CHRISTOPHER PETERKA – TALKS WITH PETRI
In this episode we cover topics ranging from cyborgs and AI to politics, and the future of humanity. Christopher Peterka also reveals why rosé helps in book writing.
Christopher Patrick Peterka is a futurist and humanist. With the think tank gannaca and the NextGen cluster THE HUS.institute, he advises organizations worldwide on their innovation culture and future strategy. His particular interest is dedicated to the new rules in the economy and society of the Digital Modern Era. A father of two and already a cyborg, he strives for practical change and is driven to make the world a better place by leveraging an entirely new thinking that implies teaching humaneness to robots as well. Peterka’s latest book is Your choice.
(NOTE: The text may contain errors, misconceptions and even comical unintended contexts. Please use it only as a reference to the actual audio conversation from where it has been transcribed.)
Petri: Hello Christopher! How are you doing?
Christopher: Hey Petri! I’m doing fairly well. I hope you’re doing good, too.
Petri: Yeah. I was basically just sneaking in. You were doing something online, just a minute ago.
Christopher: True. Day number five of my second Corona reading series. I published a book last year. It’s a flip book. It’s been published in two languages, German and English, and I’m basically reading through the whole book. One chapter a night, always at nine o’clock, Central European summertime.
Petri: And you said that this is already a second time, and did you do the same in German as well, twice?
Christopher: I read the book in German about three weeks ago. So that was my first 16 nights long run, and it turned out to be quite a nice exercise. To sit down every night at this virtual campfire and gather some group of people, some I know, others I don’t. And then see what they discuss in the comments and what they do with the inspiration.
Petri: So what’s your favorite sentence from the book?
Christopher: Hm. You are both a dumb fuck and awesome simultaneously as a human being.
Petri: Those are your words or are those coming from the Facebook person?
Christopher: Dumb fuck is obviously a quote by Zuckerberg but I wouldn’t hesitate to call it out myself this very way.
Petri: So, are you an analogue opportunist or progressive optimist?
Christopher: Well, I consider myself being an optimistic person so I tend towards the progressive optimist clearly.
Petri: What actually these questions even mean?
Christopher: I found over the years more and more people to be pretty lost within the old spectrum of political ideas left and right, the usual story. Probably what has to do with evermore parties trying to get into the middle, and basically becoming all the same. I think you could even put their party programs into a comparison algorithm, and you would eventually find out that they are almost all the same. And that seemed, and still seems to be quite a mismatch with what people actually feel about the increasing speed of change and the exploding complexity of their worlds around them. And, the idea to open up a new scale between analogue opportunists and progressive optimists at the very extreme ends of the scale, is the attempt to establish new territory. Open a new door that we can all go through together. To find new positions, that don’t necessarily have to be positions of fighting against each other but more looking inside oneselves and learning something about yourself.
It’s not necessarily bad to be someone who might call themselves an analogue opportunist if you simply are a person that likes concepts of the past: holds onto them, takes care of them, is aware of them, is aware of oneself taking care of these concepts. But what I not agree with at all is to just be around and tap into evermore convenience of the digital.
Whatever it is, programs run by the government, programs run by huge, monolithic corporations. Just because it’s all so easy and forget about the why things are the way they are. And our parents and grandparents and great, great, great grandparents have built certain structures and embedded values in them.
So, yeah. It’s to sum it up. It’s an invitation to get into a new discussion about whether we need something like a society, whether there is such a thing. Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan tried to get rid of it and they seem to be pretty successful with that. But I guess especially in these times of Covid-19 we clearly see that there are societies and that they cope with this in very different ways.
That there’s a strong tendency towards concepts of the past again by shutting down borders and blaming others instead of listening to scientific facts and maybe also allowing for progressive experiments to deal with this stuff. And I’ve collected over 20 years many, many opinions, thesis from super interesting and very smart people, way smarter than I consider myself to be.
Around the world I traveled to 55 countries, conducting interviews with roughly 1500 people trying to find out whether there are patterns in this change, whether there are distinct lines of thinking along this transformational development that we might or not see as humankind by bringing ever more technology into our world.
Petri: I heard a rumor that you might actually be a cyborg – maybe from the future?
