Philosophical and historical                                                       back


Completely exactly I remember, because also often gotten into my memory, when I sat down in early years to think about the goal of my life:
At that time I lived in my partial still bombed out hometown Solingen in the Bergisch county , the city of the knifes and scissors, and observed humans around me. I saw how they worked like a dog and with their work tormented them self and every time some thing was missing.
And I saw the married women in their old coats and with their long arms and their heavy shopping bags, which they carried.
Two life goals developed: on the one hand to do something for the improvement of the situation of women, to support them to live a life more worth living, and on the other hand, to do something to abolish this eternal miserable working like a dog.

Occupational aspiration

Thus my occupational aspiration resulted: Engineer.
Suitably it came that my uncle, who lived with us bequeathed a magnifying glass with thread counter to me (he was working in the neighboring textile city Wuppertal) and one day brought an empty flat battery with two brass tongues and a little light bulb for me.
Few hours a stay of the battery on the warm furnace (please do not copy, otherwise happens what happened to me years later with a totally enclosed round battery - there is an explosion) met, and I saw, if the little light bulb were kept correct between the two brass tongues, it lit up.
My occupation was clear now: Electrical engineer.

First there were two hobbies: Optics and Electronics. And thus at the beginning of the fifties I was clear in the future trend of the time. The way to the training as the electrical engineer led across (perhaps alleged around) the way of the training to become a high current electrician in the company, in which my grandfather Benno, whom I had never become acquainted with, has been dispatch leader. He had deceased, when my mother was twelve years old.
A coincidence as it occurred again and again in my life.

In this company I became acquainted with the technical working sphere. It was a mechanical engineering company (Kieserling&Albrecht, a renowned company, which was in the thirties, when my grandfather still lived, one of the few companies in Solingen, which could offer jobs in this bad time, because they had supply contracts with Russia. Today this company does not exist just like Russia at that time any longer). In this company I learned disciplined working, order and getting along in the working sphere.

First invention

In the electrical workshop I had a foreman Mr. Weiberg who repeatedly had to be away on a field job, in order to repair eccentric presses whose control had failed. Usually he saw, how fingers were taken out of the punching tools, which the coworker working on this machine had lost by the failure of the machine.
That was 1961. Somehow it happened that he asked me, the first year apprentice to think about what can be done to get a safe control in order to prevent such accidents. The past measure of the technical office consisted of examining the circuit after each accident that may have been a possibility of error, and which was normally repaired by inserting a new contactor. The controller which had only the task to switch a valve switch on and off in the meantime had fifteen of them.

Mr. Weiberg one day returned from a field job in Sweden. He had somewhat to bring along for me: a metal sheet, as largely as the base plate of the laptop, on which I write this report, with only one contactor, as big as a note cube, with a transparent cap, so that one could see whether the relay switch was on or off. “That is the Swedish press safety control”, he said.
Immediately the penny has dropped . Still I know it as if it would be today. I can still hear the noise: “Click, click, click” (perhaps it was also the contacting noise of this relay, which inspired me additionally).

My thinking apparatus started:
It was clear why this controller had only one contactor: If only one contactor is present, also only one contactor is responsible for the circuit.
There is a high probability that it will always switch correctly if this contactor is exchanged regularly.

But my thought was then immediately: What if this relay does not switch off? Then the press does not switch off, and an accident happens. What has to be done for this case? A second relay must be used. If two relays are at the same time responsible for switching, if the circuit is implemented correctly, the function of the control also in case of failure of one relay remains duly preserved, because the probability is extremely small, that two relays malfunction at the same time. But which is, if a relay does not work anymore, and no one notices? It is possible to signal the loss with a lamp, but if the bulb is defective, and no one notices? Then only one thing will help: a third relay is a must.

And in such a way - probably the first - redundant self-monitoring press safety control, named SATU (Safety control with Automatic Testing and Universal usefulness), was developed. An alarm lamp, which lit up briefly at each press stroke (and thus it signaled that both control and lamp are in correct function), indicated with steady light a malfunctioning, the function of the press was locked automatically. Someone had to press a key to unlock and work could be continued. If that occurred several times, the control was exchanged. Because the safety control was connected plug-in with the remaining press control, a novelty at that time, this was easy.
One of the first larger orders was surprisingly supplied to Sweden, because even the Swedes saw that their control could fail, and that ours possessed a higher rank of safety because of the self-monitoring.


