In addition to life enrichment, there is another great thing about experiencing something extraordinary. Afterwards there is enough substance to engage one’s thought in the form of flashbacks. That is why I am writing another blog about the Tedx event in Offenbach yesterday. After all, there were many other highlights and lowlights.
To begin with, there was Gunter Dueck. He is an author, who used to be a professor und has worked as CTO at IBM. I am assuming that the way he presented yesterday is part of his stage persona. He impersonated an introverted IT specialist, who mumbled a lot. It was entertaining in an open mike performance sort of way. He talked about the psychological nature of proponents and opposers of change. Then he spoke about brain wave lengths of human beings in the different stages of their lives; toddler, teenager, adult and senior adult. Gunter pleaded for a change in the way children are raised. He calls for a less regimented upbringing, which goes against the way a child’s brain works. I am not 100% in sync with his point of view. For instance, he gave an example that it is not good for a child to learn a foreign language in the early years. Personally I see nothing wrong with a child growing up learning more than one language. I grew up bilingual as most kids in Singapore do. I believe that is why I am able to learn new languages with relative ease. Oh well! Diversity in opinions is part and parcel of life.
The second speaker was Tobias Debuch, a professor for music. The fact that he was obviously suffering from a cold could have been partly to blame for the at times boring and confusing presentation. He even apologised once for rambling nonsense. But I cannot find any excuse for using old data in his PowerPoint slides. Some of the data was as old as 2005! In this day and age that is comparable to using data from the Stone Age to describe present day human behaviour. Maybe my expectations on his talk were misguided by the title, “Factor O: As in how Orientation and Transparency are changing the Music Industry”. I expected something along the lines of how file sharing sites ala Megaupload, Digital downloads, etc. have an effect on the music industry. Instead I got to hear how the Long Tail theory is not applicable to the Live Music industry because the factor “Cost of time” is missing. He presented the following formula:
Long tail x Orientation = Change
Don’t ask me to explain it. I was distracted by the amplified sound of his fingers scrapping against the day old beard on his chin as he spoke.
He was followed by my two favourites, whose presentations I blogged about yesterday. After the break, Mercedes Bunz spoke to the audience about “How algorithms change our society”. Blame it on the series Numbers! When I hear the term algorithm, I look forward to seeing formulas on a board and a person with crazy hair trying to explain the a’s, b’s, x’s and y’s in layman language and the ultimate answer points the team to the murderer or kidnapper. I did not see a single formula in the whole presentation and am still wondering where the algorithm mentioned in the titled was.
Her presentation could have been reduced to one sentence; the development in information technology would lead to matching a person with certain skills to a specific demand. This would even have an impact on charitable organisations, as donators would not be expected to donate money. Instead it would rather be about helping by getting involved. One would offer one’s skills for a specific activity. It is an idealised portrayal and as much as I would embrace it, I don’t quite see it happening. I would gladly stand corrected some day. But money makes the world go round, right? (I don’t want to start a discussion on consumerism with this comment. Hey I don’t even have a Smartphone! So you would be picking on the wrong person.) Unfortunately her reading from a print out disrupted the flow of the presentation. It was more like listening to an essay being read aloud. I wonder, if it would have been better, if she had presented in German. During the disruptions in her presentation I caught myself thinking about where she bought her shirt from. It was white and not transparent, a problem that I often have with white shirts. Furthermore it had a feminine cut without being too revealing. Nice!
The following speaker had perfect presentation skills. It is no wonder because he is a banker and as we all know they can even sell the emperor new clothes, which aren’t even there. I am sorry but I am kind of biased against bankers. The speaker was Georg Schuermann and the title of his talk was, “About human nature and the banking industry: Humanity as a Chance and Challenge for a new form of Bank”. He was focused and entertaining and brought across the message in a succinct manner. His message was that banks have to reassess the way they do business. Banks should focus on the person and connect with the customer on a personal level. Banks should consider the trends that are important to the society. He mentioned 3 trends; Focus on local produce and businesses, Participation and Transparency. It is great that at least one bank seems to have learned from the crisis we are currently in.
Dunja Burghardt spoke about her personal attempt to change the world to a better place. The title, “From Outer Change to Inner Change: The Story of Us” says it all. She showed a couple of emotive videos. I wish her all the best on the path she has chosen to take with her husband. Point taken from her speech is that change at a global starts with a personal initiative.
There was a short segment involving the audience. Nina Fischer requested the audience to get on stage and form groups of two. The sence of the exercise was to write down a vision or wish on a tag. The tags were then exchanged and the task was to realise this dream within the next 30 days and inform the other about the success. Unfortunately the sense of the activity was only clear at the end, so we had stuff like “coffee” and “social” on our tags. Not enough to really define an assignment. I wonder how many success stories would be reported at the end of the 30 day period.
Michael Hübl is a typical representative of Generation Z(uckerberg). He was there to talk about the end of the era of owning a car. It felt like a marketing pitch for the company Flinc he founded. He put up a show. At one point he even called the audience, his potential clients, as being lazy and cowardly in a very accusative manner. As these were the only reasons he could think of for not making use of the service his company offers. It is nothing revolutionary, Flinc makes tramping for short distances possible by connecting drivers with people who need to be driven. As the climax of his presentation and to show his confidence in his product, he is going to donate his car to a charitable organisation and called for nominations on the Flinc site.
Loimi Brautmann spoke about how he helped change the way the city of Offenbach was marketed. It was an interesting presentation but I cannot think of any point that I could reuse in my private change endeavours.
The next speaker was Lyra Turnbull. She spoke about the importance of Trust. Her voice and presentation style had an extremely calming effect on me. She spoke about her personal experiences with not trusting others due to the influence her grandfather had on her. But a life or death situation required her to trust someone else and she realised then that trust is not such a bad thing after all. In fact, it is a way out of isolation and breaks down barriers between people. She spoke about 15 steps anyone can take to trust and encourage trust from others, although I counted 16. I guess my counting along could be construed as being a sign of not trusting her. But I noted it down because I did not want to forget a single point she made because I trusted her message.
Actually I deserve a pat on the shoulder from Michael Hübl for car sharing with my husband on the way back home. (He picked me up after he got off work.) Unfortunately because of that I missed the final talk, which could have been very interesting for a writer. Marcus Brown spoke “A Change of Story”, about changes in storytelling and characterisation. Too bad!
These are my impressions of the Tedx Rhein Main event in Offenbach. Hope you liked it.