Jan 12

Do less.

I am a master of the to do list.
I’ m quite good at getting stuff done.
Both in business and in private life.

I do even better with my long term goals:
Write them down, forget about them and
a couple of years later they are achieved.

I don’t mean this ironically.
It is a fact of my life and most people would envy
me for my ability to get stuff done.

A few of my friends are even better
at this game than me.
Entrepreneurs who are even more determined than me.
They achieve bigger goals, faster than me and
and then move on to the next one.

But recently I picked up on some strange signals that make me
want to get out of this game.I realised that while I felt
some contentment about achieving a lot,
my happiness did not increase with getting more accomplished.
One trigger was a simple statement,
picked up on twitter:

You are not your to do list.

    Later, over Christmas,
    I read a book with the rather blunt title “fuck it”.
    It’s  more refined message is, in my words:

    We attach so much meaning to so many things in life,
    that we become too attached. And we miss life on the way.

      Aterwards I discovered the fantastic blog
      of Leo Barbauta, http://zenhabits.net/.
      (My favourite  post)

      Leo writes about a lot of the  things that
      I’ve been doing for quite some time now.
      Getting fit, consume less.
      Our home is actually quite minimalist
      and I work a lot to keep my life simple.

      – Er, repeat that: I work a lot to keep my life simple.

      Phew. There I said it. There must be a better way to do this.
      I don’t want to work a lot to keep my life simple.

      Do less. Want less. Breathe.

      Oct 10

      Ideas having Sex

      I have read this great book by Matt Ridley, but did not really know how to shorten it appropriately to derive the essence for a blog post.
      So much for the better that I discovered this Video on TED.
      I have rarely seen a more inspiring and fascinating view on human development, prosperity and how it all goes together. Enjoy.

      Apr 10

      Die wirkliche Bedeutung des iPad

      Als das iPad vor 3 Monaten präsentiert wurden, waren die Web-Propheten wenig begeistert. Kein Flash und so weiter. Jetzt ist es der große Hype. In spätestens 3 Monaten werden wir das Android Pad haben und nächstes Weihnachten haben die Massen ein Gerät von Medion. Aber immer noch hat kaum jemand verstanden, was da passieren wird.

      Meine These: In der selben Art und Weise, wie das iPhone endlich den Durchbruch bei der Internet-Nutzung unterwegs geschafft hat, bringt uns das iPad vom Schreibtisch auf die Couch.

      Ich habe kürzlich zuhause einen Downgrade vorgenommen: Vom 17″ Notebook zum 13″ Macbook pro. Dadurch hat sich mein Surf-Verhalten vollkommen geändert. Arbeit, die Konzentration erfordert, Dinge die ich erledigen muss, erledige ich am Schreibtisch.

      Wenn ich entspannt rumsurfen will: Top Gear schauen, mit den Kindern nochmal Maus sehen, oder auch bei eBay nach altem Fischertechnik suchen: Das mache ich auf dem Sofa.

      Das hat ganz viel mit dem guten alten Entspannungsritual zu tun.

      Ich glaube genau das wird das iPad erreichen: Eine neue Nutzungssituation bei der alles zusammen kommt: Ein kleines, handliches Gerät, WLAN überall, und vor allem ein Touch Screen mit toller Benutzeroberfläche.

      Die Konsequenzen daraus kann man zum einen natürlich aus den iPhone Apps extrapolieren. Schönes neues Surf-Erlebnis, Lesen, Video schauen.

      Für den eCommerce wird sich dadurch aber auch etwas ergeben: Suchaufträge mache ich immer noch am Schreibtisch. Das wird in Zukunft auch so bleiben. Wenn ich weiss was ich will, wenn ich es schnell brauche, dann wird das schnell vom Schreibtisch aus erledigt.

      Aber wenn ich nicht weiss, was ich will, wenn ich stöbern will, ähnlich wie früher im Versandhauskatalog, dann nehme ich das iPad.

      Und noch etwas: Die IPTV Propheten, die seit 15 Jahren irgendetwas von Konvergenz faseln, sind endgültig am Ende. Der Fernseher als zentraler Mittelpunkt existiert noch. Wenn man wirklich mal was gemeinsam sehen will.

      Aber wer einmal versucht hat, einen Internet-Screen auf dem Fernseher mit Remote Keyboard oder Fernbedienung zu bedienen, der weiss: Sobald jeder für ein paar Hundert Euro das ganze Geschehen buchstäblich in der Hand haben wird, wird die Interaktion in der Hand sein. Ein iPod für jedes Familienmitglied zum individuellen Sehen und Blättern. Wenn man wirklich alle das gleich wollen um nachher mitreden zu können – von DSDS bis zum Tatort, dann wird es die Glotze bleiben. Aber Einkaufen am Fernseher – noch nicht mal Oma.

      Ach ja, die Zahlen auf dem Chart oben: Das ist meine Schätzung. Definitiv genauer als alle Trendforscher zusammen.

      Mar 10

      The Fab Four

      There are four excellent companies who dominate how we search, how we shop, how we communicate, and which gadgets we use: Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

      The first three of these companies also are among the top 5 of the Fortune Magazine’s 50 most admired companies in 2010 . (Facebook is not in this list and this fact does not so much discredit Facebook as discredit the Fortune list).

      But why write about this obvious fact of the Fab Four?

      All these companies are product driven. This of course applies to Apple. The product is the hero, not the service around it, or the pricing. At Google, an engineer is much more important than a sales person. Just look at the amazing Zurich facility of Google and compare this to any sales office. If you listen to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, he will mostly talk about the product and new features that help Facebooks users to use the site in yet another way. Amazon has lead in meticulous A/B testing of it’s website, to make sure it stays ahead.

      The other point I want to talk about is the sheer share of mind of these companies.

      “Which startup is hot at the moment?” this question by a friend made me think recently. No offence to my fellow startup entrepreneurs, but it seems to me that at the moment where even a small redesign by Facebook will automatically be more talked about than the most exciting new business idea.

      Even the slightest new announcement from Apple, Facebook or Google, – the aptly worded “buzz” as latest example – commands more press interest than a new car model or even the most fantastic new startup. Bloomenergy.com is at least here in Europe virtually unheard of. This share of mind is even more scary than the user numbers, as it makes life harder for new entrants.

      The good news: Five years from now, the Fab Four will not be the same companies. Someone will get it wrong, someone else will get it right.

      Five years ago, I would have included Ebay in that list, today no more. There is a nice account of how companies historically fail to stay at the top in the Black Swan by Nicholas Taleb. At writing of that book in 2006 , only 74 of the S&P 500 companies of earlier times had survived. But I am willing to bet that even in 5 years from now, at least three out of the four dominating companies will be from the West Coast. Probably the fourth as well, you never know with these Black Swans…

      Feb 10

      It’s not about who you know…

      I admit to be totally biased as I am naturally a big fan of the power of reviews. However, I need to highlight this little feature in the new Qype personal page called ‘Insider Tips’. It does not show me the reviews of my friends, but it shows me places that are liked by people who like similar stuff I do. I really have no idea how they do it – too remote for that – but the results are truly amazing for me. Every time I reload this, I see places I always thought might be cool, but have not checked out yet.

      Two rather philosophical thoughts come to my mind.

      • One is the one I mentioned in the headline: It is not who you know. It is what people like who behave like you also like. Amazon has done this in an amazing quality. “People who bought this also bought…” I am very proud that Qype is proving to be able to do this as well. By the way this also contradicts the tradional power of your social graph.
      • The second thought: What we thought initially when we launched Qype in 2006, that the person who shares her views gets something back, is now being executed on in a material way.

      Check it out.