Digital Business Management

I'm teaching e-Business Financing for the Digital Business Management graduate course jointly offered by Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz and University of Applied Sciences, Upper Austria (FH Steyr) - both in Upper Austria. The course is a major development as it offers for the first time a collaboration between a college focused on practical aspects of applied science with the academic approach of the university. Students continue either directly from undergraduate studies at either of the universities or are already integrated in the work process. All of the students have a clear entrepreneurial perspective and the focus on my class is to understand the details of creating a fundable business proposal.

Standard literature is mostly how-to for SMBs and not really applicable or academic works on economics. As the students are tasked to create a pitch presentation for either an already existing venture or one they "invent" for the class, a practical tool is best suited to support this.

Business Model Generation is a highly effective tool that can be read while developing a plan and never feels like "reading assignment" on top of the actual work.

Here's a preview of the book And here is a 2 minute video that explains the process

The Business Model Canvas is available as pdf for print-out here. Best print on large paper, stick to the wall and use post-its to fill the fields. Review for details on the process.

The Book is available here in the US and here in Austria - deutsche Ausgabe and English Edition.

Here is another video on how to use the Business Model Canvas to develop a business concept (in German)

– via Dominik Hager, DBM class of 2014



My students will be asked to present each of the projects both as a slide presentation and as a canvas with a Silicon-Valley style pitch competition (5 minutes maximum) in the last meeting.

Do you use the Internet??

Here's your Survey for Today: I use the Internet

  • constantly
  • sometimes
  • rarely
  • never

circle most appropriate answer.

Now - no matter what you answered, it is your responsibility as a citizen (of any country) in 2013 to watch and listen to Lawrence Lessig on "Aaron's Laws - Law and Justice in a Digital Age".

Unfortunately excuses are not acceptable - if your computer is broken, go to the library, if you don't understand English, please take a class. This is critical to listen to and understand.

Lawrence Lessig marked his appointment as Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School with a lecture titled "Aaron's Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age." The lecture honored the memory and work of Aaron Swartz, the programmer and activist who took his own life on Jan. 11, 2013 at the age of 26. Published on Feb 20, 2013.

0:00:00 Introduction 0:08:50 Start of talk: Aaron's Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age 1:26:05 Q&A 1:42:00 Closing

Did you watch the lecture?

  • yes -> now take action
  • no -> go watch it


via Boingboing


Philosophy Throws the Stones in the Way

die-PhilosophenMy contribution to the new reader on everyday philosophy by Marion Fuglewicz: Die Philosophen kommen (in German) is ready to go to publisher. I titled my contribution which is built in the form of an interview: Philosophy throws the stones in the path actually make the path interesting to go. („Philosophie legt die Steine in den Weg, die es interessant machen, den Weg zu gehen“ - in German) Noch nie haben wir so viele Daten gespeichert wie heute. Werden Historiker, die sich in Zukunft mit unserer Epoche bescha?ftigen, verwertbare Informationen u?ber uns finden können? Kritiker sind skeptisch. In unserem Zeitalter werden nicht nur immense Datenmengen produziert, es gehen auch Informationen gigantischen Ausmaßes verloren.

The book should be ready by April 2013. More information at Die Philosophen kommen.

Update: A German comment from the publisher - the book is on its way. The book is available. Get it now.


The Charity of Music

[UPDATE]  The Landfillharmonic Movie is now available on Vimeo and to own on disc or for a screening.  

Everything that happens is somewhat connected - we can only see it rarely.

I just received a nice email from the San Francisco Symphony explaining the tax benefits when I donate [UPDATE: link dead] to the Orchestra. I am happy to have such a wonderful orchestra in San Francisco and Michael Tilson Thomas has a wonderful way to bring music to many who otherwise would not even consider classical music. My daughter watched with interest his Keeping Score videos already at the age of three.

Yet sometimes things come together and fall into place. Five minutes before I received the email, I found this online:

Landfill Harmonic movie teaser

It's a movie teaser for a full-length documentary from Landfill Harmonic



I will donate here this year and I told the SF Symphony - I hope they understand.

There is more information here and you can donate here. You may not get a tax write-off for this (they are still in the process of registering their organization with the IRS) so you will have to review your priorities.

You can also send instruments to the film production studio: The Landfill Harmonic Project, Eureka Productions Inc., 3419 E. University Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85034. (this is a physical address, not a link)

And if nothing else connect with them on Facebook and spread the word.


I sent a note to the Director of Gift Planning at the SF Symphony. Maybe they can help out with instruments, or inviting the orchestra to the Davis Symphony Hall.

Update - a second video: Landfill Harmonic movie teaser


Social Media: Spain, 17. Century – Il factotum della città


Now that social media with @social and #media hashtags is becoming the core of everyday communication around the olympics as well as the presidential elections it has evolved from being "2.0" yet it is still poorly understood. Highly praised and as soon as it evolves in its own rights condemned as subversive. Social Media shares the challenge most media developments encounter once they enter mainstream. In the process of their acceptance they are pushed into the established set of paradigms how media is/was expected to function. Twitter is expected to work like picture postcards - only shorter and faster. Only it escapes this nice idea and becomes a force in its own rights - creating a parallel communication universe that cannot be controlled as expected.

