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Up in the air

21 Mar


Our little chart tries to answer the age-old question: Can you be rich and popular?

We compared the the top ten most popular airlines with the top ten most profitable ones. The chart reveals: Ryanair, arguably the most awkward airline, has the biggest EBIT margin (22 %). Local airlines like LAN or Copa Airlines are doing well. But the biggest winner is Turkish Airlines. Yes, THY (frequent flyers not long ago translated this abbreviation „THEY HATE YOU“) has become one of the most popular (No. 7) and most profitable (11.2 % EBIT margin) companies in the airline business. And they are running one of the most powerful hubs in the world connecting the Europe with Asia: Istanbul.



18 Dec
Wovon Mensch und Vogel träumen

Wovon Mensch und Vogel träumen

Our contribution to the art book and exhibition project “Managing Structural Bird Problems”by publishers Holger Heubner, Helmut Kraus, Jürgen Willinghöfer, Nina Reisinger, Ursula Achternkamp. Cover by Julian Montague.

Managing Structural Bird Problems
Kabinett, Akademie Schloß Solitude, Stuttgart
Eröffnung 24. Januar 2013, 20 Uhr

50 Autoren lenken einen ornithologischen Blick auf die Gesellschaft. Das Beobachten und die Beobachtung der Beobachtung wird verknüpft mit dem Thema der Sammlung und der Archivierung von Wissen. Dessen Management, Strukturen und Probleme, sowie der Gedanke am eventuellen Nutzen, diese nicht zu lösen, kommen hier zusammen. Was die Vögel damit zu tun haben, werden wir erfahren, denn deren seismographischer Auftrag ist bekannt – von wem oder was auch immer sie beauftragt sein mögen. Von ihnen können wir lernen oder gewappnet werden – mit diesem Wissen lastet jedenfalls nicht mehr alles allein auf den schmalen Schultern der Vögel. Die Autoren kommen aus den Bereichen der Wissenschaften und des Rechts, aus dem Management, der Architektur, der Planung, des Handwerks und der Künste – insofern lernen wir auch mehr über uns und unsere Methoden, Blickwinkel und was ein Perspektivwechsel bedeuten kann. Eine lauschige Lesetheke lädt ein, sich in dem berstenden Wissen zu Federträgern wie Vögel zu verzetteln und mit einem Vogelbeerschnaps auf die Wertschätzung des Blaukehlchens anzustoßen.

Autoren: Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Alan Worn, Alexander Christie-Miller, Alexander Kluge, Alexander Kühnen & Corinna Bonati & Kerstin Lienemann & Olaf Abbé, Amt für Apokalyptische Aufklärung, Apparatus 22, Arnold-Glas, Asmus Trautsch & Bettina Lehmann, Bart Kempenaers, Bernadette La Hengst & Ton Matton, Bernhard Just & Iris Heynen, Christian Hoffelner, Christian Naumann, Diemut Klärner, Erduan Maliqi, Ergo Phizmiz, Fabienne Radi & das akzént-Dolmetscherteam, Frank Bölter, Franziska Gerstenberg, Frederik Foert, guzo – Roman Tschäppeler & Mikael Krogerus, Gabriele Sturm, Hajo Kobialka, Helwig Brunner, Holger Heubner, Iris Dressler, Joachim Krausse, Jürgen Willinghöfer, Klaus Ruge, Konrad Kirsch, Lisa Vera Schwabe, Lothar Spath, Mareike Maage, Olaf Bach, Olaf Miosga, Oscar Prinsen, Reinhard Klenke, Reinhold Necker, Roberto Yanguas, Rosa Volkmann, Rudi Suchant, Stählemühle – Christoph Keller, Silke Pflüger, Sonja Beeck, Sonja Kübler, Stephan Kammer, Susan Elbin, Thomas Schönlebe, Torsten Blume, UDGB, Ursula Achternkamp, Ursula Armstrong, Ursula Schulze-Dornburg, Verena Hahn, Walter Scheiffele, Werner Nachtigall, Yossi Leshem, Yvonne Roeb.

Watching is the new reading

22 Nov

(Kann man sehen = nice to watch / Muss man sehen = must see! / Lustig = funny / Spannend = thrilling)

There has been an ongoing discussion, wether David Foster Wallace’s „Infinite Just“ or Jonathan Franzen’s „The Corrections“ is the „War and Peace” of the 21st Century. Turns out both lost out to „Mad Men“. No „The Wire“, or, no, wait: „The Killing“. TV-Series are the new novels of the century. No writer can match the prose and style and complexity of the screenwriter. No novel can be as complicted and addictive at the same time as a TV-series.
The model shows what we have been watching lately. Corrections and recommendations are welcome!