Marginal note: The protection circuit was patented. The head of the company was designated as the inventor . To the patent not the redundant self-monitoring (I guess nobody had understood the redundant self-monitoring control, because nobody had asked me about its function) was announced, but a time function, which was elegantly solved in the Swedish control and which I had used for the sake of simplicity with my control, because I found it ingenious. And additionally the master of our electrical workshop gave me the worst apprenticeship-letter of all, because I had, instead of sweeping the workshop, “tinkered” in the laboratory. That was my personal first experience with innovation in Germany.

Then my foundry practical course, my German Federal Armed Forces time came (in which I received training as radio relay link equipment mechanics, got my driving license, and a teleprinter training. The latter helps me to write this report ten-fingers blind) a meantime as a telecommunications technician and finally the training as engineer.

Education innovation

With it the next innovation experience began: the education innovation.
The time of engineering school was actually a wonderful time. There was a First Term Introduction, which was accomplished by the AStA (Allgemeiner Studenten Ausschuss - General Students Committee), common with ESG (Evangelical Students Community) and KSG (Catholic Students Community), with lecturers also present. The sense of belonging together was started and the feeling to work together with one another grew. After the first term I knew how things happened on this school, and at the beginning of the second term I could, on the opening meeting at the lecture hall, ask questions, which the director answered very friendly so that the unwritten laws of the school were communicated to everybody.

In the third term there was then an innovation: beside the AStA now trade association representatives should be selected, because of the fact that we had a department for mechanical engineering and a department for electro-technology.

I was asked whether I wanted to stand as a candidate, because I had always shown interest in the work of the student agency. And in such a way I was selected as the trade association representative for electro-technology. Then it went in rapid succession. The rumor arose that the acknowledgment of the German engineer training in Europe was endangered and something absolutely must be done. A reform of the engineer training and a change of the school conditions for entrance seemed to be very urgent. As a trade association representative I was involved with and worked in such a way in the little village of Kronenburg/Eifel under the direction of Ulrich Haupt, executive committee of the student federation of the schools of engineering North-Rhine-Westphalia, at a new conception of the engineer training including the development of the necessary bills.

From today's viewpoint it was overwhelming to be involved as an engineer student in the organization of the engineer training including the legislative organization, and then later also their conversion to reality. That was pure democracy! But it was natural for us at that time that we were it, which did this work, because we lived in a democracy, were educated in a democracy, and with the help of the AStA had learned the democracy at the school of engineering. Some demonstrations were necessarily later, with more than ten thousand - peaceful - engineer students in Duesseldorf and in Bonn, for the country wide engineer school reform. By the culture sovereignty of the countries we had our own way in North-Rhine-Westphalia, from our view most progressive in our FRG.

Due to the demonstrations and the negotiations - in such a way we saw it at that time - a exercise phase in the respective schools of engineering was then furnished. Each school of engineering got its “general meeting””and its “trade association meetings”, which could give themselves its guidelines and statutes.

It was an terrific free time of negotiations. We negotiated fairly. Finally it was expected for the lecturers of the schools of engineering to become professors.

It was a good climate although we argued hard often. Still I remember that we had many negotiations to the point of test repetition. My view was that it should be possible to repeat an examination unlimited. A goal of this measure was that the test fear is taken from the examination and therefore only the knowledge and the solution skills of the candidate are examined but not his handling of the test fear. I made it clear to the lecturers that in reality there would be a natural limit of the number of repetitions. I created it at our school of engineering it was possible to repeat examinations without limitations. This was a large negotiation success for me and saved some study colleagues way of life.

What happened then? The schools of engineering, which had participated in this experiment, had to announce their results to the government in Duesseldorf. There from these reports one was then compiled for all as a valid common guideline which was then returned to the schools. In Wuppertal we surely were - from my point of view - one of the most progressive schools of engineering in the sense of the study reform. But an average was taken and our limitless repeatability of examinations disappeared in the past. And thus that I was allowed to experience the first term of the College of Wuppertal (under its mayor at that time Johannes Rau, who was a late head of the government of North-Rhine-Westphalia, and in the end of his career Federal President of the reunited Germany) same had waved off and became Comprehensive University, now called Bergische Universitaet Wuppertal - I experienced thus also on the First Term Introduction the first conclusion class of the specialized high schools.

