“Why don't you have a wrist watch?” she asks. “Because some have the wrist watches and others have the time,” I reply.
Shortly before Christmas 2003, I say goodbye to the last employer for whom I have worked in control technology as a robotics project manager for the past few years. Ah - finally free again. After five years.
And now I'm throwing myself into work here in my own company. There is a lot to organize. Ralph Oberbillig Sicherheitstechnik (Security Technology).
Security technology. In my life in South Africa, this is a fascinating field of activity. From the events that we have known as 9/11 since 2001, a lot of surveillance technology is being further developed at a rapid pace worldwide. To make this possible, the laws are being changed in Germany.
Fingerprint scanners to record fingerprints. Retina scanners to record each person's own unique iris in the eyes. Bank certified camera systems. Telematics technology in vehicles for monitoring functions and for determining the location and monitoring of immobile objects in real time. All of this has only been possible since the GSM cards for mobile devices and the associated satellite technology, which were introduced a few years ago, existed. None of this is possible beforehand.
Why, of all things, security technology?
In South Africa, where I lived from 1996 to 1998, crime rates skyrocketed after the end of apartheid in 1993. The conflict between the former white oppressors and the black population is now openly to light.
Raids are the order of the day at that time. You are you coming with your car to a red traffic light? - then just keep going very quickly, don't stop. A car is circling you on the highway? - in South Africa this type of spying is called "world tour" - then show your weapon immediately. Pray that the other car will please continue. Pray that this kind of world tour is just a coincidence.
There was no ammunition for sale back then. Not because it's forbidden, no. All ammunition is just as good as sold out. An unusual, almost unimaginable thought for a German. The whites have replenished all supplies at home. You never know what's coming...
Not only that. With the disappearance of the apartheid system, the war that has been going on for centuries, but until then suppressed, is now openly breaking out among the brother tribes of the Xosa and Zulu. The reason for this Bantu war has been lost over time. Like all wars, this one is a pointless war.
The blacks throw each other off the moving trains, if they meet the people of other, of the "the wrong side". Drinking gasoline by the liter under duress is also very popular. A burning car tire is then placed around the poor devil's neck until it gets so hot that the gasoline explodes in his stomach. But he's already dead by then. So what...
The whites shut themselves up. Barricade themselves and only dare to go outside the door mostly armed with weapons. The best alarm system is a pack of dogs on the fenced property. Dogs trained on black. Black in appearance, black in smell, black in language, black in thinking, black in behavior.
With my typically German line of thought leading to any possible German-style solutions, I'm completely out of place here. I give up that kind of thinking quickly. So I spend days and weeks with fascinated observation.
When I understand that, a unique, fascinating universe opens up for me. I'm going to be a South African. I think, speak and act like them. I look and live like them. I am one of them. I have become a “suid african boer”, a South African Farmer. It goes so far that after my return to Germany I have difficulties with my own language and my compatriots. Both have become alien to me. It is no longer mine.
South Africa, the country assimilates me, sucks me in. And it doesn't let go until present. Mama Africa crawls under my skin and she sits there to this day. And if I'm not careful every day ... then she'll come out ... Ohhh. At such moments it is still very difficult for me in Germany. Then I can hear and feel her call. Feel this incredibly strong pull inside me. And I notice that nobody in Germany understands that. Nobody cares. Everyone is constantly only concerned with themselves.
South Africa gives me the chance to become who I am today. This is my greatest treasure. Thanks.
And then I also learn my first lesson for future security technology: be attentive and vigilant. Observe, move and behave invisibly. Be like water. Always in motion, transparent, unfathomable and full of energy. And if you are in danger, make yourself as big as possible inside. Superhumanly big. Because your inside is reflected to the outside. Overcome yourself. And if the "blue beans" (German term for bullets) fly around your head, don't let the guts buy you.
Before I left Germany, I have been dealing with Internet security since 1992. A subject that is completely unknown. Back then, in Germany, in addition to making coffee, the secretary had the pleasure of doing this new thing like writing emails on the side. If she even knows it. She just has to do it. Their superiors and they themselves often see no point in it. There is fax, well known to them. And internet didn't really exist in Germany until the early 2000s. There are Datex-J and BTX. Pixel graphic - not vector graphic. And overpriced, built-in car phones. Old-fashioned and backward stuff. And first of all no willingness to change that.
In 1998, in South Africa, there were cell phones and real websites. I met the German Chamber of Commerce in Johannesburg through a chance acquaintance. And with that I have the pleasure of designing the first website for the AHK in Johannesburg. Fascinating. At that time it was pure manual programming on the Macintosh. In a Third World country, in which after the political change in 1993, everything went haywire, in which the political system had collapsed, there are such things. And there is the computer operation system Linux. For the server world.
