| Jens Thieme views and discussions | Jens Thieme views and discussions | Jens Thieme views and discussions

Disruption abound

Do the many unforeseen or ‘unthinkable’ developments since 2014 onwards reveal significant failings of modern leadership?

Thinking The Unthinkable is a rolling, ongoing, dynamic investigation into why leaders have appeared more unable or unwilling than ever to anticipate the biggest issues of our time. Since 2014 these have included the new assertiveness of President Putin’s Russia, the rise of so-called ‘Islamic state’ the sudden oil price crash, growing cyber-vulnerability, and the exponential growth in mass migration and people movements.

We started our investigation in 2015, under the Churchill 2015 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme. It was set up to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death. It was a time when many were asking if contemporary leadership matches that of Sir Winston during World War Two. Our “Thinking The Unthinkable” inquiry began as part of the Churchill15 Programme. It has since developed its own dynamic.

Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, Dreams (Take 2)

Dreams (Take 2)

Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down
It's only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat...drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost...
And what you had...
And what you lost
Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Say...Women...they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you'll know
Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It's only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and...
Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness...
Like a heartbeat...drives you mad...
In the stillness of remembering what you had...
And what you lost
What you had...
And what you lost
Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Say...Women...they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you'll know

Fleetwood Mac - Landslide - 2004 (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Live In Boston - Say You Will Tour)


I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well, the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Uh uh, uh uh, uh uh, oh

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
And I'm getting older too

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
And I'm getting older too
Well, I'm getting older too

So take this love and take it down
Yeah, and if you climb a mountain and you turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well, the landslide brought it down

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well maybe, well maybe, well maybe
A landslide will bring you down


Fleetwood Mac - Landslide - 2004 (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Live In Boston - Say You Will Tour)

5 ways to care for human rights in a very personal way

What can you do to support human rights in a very personal way?

  1. Visit the websites or social media platforms of the human rights organization of your choice.

  2. Use their search function and look for the human rights causes you want to support.

  3. Engage, donate, motivate others.

  4. Simply hit that LIKE or FOLLOW button so their updates appear in your news feed and you can follow urgent actions, human rights cases and successes.

  5. Confront your government representative: find their contact form or email address and ask them what THEY ACTIVELY DO to support the human rights causes that you personally care about.

How many minutes or cents did you spent in the last 12 months to add your voice and support against the dark side of society?

How many minutes or cents did you spent in the last 12 months that do not add any value to anything at all?

 5 ways to care for human rights in a very personal way

5 ways to care for human rights in a very personal way

I never forget my hundreds of passwords - and they are super safe!

Here is why I never have to write down a password anymore and I never use the same one! It works like a charm. It is impossible to forget my passwords and they are really, really safe.

Step 1: Find a word combination you love and you can't forget anymore because you love it so much, say: 'vanilla ice cream'.

Step 2: Make it safer: 'V@n1ll@1c3cr3@m'.
You simply capitalize the first letter and replace the 'a' with '@', the 'e' with '3' and the 'i' with '1'.

This is pretty darn safe already. Two replacements will do too. Or capitalize any other or more letters.

This is your master password. NEVER tell anyone!

Never use it without step 3!
Once it gets cracked, the angry bots might crack all your other accounts that use that password too in a matter of yocto seconds.

That's why you need specific passwords for each service you use. And this is where the next and final step comes in:

Step 3: By default, add a first or second PLUS a last or second last or third last digit (_) with the beginning and end letter of the service you use the password for.

Let's say I decide to add a first and second last digit.

So, when I use my master password '_V@n1ll@1c3cr3@_m' for Facebook I add an 'f' in first position and a 'k' in second last.

My Facebook password would be: 'fV@n1ll@1c3cr3@km'.

Applying the exact same rule to other services:

My Google password would be 'gV@n1ll@1c3cr3@em'.

My Twitter password would be 'tV@n1ll@1c3cr3@rm'.

Basically: you always use the same, safe master password but you add one or two or three letters from any position out of your service name to make the password individual to any service.

It's super safe because:

Your passwords are long and look bonkers, don't make sense in any dictionary, are unique for any service you use them for and they’re written down nowhere but in your brain.

This is how you will never forget passwords anymore - you're welcome.

Unfortunately the IT gods are morons. So, some companies expose nonsense rules on you like 'only 6 digits, no special symbols', etc.

Someone should put those idiots in jail.

It is changing, albeit slowly. As long as those idiots haven't gotten their security act together yet, you'll need short, less safe versions to cover those services.

And yes, you might have to write them down. Until those exceptions vanish.

And don't forget to send their webmaster a hint that they're living in the post Commodore era.