Christopher: Well, on the one hand, I do carry an RFID chip implant in my left hand. That’s just a very boring fact.
Petri: When did you do that? Because I think there was a Swede who did that maybe 10-15 years years ago.
Christopher: There are many people who did that to their pets, actually 10, 15, 20 years ago. And the technology hasn’t really changed since that because it simply gives you the opportunity to identify an object or a living organism like your pet or yourself to system, like a door lock, to open it without a key.
And when I learned about that technology and the opportunity that you can simply get it done quickly, it takes two seconds so, I can get rid of these metal pieces that I carry with me: I went for it. And, it’s really not a big deal but there have been chipping parties. Especially in Scandinavia as I know, by entire departments where people got rid of their RFID cards.
The tokens that you usually get as an employee for a specific level of the building, and have chip implants instead. Because again, you can lose the cards, but you can’t usually lose your hand. That happens very rarely, I guess. And, while the future is my favorite time, it’s my favorite subject.
I spent most of my time thinking about different future scenarios. I constantly observe certain developments. Especially, when it comes to communications technology and analyze these developments and try to design, to conclude likely futures, likely scenarios from that for our clients and partners who are interested in what the future could look like.
Petri: What is your favorite sci-fi series?
Christopher: There are literally thousands of pieces in the archives. But thinking about the the recent years, Spike Jonze’s Hersprings to mind, a science fiction movie actually that worked without any special effects. And that very much focused on the relationship between a human being and an operating system.
The protagonist fell in love with his operating system, as did several hundreds or even thousands of other human beings simultaneously as he finds out at the end of the game. And, it completely stirs him up. He doesn’t know how to cope with this. And I really like this story and the way it was depicted because…
It clearly lists a lot of questions that we, in my humble opinion, should address rather sooner than later. When it comes to our dealing with things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, operating systems, ubiquitous computing. Because what I feel is that we mostly still look at these things as dead objects, as mere instruments instead of relationship partners.
But that’s something we should, change. Another one is of course, the remake of Westworld and, everything that followed. Where we can see the awakening of machine systems with a sentience. Bringing up entirely new problems and challenges but also solutions, of course. In a very harsh and maybe even brutal way of describing such a scenario. Which I again like because it takes the romance away a little, that I also see with many people when they look at the future. 2045/2046 expecting technical singularity and the machine solving all the human problems, suddenly overnight.
While actually we should maybe be much more aware today already about what we are putting out there. And, what maybe completely new and unknown form of sentience or consciousness could emerge in these very systems. I’ve also put into the book this idea that someone shared with me and I liked it very much of us human beings eventually becoming what the mountain gorillas are for us today already.
A species that we are very closely related with, we share more than 99% of our DNA. And yet this species, our ancestors, so to speak, completely rely on us solely as a species when it comes to their survival. So if we decide that we don’t want to have mountain gorillas anymore, we would just need to take the fences away and they’d be dead, hunted down, killed by cars, whatever.
And something similar could in a not too distant future happen with us as well. Because we have created our successor in a way with the AI already. And the bridge from Homo sapiens to Software sapiens to me, doesn’t sound too crazy actually. And, even despite Corona, I think we should not forget about this.
Petri: Interesting. I was thinking, which one in your metaphor, which one we are in respect to the AI?
Christopher: Yeah. What I was thinking about here Petri was if you imagined an AI system created and designed by humans, too. To do the math perfectly and to follow let’s say the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights that we also created. And you would have that AI then have evaluate the way that humans today work with the environment.
How we treat the oceans, the forest, and even our fellow brothers and sisters, that we sort of steam away from their families in some parts of the world to save them in other parts, keep them as slaves. What would that AI do?
Petri: That’s a very good question. I think there’s been some basic rules, coming from the sci-fi world as well but are those rules anymore applying when it’s really sophisticated and it’s sort of learning by itself and that’s probably something we need to figure out ourselves before it gets to that point.
But I guess we don’t have too many decades to figure this thing out.
Christopher: Exactly. And probably a bit more down to earth. I’m thinking about the current Corona pandemic, the global system crisis that goes along with it. It seems inevitable that in most places, we gonna have tracing and tracking tools, right?