March 1998, Germany
Forward to the past. Pressed into old, much too small shoes. It takes an incredible amount of time to get used to it.
I'm starting to dig deeper into the Internet. Is that possible? Can Datex-J and BTX here soon be thrown into the rubbish heap of history? Will we soon be able to use the secure Linux operating system? Not Apple or Microsoft? Things are developing.
Programming of websites. Then there was coverage. Search engines are consolidating, joining together. In the end, what remains is Google. The name is based on the English number Googol. A number with 100 zeros. In English the number is "ten sedecillion", 10 to the power of 100. Just as a side note.
And with the protection we were very quickly hardware-heavy. Less the server technology - and more firewall technology. Fingerprint systems for the prison and correctional system. Retina scanners for baby stations in hospitals. So that only mothers and the nurses and doctors have access. So that children cannot be kidnapped after birth. Cash register certified camera systems for banks for security.
Hardened systems on extra machines, connected to a secure network. Back then, people had the idea that a computer with a Microsoft operating system and equipped with software that doesn't really deserve to be called a firewall is sufficient. Not even close. Security, security on the Internet, almost nothing, still applies. There was still that new stuff with the email. And now you want to add extra hardware? Useless stuff. That was the prevailing opinion.
Only as, for example, the car manufacturers begin to query security standards in the supplier companies, the Federal Office for Information Security BSI in Berlin is added, and standards are only now being formulated, does it become successful. One of our firewall customers is a large law and tax firm on Lake Constance. Incredible: they have a server - but zero protection. And they are initially unaware of it. Very dangerous for such a law firm.
Then I get in touch with the Fraunhofer Institute. That is the ennoblement. Ralph Oberbillig Sicherheitstechnik (Security Technology) is mentioned alongside companies such as Siemens and Bosch.
We travel a lot. Hotel, plane, hotel, plane ... We are visiting the United Arab Emirates. There is a joint project between the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Commerce and the state telecommunications company Etisalat in the United Arab Emirates to advance the Internet in the desert. So we now have a contact and we are in Dubai for a personal meeting at the local Chamber of Commerce.
On December 15, 2005, the Südkurier Newspaper wrote
Member of the network
The company Ralph Oberbillig Sicherheitstechnik from Salem is a member of "IT Security made in Germany", an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor, organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology Darmstadt. The aim of the initiative is to market products from companies in the German IT security industry internationally and to create an inter-company network.
Ralph Oberbillig Sicherheitstechnik offers, among other things, access control systems in the IT sector. The company analyzes the needs of companies and puts together solutions. It is the only one from the western Lake Constance area that was accepted as a partner in the initiative. (sk)
And so it happens that we are suddenly talking about equipping the new airport in Abu Dhabi with firewalls from Germany. Unfortunately, it doesn't come to that anymore. The prerequisites are unfavorable. We have to set up a project office on site and use a 50% Arab partner. For us it is clear: he collects - we work.
Because of all the stress and an unfavorable family situation, I then unfortunately get sick. My body is limp. I can no longer worry about my favorite subject of freedom and security. Gotta take care of myself.
The time for reflection - and a long time for transition.
Does all this money work for me when I'm dead? Never. What do I have to change? Everything. Life is giving me another gift. Once again I get a new chance. But I have to change everything.
We are putting all activities in Germany on hold. And move into our house on the Canary Islands. Change. I have to change everything again. Everything.
There, in peace and quiet of the island and wrapped in this pure, warm, soft air that surrounds my nerves like cotton wool, I don't want to do anything for a year time. Just let go and think. That is my default for myself. Take things easy. But if you are used to, not keeping your feet still, then your mind goes on too. The movie is running. Day and night. Incessantly.
It is the chance encounters in which people enrich one another. And so something falls back to me. And whether I want it or not ... sometimes I am not be asked, do not ask myself. Not even with beautiful things.
It is first the encounter with a clochard. Yeah, let's call him a bum. This is how he looks like. Unkempt. Whatever he looks like that day - and only that day. I don't want to mess with this guy. And yet, and yet ... We start a conversation. In the course of which it turns out: the guy is Israeli and really rich. At that time he is the sales manager of a German cosmetics company and was looking for a sales partner for a very specific area. Ok, sales, we know that very well and we can do it. Just an different topic in sales. A nice subject. A year of rest on the Canary Islands? Forget it. A new challenge. Sounds exciting.
And so we make our way to Los Angeles, California. We cannot understand the dimension of this adventure at all. So we fly there with the intention of “taking a look”. Hahaha.