Loud facts about my hometown Leipzig

My hometown turned 1000 years this year and I was able to celebrate it too, despite the 1000km distance.

A couple of facts I bet you didn’t know:

Leipzig World records:

- oldest newspaper

- oldest trade fair

- largest heart treatment center

- first binary computing machine

- first nuclear accident

- largest professional orchestra

- largest gothic festival

- largest Zoo apes installation 

- first left-handed piano

- largest outdoors advent calendar

- first power generator

- biggest cloud simulator

- only left hand-start organ

- oldest book museum 

- oldest wood nail

- first cable car

- first hockey world cup

- largest intercity trade show building

- first free HD movie

- first trade show building

- biggest inflatable waterslide

- oldest string quartet 

- largest oil painting

- first fireworks world cup

- first weather maps

- largest plant register

- oldest hammer piano

- first mass battle

- biggest advertising banner

- largest solar power station

- oldest thermometer 

- biggest farmhouse breakfast dish


Leipzig Europe records:

- first industrial railway station

- largest intercity public passage system

- largest literature festival

- largest Gründerzeit quarter

- longest building epigraph

- longest sewage canal 

- biggest memorial

- largest tropic house

- longest military barrack 

- tallest indoor climbing wall

- biggest head station by area

- largest intercity floodplain forest

- largest pyramid

- biggest ceiling painting

- biggest energy trading platform


Leipzig Germany records:

- first librarian school

- first publisher association 

- first music library

- first commercial chemistry laboratory 

- biggest gay sauna

- oldest cinema 

- largest trampoline park

- first online divorce

- first medical periodical

- first anti war book

- first hotel without personnel

- first labour party

- first street gas lamp

- largest musical instruments collection

- fist blood registry

- first national bank

- first state bank

- oldest radio orchestra

- fist airport hotel

- fist buddhist community

- oldest mail order catalogue retailer

- first public ladies pool

- oldest public school

- first women society

- longest trams

- first football radio

- highest court

- oldest café

- tallest city hall tower

- first ‘Tatort’ was called ‘Taxi to Leipzig’

- first encyclopedia

- oldest art publisher

- first children’s magazine

- largest city plaza

- first music gymnasium

- first children's theater

- first theater university

- first school for the hearing impaired 

- oldest botanic garden

- first female doctor 

- first balloon mail flight

- first Bach memorial

- first university radio station 

- first women’s high school

- first marathon

- first city map

- first dog wash


007 James Bond Spectre vs Skyfall (Spectre Swiss Pre-Premiere)

Spectre - Spoiler Alert!



I’m not a critic, but a critical fan.
I’ve watched all Bonds several times, I own them all.
Spectre was a disappointment but you should still watch it!

In fact, the Bond franchise should be a school standard if I’d call the shots.

I learned last night (if I didn’t already know), that Skyfall is the perfect Bond.
Basically for all the right reasons that were turned to all the wrongs in Spectre.

Spectre sports one of the best opening sequences in the 007 history.
Flattening half a city block inside 5 minutes among thousands of people celebrating the Day of the Dead is as breathtaking as you'd hope and photographed spectacularly, mostly by drone cameras.
I just don’t get the first girl Estrella as there is no history, no relation, no character, instead a vague hint of an erotic moment without any reason before 007 takes off to rid the world of Monica Bellucci’s hubby.

And this is where the trouble starts.
Almost all new characters are either not introduced at all or with such a rush that there is no time to fall for them.

As Bellucci appears, she’s got no anchor in the plot at all. 
Bond humps her ten seconds after he meets her, pretty much at the same time as he saves her life in a (nicely choreographed) double flash kill - only to leave her in a rush (still normal Bond style) but without her re-appearing on the silver screen ever again. 

Useless and flat. 
She lends no character or mystery to the remainder of the story.
She’s just gone. 
Retired I guess.

Léa Seydoux is given a tad more time to fill her character with life, but she fails by mostly staring scared or wondering at some (arguably) drastic scenes where I’d have wished a bit of emotion or soul shining in her ice cold eyes. 

She’s got nice lips and wears the most stunning dress you’ll ever see in Cinema - but that’s pretty much it - too.

What a shame!
Right after I trembled in excitement when he educated the new C. about Bond’s Ying & Yang job profile (“He’s also got the license not to kill!”) M. turns down the best volley cross the writers could have penciled into the script for him:

Deciding to cut 007 off to safe what’s left of the mission and hope, I would have loved at least the idea of some sort of an inner struggle or an ice cold dark joke for that matter. 

We all remember the old M. and how she was allowed to excel in such moments!

