Nothingness: Energy from Within (revisited)



In 2013 I gave a TEDx talk in Austria with the title "Nothingness: Energy from Within".The topic for the conference was "Powering Up" with many great talks covering every aspect of energy production, management, ecological alternatives, solarpower plants, and the future city. As very child knows, energy comes out of the plug in the wall which is why parents discourage toddler stop put random metal pieces into those interesting little holes. Alternatively energy comes from power bars.

My talk closed the event with a different perspective about the energy potential of form and emptiness. Ways we create power from within in charging and balancing body and mind.

When I became interested and then certified in Integral Coaching®  these potentials to support clients in their personal development are of special interest to me as they allow clients to develop long-term benefits and life-changing results.

The idea continues to develop and gain power.

Nothingness:Energy from Within

Form does not differ from emptiness,
Emptiness does does not differ from form.
Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form.
— Heart of the Perfect Wisdom Sutra

Power and Energy are always directly related to motion, force and ultimately speed. To move in space and time we need energy in a wide range of forms – internal emotional as well as external energy to sustain our lives.

For the longest time we just used the energy sources we could get our hands on: wood, coal, wale blubber, all sorts of fossil and nuclear energy, wind, sun, cow dung, to name a few. While responsible use of resources, and awareness of the impact on our environment and us is always very important and has become a critical argument in selecting and using different energy sources.

When discussing the use of energy, efficiency, reduction, new energy forms, we consistently look at the issues in an isolated environment; yet the energy from outside and the energy we have inside us are directly connected. And furthermore, energy and energy usage is always also about communication, be it smart grids, powering a telephone line, socially, sitting around a fire or internally the way we feel at a very moment – spiritual, mental, emotional as well as physical energy. Discussing “alternative energy forms” usually gets stuck because it does not take into account the whole picture.

Understanding the energetic potential between form and emptiness, between what we need and don’t need we will get to surprising insights that go beyond the question of sun versus wind.

Walzenstecker ZB27

Walzenstecker ZB27

A personal side note - At the age of four, my personal preference was a telephone plug clearly designed to be used as a toy. Official denomination "Telefon-Walzenstecker Anschlussdosenstöpsel ZB 27", clearly an empowering highlight of my early years with an added benefit that it was not life threatening in its use.

How Green is the Valley?


My paper How Green is the Valley; ICT Markets Are Going Green: The Other Story from Silicon Valley finally got published: ABSTRACT. Sustainability is no longer an added feature but a core element of a major part of industrial developments. While the Silicon Valley is at the forefront of technology development and is trying hard to provide an ecologically responsible and healthy work environment it is challenged by the fact that a major part of its output both in hardware and software is consumption-driven and relies on a neo-colonialist approach to produce its wares while creating a green image. Green tech, briefly one of the fastest growing segments in institutional investment has fallen out of favor in 2013. “Green” is not an add-on that can be introduced as method or legally required, it redefines the way we conceive, produce and consume products overall.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
— Clarke’s 3rd Law

The Magic


Silicon Valley has a reputation of almost mystical dimensions on all aspects of innovation, creativity, start-ups and moneyto fund all these ventures. The unique quality of the Valley lies in it geographical, informational, and conceptual density of its resources and thus offers a catalytic effect on projects and enterprises. With Green Tech becoming a major segment worldwide, Silicon Valley companies add their own twist, providing everything from energy efficient devices to alternative energy production. Yet after initial interest, the engagement by investors dropped sharply and investment in all segments of green technology is down up to 80 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. [more]

Michael A. Herzog (ed) Economics of Communication. ICT Driven Fairness and Sustainability for Local and Global Marketplaces. GITO Berlin 11/2015 ISBN 9783955451431 Amazon US Amazon DE

Vernetzen – verstricken – verheddern – verfangen: Vom Zwang sich vernetzen zu müssen


Meine Keynote  beim ersten Barcamp an der Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal (26. Juni 2014) zum Thema "Vernetzen – verstricken – verheddern – verfangen: Vom Zwang sich vernetzen zu müssen" wurde sehr positiv aufgenommen obwohl das Thema für viele neu war und in der Kürze wohl auch schwer verständich. Das Workshop zum Thema "Mindful-Management: Achtsamkeit und Anfängergeist" gemeinsam mit Bernd Bender vom Akazien Zendo in Berlin vermittelte dann am Nachmittag "Achtsamkeit" in der Praxis mit einigen Übungen.