Petri: Already in place.
Christopher: Exactly. And in the left territories, where they are not they will be implemented anytime soon and maybe that’s a good thing.
And more at the same time as so often with technology, it may be also something that creates outcomes that we don’t have the slightest clue about, as we speak today. And that might have actually quite a strong effect or an influence on who as societies we will be in a very short term future.
I’m talking about the next two, three, maybe five years. What would it do to us collectively once we will check our phones before we actually enter a friend’s home to attend for a birthday dinner. To see whether there are people who have recently been infected or the opposite, who haven’t yet been infected and not maybe been vaccined.
We we still go through that door. If we go through that door, will we choose a different chair? Will we behave differently, will we keep a wall from the glass of wine because we don’t want to get too uncareful about the social distance that we need to keep and so forth. And I think this is, actually a good example of how we’ve got to redefine what this heavy impact that this tech solution is going to bring with itself.
And what conclusions are gonna be from that about who we want to be together and as individuals, in whatever society, you can call it the global village. You can call it the Finns or the Germans or the South Africans. It doesn’t really matter. It’s always groups of human beings that are now relying on technology watching over them.
Petri: I’m thinking this in two different directions. One of them is that, we properly have to go back to the values and really do the fundamentals in one level that if we are basically starting to live in a glass house. Even in our house where all our actions and all our things are basically measured and can be later on retrieved, and properly released as well to the other people.
And that’s basically just taking a bit further the gathering . And the other direction is what are you saying about sort of signaling as well, isn’t it, that transparency. I have already seen some kind of concepts where people are, while they’re having some kind of a small display, they are wearing, that is showing their heart rate and temperature.
So that’s, I’m good. I don’t have it. So don’t be afraid. Come close. We can interact. This sort of invisible enemy, if you will, or unknown. And I think it will be around and this is not the first and the last time this is happening.
Because everybody is flying around and doing these things. You would never know where you’ve been or your neighbor has been, or who has it and who doesn’t have it because it’s not visible. Handshaking, being close to each other, hugging, being in conferences, I’m not sure we’re going back to that world.
Christopher: I completely agree. And I am already very convinced that we will not go back to that world. And I perceive Covid-19 as some kind of steroids or a booster for developments that were already happening before. You could also look at various other scenarios, apps already being put in place.
I prominently remember the app Cloak, which indicated for you as the user, if there was someone, some other person in your proximity that you had set on a list before that you definitely would not like to meet again. So you could cloak yourself under a virtual cloak, to kind of ghost. But basically that meant that you were made aware of that closeness of that other person so you could avoid them.
Petri: Sounds like a Black Mirror episode. You remember where you could mute with people?
Christopher: Absolutely. And, what we will inevitably, I think, because of the observations that we can already already have, we will merge with our creation, with machines. And it won’t look like a Terminator, robots that were depicted in that Hollywood movie. But it, it will rather be us putting ever more bits and pieces of tech onto our skin, under our skin.
And if we want to follow entrepreneur Elon Musk, we will even put it straight into our brains with neuralink. He’s working on this technology that would be able to directly link our thoughts to the machines. We would literally be able to think a message and send it without moving anything else than our neurons. And yes I think in a great difference to any time of the past all these things are to be expected to happen within at least the next 20 years. Maybe not two, but 20. And if you talk to your parents or great grandparents today, they have a hard time recognizing the world that they live in now compared to what they were brought up with.
And they might even be around too, to see this all happening. And, this is what I meant by, an exploding complexity and an increasing speed of change. There’s exponentialism working at this as well. And, we were all taught about exponentialism, due to Corona. We are all experts now. We know where this leads to, into nothing, into ice cold spheres of things.
Human brains simply cannot imagine. But the computer can.
Petri: It was January, around mid January 2019 I received a package. I guess the post office wasn’t efficient, either on the German side or on the other end, because it was supposed to be on my door before Christmas. And it was something inside which was a bit freakish.
it was dark. It was completely black. It was something which I wasn’t familiar with. I never basically used that before and it was sort of a bit scary thing… Is this intriguing and teasing enough for the audience to know that they’ll approve that you actually are a cyborg from the future and you protecting your friends, just to be on a safe side, one year before the actual thing hits.
