Living in a Tree-House

On Sunday while shaving I heard the following very interesting report and  interview in German on Radio Deutschlandfunk-Nova:

Lilli leben im Baumhaus

As a  Young Boy it was a great pleasure for me to build tree houses… here the story of the 22 year old student Lili from Freiburg/Germany, who built her own tree house in Freiburg and lives there.

Even if you do not understand  German you can look on the  pictures  and maybe translate the text of the Website.


How can Makers help the world?

A very inspiring talk by Jane Chen CEO of Embrace Innovations

Every year, 3 million premature babies die in the first 28 days. Mostly because of undercooling.
Incubators, which hold the temperatures of babies constant, are expensive and cost 20’000$ upwards. They need a constant power supply. They are complicate to operate and to maintain.

The idea was born at a Stanford event, which was about low cost technologies , for people of one dollar or less income per day. How can a low-cost incubator be built, that cost 1 percent of a standard device?

How can the device be built that functions without constant power supply and which is super intuitive to use – useable by every mother.

They developed a sleeping bag with a phase-change-material. While the phase-change happens, the temperature is constant. A wax material was used, that melts at human body temperature.
They went to India with the first prototypes and made different iterations based on the feedback of the people. At the end it was a sleeping bag of one type of sterilizable fabric with a transparent viewing window on the front.

Additional they had a temperature display on it, but the people didn’t trust the digital scale, so they made a simpler display with yellow smilies for good, blue for too cold and red for too hot – another iterations based on the empathy with the mothers which were the endusers.

After thousands of tests the “Embrace warmer” was born and released in 2011. A waterproof bag with an inlet with wax filling, which can be melted with boiling water or electricity. It holds the exact same temperature for up to 8 hours and it can be reheated thousands of times.

On the way to the product release they had a lot of obstacles, everything went wrong: Entrepreneurship is all about doing whatever it takes to pass obstacles to reach the end goal !

“When you truly believe something, the universe will conspire to help you achieve it – Paulo Coehlo”

Until Oktober 2016 they helped over 200’000 babies in 20 countries !

More ideas and products followed and are mentioned in the talk – a must see.

This talk was very inspiring to me and made me think a lot about meaningful work and projects.

Other interesting talks for makers and enthusiast can be found at “Stanfords Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders” Series: ( copies at YouTube ) .

Revel in the adventure of new ideas

A very inspiring talk – Steve Teig :

  • a lot of existing products are just lousy
  • try to improve existing things
  • try to solve problems that matters
  • help people
  • read a lot and make connections that haven’t been made before
  • combine ideas of different fields
  • work together with nice people
  • make a fine place to work at
  • find good metaphors
  • making a quick decision is better
  • ecosystems are full of local optimas
  • data is overrated
  • make a difference – make something that matters
  • have fun


More Videos here : Stanford-Entrepreneurship-Corner


With a high degree of probability, the great idea that has come to your mind already had another one.
Ideas are often in the air or the problems that lead to the ideas, so it often happens that two people have the same idea randomly and independently.

Every time I think I have a great idea, I first look at YouTube – most of the time you’ll find that idea pretty fast. Recently I thought, for example You could build a simple engine from a car alternator, the power generator – if you look in YouTube you will find several videos of people who not only had the same idea, but also implemented it.


The largest collections of ideas and technical knowledge databases are online patent databases. Free are, for example:
DEPATISnet Einsteiger-Suche
Google Patents
Europaeisches Patentamt
On the one hand, these are collections of new ideas, i. E. Solutions to technical problems, on the other hand, however, the respective current state of the art is described.
However, you have to get used to the strange language, which I believe partly also serves to disguise – but in principle, the patents are always the same structure, to overview you can also first look at the summary and the drawings.

If you find nothing in the databases and you think that you could earn a lot of money with the idea, you should register the idea as a patent – German patents cost a few thousand Euros, European patents can sometimes cost a few tens of thousands of Euros.
BUT despite you can not find anything in the database, someone else may have already registered the idea, as of the filing date there is immediate protection, but the application may not have been reviewed yet and not yet published – the faster applicant has the rights, not the one who had the idea first.
If you want to prevent the idea so no one else applies for a patent you can also register in Germany a “Gebrauchsmuster” it’s about 600Euros.

Another way to prevent someone from applying for the same idea is to publish an article about it in a journal.

If you have the patent and somebody violates it, you have to be financially strong enough to sue your right in court.
With the patent, the idea is also known ie. published and mostly described exactly. Sometimes it is better to try to keep the idea secret for as long as possible and to use the time advantage over the competition.
Once products have been sold with the idea or has been reported on the idea somewhere before the application was made so a patent is no longer possibel