(chart published in NZZ and NZZ am Sonntag)

Why some ideas don’t go global

26 May

Why is it that some innovations are expanding into every area of the world while others – no matter how great – only work in a certain region?

The answer is the Galápagos syndrome. It refers to a phenomenon in which products have evolved isolated from the rest of the world despite their superior quality and advanced technology, just like endemic Galápagos Islands animals.

The most famous example are japanese cellphones. Japan was already using highly advanced smartphones when the rest of the world was still sceptical of the first generation iphone. Japan has always been ahead of the world: they had camera-phones in 2000, full music downloads in 2002, electronic payments in 2004 and digital TV in 2005. But somehow they couldn’t sell it to the rest oft he world.

We asked our selves: what are other examples for Galápagosization? Our little model lists ideas, products, innovations that are galápagosized vs those who are accepted almost everywhere. The vertical axis shows what we like and what we disklike.

Any suggestions for our Galápagos-Chart?

Christmas Edition: The Greatest Conspiracy Theories

20 Dec

Click to enlarge!

The Greatest Conspiracy Theories

20 Dec

Click to enlarge!

And the gold medal goes to…

23 Aug

Due to a complex formula not all sports that are fun to play are equally fun to watch. Even the most hard-core free diver would never indulge in a, say, four hour live broadcast of his sport. Meanwhile, it can highly rewarding to watch The Strongest Man in The World Competition, even if the idea of carrying a truck tire is not very appealing. Interestingly enough is soccer, arguably the most popular sport of the world, fun to play, but boring to watch.
We racked our brains to come up with something that is, somewhat, easy to master and fun to watch: sex and dodge ball. Sometimes dancing and boxing, too.

Make love, not war

12 Jan

Yhprum´s Law

12 Jan

Why everthing you think you know about Murphy´s Law is wrong.
Finagles ´Law (sort of the pinnacle of the often quoted Murphy’s Law: «Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong») is a refreshing mixture of cruel logic and farfetched claims. It goes something like this:

  1. What we have is not what we need.
  2. What we want is not what we need.
  3. What we need is impossible to get.
  4. You can get hold of this information for a much higher price then you are prepared to pay.

Sounds like something out of your life? But what if Finnagle´s Law got it all wrong? Let´s take a look at Yhprum´s Law (Yhprum = Murphy backwards). It states that everything that can work, will work. Richard Zeckhauser from Harvard noted: “Sometimes systems that should not work, work nevertheless.“

Wether things work or not seems to be up to ourselves. Why do so many of us prefer to point out the mistakes other poeple make instead of simply doing things better? Any fool can critize – and most fools do, as Bejamin Fraklin famously stated. And he was right! We call these people fault-finder. Their sentences usually start like this: „This idea is great, but…“. Kill the but! We suggest the famous appreciate inquiry-method by David Cooperrider that involves concentrating on the strengths of a company or a person rather than on the weaknesses. Next time you give a feedback, don´t say „Yes, but…“. Try: „Yes, and we could also…“. Sounds strange? Give it a try.

The Face-it Book

12 Apr

We at 50topmodels cannot stand any more stories about web 2.0, social networks and nexnext-scenarios.
That’s why we were really happy to find this comprehensive explanation for the internet-madness: His work inspired us to draw up our own version of the black hole in the worldwideweb. The model is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t get it, you must have been on the moon for the last four years. Or off-line. Which is pretty much the same.

Music I used to like

5 Dec

Click on it, if you wanna have this on a Shirt!

Whos quote is this?  “There are two kinds of music – the one you like, the one you don’t like!” Wrong. There’s music you used to like. (found on

Mythical Creatures

29 Nov

Click on pic to enlarge!

Wunderful! Found on

Facebook vs. Fakebook

27 Jun

Mobile devices change our life. We are constantly available. There’s hardly any space and time left where messages can’t get through to us. With high accessibility comes high expectation. An answer or at least a reaction is expected (share this!, like this!, comment me!). Renny Gleeson (Global Digital Strategies Director at Wieden&Kennedy) says: „Our reality is less interesting then the story we gonna tell.“ And the permenant checking of in-boxes and voicemails make our fellow human beings feel, „what’s happening right here and right now isn’t as important as what could be happening elsewhere.“ That’s when you catch your date checking her in-box when you get back from the restroom. Then you are offended („Am I that boring?“) but you forget that you checked your voicemail on the toilet.
The light of the mobile phone-display has replaced the flame of the pocket lighter during a love song at a rock concert. That’s the sound of one hand clapping. The selfmade picture of the menu at a decent restaurant is even more important than the real taste of it. Facebook, Twitter, SMS and Email are the channels to share the experience. Shared narrative becomes „who we are“. 