Christopher: You’re referring to a black face mask, I suppose?
Petri: Yes, indeed I do. What was your thinking behind that? What does the purpose of that?
Christopher: Well, back then in winter 2018-2019. I had just returned from Asia, from South Korea, because we ran some projects there. And as we all know by today, the Asian societies have a mask culture. A culture of wearing masks in public and doing so on a very regular, on a daily basis even. And of course, it’s partly due to the bad air quality, but in the more interesting parts of this culture, at least in my humble opinion, it’s a cultural attitude as well.
It’s a way of expressing respect towards each other because people know they are carriers of bacteria and viruses. And simultaneously, as we also know, the Asian cultures have a very different idea about community, about society versus the individual. So, the importance, the Western importance of the recognizable face of the individual that is so special like nothing else like no one else especially doesn’t exist. Quite the opposite, it’s even offensive to think that way. And when I watched the people in the streets of Seoul for hours from cafes where we had meetings. And sometimes just a time off. It made me wonder, whether it wasn’t a good idea to bring this back home to Europe.
To tap into this culture, to learn about it and maybe find our own twist, a European twist maybe, about this, as you just described it, even threatening or at least disturbing piece of cloth. Actually, black is my favorite color. So, I didn’t feel terrified at all by this color.
But I guess what you did. And I sent you not only the mask, but I also sent you a sticker, right? And on that sticker there was a sentence and it said: “There’s great strength in silence.” And the weird idea that I tried to convey back then was that instead of talking ever more, and listening to bullshit being talked evermore around us, and I’m referring to many business meetings that I’ve been part of.
And, I’m sure that I personally contributed with some of the bullshit myself. And I’m sorry for that. Retrospectively spoken. It would be a nice gesture to maybe, do that bold step and, and put up the mask, at a given point in that meeting when you feel we are merely talking bullshit now and I don’t want to facilitate this any further, I don’t want to contribute to more bullshit.
So I rather, go for silence. I shut myself up and off and show respect through this gesture towards my other fellow colleagues and human beings. Because at the end of the day, what this is all about is our lifetime, right? And you cannot get a single second back, a single minute back off the time that you wasted in whatever. Could be a meeting, with a lot of bullshit being talked, but could also be the entire job.
It could be near the entire idea of an economy that is programmed on growth, as the Holy Grail, growth as the matter, goal per se. Because we somehow grew that believe that more of what we already have is more but of what? Quality of life, lifetime or just money, virtual money in your account.
And that was, yeah, the admittedly over complex and maybe bit weird idea of bringing these mask back to Europe and sent them out to friends and partners. Now, many of the these partners and friends came back to me and with smily in their messages they said: Now we get it!
You truly are a futurist. You knew! My ego would, of course, love to confirm and say: Yes, exactly! Finally, you got it. But honestly, we both know, there is no crystal ball. No one can know about the future, but what I would honestly claim is that at least I had a notion, not that a pandemic was coming, of course not, but that this over-busyness.
This culture of simply running through the days, being constantly busy. Packing up ones schedules up to the very last minute. Maybe even have an avatar take over some of your tasks so you can be a multiple personality added your social profiles, would lead to something of the quality of bullshit.
And I mean, what we have right now is a lot of bullshit. I mean, we are losing democracy, eventually, we are locked down. We might lose, to come back to your question, the ability to be close with each other. I mean, this is. This is a big thing, and this is actually much more terrifying to me than a mask.
Petri: It’s because it’s so fundamental. Now we start to realize that how inhuman, for example, it is to put someone in isolation . We are imprisoning some people and are saying that you need to be in isolation. And we’d be now like, some people four weeks, others six weeks, more or less, in isolation in our homes.
And it’s not anything like that. But, it’s completely weird and unexpected. What happens in your mind when every day basically feels the same and every week feels like the same. There’s even now, I saw today, somebody released as a joke or I don’t know, maybe they even selling it.
There’s a calendar having the month in there, but it doesn’t have a name because all the months on now the same. So you can just use the no name calendar.