Our sales area is incredibly large. From Alaska in the north down to California. Over to Nevada and a five-hour flight out over the Pacific to Hawaii. So we drive from Los Angeles along the coast road, along the Pacific to San Francisco. Nine hours. On a section of the map that looks like “nothing” compared to all of the “rest”. So small. And yet this distance, this distance is so incredibly far. As far as the sky.
After 13 days we fly back to the Canary Islands and agreed
We are trained and certified by the German company. Our customers are the SPA's in Las Vegas. Yes, Las Vegas, Nevada, the city founded by the Mafia to legalize illegal gambling. Las Vegas means "green fields, or green lawn". That is why the surface of the gaming tables is green. Nevada means "the snow country", las Nieves is the snow. As hot as it is in summer, over 50 degrees Celsius, it is incredibly cold in winter. People are cold too. Cold and mostly without education, without health insurance. No social network. Poor devils. Dulled. Almost inhuman at times. The only thing that matters is the money. Sex and drugs and rock n ‘roll, baby. Let's rock.
We will get very rich in Las Vegas if we have something to sell that does not exist in the USA, will never exist: silence. Just - silence. But we can't sell them either. You have to get it yourself. How we miss the Canary Islands. How we miss the security technology. Dealing with ourselves. Exploring new thoughts. Thinking about which individual security technology solutions we can offer to the customer.
That was then, that was once. Not quite, as we always have in our luggage: the idea of freedom and security, and being crisis-proof. Linux. Prosperity. Human and technical networking. And then comes 2008.
After 15 months in the USA I say to my former wife Bibi: “Let's sell everything. We're going back to Germany ”. The mood in the USA is very strange. We never ever have heard Americans ranting their president before. Until now. Bush junior is suddenly one of the most unpopular presidents. I say: “Something very bad is about to happen. Let's go back to Germany ”. My belly tells me that. Very loud and insistent. And South Africa taught me not only to listen to my belly in dangerous situations. Not to question that - but to act now.
All of our colleagues at the other companies in Las Vegas think we're crazy. We are firmly integrated in a beauty business network. We are a member of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. We meet once a week on a day in the morning at 6 o'clock in the Hard Rock Café on the “Strip” for a “speed dating breakfast” and hold short rounds of introductions to over 100 entrepreneurs about our company. Quickly quickly Quickly, speed up. Life is cool in the fast lane. Hit the gas baby, press the pedal, press it all the way down. We live near the “Strip”, in the “Paradise” district. Appropriate.
It's finally starting to work. Now we're making money. The SPA‘s buy our products from Germany. We hold seminars at schools for budding beauticians. We tour the spas with demonstrations. Americans think our German accent is cute. We use that. It starts ... finally ...
We are back in Germany. And after a few months comes: the financial crisis. My gut feeling came true. Las Vegas Sands, one of the largest construction companies in the city, and the city itself went broke overnight. Lehmann Bros. used the "greed beats brain" method to drive the cart up against the wall of the world. We did not survive the United States.
Almost all of our money has gone to waste in the US. What to do?
Bibi now has the great idea of opening a café. She always wants to do that anyway. I, on the other hand, want to go back to technology. But as it is ...
Ok, I tell her. Let's just turn the tables. You are now the boss and I will help you with it. If you please note the following two things: nothing with chocolate and never in Singen am Hohentwiel.
I know the city from my motorcycle days. Dirty, robe wearer, trouble. Ok, I also have a habit back then. Today, I don't think I know Ralph from back then. Just youthful sins then.
When you focus your thoughts on something, please be careful what you think what you say. It can become your reality very quickly. And so it happens.
Bibi finds the right location in Singen am Hohentwiel with the great topic of chocolate, coffee and tea. We are selling my parents house in Salem within three weeks, buying a apartment in Singen and taking over and renovating the schoko.politan®. Yes, all in three weeks. This is the beginning of our foray into local retail. It lasted seven successful beautiful years. We call it a experience retail. To this day it has remained the only retail experience that Singen has ever seen.
We're creating an island. Another dimension in which the time that is outside on the street has no meaning. People come hectic and leave us again - completely decelerated and calm. That is exactly how it is intended. Names or titles: they have no meaning inside the schoko.politan®. Here they are smoke and mirrors. For some exactly this is a challenge.
Initially an “insider tip”, the schoko.politan® soon become a magnet. The day when the door really opens, it never closes again. Many of our customers come from the region between Zurich and Stuttgart.
People like ZDF “anchorman” Klaus Kleber, Götz Alsmann from “Zimmer frei” (room free), the band Kieran Goss, an Irish musician or the well known English writer Ken Follett and others visit us because of the philosophy of schoko.politan®, which is like a lighthouse shines far beyond.