Social media – “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scaleable communication techniques” (Wikipedia reviewed Feb 2011) ” are relatively inexpensive and accessible to enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, compared to industrial media, which generally require significant resources to publish information.” (ibid) As with many developments in multimedia and digital publishing, social media are considered a recent development, overcoming the limitations of “traditional” publishing. The potential of Facebook are rooted in the fact that it connects everyone with everyone, becoming the factotum of the city, knowing every story, every love affair and speculation. There is high demand by everyone: tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, everyone asks for me, everyone wants me, and good compensation for social media services. Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Ah, what frenzy, Ah, what a crowd!

Social media – “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques” (Wikipedia reviewed Feb 2011) ” are relatively inexpensive and accessible to enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, compared to industrial media, which generally require significant resources to publish information.” (ibid) As with many developments in multimedia and digital publishing, social media are considered a recent development, overcoming the limitations of “traditional” publishing. The potential  of Facebook are rooted in the fact that it connects everyone with everyone, becoming the factotum of the city, knowing every story, every love affair and speculation. There is high demand by everyone: tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, everyone asks for me, everyone wants me, and good compensation for social media services.  Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Ah, what frenzy, Ah, what a crowd!

What Zuckerberg can learn from an expert in social media in the 17th century is the integration of communication services with a brick and mortar presence in a shop. Definitely a good combination: a te fortuna non mancherà.  (and he has to learn to sing).

Translation: Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere –

Ah, what a fine life, what a fine pleasure

Seeing the Flowers

Standing behind a sash window experiencing the world outside, we carefully put our fingers out to feel the sun and the wind only to have them hit by the muntin that encases the glass we look through. Finding the little blocks we can use to squeeze into cracks to keep them open requires some practice and ingenuity. The random piece of wood that works well in this window will not suffice to keep a philosophical discourse flowing. Yet it's the little things, the disregarded scrap piece that suddenly gains value when it fits. Enough has been said about the square peg, keeping your window open requires you to find just the right means to stop it from hitting your fingers too often.

That's when you suddenly realize the knot. An almost ethereal confusion of material that sways in the wind from the open window. Realizing the knot is the first step.


Thank you A. M. - you know where the photos come from.

The Body Exposed, The Golden Wind

  A monk asked Yun Men, “How is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?” Master Yun Men said, “Body exposed in the golden wind.” — Case 27, Blue Cliff Record

One day in August you realize it will be autumn soon; Fall is such a harsh word for the golden days that in a way carry more hope than spring. Not that it suddenly got colder, on the contrary, a certain warmth in the air pushes you forward towards adventures you would not even have thought of in spring.

To paraphrase Genjo Koan, we don't call autumn the end of summer, we don't call summer the beginning of autumn. Yet every moment has the seed of the next moment in it together with the unknown what happens next.

When Marc mentioned the line that had followed him the whole day – body exposed in the golden wind – I immediately had a warm feeling, I could feel the wind and it is consoling; and while the first announcement of autumn in the middle of a warm day has a certain forlorn quality, the last rays of sun early November bring the golden light onto the last leaves slowly sailing down to a wet ground.  Every year, every life, every single moment not only has its autumn, it has its golden light.


Befiel den letzten Früchten voll zu sein;                Command the last fruits to be full; gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,                   give them just two more southern days, dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage                urge them on to completion and chase die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.                 the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Rainer Maria Rilke: Herbsttag.                              English: (C) Edward Snow 1991 21.9.1902, Paris


Bach on Copyright

The Open Goldberg Variations by Kimiko Ishizaka (J. S. Bach, BWV 988)

Would Johann Sebastian Bach have approved of the current Copyright machinations and fights about music rights? He was fast in disagreeing with authority and in 1717 even spent a month in jail for forcing his dismissal from his job at the ducal court in Weimar.

With a big family and lots of kids, he needed the money from his music but his work as an organist as well as a composer were experiences and not recordings. Today some of his works have become so closely intertwined with a performer that they can hardly be seen differently.

One of Bach's more complex, yet well-known pieces are the Goldberg Variations BWV 988 for Hapsichord and the two definitive recordings are both by Glen Gould recorded in 1955 and in 1981.;

Here is a video of Gould playing [updated 5/7/2013 as od link was dead]

in this spirit, an entirely new recording based on a newly revised score by Kimiko Douglass-Ishizaka is a breakthrough very much in the Spirit of Bach as it is entirely open source. The Open Goldberg Variations is a Kickstarter funded project that puts both the score and the complete recording in the open source.