Turn off your mobile once in a while

Turn off your mobile once in a while

  1. Availability increases
  2. Moments of real life experiences decrease
  3. Shared narrative becomes who we are

What Twitter is trying to tell us

25 Jun

Twitter didn’t save Iran, Iran saved Twitter. (Bill Maher)

Is Twitter a revolution tool or revolutionary?

Is Twitter a revolution tool or revolutionary?

Thanks for your inspiration, subergwest

Revolutionary Guide

25 Jun

We saw this in a meeting and thought of that this morning. 

Revolution is made

Revolution is made

Get rich or die trying

10 May

Who is really rich? The fat guy with the fat wallet or the witty guy with the great body. Some people have both – good for them. Do both guys have something in common? Yes, they both constantly have to re-innovate themselves in order to defend their position against contenders. So how do you defend your position? 


Where are you?

  1.  You can adopt the behavior and methods of foreign elites (if you check out the fashion in Copenhagen, you will be the hipster of Millwaukee).
  2. Invent new cultural actions (e.g. newspapers for free) But make shure that competitors of your own „group“ do not adopt them. Or if they do make sure everybody knows they got it from you. They will feel inferior.
  3. Adopt quickly new behaviors of „groups“ below you (preferably from the avantgardist). If rich people use the fashion items of the hipsters, the hipsters loose their prestige. Therefore: they will not climb the prestige latter.

Read “Gewinne und Verluste sozialen Wandels” (German)
Interview on “Spiegel Online” with Dr. Wolf Wagner
Check french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu – you find one of his models in our book.

Predictable Irrationality

31 Mar

First of all: If you prefer to watch Dan Ariely and get to know his thoughts visit and take 15 minutes. It’s worth it!

The starting point of Dan Ariely’s behavioral economy studies is his heavy injury in an explosion. Most of his body has been burnt. While the nurses where changing his bandages he asked: What is more painful? Rip the bandage off and suffer heavy pain for short period? Or take it off slowly and feel pain in less intensity per second but for a longer duration?

The nurses ripped it off. Finally, a long time after he left the hospital and became professor and bestselling author, he found out that the encoding of time and intensity is almost always influenced by (predictible) irrationality. Then he continued his examinations on cheating in various social experiments. If you give a group of people the opportunity to cheat there would not be some of the group cheating a lot, but a lot of people would cheat a little. Since cheating is perceived as a simple cost and benefit analysis (how much can I win divided by how bad the punishment will be if I get caught) this might surprise.


If you have the opportunity to cheat and get money, you still would cheat a little. But if you cheat in order to get a voucher, token, stock, bonus, etc. your cheating degree would double. Even though there’s no rational reason why, this doesn’t surprise, does it?

It’s more appropriate to cheat if you feel part of a (cheating) group. Ariely comments this phenomena with a splahy statement: „IF you cheat is depending on what T-shirt you are wearing.“ Means: If it’s obvious that your enemy is cheating you won’t, if your team is cheating the probability is much bigger you will cheat, too!


 In a nutshell:

  1. Given the opportunity a lot of people cheat – but just a little.
  2. Remind cheating people of their morality – they cheat less!
  3. The more distance people have from their benefit, the more they cheat.
  4. If you experience cheating as part of your (social) group, cheating goes up!


Rise and Fall of Bin Laden

5 Mar

This is newly US history in a nutshell



10 Feb

The Pioneer Plaque

Schemes and models are visualisations of complex causualities. Try this: Picture human mankind. 1972 Dr. Carl Sagan came up with the Pioneer Plaque for the Pioneer Nasa Misson in order to explain “us” to aliens, if they should catch somehow the spacecraft. What’s on it beside man and woman can be read on Wiki. What would you draw in order to explain human mankind? In the Star Trek novel Federation, a character mentions that humans had shown copies of the plaque to several alien races they encountered, but none had been able to decode it. We are not surprised. However, check out this article on “How to communicate with aliens”.

