René Seifert

Entrepreneur, Global Citizen, Flat World, Internet, Web 2.0, Innovation, Start-Up

Archive for December, 2006

Colonia live in Rovinj

After a dense with lots of focused and fruitful work over the last days, I am readying myself again for departure my beautiful idyllic town of Rovinj in Croatia.

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Coming to this place 30 years, the picture of the old town obviously hasn’t change as most of these house are 300 too 400 years old, but what I see with lot of delight that Rovinj has left the balkanized flair behind. Where I remember well the socialist and post-socialist “I don’t care-charme” of the 80s, a well established governance had taken ahold of communal life. You can really see that there is a mayor and an executive council actively caring for this place.

In that respect, for instance, the town managed to bring Colonia to Rovinj today, set up a tent and all for free entry.

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Colonia is Croatia’s most famous, let’s say, dance pop band which joined 10 years ago and has been extremyl successful with around 10 albums ever since. The band comes a place called “Vinkovci” in the very eastern heartland of the country. from. The show was really nice to watch, especially the female singer Indira Vladić-Mujkić bears a lot of this warm-hearted authentic Croatian temperament with which she easily won the crowd over. What I really, really love about my motherland is this easy-going attitude on litterally everything. The main jokes Indira was cracking were consistently about love, but more often about sex without appearing the least vulgar. So the people who tend to be puzzled where I got my borderline humour from, can stop to wonder. Admittedly, I am not so sure whether I so consistently stay clear from the line of vulgarity :-)

Here a little take from the concert with limited quality from my photo-camera.

Tomorrow hitting the road to Trieste again, from there by plane to Munich. And I am so much looking forward to my holiday the day after, especially as I have never been to that country and this city: Cape Town in South Africa. Merry Christmas once again and all the best for 2007.

Merry Christmas from Rovinj

Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas from Rovinj, my little beloved home town in North Croatia. This sunset at around 4.50 pm I took the day before yesterday. And what is slightly visible on the top left corner as a sickle is the moon.

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And this is the view on the town which is beautifully lit for the season with the tower of the St. Euphemia signalling the upcoming 2007.

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God bless you.

New Year’s “Speech” of Bavarian King Edmund Stoiber

That’s really funny. It’s by far the best parody I have seen on the Bavarian Minister President Edmund Stoiber. He indeed tends to get in such circular loops in his sentences …


Link: sevenload.de

Oracle Night: Confronting the Blue Team

In the peaceful tranquillity of my Croatian home in Rovinj, I settled over the Christmas Days to finish off some studies of my current research work on monothematic social networks as well as internationalization of B2C software platforms.

Rovinj from the Air

Rovinj has always carried special meaning to me, not just from the fact that I have been coming here since I was 6 years old. I also spend a few weeks here to learn for my “Abitur”, so some undefined force keeps on dragging me whenever peace of mind is supposed to meet some kind of thoughtful output.

In transit to here I spent half the day in Trieste, went to sit down in a coffee-bar called “James Joyce” as a tribute after the great Irish author who as a young man spent a few years living in this Italian city.

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So I finally found the time to read a book my friend Martin Wunsch had gifted me in October. Martin today is a lecturer for English literature at the University of Munich and we went to school together where he graduated as the best and smartest of our batch. I’d call him one of my closest friends, with his integrity, caring and down-to-earth ways making this super-brain a super-member of the “Blue Team”. I’ll explain.

Oracle Night” from Paul Auster is the book concerned, a pretty dark story about the author Sidney Orr whose life starts getting completely out of whack after he resumes writing following a life-threatening accident. An immaculate craft of a story within a story, with occasionally even about to plunge into a story within a story within a story, the protagonist is faced with his wife Grace becoming increasingly distant to him. Initially without a clue for her motives, assumptions of adultry and of a pregnancy with questionable paternity start gnawing on him. The narrative catch of this fictional novel is that Auster manages to intertwine the prime story such with the story within the story that the latter becomes something like a precursor for the former.

The interplay between these layers raises the question within the primary plot whether fiction is just an invention or something that can predict reality and thus become in effect a part of it. Obviously, if so well told as here, the story will permeates to the reader’s chilled spine and surface to the allegedly true world. Finally, the story is a fantastic insight into the techniques of a gifted author for drawing plots, design characters and make ongoing adjustments to achieve certain desired story-telling effects. In that sense, the book contributes to a notable extent its own secondary literature.

One passage, however, touched me by far most. It is about the “Blue Team” when Sidney Orr recounts during a taxi ride to his wife from his student years:

Blue Team members didn’t conform to a singly type, and each one was a distinct and independent person. But no one was allowed in who didn’t have a good sense of humour – however that humour might have expressed itself. Some people crack jokes all the time; other can lift an eyebrow at the right moment and suddenly everyone in the room is rolling on the floor. A good sense of humour, then, a taste for the ironies of life, and an appreciation of the absurd. But also a certain modesty and discretion, kindness towards others, a generous heart. No blowhards or arrogant fools, no liars or thieves. A Blue Team member had to be curious, a reader of books, and aware of the fact that he couldn’t bend the world to the shape of his will. An astute observer, someone capable of making fine moral distinctions, a lover of justice. A Blue Team member would give you the shirt of his back if he saw you were in need, but he would much rather slip a ten-dollar bill into your pocket when you weren’t looking.