It is called so beautiful: “The revolution eats its children”.

We were enormously pleased to present to the newcomers the achievement professional school for which we had fought, had demonstrated and had worked hard.

But we heard as answer: “It does not interest us at all what it is you want to tell us. You do not even have graduation diploma!” That was the result after we had fought for all these reforms! I fortunately have the feeling in the industry today it is not important anymore what kind of training an engineer enjoyed.

Thus my second innovation episode was to an end. And my time in the homeland of my childhood ended also. Because 1972, when I had earned my engineer diploma (equivalent to a bachelors degree in the USA), there I did not have professional prospects for the profession which I had selected myself, the communications technology.

The search for a fulfilling location for my practice of my profession led me to Nuremberg , into the city, which today is Medium Center and Multimedia City. My first activity in my desired occupational aspiration began.


I felt well in my new activity. And I learned. I learned, to adapt my life goal. My life goal to do something to abolish this eternal miserable working as a dog turned as false estimate. In the meantime much had changed. In the meantime there were many labor-saving machines. But my observations showed me that something substantial had not changed.
I recognized after relatively short time in my activity as a development engineer that it is not the working, which makes humans ill and miserable, but social relations.
With this realization now I had again to reconsider the goal of my life.

Therefore I decided to study psychology. Fortunately we had fought in the study reform also for the fact that we had free entrance to all university courses. Even if that was abolished later, I belonged to the latter, who could use this possibility after finishing the engineering education. And I belonged to the latter who got still study promotion after student financial assistance scheme in addition also.

My thought was: If it is true that behavior of humans with one another is more important than everything else, then psychologists are looked for, who have vocational experience in the industry (I have later also seen this as a false estimate).

To start to breathe University air I accepted to attain a place as an engineer at the Institute for Technical Electronics in Erlangen. There I met the technical book authors Tietze and Schenk, which are well known to many occupation colleagues, and our common boss was Professor Dr. Ing. Dieter Seitzer, who did a great service for the development of Microelectronics in Germany. His Institute for Integrated Circuits later was accepted to the Fraunhofer Society. It has a very good reputation, among other things the bases for DAB (digital audio Broadcasting) was developed there, and the globally known MP3 was invented there. At the time, in which I was there, the first bases were created for it.

As the BRÜHL Elektronik Development Society developed

By Mr. Schenk I became acquainted with the microprocessor, its relevance (as in my childhood the flat battery) I recognized immediately. So I decided in the third year of my psychology study (I surprisingly already got a study place after half a year working at the university institute) to work as engineer again. Twenty-two years I then accomplished on my own electronics development company for my customers, using this time for learning.

Not only to learn to be always in front of the technical development but also to learn good social relations was important to me. It was important for me to see customers as friends. This relieved my work and returned my customers again and again to me.

As the BRÜHL Elektronik Development Society ended

However I had to state one day that there are also limits. I felt the limit, when I had a company as a customer, whose coworker were not so free, as I was used to it at the other companies. It came, as it had to come: I turned out between different fronts and “was wiped out”. Four years I could delay it but then my independent activity first of all came to an end after twenty-two years working for my customers.

But with this end my third innovation phase was introduced.

Innovation Award for the RegioCard

Just in time to the dissolution of the BRÜHL ELECTRONIK I got the 1997 Economics Innovation Award of the region Nuremberg. I had taken part in this competition, because I wanted to move again something. I saw that cooperation of different groups in the region would be very important. Thus I submitted the concept “RegioCard”, the concept of a payment card for the region, which was realizable by cooperation only. I had developed this idea due to my experiences from a project for the implementation of the pre-paid SmartCard for Siemens (called "Geldkarte" - money card - in Germany). Since I recognized that with this SmartCard so far the auxiliary use for the user was missing, I packed all the auxiliary use, which would make it tasty for the user of this card into this concept “RegioCard”, the card to use and, above all, to buy products of the region. Because that was the second goal: since the region Nuremberg suffered at the time strongly from closing downs, everything had to be done to strengthen the sense of belonging together in the region and the economic power. I made my work available to the region of Nuremberg.