None of which was presented so I was left with a mailman who delivers the weekly TV mag by dumping it on the front lawn from a fast racing bicycle.

M. does have a couple of small witty scenes later however.
But nothing beyond normal expectation for his character.

And why did the writers rush Ms Moneypenny through the scenes with an alarming lack of reflective humor as we loved her for it in Skyfall so-so much? 

She gets to show off a set of most unbelievably erotic underwear however, so I won’t complain too much but I still feel sad for Naomie Harris as an actress.

The number of sizable jokes seem to be halfed compared to Skyfall which proves a lack of bravery and, again: too many meaningless sidesteps that did not help to paint a bigger picture but stole valuable time out of the longest Bond ever, would you believe it.

Speaking of bigger picture: there are two.
And both of them are equally lame and shallow.

Threading a wild count of former Bond characters together as mini masterminds of their past assignments to lead to the uber mastermind who is introduced to have been behind it all from the outset, makes no sense whatsoever and seems nothing but desperately squeezed out of an uncreative screen wright.

To make matters worse: Christoph Waltz, who can scare the bejeezus out of the most evil monsters even if he has to play their pudding spoon, fails miserably in living up to that potential uber scare.

He’s got nothing behind a technical tick-off-the-boxes process that could remotely earn my respect in that character.

I understand that you can’t top off Bardem or even Waltz himself in the Basterds flick.

But when you have the audacity to tap into the franchise’s core moments with their blood freezing performances, you better make all of them look like lollipops in a Barney & Friends show candy store.

I guess someone just wanted to place the weakest line of monologue into the plot ("I am the cause of all your pain"). But if you really want to see a brotherly relation going brutally sour, turn to Dexter for crying out loud.

When Andrew Scott makes his appearance as C. you'd bet you are in for a treat when you enjoyed him in Sherlock of late.

Only: the half knitted and preposterous big data freak show that manages to only scratch on the surface of pretty much any tabloid shout-out about the matter, and the lame dialogues without any depth at all, fail his extraordinary capabilities to show utter evil in a weirdly lovable face.

Everything about his role is predictable and lacks depth and mystery.

Epic fail: the way he goes.

Everything seems to be as rushed and mindlessly, carelessly executed and designed as our common world and life styles nowadays under the pressure of same such topics that the writers try to address but fail to lead anywhere.

If there is a hidden sociatal criticism in this general impression: then kudos - but I doubt any intention. For the price of disappointment and utter boredom no less.

I could go on and on about the minor and bigger disappointments from last night’s Swiss pre-premier but I want to end on a positive note or two.

Thank you for Hinx and his brutal dumbness and yet creative evilness that accounted for some rare Bond-like entertainment highlights. He was the only character able to scare me and enjoy at the same time.

But what I enjoyed most of all was Q. of all people as he was already increasing charm, wit and a sense of loyal, humanistic nerdyness in Skyfall. 

Only to exceed my expectations with a forced field trip (hilarious): he felt so incredibly uncomfortable at, that it hurt watching his every step outside his craft bunker and answering 007’s call for action with “I have a mortgage and two cats to attend to”.

Only to top it off with a genius word play in reflection of 007’s Aston Martin (Aaaaah, the M10!!!) treatment record (I won't spoil it here as it was my only moment of uncontrolled laughter in this movie).

A shiny moment in what I still consider a proper but disappointing Bond for they outperformed themselves with Skyfall - so, I know it’s hard to live up to.

To sum it up: none of the girls die in this Bond, nor would it make any sense to kill them off as there wouldn’t be anything to be angry or sad about. 

Gone are the nights as you wept into your pillow upon Vesper's mystery and formidably designed tragic vanishing into heavy waters.

To me there were many lost opportunities and even more dull moments in both character and dialogues that we have seen many times ways better written and performed.


My story as political prisoner with the GDR Stasi 30 years ago

30 years ago this month I reached my point of no return in the country I was born in and with the people who ran it.

After countless encounters with state powers, a conviction after trying to flee the country aged 15 and years of growing hopeless to ever be able to build a viable future in that place: I finally decided to end it.

Leaving my beloved family, friends and my cherished home town behind I faced the state's repressive core that next day.

The Stasi secret service "invited" me to stay for 16 month. I was 20 years young.

In the next 16 months I will update my Facebook timeline according to the events as they unfolded 30 years ago.

Meanwhile (and also because Facebook is not the most suitable platform for this type of sequential flash backs) I also post the story on - a platform that I built for others to share their stories of escape.



I changed my domain from to StasiPrison.orgfor improved branding.

