hardware and consumer-electronics company all at once, and that does not leave much room for alliances with other industries to manufacture spokes for an Apple hub. There are signs that Apple is becoming more agnostic in order to compete with Microsoft. It has a deal with HP, traditionally a Microsoft ally (HP was, for instance, the first computer maker to ship Windows Media Centre Edition), under which HP bundles Apple’s iTunes software on to PCs running Microsoft Windows. In a surprising announcement in June, Apple also said that it would start using microprocessors from Intel, another traditional Microsoft ally.

Winner takes all?
For the foreseeable future, the only certainty is that all these mighty companies will continue to preach interoperability while pursuing proprietary hegemony. This could lead to several scenarios. One is that one company, or camp, wins. The digital home, unified by the winner’s standards, might then become a reality in the mass market. For this to happen, however, several companies and industries would first have to make huge strategic mistakes, and consumers would have to accede, in effect, to a repeat of the “Wintel” (Windows and Intel) near monopoly in the PC industry today.

Another possibility is that the technology wars end with a truce, perhaps brokered by industry consortia that push open standards. This would be infinitely preferable for consumers and would probably make the digital home a reality much sooner, since it would mean that consumers could shop incrementally for new gadgets, all of which will fit with the others. The catch for providers is that this is much less exciting for their own bottom lines.

There is a third possibility. This is that the wars continue, but consumers continue not to care. As John Barrett, research director at Parks Associates, says, “it seems that we’ve concocted a new variant of the ‘paperless’ office.” This, you recall, was the consensus a decade or so ago among technophiles (but almost nobody else), that computer technology would save our forests by freeing us from having to read and write on paper. Today’s variant, says Mr Barrett, is “no more tapes, CDs, DVDs, discs.” In other words, expect them to be around for a very long time to come.


Red Bull Community

Via Marcell Reichart

Austrian energy drink maker Red Bull has a proven track-record in successful community marketing. A best example is its sticky RedBullPilot-website which shows great graphics, unless you enjoy a broadband access.

What is the concept of community marketing? Let’s start with communities themselves. Englisch wikipedia gives a good intro. Keywords as far as I think are relationsship, conversation, mores.

Especially innovative marketers seem to build and grow communities around their product. I just learned that BMW had more than 20 mio. downloads with “The Star”, a rather cool and self-ironic short film. The true star is the the BMW5 M5 sedane, besides Guy Richti’s directorship and his wife Madonna’s key act. Top entertainment in 7 minutes. Another cool example, I remember when I flew back from a conference in spring. It was a 90-min. or so film called “Cellular, a hostage-movie where the story was build around a mobile phone, I think it was a Nokia.

I’d like to find further best cases in (digital) community marketing and learn more on the general concept of communities. Who knows more? Why are they instrumental to future marketing?


Steve Jobs talks about his secret to success


‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says
This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

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

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.


Münchner Kreis


Der MÜNCHNER KREIS ist eine gemeinnützige übernationale Vereinigung für Kommunikationsforschung. Er fördert die Entwicklung, Erprobung und Einführung neuer Kommunikationssysteme durch sachliche Untersuchung und kritische Diskussion. Die Arbeit des MÜNCHNER KREISES ist nicht fachlich spezialisiert, sondern interdisziplinär. Im MÜNCHNER KREIS wirken Personen und Institutionen der Wirtschaft, der Medien, der Politik und der Wissenschaften zusammen.

Der MÜNCHNER KREIS veranstaltet Mitgliederkonferenzen, Fachkonferenzen und Kongresse. Die Arbeitsergebnisse werden in angesehenen Verlagen (siehe Verzeichnis der Veröffentlichungen) publiziert. Bei aktuellen Anlässen wendet sich der MÜNCHNER KREIS in Form von Dokumentationen und Memoranden an die Öffentlichkeit.


Erfahrungen eines Frosches – Versuche nicht klever zu sein

Wir haben heute über Advergames diskutiert und sind dazu über zwei Beispiele gestolpert.

Zum Einen ein recht aufwendiges Online Game von Earthlink, names Cyberheroes.

Zum Anderen ein ganz einfaches Spiel namens “hate that frog”.

Also – was lernen wir daraus?


Artikel über Trendscouts

In der aktuellen Ausgabe des Wissensmanegement Magazines ist ein Artikel den ich zusammen mit Dirk Tunger von der Universität Jülich verfasst habe.

“Trendscouts: Moderne Horchposten für Frühwarnung und Trenderkennung”

Trendscouts Frühwarnung Artikel Wissensmanagement


P&G Blogs

Sparkle Body Spray Blog is a creative Product Campaign for their new body spray products.


Google started Personalisierbares Portal

Nun kann man sich ähnlich wie bei MyYahoo! die Startseite von Google zusammenstellen:

Ich bin gespannt ob sich der Service durchsetzt. Es ist aber sicherlich wert einen Blick darauf zu werfen.


Konsumenten schreiben ihre eigenen Inhalte

Ich habe einen Artikel über den Trend der sog. Consumer Generated Media auf unserem CScout TrendBlog verfasst.

Was meint ihr dazu?


Von und Mit Anderen lernen.

FriendsAbroad ist ein Social Network mit dem Ziel mit anderen Menschen Sprachen zu üben. “Am besten lernt man eine Sprache wenn man dort lebt.” Hinter diesem Gedanken ist das Projekt FriendsAbroad entstanden – Menschen können sich gegenseitig helfen und unterstützen eine Sprache zu lernen.

Das Gründungsteam klingt vielversprechend und man darf gespannt sein wie sich diese Idee weiter entwickelt. U.a. Simon Murdoch und Oli Barrett.

Willkommen bei FriendsAbroad. Hier können Sie Ihre Fremdsprache mit Menschen aus der ganzen Welt üben, sicher und bequem wann immer Sie wollen.

Wir möchten, dass Sie Spaß daran haben, neue Freunde zu finden, Erfahrungen auszutauschen, mehr über Leben und Kultur anderer Menschen herauszufinden und Ihre Fremdsprachenkenntnisse zu benutzen.

Es ist einfach, sicher und zur Zeit noch kostenlos.


Deine eigene Produket entwerfen und verkaufen

Seit 1999 ist CafePress bereits aktiv. Die amerikanische Firma hat verstanden seine Kunden in den Mittelpunkt zu rücken. In den letzten fünf Jahren wurden über 1/2 Million weiße T-Shirts mit personalisiertem Aufdruck verkauft.

Die Kunden entwerfen ihre eigenen Produkte und können diese auf anbieten.
Der Kunde ist K̦nig РCafepress hat verstanden.

Cafepress is an online marketplace that offers sellers complete e-commerce services to independently create and sell a wide variety of products, and offers buyers unique merchandise across virtually every topic. Launched in 1999, has empowered individuals, organizations and businesses to create, buy and sell customized merchandise online using the company’s unique print-on-demand and e-commerce services. Today, is a growing network of over 2 million members who have unleashed their creativity to transform their artwork and ideas into unique gifts and new revenue streams.