So I guess, my closest friends and me have been kind of unknowlingly running the “Blue Team” already. And it was Martin, too, who gave it a name during our joint comrades’ stay in Rovinj: “Männer mit Ähre” (sic!) … :-)

Hammer-Selection: Times’ Person of the Year is “You”

That’s phenomenal. The Times today announced its legendary “Person of the Year” traditionally in mid-December. And the winner is “you”. Who? You. Exactly.

I find this choice particulary great as I spend a significant portion of my time on such so called Web 2.0-concepts. And every day I have been questioning myself hypercritically if I wasn’t stuck in my own little mental bubble, but it seems that there is more to it. And that’s what the the Times editor Tom Grossman writes about the rationale:

It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

I find this selection particularly great as it takes a good part of courage for such a renowned magazine to give credit to a phenomenon which is shaking its own fundamentals. Yet, it is the display of an independant editorial department. What is more, it is a good start for every publisher to rethink and refine its own role in this new era where the sole power of public attention is no longer in its hands alone. But as an optimist, I have no doubt that on the levelled playing field there is much more to come for various players and that alltogether the best times still lie ahead.

Technorati Profile

Technorati Profile

My “Congress Tourism” 2007

Recently I heard a really funny expression for hopping from one conference to the next: Congress Tourism. I have been indulging quite a bit in this sort of “professional vacation” and will continue to do so in 2007. It is in my eyes the best ways to stay abreast with the latest developments for my two focal areas: Globalization and Web 2.0

On the one hand, you really go there to take your time to listen to presentations, discussions and all of the, say, “official programme”. On the other hand, you are able to meet the right people and systematically build your network. This year I missed the “Le Web 3” in Paris, but just came across a pointed conclusion from the VentureBlog:

After talking with entrepreneurs from throughout the world, it is clear to me that the Internet is the transformative force in world economies today and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Yep. That’s why I have planned so far for 2007:

– Digital Summit 2007 in Delhi (January 18th to 19th). However, I am about to reschedule my plans as one month before the event, there is not even a programme and a guy called Gaurav from the Internet & Mobile Association of India keeps on overpromising and underdelivering via e-mail. So I don’t believe that this will be anything worthwhile.

Digital Lifestyle Day in Munich (January 21st to 23rd): Thanks to Burda for inviting me.

India Leadership Forum in Bombay (February 7th to 9th) organized by the Indian IT-ITES association NASSOM. The keynote will be held by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India. I went to that fabuolus event already last year and blogged quite a bit about it.

Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco (April 15th to 18th), organized by O’Reilly in a hands-on workshop design how actually get things done for internet platforms.

There are a few I had to cancel, a few others that are unconfirmed. Let’s see how it works out. Anyway, would be great to meet and get to know some of your folks there.

Photo-Impressions from Flying

For the weekend I wanted to share a few pictures from a roundflight I made with my good old sandbox-friend Christoph three weeks ago.

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And these pics are much better than anything I ever put online. I am far away from being any expert on photography, but the difference between a little handheld digicam (mine) and a real mirror cam (Christoph’s) is absolutely stunning.

Here a few pics on the blog. The whole series of high-resolution photographs on here on my Flickr-Account. Enjoy.

This is the City of Augsburg briefly after take-off.

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This is overflying the airport of Leutkirch-Unterzeil before initiating the landing procedure.

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Here a view into the Alpes south.

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Same here

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That’s the Starnberger See heading north towards Munich.

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This is overflying the City of Munich right above the River “Isar” with the famous “German Museum” on the island.

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And that’s a beautiful panorama of the City of Munich 2000 feet above the ground. And it all looks so tiny and picturesque from above.

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A great experience and thank’s to Christoph for allowing me to share his pictures from his new cam.

Depleted Communication

Who has occasionally followed my blog, might have realized that not surprisingly as an entrepreneur I am pro business, pro commere and pro innovation. But there ought to be limits to subdueing every bit of human interaction to an economically entrechned transaction.

What I have come to realize particulary in Germany when you collect your items in a superstore like Kaufhof and you queue at the cash register, you will inavoidable witness how the person at behind the cash register will ask each customer “Haben Sie eine Kundenkarte?” (=Do you have a customer card?) It’s one of this customer retention-tools to collect points across a network of affiliated shops which you can redeem for “free” products and services. Then it’s your turn and you get the same crappy standardized dialogue where my standardized response is “no”.

Yet, today I had an eye-opener and a deep confirmation about my own doubts when buying a train ticket. An elder gentleman in front of me complained in a very charming way: “I don’t know about this, I really don’t understand this, I get confused by this and I in fact don’t need this.” And how right he is. What happens is in my eyes really sad: the poor sales clerk gets drilled like in a circus by his management to convey these sentences in order to both have customers present their cards in time and second “up-sell” to those who do not have it.

Once it went really over the top at a fuel station where I got asked before anything happened:
“Do you have a customer card?” – No – “Are you are member in the ADAC?” – “NO!!”

Get a life. What is this? It’s really ok to just have more or less speechless transaction with me showing the items, putting my money on the counter and buggering off. Or, as long as we are still humans, start some sort of small-talk. Ask me whatever, I’ll respond. Crack a joke, and be assured that I’ll crack one back. But spare me these retarded content- and soulless standardized wording loops which are nothing but completely depleting the beauty of our human communication.

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