Drawing: Miriam Brody

Drawing: Miriam Brody

Vernetzen – verstricken – verheddern – verfangen: Vom Zwang sich vernetzen zu müssen

Social Media – sind ja nicht soziale Medien – genauso wenig wie personal Computers  persönliche Computer sind. Wir verbinden uns nicht – wir vernetzen uns und verheddern uns dabei heillos in einer unpersönlichen Umgebung die uns gleich einer Fata Morgana ein soziales Umfeld vorspiegelt das niemals greifbar wird. Die Schatten verflüchtigen sich schnell und wer eine direkte Erfahrung erhoffte wird enttäuscht. Dabei bieten Social Networks Interaktionsmöglichkeiten die in einer analogen oder gar physischen Kommunikationsumgebung in dieser Form gar nicht möglich wären. Das Bedürfnis nach Kommunikation verführt leicht dazu Interaktionsumfelder zu verwechseln und zu vermischen und schon vernetzen wir uns statt miteinander zu reden und zuzuhören. Achtsamkeit als Praxis der Interaktion ermöglicht die effektive und effiziente Nutzung von persönlicher Kommunikation ebenso wie von social Networks.

Das Internet als moralische Anstalt

THink Cross Change MediaMein Vortrag "Das Internet als Moralische Anstalt; Digitale Medien – Ein historischer Ansatz" ist nun in Buchform in  Think CROSS - Change MEDIA. Crossmedia im Jahr 2014 - Eine Standortbestimmung von Christine Goutrié, Sabine Falk-Bartz , Ilona Wuschig (Herausgeber) erschienen. Paperback 348 Seiten ISBN 978-3-7357-3780-9  Verlag BOD –  bei Amazon als Taschenbuch sowie eBook. Informationen zur Konferenz sowie meinem Beitrag.


Das Internet als Moralische Anstalt

Digitale Medien – Ein historischer Ansatz

It was a large room. Full of people. All kinds. And they had all arrived at the same building at more or less the same time. And they were all free. And they were all asking themselves the same question: What is behind that curtain? (Laurie Anderson 1981)

Das Internet in der Form in der es allgemein rezipiert wird existiert nicht. Wir haben gemeinhin eine gewisse Vorstellung, wie das Netzwerk, das gewissermassen “hinter dem Vorhang” stattfindet auszusehen vermag. Unser Bild des WorldWideWeb das als Synonym und abwechselnd mit dem Begriff “Internet” verwendet wird (obwohl es nur eines von vielen technischen Kommunikationsprotokollen ist) ist genauso verzerrt wie das der Kanalisation, die unsere Körper in noch weitreichenderer Form verbindet als das Internet unseren Geist.

Nicht quantitativ sondern vor allem qualitativ hat sich die Nutzung des Internets in den letzten 20 Jahren soweit verschoben, dass es notwendig wird, ein neues persönliches und gesellschaftliches Nutzungsmodell aufzubauen dass nicht mehr frühere Medienmodelle imitiert sondern neue Formen der Informationsintegration ermöglicht. [...]

Domi No - TEDx Vienna 2011 is Ramping Up Fast

UPDATE: First speakers confirmed for TEDx Vienna 2011; The TED conference idea, concept, and execution is so inherently Californian that it is quite amazing to see a spin-out emerging in Vienna - one of the more unlikely places at first sight. San Francisco? Sure - Berkeley? Yes - But Vienna?

Looking closer at the fine mesh that interweaves technology, entertainment and design. In the 1830s, when Yerba Buena ("good herb" , Span.) -  "San Francisco" since 1847) was merely an anchorage with barely a few houses, Vienna had probably the most advanced integration of technology, entertainment and design. The Imperial Court as well as the Vienna society on all levels participated in all aspects of scientific explorations as well as artistic work both as ways of innovation as well as entertainment.

Rudolf von Alt - Die Jägerzeile in Wien - 1844The access to world-class scientists and artists in the Reichshaupt- und Residenzstadt Wien - de-facto center of the Holy Roman Empire. Vienna has always integrated art, technology, design and science in a way rarely found anywhere else and it is about time that Vienna regains this status in the domain of digital technology, entertainment and design. As much as one element requires the others, it creates a domino effect that allows new forms to rise and take shape. Take a look the two events TEDx SanFrancisco and TEDx Vienna to see how both events in their own rights create completely different domains of competence.

This year's topic at the TEDx Vienna is the "Domino Effect" - I'll integrate the opening video as soon as I can figure out how.

I had the chance to speak at the 2010 conference on Bridging the Gap via Skype and look forward to be live at the event this October.



TEDx Vienna – Bridging the Crack

TEDx Vienna invited me to give a brief talk about my personal experience with the TED conference since TED2 in 1990 and about the topic of the TEDx Vienna: Bridging the Gap. Marion, who manages PR for TEDx Vienna, brought us together and as much as I would like to enjoy a cold, wet November in Vienna, I'll do the talk via Skype on Monday, November 29 at 16:50 CET = 7.50 AM PST.

I prepared an abstract about my talk on Bridging the Crack:

There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in. — L. Cohen, Zen priest and writer

Here are some slides as pdf.