Kieran Goss doesn't tell us anything at first. The guy, however, is as famous in Ireland as Jesus is in Germany. He fills entire stadiums with his performances. And so we generate a unique brand within a very short time. Cool. And only because we do everything differently than any other businesses around us.
During the time at schoko.politan® I deal with psychology. Again I am fascinated. Everything in life is psychology. And I'm doing hypnosis training. I realize: everything in life is hypnosis. And then the training to become a naturopath in psychotherapy. I'm not taking the exam. I just want to know what's wrong with me. Is my illness still having an effect? In my soul? In the unconscious? Inside as well as outside? Mirror effect?
And I want to know why people tick the way they do. How is it that some people can slow down and relax with us, while others cannot? What do the senses do to people in everyday life? What are the unconscious, cognitive mental patterns doing in us? With us? How do they work? Can people be controlled in a targeted manner? Moving to something that you never consciously think about? Why is the emotional brain more important than the rational brain? The Vagus Nerve and the Amygdala? How can I use this?
And that's how I find my way into retail psychology. Hypnosis, framing and priming effects. I give coaching in mental training. Being able to put down backpacks from the past. Let go. Cognitive strength and freedom. Find new ways. Be strong. Be sure. There it is again: security. And freedom. If you want to be sure, go in a group. If you want to go fast, go free. And at peace with yourself.
Everything could have been good now. I have my own coaching practice in Singen am Hohentwiel. The first successes appear. But then there is another event in my life. A bad traffic accident gives my life a new turn. A driver overlooks me in the city while I was on my way with my bike. And now I am lying on the street. My eleventh thoracic vertebra is broken. My left shoulder is completely smashed. No more coaching. Pumped full of morphine and other strong painkillers, you cannot do mental coaching or even hypnosis. Locked out. Give up and wail? Dismissed.
So again now ,I'm looking for a new way. In the back of my mind: freedom and security. What should I do? Whining and complaining? No. Doesn't get me any further. Go deep into myself and ask: what do you want in your life? Yes. Which business path do you want to take? Which way do you want to go anyway? Money? Yes. Money is not security but freedom. OK. Money. But it must not become the center of my life. Money. Mhhm. Which money? Capital? Yes capital. A term with great content. Content is also pausing. Use what's in there inside.
My capital is it to move on other ways than others. To find ways. Paths arise when one is ready to walk them. They arise in this moment. For me too. For each. In every moment. So I have a goal. The way arises. Capital. Material assets? Yes. Capital investments real estate? Yes. Oh man Ralphi! Why didn't I think of it earlier? Because my unconscious cognitive emotional patterns inside me prevented that. Just psychology. And so everything comes together again. Now everything makes sense.
And so a year of planned idleness in the Canary Islands turns into a long journey, in several stages and several years, to myself. A final exam with acceleration and deceleration. Safety. There is not any. Freedom. Lies there spread out in front of me. Security in freedom. That is perfection.
My favorite subject of freedom and security has got me back. But on a different, much finer and more fragile level. The change from IT security technician to financial security technician has been completed.
As a security expert and source of ideas in financial services, I recommend the unique alternative: real estate investments and fund products. Secure financial freedom for you and your family! Active inflation and penalty interest protection. Land register instead of overnight money account or savings book. Capital investments Real estate as a stable tangible asset.
But what is the capital? What will it be in the future? Can we also secure it in the future? Yes. Why are we losing everything in Las Vegas in 2008? Was that foreseeable? Yes. Why do we all have to bail out the banks in 2009? Were we prepared for this? No. Why weren't we even asked? Will it repeat itself? Yes. What is Corona doing to us? Can we protect ourselves from the much more dangerous virus on the capital market? Yes. By waiting or by reacting? No. By proactive acting? Yes.
How is the euro and dollar created? Who gives the order for printing? What is FIAT money? Is there a natural life cycle in FIAT money? What is inflation? What is deflation? What is deposit creation? And anyway: how and on what base does our monetary system work? Why is this not already taught to the youngest in schools? Why does the topic only become important when people have "their" money in their accounts at the end of the month? Was that it? Or is there much more? Is this where the story begins to be really interesting? At this point, when many people sit back and believe that their generated capital, transferred by the employer at the end of the month, is safe?
It's not even their own money, it doesn't belong to them. Yes, you read that right. The euro and dollar is not people's money. It's the money of the banks.
Yes, this is where it really starts to be interesting. From here on it's incredibly interesting.
And so I'm moved from an IT security engineer to a security engineer in the financial world. From monetary value to safer material assets. Because the number on the euro or dollar notes is just a beautiful shine. A promise from the European Central Bank, the ECB or the FED. They said nothing of inner values, of "value".
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