Christopher: This is a positive signal, I’d say. Because it’s a proof of humor and I think we should really take care that we don’t lose that also. When you talked about people in lockdown or even about yourself feeling maybe a bit dull about this repetition of the ever same routines every day.
I had actually to think about something, much worse in, in my opinion, which is that we have silently accepted. At least in my environment that we don’t only lock down healthy people like yourself and me included who can somehow cope with this. I mean, we’re sitting down now at our desks and we are having this fantastic conversation and we’re using high tech tools.
But what about people dying these very days? And I’m not talking about death by Corona. I’m talking about the usual death by some sickness, some illness or simply age. And we take from these people and ourselves away the possibility to be close to each other once someone leaves us. Our parents maybe or grandparents, our sisters and brothers, our children, whoever is in such a situation right now.
Honestly, this gives me goosebumps as we speak, Petri. It’s so terrifying to me that we don’t even blink about this. We just accept that because it’s now an order and it’s necessary because the lockdown and the social distancing has to be accepted by everyone and everywhere. And I really wonder, who we are that we are not crying out loud about this.
I mean, we were talking about people we are not talking about. I don’t know what, some plants that can’t be taken care off any longer because, it was a luxury hobby. I don’t know maybe I’m pathetic about this, but this is something that is really deeply disturbing me these very days when I think about it.
Petri: I have no words. I’m actually thinking we have to properly shift gears to something more light. Otherwise, this is going to be a doom, and . Terminator II will appear rather soon.
Christopher: You know what? A friend of mine, I had a call with her this week. She actually had a fantastic idea, because she would like to address sick and eldery people in these care homes, and do what we are doing right now, with them. Because some of them are capable of this. They have an iPad, they have a phone.
Most certainly they have. And calling them up right now and asking them about how they feel and what they can share with us as a perspective on this. Maybe they have even seen the World War. And certainly they have seen other crises. That gave me hope because I thought this is actually a super smart idea. And, I would love to support her and link her up with people that have access to the elderly in hospitals and care homes. And, there you go, it’s not all doomed and the End of Days and Armageddon. There are people having these great ideas too, and you were one of them. She’s one of them.
So let’s have more of that, please.
Petri: I think that’s a fantastic idea. Just consider how much has happened in so little time. And when we look back into history and we were like World War I or II, how people let those things to happen? Why didn’t they see that? It’s like something you cannot believe.
And now we just see that in a matter of days our reality can change. In a sense that things are escalating rather quickly. I think this gives us also a bit of perspective for things . There may be decades when nothing happens and then there could be seconds or minutes when everything happens.
Christopher: Absolutely. And I think in these times, and I have never experienced such a crisis before, but my senses feel kind of sharpened. I think it’s indeed worth to carefully listen to ,especially decision-makers, scientists, politicians but also our neighbors and family members, speak. If they speak their mind and not read some manuscript that the PR agency had prepared for them.
But even then. Because I read this piece by , I think he’s a Swiss philosopher, this morning even, where he quoted one of the most evil people that might have been around. At least in Germany for the last hundred years, Adolf Eichmann, who was one of the people at the very head of the Nazi regime.
And whenever he was asked for the reasons for his behavior, he repeatedly said that he believed it was what was in the best interest of the society and that he was always convinced that he was also acting in 100% accordance with these goals of good for the society. He did not confirm that he had found some crazy joy in what he was doing or whatever.
And we don’t know whether he was speaking the truth or not, and maybe it’s a bad idea to come up with such an evil person, as a comparison. But I think, the comparison is still kind of helpful because what we accept as doing good for all of us for the sake of saving lives today ,it’s really time to listen more carefully, when these sentences are being said.
Because Corona is not the only sickness in the world. And, even if the measurements that need to be taken to slow things down because there’s no medicine and there’s no vaccine. There are still other values in our societies that other people have died for or at least fought for over centuries, and we should really not just kick them off the table within two weeks of time.
I think without having all the wisdom of a life that maybe has seen 80 years or more, I feel adult enough to say that.
Petri: Who are the people you would recommend now to follow and, and who are the ones really pay close attention to if you want to know more about these things? So you want to be somehow more aware what’s happening really around us?