"To help make this recording truly timeless, we need your help. Share it. Give it away. Introduce others to its beauty, and explain to them why you love it," said Robert Douglass who launched the Kickstarter project. "Make yourself responsible for converting another person to being a Bach fan." [via BoingBoing]

Download Page [Open Goldberg Variations] as MP3 or Flac (needs converter to play as AAC in iTunes)Goldberg variations BWV 988 Aria Open Goldberg Variations [Soundcloud (embeddable)] Sheet Music [Musescore]

Play [soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=ff7700" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]



Lost in Time I always had this interest in seemingly lost and forgotten towns. Not the truly forgotten and therefore famous places. More the ones that are not even famous for being forgotten. Maybe not forgotten enough - yet. Anyone can exit the Autostrada A21 at Cremona to visit some tourist attractions. The next exit - almost blocked by spider webs due to its rare use - is the interesting one, arriving at a small town square completely asleep - maybe for years already, probably just for the siesta from 1 - 3.30. This is where the unexpected nothing happens. The great café that serves you nothing because it is closed, the store where you can't buy anything, the church you can't visit.

This Italian town is lost - I can't remember where it exactly was and poking around on Google maps led to nothing. Some places I visit on a more or less regular schedule. Among them is Buttonwillow, a place I discovered when LA Weekly ran a story in 1997 [needs reference] from a writer who spent a week at the Buttonwillow onramp. Since then whenever I drive I-5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco, I try to make time to go to Buttonwillow - a 4 mi detour into nowhere.

After a long time I've been back yesterday. The Buttonwillow onramp hosted the first Starbucks on I-5 across from the truck stop and now even has an Indian Restaurant.

Always a great place to shoot photos - no tourists run between you and your lens I added to my collection. Earlier shots are all analog and I will post them after scanning.

Buttonwillow has a lot of memories and no tangible paraphernalia. I do have the original LA Weekly story on paper - no URL available - maybe I can add it here.

If you drive I-5 in the Central Valley, take the time and visit Buttonwillow.



Don't try this with eBooks

Replicating / replacing paper books with electronic books becomes more and more viable as devices provide a better reading experience - and this works fine as long as you "just want to read the words - yet there is more to the experience. Understanding that every medium has its own qualities and potential is essential to appreciate it. Try this with eBooks:

(via Mediabistro, Facebook)

And now go get a book - Here's a list of independent bookstores in the US. I added Bird &Beckett in my new neighborhood Glen Park - great place to teach M about books and a wonderful reminder of the bookstore of Dr. Posch in my old neighborhood.

East of Amazon

  Klezmer music at Bird & Beckett

Chelm Feelharmonic.jpgSome experiences are offline only. Amazon cannot deliver on this. Yes - the book I got for my friend was a full 30% plus tax more expensive than online and I had to go there and get it. But then I had a nice chat with Eric and showed my daughter a real bookstore - "what they had in the old days", as she calls it.

It is unlikely that Amzon is opening a neighborhood bookstore that sells Trotzki, Jung, and Children's books new and used anytime soon - where you can sit on the floor reading and listening to the Klezmer Music performed by the pretty mixed group of the Chelm Feelharmonic.

Jazz most Friday evenings.

Cum hoc ergo propter hoc

Just because everything is related to everything else does not mean it is caused by everything else. Businessweek has a nice collection of statistical graphics showing how everything can also be explained by everything else.  



Cum hoc ergo propter hoc – Correlation does not imply causationmit diesem, also deswegen

Businessweek via BoingBoing



Not Really Real - Two Cities

Recently I received a link to a wonderfully real video of Vienna

Vienna Airlines Motionride - Full CG 3D Animation from immortal-arts on Vimeo.

that is completely computer generated.

And then a few days ago I received a link to wonderfully artificial video of San Francisco

that is completely real and shot in the city

Compare the two impressions - make sure you watch them in full-screen mode and post a comment

Technology as a Sensual Experience

I have been advising the TEDx Vienna team for the last months on a wide range of Technologie als sinnliche Erfahrungquestions around the conference. So it was to no surprise when Alex pinged me around 1 AM my time on Skype with an urgent question: We just got the Sunday after-conference brunch lined up and it needs a title that is independent from the TEDx, reflects a similar spirit and summarizes the expertise of the invited participants. It took me well over one minute to come up with a suitable title:Technologie als sinnliches Erlebnis - Technology as Sensual Experience.

Today was Steve Jobs Day and the launch of the iPhone 4S and long lines formed by people eager to get their hands on the shiny new device on its first day of availability. Smartphones are more than high-tech devices to effectively communicate and collaborate. They replace lighters, silver cigarette cases, side arms, pocket knives, malas and other objects to hold between fingers in a sensual way. eBooks don't come bound in Morocco leather.

Technology is about experience - sensual experience - necessary to deeply understand and access it an digital media are even more dependent on physical manifestation.

When asked what multimedia is (in 1988) my friend and mentor Bob Stein - a Digerati of the first generation - told a slightly embarrassed journalist: Multimedia is like sex - you have to experience it.

The event is free  - if you're in Vienna, I hope to see you there.



Impermanence - Steve Jobs RIP

With the death of Steve Jobs - someone who shaped the technology of everyday life over the last 20 years with his obsession of design and usability - we become aware of the impermanence of life much more than through some philosophical or religious text. Apple Homepage

The WSJ is much more competent at writing an obituary - alas I don't even know how long the link to the WSJ story will hold.

Apple changed their homepage to honor their founder and leader. Steve Jobs leaves the way he came and started - focused on the essentials: Ars longa vita brevis.