The true story by a political prisoner in East Germany, imprisoned by the communist regime and the GDR Stasi (MfS) secret service:

Freedom of Speech and Stop Torture Demo in Basel 05. February 2015

The Basel group of Amnesty International demonstrates every Thursday in downtown Basel for the release of Raif Badawi.

Free Raif Badawi demo by Amnesty International Basel 05 February 2015

In May 2014, Raif Badawi was jailed for 10 years. His sentence also included 1,000 lashes, a 10-year travel ban, and a lifetime ban from appearing on media outlets once he is released. 

The charges against Raif are related to articles he wrote criticizing religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, and pieces penned by others that Raif published on the Saudi Arabian Liberals' site. The prosecution had called for him to be tried for 'apostasy' or abandoning his religion, which carries the death penalty.

For every of the 50 lashes that Raif was sentenced for to receive weekly, a crash cymbal was hit followed by a minute of silence

We all can put pressure on the repressive Saudi regime by raising our voice to them

Free Raif Badawi demo by Amnesty International Basel 05 February 2015

We will meet and demonstrate every Thursday in Basel until the Saudi Arabian government releases Raif Badawi unconditionally.

Spring Awakening - Theater Freiburg 2014/15

Another great performance created and enabled by Gary Joplin (Director & Choreography), Emma-Louise Jordan (Choreography) and Nikolaus Reinke (Music Director) can be seen in Freiburg at the Stadtteater these days.

As with "13" in 2012/13 the Theater Freiburg casted young people from Freiburg again (several played in that wonderful piece before) which makes it both incredibly authentic and passionate.

 Frühlings Erwachen Theater Freiburg 2014/15

Frühlings Erwachen Theater Freiburg 2014/15

Based on the original play by Frank Wedekind and the 2006 Broadway musical by Steven Satar the music (also leaning tightly towards the original by Duncan Sheik) carries the youthful, chaotic and intense emotions through the scenes like a wave. 

The young actors are very professional and authentic to a point where the audience reacts very emotionally at times. Having seen the piece 5 times already (well, my son plays in it) I saw quite some tears and standing ovations.

 Moritz Stiefel in trouble

Moritz Stiefel in trouble

Due to the great reviews and the convincing performance of all involved the successful arrangement sells out every show so far. Get your tickets early, here.

Melchior Gabor at the corectional facility


The tabu digital talk about friends

It's good to keep contact to people we enjoy while it's hard to actually get together in person, given all our daily demands and the distances.

Social media helps to know: they're there.

It still keeps a life line even if we never traded phone numbers or addresses.

We kindof know 'where they live' within Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Stayfriends, etc.

We want to know that they are doing well.

What if they don't?

What if there is silence on all channels from one person?

When and after how many unsuccessful contact attempt will you get nerveous?

Or do you even notice if someone stops vibrating in the huge electromagnetic pond of everything digital?

The tabu question hits you at some point in time: 'did anything happen to them?'

Last month I learned that one of my most influencial mentors had passed away, taken by cancer some 18 months ago. For the past several years I was planning on visiting him some day so I 'kept in touch' digitally. When I finally made the time to contact him, his wife presented the grave news.

I failed to tell him that I have always felt friendship by and for him while he was my boss for five years in the US and after.

For the past two weeks or so I am trying to reach another friend who turned silent in all social media profiles. I know she has cancer too. I do not have her address or phone number.

We are losing friends from recent and far away past to illness and other causes of death. It is devestating but natural. 

We are also losing friends to our digital sub culture though, using Facebook accounts as a proxy to something we keep delaying to god knows when.

When the silence in the social media accounts becomes a deafening certainty that we have failed to live WITH people - there won't be second chances.

Send them into time out!

FIFA's Blatter just got the OK to continue with his reign.

The UN just completed another round of useless, expensive, time consuming and result-less meetings to make the world a shiny place.

Like Blatter or not (most don't for his alleged corrupt leadership style, if he leads anything really), here comes an opportunity for the old Valaisan and the gang of overpaid, far-traveling, slim-delivering world diplomats to shine for themselves and deliver something useful for a change:

Put everybody who won't behave into time-out for ten years!

No FIFA world cup in Russia or Qatar, if you have to have one then in another place, say: Canada, the world champions in apologizing even for behavior that was not a miss.

No seat at the table or donations for any country that support or tolerate fanatics in any way.

No high tech trade for anyone engaging in conflicts, let them battle it out with slingshots or by throwing boulders at each other (sorry, Scots, you can join when its finally an Olympic sport).

Ground them, take their toys into the basement and have them cry for a decade.

Wouldn't that be something. 

