“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture” Part II

As reported earlier, Germans themselves will be the first to admit that, when it comes to entrepreneurship, they have a “crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure,” but it is what it is and they are what they are.

Cars

There’s even a saying/joke here that goes “anything in Germany that is not expressly permitted is forbidden.” Take electric cars, for example. Their production may not be expressly forbidden but the German automobile industry is doing its damnedest to pretend like they don’t exist. One could say this has more to do with “never touch a running system” (this industry still makes piles of money) but it really gets down to being crotchety again. They’re missing the boat and they know it.

Concern is rising in Europe’s automobile heartland about the economic impact of the industry’s move to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered cars.

Officials and executives in Germany fear the country’s big car companies and rich ecosystem of suppliers and service providers are insufficiently prepared for the transition, and that their leadership may not be assured in an electric-car world, threatening jobs, tax revenue and even growth.

Assembling electric cars isn’t as complex or labor intensive as making traditional vehicles and relies partly on imported technology. At the same time, China has made rapid forays in electrification and is shaping up as a potentially formidable competitor in the field.

The trepidation is particularly acute in the city of Stuttgart, hub to one of the country’s biggest automotive clusters at the heart of the nation’s dynamic south. It comes as Europe’s largest economy is showing signs of weakness amid a chill in global trade.

“The greatest catastrophe would be if the industry fell asleep at the wheel. It is crucial for jobs that companies like Daimler make a massive push into this technology and build locally.”

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Berlin’s First Driverless Bus Hits The Street…

Killing five.

Bus

Just kidding.

Berlin is already teeming with last-mile mobility options like shared bikes and e-scooters.

Now the city’s public transport company Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) is set to add driverless buses to the mix, testing its first autonomous shuttles on a public road this month.

The BVG has been testing the self-driving bus, developed by French company EasyMile, in the confines of a campus for the past year. This month it will face real-world traffic conditions on a 600 metre stretch from an underground station in the north-western part of the capital.

OK, folks. The key term here is BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe), the city’s public transport company. The joke around town is that BVG actually stands for Bin Vorsichtshalber Gelaufen or “decided to walk, just in case.” They’re not terribly reliable here, you see.

“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture”

Comparing Germany’s entrepreneurial business world to Silicon Valley’s? This post will be even shorter than usual.

Silicon

One reason why California continues to draw talent out of Germany is the contrast between Germany’s crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure.

This compares unfavorably with California’s inspiring can-do optimism and fail early, fail often, keep trying until you succeed” mantra. Additional reasons are the much higher salaries paid to engineers and programmer in California, the sunnier, warmer weather and California’s huge head start in building a startup-friendly business ecosystem.

“We need to build critical mass in one city, and that city is Berlin. It’s built a global reputation as a cool, hip, affordable city with a lively startup scene. We should double down on that.”

 

German Forests Dying Again

And again, and again…

Forest

The first big German forest death that I remember was way back when in the 1980s. It was caused by something they called “acid rain” and this led to the Waldsterben or “forest death” epidemic, or Waldsterben 1.0. It was a terrible death and a dog gone shame.

But now, with Waldsterben 2.0 in the year 2019, German forests (already dead) are dying again, only this time it’s due to climate change (extreme heat, storms and new insect plagues). RIP or something.

Flash forward three decades and, to the untrained eye, Germany’s forests resemble that man in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: not dead yet.

What Difference Does It Make?

Germany: Bundeswehr grounds ‘Tiger’ helicopters due to technical faults.

Tiger

The Bundeswehr and Bundesmarine (German army and navy) ain’t ever going to be deployed anywhere anyway so who cares if nothing works or not?

Bundeswehr’s enduring equipment woes – The incident is the latest in a series of embarrassments for the Bundeswehr and the German government concerning equipment, especially as regards government-issue aircraft. Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz have all been delayed by faulty airplanes while carrying out official duties in the past year. Bundeswehr officials have also long complained that much of their equipment is outdated and broken, as increasing defense spending becomes more and more unpopular politically.

“Security is the top priority for the Bundeswehr.”

Inexpensive Meat?

We’ll fix that for you real quick. For your own good, of course.

Meat

Germany: ‘Meat tax’ on the table to protect the climate – meat is relatively cheap for consumers in Germany. But that could all be about to change as lawmakers from across the political spectrum back proposals aimed at climate protection and animal welfare.

German politicians from the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens on Wednesday proposed raising the value added tax (VAT) on meat to the standard rate of 19%. Currently, meat is taxed at a reduced rate of 7% like most foodstuffs.

“A meat tax, such as increasing the VAT to 19%, could be a way forward.”

PS: German Oddity 10. Germans have more words for taxation than Eskimos have for snow.

German Of The Day: Igelsex

Go figure. It’s pronounced “eagle sex” but it means hedgehog sex.

Igelsex

Germans kept up at night by noisy igelsex (that’s hedgehog coupling) – Police called out to reports of nocturnal disturbances find hedgehogs ‘having fun.’

I don’t buy it, though. I think these Germans were kept up at night, tossing and turning, worrying about the German economy.

“Germany’s economy is highly dependent on exports, and that’s what’s hitting the German economy now. If the trade conflicts persist for many more years, this will hit Germany very hard.”

German Of The Day: Flaschenhals

That means bottleneck.

Flashenhals

Germany is looking for new ways to power its economy as the traditional growth engines of manufacturing and exports falter. But the country’s outdated internet is acting as a bottleneck.

The sorry state of the online network has become a national joke and an economic liability. Germany ranks 33rd in the world in average monthly fixed broadband connection speeds, and 47th for mobile, according to Speedtest Global Index.

“It’s too slow. If you’re really world class in production, having a ranking of, say, [33rd] in working internet does not fit together with that image.”

Germany To Introduce Stricter Sword Control Legislation

I assume.

Sword

A 36-year-old man was stabbed to death in Stuttgart on Wednesday with a weapon described as a “sword.”

The man was attacked in a street in the late afternoon, police said. Witnesses called police after the attack, which occurred during a dispute.

The victim succumbed to his injuries despite rescue efforts. Tabloid newspaper Bild reported the victim was a German Kazakh.

Police initially reported the alleged perpetrator was a Syrian citizen who had lived in Germany since 2015. However, local media have reported there may be discrepancies in that, with Bild reporting there was suspicion that the suspect could be a Palestinian who has assumed a false identity.

Mohammed hat die Tat zwar gestanden und sitzt in Untersuchungshaft – aber dennoch gibt der Fall Rätsel auf.

Germans Too Busy Killing Hitler To Help Allies

It’s another German oddity kinda thang. And one of my personal favorites.

Hitler

Germans hide from responsibility today by routinely ritualizing  how they hid from responsibility in the past. And don’t kid yourself. They are perfectly aware of what they are doing.

Germany will not join US naval mission in Strait of Hormuz – Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany will not be taking part in a US-led mission to secure oil tanker ships sailing near Iran. The US ambassador in Berlin slammed the decision, saying Germany has responsibilities.

“Hardly any other country is as dependent on the freedom of international shipping as export champions Germany.”