Relativity summed up

8 Jan
Found on "science made stupid"

Found in "science made stupid"

In the beginning we wanted to write a book with the title “50 models explaining the world”. Then we thought: Hm, too difficult. Let’s do something easier. We did. But now we reconsider doing it with the help of the book science made stupid by Tom Weller. Table of content: relativity for dummies (pic above), evolutionism vs. creationism and pictures in the sky, etc. The HUGO Award Winning Book is a satisfaction for everyone complaining the world is just too complicated.

Innovative field

30 Nov


Who’s innovative (by the book)? We found a couple of indications in our old logbook from the Kaospilots University. How we change the world? And who is changing it? Nowadays it’s common sense that the innovative field is set somewhere in the middle between chaos and method, between structure and intuition. Is it? After all since change has a name, Obama is acting within these guidelines. His put-together-administration isn’t too revolutionary nor boring. You can put in your network and think about it. We did. But we won’t put it online, sorry guys.

Love cycle

15 Nov


(maybe you should first read the hype cycle post just below)

We did not have to wait for these mexican scientists in order to guess that love does not last eternally. And since we had a closer look on Gartner’s Hype Cycle we think to see similarities between tech-gadgets and true love. Love is a hype. Read our dawing with a smile on your face:

Amor got you! Your in love and you’re on top of the world. But soon also on the peak of inflated expectations, sorry. Hope you did not marry yet. Before you reach the trough of disillusionment you hit the point of no return. 

a) Run and crunch somebody’s life (seldom the “sorry, no hard feelings” goes both ways…).

b) Marry, make some kids and love your family life (usual action after 30).

Hype cycle

14 Nov


(click on pic to enlarge…a little bit)

Thanks, dear reader Jens Woinowski, indeed it would have been a good idea to combine The Chasm with The Gartner Hype Cycle as one of 50 topmodels in our book. Anyway now you have it online and you can comment on it. 
The hype cycle tries to predict the beginning of corporate marketability of technological innovations. Maybe it also predicts the time you gonna marry – but that’s our interpretation. The model cuts a new technology roughly into five periods in its life cycle (altough real time is phased differently and individually):

  1.  Technology Trigger — the procuct is on the market and you hear the buzz all over the place. Kind of a breaktrough in visibility. Comes along with: „Have you checked this out? It’s great!“
  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations — The hype is on top, but more and more people uncover that the product or services is just half-baked. Comes along with: „It’s great, but…!“
  3. Trough of Disillusionment — the technology fails to meet expectation and becomes boring for early adaptors. There’s hardly any press about it, but still, people use it. Comes along with: „It would be great, but they should change this and that!“
  4. Slope of Enlightenment — press stopped covering the technology, but some businesses take time to experiment with it or they invest in it. The feature becomes more practical. Maybe 2.0 version. Comes along with: „I use it, but in another way.“
  5. Plateau of Productivity — now it’s a real benefit for the users. The technlogoy is accepted and maybe even broadly spread (within it’s purpose to serve). Comes along with: „I knew it!“

Our little drawing shows parts of the the 2008 issue (german). Compared to 2006 (german), Web 2.0 went from “peak” to “disillusionment” – just as the market researchers of Gartner predicted.

Die Erlebnisgesellschaft

13 Nov


We received a hint from Michael Schikowski. We checked out Gerhard Schulze and his “Modell der Erlebnisgesellschaft” (society of adventure). But as you can see in our note book: We didn’t really got it yet.So look at this post more as a “to do”-entry.  Here your find the theory on books google just in case you wanna do it for us.

“I’m just a product of society”

13 Nov


We (over)heard a conversation of two tennies in a tram in Zurich. Here our translation using a known marketing scheme (Start at IMAGE and go counterclockwise): “What is my image? Am I happy with it and if not, how do I change my brand? Do I live healthy, is my body and mind in good shape? How long do I live? Am I accessible to everyone or just to my boyfriend? What’s the price if somebody want’s me? What’s my personal indecent proposal? Who says that I’m good at something? Am I good at something – in my opinion? And how can I keep up with others and the world? Argh, its so hard live, but if you wanna have something from me I give you that what you need, just in time, wrapped up in a parcel, delivered at home, no questions asked. But only as long as you like me!”

Vicious Circle: Poverty

15 Oct

In a school book (economy) from the 80ties we found this explanation for poverty. The comments to this model we leave up to you. Sorry, its quite hard to read. It says POVERTY-> no savings-> low investment->low production/slow or no growth-> low income-> POVERTY->low income->poor education->low productivity->low production->POVERTY->low consumption->no healthy nutrition->sickness->low performance->low production-POVERTY.