Austria – and especially Vienna – has a long tradition in bridging gaps, crossing boundaries and developing new creative opportunities in areas that did not even exist before. Vienna is especially creative when things don’t work out, when new approaches are required, old things need to be separated or when multiple domains need to be merged to create something new. In music, literature, theater, painting, medicine, and technology – Vienna always welcomed the misfits, the innovators, those recognizing the cracks in the continuum. [more]

Bridging the Crack

There is a crack, a crack in everythingThat's how the light gets in. — L. Cohen, Zen priest and writer

Austria – and especially Vienna – has a long tradition in bridging gaps, crossing boundaries and developing new creative opportunities in areas that did not even exist before. Vienna is especially creative when things don’t work out, when new approaches are required, old things need to be separated or when multiple domains need to be merged to create something new. In music, literature, theater, painting, medicine, and technology – Vienna always welcomed the misfits, the innovators, those recognizing the cracks in the continuum.

Cracks develop as old forms break and are essential for new forms to rise. Accepting radical impermanence is difficult, especially in a socio-cultural environment built on the bedrock or the Holy Roman Empire and the Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Yet art and science were always an essential part of society as disruptors and this dichotomy created the tension critical for innovation.

Recognizing a crack not as an unfortunate occurrence of decay but as an opportunity to look inside, as a way for the light to get inside to see what makes the system work, to disclose the secrets and possibly to break the shell and expose new perspectives. The Japanese design of Wabi Sabi always preferred the imperfect, the intentionally or unintentionally damaged and the beauty of the unique form that is in stark contrast to the industrially produced uniformity.

To bridge the crack means to recognize the crack. To recognize the crack means to accept the crack. To accept the crack opens a whole different perspective and set of opportunities to realize new ideas. In the same way the negative space surrounding an object may at some times tell us more than the form of the object itself, a crack provides enhances our understanding.

Now recognizing the crack is only the beginning – we have the responsibility to act on our knowledge and as we bridge gaps East and West bring together people who would otherwise never meet to create unique new ideas that would otherwise not germinate. That is the function of a gathering, a conference like TEDx and it is the function that Austria had in the past and has today.

Stanford Summit

Summit at Stanford 2010 As every year for the last 8 (time flies!) - the Summit at Stanford marks the middle of summer in the Silicon Valley. The annual gathering for entrepreneurs and VCs in the halls and on the lawn behind the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center.

The program is both impressive and comprehensive - watch this blog for updates with a special interest on news of global relevance - with many readers in Europe, this is essential.

The first session with Guy Kawasaki concludes with the question: How do manage your board? Don't surprise your board - Sales fixes everything - Sandbag your numbers.



Innovation ist eine Frage der "rechten" Einstellung

As a result of the Enable conference in Vienna last month I wrote a brief piece on innovation for the Austrian Press Agency APA. ThomPhonesas Fundeneider and Markus Peschl moderate a special feature on "Innovating Innovation" and were also the organizers of the Enable Conference. Thank you for inviting me to contribute.

22.04.2010   THEMA | Innovation ist eine Frage der "rechten" Einstellung

Es fehlt an Innovation. Wir brauchen mehr Innovation. Jemand muss da dringend etwas machen. Das unbestimmte Gefühl, technologisch, gesellschaftlich aber auch individuell auf der Stelle zu treten und Existierendes zu replizieren statt Neues zu schaffen, lässt sich auch bestätigen. [more]

ZukunftsWebinar Nr.3 - neue Kulturtechniken im Web: Feb 25 at 1530UTC

I'll be speaking at the 3rd ZukunftsWebinar (webinar for the future) produced by Zukunftsweb, an organization based in Vienna, working on semantic Web models and next generation Internet solutions. The topic of the Webinar is "Neue Kulturtechniken im Web" - roughly translated "new cultural technologies on the Web". Traditionally understood as reading / writing / mathematics - there mat be new human cultural technologies emerging from a digital network. We'll see. I will prepare a brief introductory statement and look forward to the conversation with Jana Herwig, a media researcher based in Vienna, who also moderates the event and  Corinna Bath, PhD, researcher in Web sciences at the Humboldt-University Berlin with a focus on gender-specific issues of the Semantic Web. Register at

Connect live on Feb 25 at 1530 hrs UTC (Vienna 16:30, San Francisco 7:30 AM):

The discourse will probably happen in German; I will try to post part of my contributions in English on the blog.

Metamorphoses - A workshop at Lift@Austria Enable Conference

The Lift@Austria Enable! conference is shaping significantly different from your "usual" convention. The team is working hard to enable all participants  to experience an innovative and creative environment. After all that's the topic of the event. The event takes place in a factory building of a company developing equipment for bartenders and some plastic parts. So this is going to be an interesting venue. In addition to giving one of the keynotes on day 2, I will also contribute to a workshop on "metamorphoses". That's the title the conference organizers came up with. I'm not sure if the title should be Metamorphosis - a  term is usually only used for butterflies and other animals that change in form and in a variety of art pieces including Kafka's "Die Verwandlung" [ see Wikipedia for disambiguation] or Metamorphoses by Ovid et al. Vladimir Nabokov [Wikipedia] [Zembla], who was a Entomologist as well as a professor for literature and a world-class writer - well versed in all sorts of metamorphoses would be the right person to ask about butterflies and human change.