Christopher: First of all, when I say this, I’m biased because I’m a father. I’ve got two kids and they are six and eight years of age. And when you ask the question, the first thing that came to my mind was kids. Let’s ask the kids what they see, what they feel, because their perspective is unique. A lot of them don’t really follow the news. They certainly do not scroll through social media feeds all day long, at least not until a certain age. I think there’s enough said about them. Should be clear to everyone why this is a super source. I think of high quality perspective on the current ongoings, for one.
Another would be not an age group, but rather a group that we could probably identify by their language. And I’ve for at least 15 years, been fond of people who are really careful, when they talk with blaming others. So , once I hear people not blame others, but look at stuff itself, try to examine data, for instance, or educational concepts, technological concepts, whatever. Differentiating, trying to keep to scientific evidence, and probably what’s holding back with their opinion, but not mixing the two. I would be really interested, and I am proud to say that in my network there are at least 20 people that I follow on a daily base, who bring exactly that quality of thinking to the table.
Very balanced, very differentiated, strong in their opinion. So you can really make up your own mind about them but not blaming others, not pointing fingers. I think this self-reflection. knowing the limits of knowledge, asking for maybe supportive arguments for help, for knowledge from others that’s a quality that we need more of.
Well, and maybe some of the next generation leaders that we luckily can still find around the world. If you look at the government of Iceland or New Zealand, for instance, I hear voices and I hear ideas and thoughts that comply pretty much with the quality that I’ve just described.
Petri: You mentioned that you’ve been traveling to quite a many countries and doing things in different parts of the world. I think you’ve also been living in some of the places you are now residing, in Germany?
Christopher: Well, it’s a boring but very safe place. And as I just said, I’m a father of two kids and as adventurous, as I might also be, I would love to see them, grow up in a stable and protected yet not overprotected environment, with a free education system and something close to fresh and clean air and clean water.
And that is pretty much the reason why, aside that it’s, pretty convenient for, the business I run because everything is really close by. You can jump from Cologne to Paris, London, Copenhagen, Zurich, Prague, Berlin in pretty much an hour. As long as you can use planes, and maybe one day we will be able to do that again.
Petri: So there’s a future for EU, or at least Europe because the futurist is living here?
Christopher: I’d not be so optimistic about the European union right now. And that’s actually a phenomenon that I am very interested in and excited about even. Where I see the former concept of the nation state diminish, pretty quickly, and digital superstates or super regimes rushing in to the play at a high speed. Filling the gaps, filling the vacuums that we have left. And we have left a vacuum here, especially in Europe.
if you look at the tools at the services that most of us use right now in this crisis. Like Netflix, Amazon, Google, Apple, Disney, Zoom, WebEx, you name them.
They all come pretty much from a single source, which is the American digital regime. And I’m not saying this is bad. I’m just saying this is, to me, not very surprisingly, but super one-sided. It’s not differentiated. It’s not balanced at all. And on the other side of the blocks, you see the Chinese ecosystem with Alipay or WeChat, Baidu and some more.
And basically it’s these two regimes currently fighting over the virtual territories around the world, occupying them as quickly as they can. Because, as we already discussed, once you control the networks, you control the people, you control their commercial habits, you control their health habits as we now, learn.
So pretty much you might say you control who they are. And there are five other of these digital regimes emerging, but they are all dwarfs in comparison with the two. But none of them seems to be Europe because there simply is no valid concept there is no strength in running, funding, running and developing adequate systems.
Here even not now where the federal banks are throwing billions of billions of euros or whatever currency into the systems. And I’m keen to see how quickly this cooperation between Apple and Google is going to take until they will have spread it across most of Europe to have the tracking and tracing deeply embedded in the operating systems and basically have made Europe a digital colony to that American digital regime. And how long it might take to build something on our own, to set against that, because that’s what I think would be a smart thing to do.
Petri: Yeah. I’m actually thinking, we don’t want to go too much into the politics, at this point. Shifting to the process of writing, editing and marketing a book, what would you tell someone who is thinking about now in isolation, maybe I should now write the book I’ve been just dreaming about, thinking about all my life. Should you do it? What are the things to expect and what’s fun and what’s not fun. And something funny as well?
