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Bits & Prezels Breakfast

My takeaways

  • In a crisis, you show your true identity in how you interact with your partners
  • Take the opportunity to focus on the essential aspects of your business and your life
  • Churchill "never waste a good crisis"

Nico spoke about personal discipline and mental strength. Organize your day. Meditation.

Dan Ram, Speaker

Dan spoke about his personal experience growing up as the son of a diplomat experiencing constant change when his family moved.

His key points:

  • accept past change - learn to let go
  • focus on the present change - focus on mindset and values
  • embrace future change - plan c,d,e - self-development, learn skills

How to plan for the long term?

Don't think about long term. Focus on short-term goals. Embrace multiple futures.

How to interact with your staff?

We are all in the place of change. Honest empathy. Your real character is shown in crisis.

How to maintain motivation in Home Office?

Time management. Now you have full control of your time. Plan activities. A good time to think about your mental health. Time to connect spiritually with yourself. Every day in April will be talking about this on Instagram.

Zarah Bruhn, Social Entrepreneur

Social Bee

Originally enjoyed Home Office but observed the increasing threat to the business of bringing refugees to employment. Was forced to send the team to short-term work.

Now it is time as a social entrepreneur to step up - let's help vunerable groups.

Zarah had the idea 11 days ago and after several all-nighters, a hackathon, help from several agencies, will go live next week.

Worried about the situation but proud that she has reacted to the crisis.

Matthias Schranner, Hostage Negotiator

Hostage negotiator.

Is it a good time to negotiate right now. You have two options- sit and wait or be proactive.

From a hostage negotiation perspective, you should not be in a reactive.

There is no blueprint for what is happening.

1. You can use *common interest* to speak about common struggle.

2. It is not possible to reach an agreement at the moment. Concentrate on *if*. For example, "dear investor, *if* we reach this kpi, will this happen.

Two advantages following this strategy

  • You send a clear message that you are interested in a long time relationship
  • You already have a plan for September. 
How can I avoid to make a bad deal?
Define a what is a bad deal. What is your red line? Talk to different experts about you walk away position. Do not renegotiate your red line during the negotiation.
1. Signal that you are interested in long term
2. Dont talk about the past
3. Be proactive
4. Establish clear demands
5. Establish a masterplan.

Christian Solmecke, Lawyer Media Law

There are non-repayable grants available.

You can defer sales tax.

You can reduce tax prepayments.

You can delay social security payments.

Rentals cannot be terminated if you do not pay in the short term but will have to be paid later.

Patrick Görtz, Lawyer Employment Law


It is a fast, agile instrument appropriate for the situation. The federal employment agency compensates for substantial loss of income for employees.

Limited to a maximum of 12 months, must be unavoidable.


Benefits: Partly covers loss of income for employee, lowers personell costs for employee.

Albert Wenger, Venture Capitalist

Terrible human toll. Many lives are impacted. Many opportunities were missed.

Innovation may compensate some of the mistakes eg. 3d printing of medical devices.

This crisis will accelerate trends towards remote work, telehealth.

What should a startup do right now?

In a crisis there is a premium on leadership.

Communicate frequently, clearly with compassion.

Big differences in impact from sector to sector.

Restrictions on telehealth will be lifted.

His company is interested in investing in online entertainment.

Frank Thelen, Investor

Sometimes the tone in social media is too simplistic. The situation is complex.

He does not see a depression around the corner.

Does GDPR go too far? Maybe the crisis is time to rethink.

His prognosis is that 27. April, the offices and kitas will begin to open again. The large events (greater than 100) will take until next year.

Encourages startups to use the finacial support available. Stay agile. Think outside the box. What chances are available? Corporates can not react so quickly as startups. Communicate the difficult issues within the team. Keep working. Look after yourself, your sport routine and nutrition.

Ophelia Brown, Venture Capitalist

All companies are now working remote. Slowdown in business.

What considerations are relevant for venture capital investment at the moment?

Short time perspective is less relevant than the focus on core values.

Companies are dealing with the requirement for working online. Some companies had these skills.

Travel sector is hit harder than say, the health sector.

What areas will benefit?

There are short term behaviour changes.

It is still too soon to predict how much behaviour will be taken over into the middle and long term.

Dr. André Nemat, Doctor

What is the sound of corona? The sound of clapping hands. The sound of appreciation for the health workers. Could we have known better? Yes. The SARS and Ebola broke out a long way away.

Preparation is Key.

Bill Gates pointed out that the preparation was insufficient

Investing is importment

We have been missing innovation in healthcare.

People need to be convinced.

Leaders need to take the people with them.

By clapping, we were showing appreciation to the health workers cannot be replaced by technology.

Lea-Sophie Cramer,

  1. Realize that uncertainty is part of life. Happiness is expectation minus reality.
  2. What is this situation teaching me. As an individual, maybe it is time to connect
  3. Don't judge yourself. Better: is this behaviour or thought helping and hindering me.
  4. There is so much more you can do than what you can't.

Heike Freund

Tobias Henz


Consumers have stopped buying. What will be the

- how fast the virus will be contained

- econonomic measures

Drop of 9.8% of gdp is a realistic scenario.

What does this mean for a startup?

Cash management is a central concern.

Crisis is catalyst for digitalization.

Do you use a shift in values?

Too early to say.

Will we see a collapse of the auto industry?

Look at China. We see more rental and leasing.

How long will the crisis last?

People will need to return to work.

Christian Vollmann
Ina Remmers, nebenan

Since the onset of the corona crisis there is 3 times the activity of existing users and 5 times the rate of new registrations.

Two challenges

  1.  Mismatch of online help and offline help receivers (elderly are less online)
    toll free call number - help with shopping, help with pet and then the help request is posted
  2. Small business owners are experiencing difficuties 
    You can buy a voucher at any business in germany without the business having to register

Dominik Wichmann, crisis communication

Crisis communication is an extreme form of normal communication.

- we see you cannot buy attention by classical advertising (see Michael Bloomberg)

- we live in the editorial society.

A good time to adjust to this new situation.

Do I have a process?

Do I have a team?

Do I have a narrative?

What tone is appropriate?

Empathy plays a greater role than before. (See adidas)

Communicate as early as possible

Establish regular communication. For example Dailys.

Communicate transparently. Don't whitewash the facts. The truth will come out.


create a team

create a crisis response team

communicate with employees with templates

communicate with empathy with your customers

use the crisis to reaffirm the company's long term relationship

communicate with your local community eg. local media

Hannes Ametsreiter

Recognize responsibility to company and community.

The move to digitalization in Germany is massive and irreversible.

Schools are moving quickly to adapt.

Leadership in the crisis

  • The most is thing is earned trust before the crisis. 
  • A great team.
  • Communication
  • Stay authentic.
  • Push innovation. 

Kevin Spacey

Use the crisis as a time-out to ask yourself what your values really are.