The Apple row

After buying something north of 12'000 songs, 800+ TV shows, 396 movies on iTunes, 1 iMac, 3 iPods, 4 iPhones, 1 iPad, 1 iHifi which sums up to at least three really good passenger cars worth of Apple products over 15 years - they have the audacity to lock me out of MY content time and time again!


I was 'unlucky' to live in three countries during that time and Apple policies (get this) FORBID to move their content across borders. Anywhoo: trying to obey I accumulated all content pretty much equally across three iTunes accounts from three different countries.

Now, whenever I change accounts on either of my devices (because of travel, local needs of apps updates, etc.) they lock me out of my content for 90 days on that device. In summary: I'm literally NEVER in possession and able to play my shit EVER. 

What a global company!!!

Is there anybody out there who can hack that shit as Apple is officially unwilling and incapable of a smooth, global support of their best and highest spending customers?

If you have a solution: share and drink a lot of beer on my dime!

Plus: you will earn to be called a genius by me. EXCLUSIVELY!

UPDATE 1-Sep 2014:

There is an interesting Apple Support Group (you know, the people who do Apple's job actually fixing their shit but don't get paid by anyone - because Apple decided not to invest in flawless services especially customer service and have users do the job) - that deals with this issue of multiple Apple ID's from different countries, I also contributed with my story:

Here is why I have 4 country IDs and why I'm struggling to "use" them.

I lived in Germany for 5 years and worked in Switzerland at the time. My commuite crossed the Swiss/German border 8 times every day.

Afterwards I lived in France (same region) and crossed the border 4 times but this time (by train) France, Germany, Switzerland).

Every day!

On my commute I want to use my content that I acquired over many years (1200 shows and movies, 12000 songs, 120 books).

While working for the same Swiss based company (it's in Basel, pretty much everybody in that region has the same issue plus other dense European regions) I was transferred to the US for five years and traveled in NAFTA and Central America all the time plus back home frequently, visiting the above mentioned countries in fast intervalls.

After returning I had my constellation 1 back, for the last years I moved to Switzerland and visit my family in Germany every week plus travel to Italy almost every weekend.

"Tough live" one might say - I know how blessed I am.

But what Apple doesn't seem to understand is that increasingly more people will live and move like that or even more complex.

Based on the ToS Apple asks me to own 10+ country IDs but switch them 4-10 times every day - worse even: oly use the content that was purchased in a particular country while crossing the border 4 times within 50 minutes morning commute and only use my US bought content when back on business trips there??!??

Give me a BIG ... break!


Do you use social digital media services?

Ah, ‘like the newspapers’ you say, only more interactive. Good for you.

…or is it?

With the recent hike in digital video distribution by enemies of civilization I’m not so sure anymore.

If your newspaper would print and home-deliver such content to your doorsteps… would you ignore it?

It is unbearable to know that scores of followers of those criminals hit the “like” button in support underneath such video footage.

We are inches away from live coverage of brutal slayings of innocent people, where the ACTION is commanded by the online audience that raise or lower their thumbs.


What are we going to do about it?

We enable the horror

There are scores of arguments to save a life.

When saving that one life potentially supports the slaughter of many other lives, we need a debate and good, hard decisions.

Ransom for IS kidnapping victims is paid by most European states. This funds and enables IS’ gruesome, brutal advance in which they slaughter countless innocent victims and push millions into a state of unspeakable fear.

It is speculative to what extend the hundreds of millions of ransom dollars enable IS.

It is logic that this revenue stream motivates their actions and will only accelerate the horror.

For one reason or many others we – as Europeans – will also see such horrific killings on social media channels in the near future.

Paying IS and other terrorist groups to prevent that (still somewhat remote) scenario from happening to “us” creates such scenarios and enables the likes of IS to reach their criminal and murderous objectives.

Which leads to this question: when the US, Australia and the UK, among other states, reject any negotiation or payments of ransom – in what sense are they different people than us?

Another question: in what sense are local translators, drivers and supporters different people of different value? They are targeted along with their western kidnapping victims and don’t have any protection or ransom paying government.

The attractive revenue stream through ransom payments to terrorists enables their suffering and murder even more directly.

I don’t have the responsibility for such massively difficult decisions and I would not want to sit in the law maker’s seat for this: but a debate needs to take place and fast, decisions need to be taken one way or another.

The civilized nations need to stand as one. Because it is unbearably weak, difficult and plays into the criminals’ hands that we distinguish between the countries that do or don’t indirectly support this dynamic.

IS and their future cousins will never distinguish: their “end game” only sees anyone dead or repressed that won’t follow and obey their reign.

In sum: THAT threat alone molds us together as ONE.

How will we live up to it? How will we respond to IS’ declaration of war against all of us?