I submitted a first piece for discussion for the metamorphoses workshop: "For a Change – take a Risk" that is also available here as a pdf:  FBrody - Metamorphoses .

UPDATE: The Lift Enable! conference program has been posted and the newest version of my abstract is here

Post a comment if you are planning to participate or  interested in discussing the topic in general.

The conference blog is here.

Banking and Finance Site covers Enable! Conference

The banking and finance industry urgently needs to look at innovative solutions and, the Austrian portal for the finance industry covers the Enable! conference, an event definitely not in the management consulting / suit-and-tie space. The conference venue is an old factory building on the outskirts of Vienna and the event format is positively not your usual business conference. The article picks up on the idea of "Free Money": every attendee receives EUR50 to "pay" for  outstanding presentations and workshops. The funds loose value over time - so better spend it. It's funny money but can be converted into legal tender at the end of the conference.

Article in German:

Lift@Vienna | Enable! - a conference

The Lift@Austria conference invited me to give a keynote and enable a workshop about metamorphosis – a somewhat alchemistic topic. The conference focuses on "Profound innovation in Society, Economy & Knowledge Exploring the new paradigm for bringing forth game-changing innovation" and will be held in  Vienna, March 18-20, 2010. Conferences worth attending have become rare or unaffordable and inaccessible like TED or D - mostly easily replaceable by a Webcast. Lift promises to start a new trend in collaborative events. The topic is challenging and we'll see what we can make of it. It will be a joint effort of everybody attending.

Lift conferences are planned around the world and try to answer the questions " What can the future do for you? - maybe we should ask "What can you do for the future?" - but that's beside the point - there is only NOW. What can NOW do for you?

First event coverage is here and here (both in German). [added 2/4]

More soon.

Digging for the disintegrative nature of digital technologies

Research shows that most people search for their own name first when coming across a new search engine. I'm no exception and for years I've had the plan to create a definitive search results page of everything that comes up when I search for my self. Not so much because anyone may be interested in a comprehensive list, more as a means to explore how new, alternative search engines find different stuff. Today I tried deepdyve, a search engine that justifies its existence "because traditional search engines do not deliver the quality results that information-savvy consumers and professionals need." [source no longer available] For $45 per month (that's $540 per year, more than many people pay for CATV) you get deepdyve Pro, that offers "Dynamic Grouping, Visual Clustering and Venn Diagrams". The interface offers advanced search but does not recognize "Florian Brody" as a text string and thus returns 90% irrelevant stuff. Their Blog has an interesting mélange of content - most recently an entry on the "unbunding of content".

I found one critical commentary on a paper I gave in 1995 in a research journal that requires a subscription, but deepdyve offers a detailed view with the complete paper "Contradicion versus Convergence" by Charles Tashiro: "Whether or not we agree with Brody's late-Romantic argument, it seems strangely out of keeping with the disintegrative nature of digital technologies, their capacity to change and transform, even if completely in keeping with the formalist rhetoric underpinning many of the ideas and presentations at the conference".

Today - 14 years later - I'm still right ;-) and hoping that this will change soon. Search engines on the other side have not caught up with the writings of the world and possibly never will, never should.

Brainstorm Tech

This year the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference coincides with the Summit and many of the usual suspects are heading for Half Moon Bay. The conference is covered by many blogers with big names, among them Joi Ito, who is unsure what to blog about the conference and rather uses his camera and make photos or Steve Jurvetson of DFJ who's link goes directly to his Flicker page about his favorite topic, rockets. Rebecca McKinnon posts her answers to the questions every attendee received in advance - maybe one of the bloggers I did not check actually blogs live from the event as the agenda progresses. It seems that live blogging is so very 2007 that nobody remembers except people who set up conference Web sites a year in advance.

A Lot is Going on at Always On

[UPDATE MAY 2017] - nothing is going on - the domain is for sale and all links are dead Tony Perkins, publisher, editor and Silicon Valley pundit today opens the 2008 Always On Stanford Summit, that has become the mid-summer event of the Valley. 250 Companies have been selected and a comprehensive program of speeches and round-table discussions will cover all aspects of the life of start-ups in the Valley and beyond: "The AlwaysOn & STVP Summit at Stanford is a two-and-a-half-day executive gathering that highlights the significant economic, political and commercial trends affecting the global technology industries."

If you can make it - I will see you there - please come and say hello, otherwise try to find me on the live Webcast.