The concept was resumed. In connection with the SignCard a “RegioSignCard” was created. Thus the region Nuremberg took part in the Media@Komm Multimedia-Competition of the Federal Government and became one of the three winners of this competition. Twenty million DM (equals to 13,000,000US$) of promotion funds were the stimulus to bring the region Nuremberg again forward. A company was created for the conversion which later was named Curiavant.


What was resulting from my concepts of life? The grind with the work was abolished. Kanzow/Roth, the classical authors (I read their book while learning engineering science) described much that happened in the last years. It was with the utmost care computed, when a robot is cheaper than a worker, when it is worth itself to automate manufacturing. Ulrich Haupt pointed out at that time again and again that there will be less and less jobs for people without training.

If I look back, I can recognize that one foresaw at that time, what we have to experience now. But I am feeling that a lot of people do not want to admit. It is time for a new reform.

We experience the progress. The progress among other things consists of the fact that the hard work is facilitated and difficult work and work beneath human dignity is taken over by machines. Now it concerns that also dealing with one another is to be reformed.

It is important that each human has the possibility for a life human being-worthy. The company founders of the still existing large companies such as Bosch, Daimler and Siemens, knew that and cared for their coworkers. This knowledge often is missing nowadays.

This knowledge can not be installed again easy today or tomorrow. Therefore it is important to strengthen the regions everywhere and to renew the regions for the well-being of humans.

At present there are complains that there are too few engineers. One reason that there are too few engineers consists of the fact that not a long time ago many engineers became dismissed. Isn't it understandable that the sons of these engineers turn to another branch of trade?

There are efforts to create a new period of promoter-ism. It is very important that today's company founders always get the support they need. A phase of reestablishment can obtain durable effect only then.

New start

Again once there was a streak of luck: I got the invitation to participate at a course for training as innovation manager (SEE). By my RegioCard honor I became known to Helmut Winkler (a man full of ideas, unfortunately deceased too early) with other bright heads in the region, and, animated me, to visit the press conference for the innovation competition of the next year.
There I met my future boss, and I was integrated again in the normal working life. I kept an invitation two years later due to my RegioCard idea to be project manager SmartCards with EuroSignCard S.A. Luxembourg. This activity brought me as participant to the European Union SmartCard-Initiative and an envoy of Luxembourg to Athens, Helsinki and Brussels. Nevertheless this was only an Intermezzo. After I had begun negotiations with city and country of Luxembourg for the introduction of a SmartCard for the public passenger traffic, my activity was terminated, because the company wanted to change itself over to the alleged future market “digital signature”. Thus EuroSignCard's fate was sealed. The continuation of my negotiation would have led to an extensive order for EuroSignCard.

My boss from Erlangen again took me with pleasure under his wings and I had a good time to work as Consultant for Lucent Technologies, a Bell labs company, until the American Lucent bosses made the decision to world-wide close all manufacturing plants - and concomitantly in Nuremberg.

This time Nuremberg was very unfavorable for employment search. Again I had to think about relocation. Thus I decided to call a former study colleague in the USA in order to ask whether his company needs an engineer for microprocessor technology. Surprisingly he affirmed my question, so I moved into the USA. When I developed hard- and software for some measuring instruments and had accomplished fundamental work for the programming of variable frequency and voltage converters and had successfully gotten over an intestine cancer illness and an operation and the following radiating and chemotherapy, this phase was terminated also.


Again I received an invitation, this time to the participation in a course for support for the start of independent activity ( Self Employment Assistance - SEA). Letters had been written to more than three thousand job seekers, and with me sixty were in the final selection after a preparation meeting and business idea elaboration. The Assessment discussion was very interesting. My presented work was progressed so far that I did not require a course, so they told me - this result was to be expected after 25 years of independent activity! Thus I began to start then with my first own web page as Consultant again and now in the country of the American Dream!

I am sure that I can be of use for you with my experiences! What do you need?