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#81 kotmj

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 01:29 AM

Just listened to an interview with Goetz Werner, founder of dm-drogeriemarkt, Germany's largest pharmacy/drugstore chain. He started with a single store. Now he has thousands. The guy is completely contrarian.

 

He said when he was 32 (he's 69 now), his grandmother asked him, "You have so many people working in your shops, aren't you afraid they steal from you?" He says you will never scale with such an attitude. He says he likes to think that "each is better than the other". Such an attitude at the top, he says, permeates the whole org and filters down to the customers.

 

The interviewer then asked him, "Aren't you disappointed in your trust sometimes?"

 

Werner says, "Of course. Constantly. But that's not the point. You cannot scale unless you trust people to do the right thing."

 

Asked if there is anything in his assortment that makes his shops special, he says, "None. Anything you buy from us you can buy elsewhere. Our job is to make you want to buy it from us, instead of from others. You know, we do not live in a world where people buy the naked product. We live in a world of add-ons. You're not just buying the product; there are all the little things that you buy as a package with the product."

 

He says we all have the wrong concept of money.

 

"When you buy a tube of toothpaste and go to the counter, you think you are paying for the toothpaste. You are wrong. The toothpaste has already been paid for -- otherwise, it wouldn't be on the shelf. What you are in fact paying for is for the replacement for the toohpaste you took from the shelf. In other words, you are paying us to continue doing what we do."

 

He thinks differently about salary than most. "You do not get paid for the work you do. We pay you so you can do what you want to do. Your salary is not compensation. It is support for you to continue doing your work."

 

He says work is what people do in order to learn more about themselves and to become a different person. He says it would be a tragedy if you remained the same 20 years from now.

 

Werner is an advocate for a concept of unconditional basic income. He thinks every human being should never fear not being able to survive. He thinks the "community" should have ready for each individual about 1000 Euro/month. Once survival is out of the way, he says, "Think of how people would make decisions differently in their lives. Think of how much human potential would be released this way."

 

The interviewer asked, "But wouldn't people work less?"

 

He replied, "Well if a mother who now works full time in order to make ends meet starts working part time in order to care more for her child, do you think she has worked less?"

 



#82 joonian

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 01:34 AM

How appropriate. Just read this in the Economist:

 

The Greeks are some of the most hardworking in the OECD, putting in over 2,000 hours a year on average. Germans, on the other hand, are comparative slackers, working about 1,400 hours each year. But German productivity is about 70% higher.
 

http://www.economist...9/working-hours



#83 Petepan

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 10:28 AM

Kotmj, that is good stuff. I bet you are mulling on the trust and scalability issue, and losing much needed sleep.  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:



#84 kotmj

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:10 PM

I am very amused at the lack of self awareness of some people. On September 24th, the NYT published an article about Santiago Calatrava's current problems with his projects: clients are fuming over cost overruns and technical deficiencies in the structures he built.

http://www.nytimes.c...ml?pagewanted=1

 

Architects being threatened by their clients ("finish the damned thing now, cheaply, or else...") is no new thing. Every building project is born out of strife, difficulty, cash shortages, and an unbelievable amount of conflict between the various parties. It's normal. More so if the project is technically novel, which is basically every project which is original and singular in some way, as is many of Calatrava's works.

 

Must we really name examples of buildings born out of immense conflict and difficulty but which are now the pride of the towns and cities they are in?

 

What is shockingly stupid is a response by a certain Peggy Deamer, who wrote in to the NYT. She uses the word "we" to suggest that she, too, is star architect. She criticised Calatrava's methods of working.

http://www.nytimes.c...stereotype.html

 

She prides herself on working to the budget and deadline, and leveraging the talents of others. But what are the results? A look at her website tells all:

houses_1.jpghouses_2.jpghouses_3.jpghouses_4.jpg

schools_3.jpg

 

That's about it with Peggy Deamer.

 

What I admire about the great architects is how they have decided never to give in to anything that would compromise the artistic integrity of their buildings. This makes it very risky to hire them. They care more about the singularity of their buildings than about the client, most of whom are committees of civil servants (with everything that that entails). I wonder how these architects sleep, and how, despite the incredibly distasteful encounters with clients, they somehow keep dreaming of ever more optimistic and bold structures. They must have the ability to compartmentalise their brains the way Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors do.

 

Peggy Deamer is no Santiago Calatrava. It's not even close. Not even an itty bitty close. Small people do not have the privilege to criticize giants. Who will achieve immortality, Peggy or Santiago? Peggy is so small, her brain can't even begin to comprehend just how incredibly big Calatrava is.

 

Santiago Calatrava

 

santiagocalatravaconcerthallsantacruzdet

 

Look at the intricacy of the details! Like a Richard Mille watch.

CALATRAVA-articleLarge.jpg

 

More here

http://www.calatrava...re?mode=english



#85 joonian

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 12:06 AM

While I don't entirely agree with the sentiment, I like the argument. And those are some far out buildings!



#86 kotmj

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 01:43 PM

I was coming down a narrow winding mountain road just now. From the opposite direction, a black Mercedes R-class appeared. In the driver's seat was who I had expected to see -- my former managing director.

 

My most lasting memory of working at that factory is chronic sleep deprivation. Nothing I tried helped. No matter what I did, something about having to punch the card at 8 a.m. simply did not agree with me. Now, years later, I've discovered that I'm an 11 a.m. person. There is nothing I can do to change this.

 

I saw the R-class at noon. He was going to work. This MD is famous for not coming in before 10 a.m. Something about having private yoga classes at his home in Dua Residency before he drives the 45 minutes to work in the jungle. What nonsense. I think he's just an 11 a.m. person like me.

 

The remarkable thing is that back when I worked there the factory employed 1000 people. It now has 700. Out of 700 people, only one person -- the MD -- gets to choose his working hours. The others all have to punch card and are penalized if late by 15 minutes.

 

There is some sort of principle, some truth, to be found in this somewhere, but I know not what.



#87 ivanswk

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 11:21 PM

How I Changed My Lifestyle and Became an Urban Hippie

 

http://denimhunters....an-urban-hippie

 

Svante-Nybyggars-the-urban-hippie-6-of-1

It all started when I approached 60.

I had been a copywriter for many years and I was working hard. Boss suits filled my closet, I drove a Mercedes, and I preferred fine dining with selected, red wine. It all went well for me, but life felt empty. I didn’t want to grow any older this way. Instead, I rediscovered some of the feelings I felt in my 20s

Today, I define myself as an urban hippie.

The suits are donated to charity. The car has been sold, and I take my bicycle whereever I go. I’m a vegetarian, and I don’t drink any alcohol at all. My grey hair has grown long, and I have lost many kilos. More importantly, I only dress in denim and workwear. And I feel great!



#88 ivanswk

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 12:41 PM

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#89 kotmj

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:47 AM

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."

 

--Henry David Thoreau






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