Christopher: Well, actually that happened about 10 days ago, a guy approached me and he had seen my book and he asked me practical questions on how to do this. From my point of view it all stands and falls with your objective. What do you want to achieve with your book? Is it really that dream that you brought up with your question?
Is that something that you feel just a super strong desire for to do? Then I’d recommend to go down the road, and sit down and, first, compile a list of your core thesis and maybe then transfer them into titles for chapters, structure the chapters. So you get a nice, storyline for the book.
And then maybe, once you’re done with that. Provide a demo chapter, and voila, you have your first treatment. That you could then either use to pitch it to a publisher or to pitch it to friends, family, fools, and of course, back to yourself. So you can find out whether you want to take it to the next level where you would actually have to write not just one demo chapter, but all of the chapters.
For me this translated into a full year of writing last year. Actually started in summer 2018 and finished it a year later in summer 2019. And I had collaborators that I hired to help me with this. I said it earlier, it’s a bilingual book, English and German. I even created a self-assessment, this psychological profile tool with 60 questions that you can answer, once you go through the book.
So it’s really also a workbook. But coming back to the question and the initial thought. If it’s this inner desire of yourself to do this, to bring something out of your brain onto paper or pixel then it’s actually, I think a very good idea to go and see how far you get with it. And even if you only write down one demo chapter or three or five, you have achieved something tremendous.
And you can still decide whether you make that your book or you keep it in your drawer and you get back to it later and you keep it as a transcript or whatever. Yet, if you have different objectives. So if you want to get rich or famous, then I recommend to take a step back or maybe two or three. And, rethink this endeavor because the likeliness that you will reach that objective. I think statistically is so low that it could kill your motivation, or it could kill your bank account. And you should really consider that before you start. So two very different roads, I think. I see there and maybe there are many more, but that’s at least two that I clearly came across. For me, the book project once I really devoted myself to it, it changed its form.
In the beginning I thought it might become some kind of advisory book, very business minded, targeting decision-makers in the corporate world, maybe in the political world as well. And, once I really, knew what this was going to be about, I had to make myself much more honest than I was in the beginning. And, find out that this was a hundred percent passion project and that I could not hold myself back from my core beliefs, my very personal thesis.
Because I simply wanted to share them in their purest form. And that’s what I went for. Funny moments. Hmm. Well. What comes to mind is how I spent my vacation last year in the South of France, where I regularly found myself at 10:00 PM, on the porch with a half a bottle of rose going through literally thousands of comments by the lector, the person who checked on all my lines of writing. And I had never seen such a messy document before.
On each and every page I found at least 30 up to 50 remarks. I could hardly read the texts anymore. It was so difficult to plow my way through these thousands of comments that it was more difficult than any marathon that I had physically run before. But the rose helped a great deal with that.
Petri: So at the end, you just basically said accept all after the bottle of rose.
Christopher: No, I hesitated to do that despite the fact that I admittedly was tempted once in a while. Yes. But, I didn’t do it because my name is on the book, so, I have to be able to stand up for each and every line, and I do.
Petri: What’s your favorite word?
Now we are going into the section where I’m asking you the 10 questions as a tribute to James Lipton.
Petri: What’s your least favorite word?
Christopher: I think my least favorite word is I as in me
Petri: What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Christopher: People speaking without any fear of anything.
Petri: What turns you off?
People using a minority of their brain potential.
Petri: What is your favorite curse word?
Christopher: That’s a boring one. I guess we all know that: fuck.
Petri: What sound or noise do you love?
Christopher: The breath of my kids, when I lay next to them.
Petri: What sound or noise do you hate?
Christopher: Any noise made by people who should be aware that their noises right in that very moment are extremely annoying and preventing the quality of a meeting from unfolding to what it actually should do.
Petri: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Christopher: Becoming a yogi.
Petri: What profession would you not like to do?
Christopher: High-speed trader.
Petri: If you could be a co-founder of any startup at any era, which one would you choose?
Christopher: I would choose to co-found the re-foundation of the United Nations, and I would rather call it the United People Organization.
Petri: Thank you for the fun, enlightening and also quite a deep discussion. I would say, this has been a thrill. Hopefully we can do that again, sometime. I guess now it’s time to do the social distancing using your favorite word.