Christian Heilmann

Three Pre-TEDx questions

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 1:35 pm


I am excited as a puppy with three tails about the opportunity to speak at TEDx Thessaloniki later this year. It is very different from talks at IT conferences and has been a dream of mine for a while. Today the organisers asked me to answer three questions to get some more insight into what I think (there be dragons, believe me). Here’s what I answered:

1. What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in your life, in personal level, until today?

I was very lucky to have had the courage to make a clean cut when I had the chance. Leaving my home town and the country I was born in for a job is something most people dream of and a lot of others are too scared to do. By un-rooting myself and going to work in a country where I don’t speak the language natively I got a jump-start for my career.

This clear cut also gave me the courage to approach my work differently. For example, I am 100% sure that my career is based on the fact that I gave out everything I do for free and for other people to build upon. People called me crazy and my parents to date still wonder how I make money without charging people for everything I do. I love it, because it means my work gets used which gives me more satisfaction than a one-off payment would do. It also means that my thoughts and ideas live on even when I move to other goals or get hit by a truck or eaten by a tiger. I freed my ideas and thoughts and this inspires other people.

Liberating yourself from traditions and pressures of your background gives you an amazing sense of freedom and liberty to become more than you are.

2. What’s the biggest goal you have set until today? Is it accomplished? Do you still fight for it or you quit it, and why?

I think I once saw an interview with Stephen King where the interviewer asked him how much money he has and he answered he has no idea. He just wants to carry as much around as he needs to buy some new clothes or a sandwich. Whilst I am not a big fan of his work, this excited me. My goal is to feel happy with what I do and to share that excitement. I am doing really well in that, but there are still so many rigid ideas to fight. I want people to do what they love to do and make a living with it. We don’t celebrate these enough. Instead our media portraits the richest people as the most successful, despite the fact that not many of them are happy being in the rat-race.
I started as a radio journalist and quit my job when I discovered the internet. I loved the idea of a free medium open to anyone to publish and be heard and I spent years and years to show people that it can be done. Nowadays I worry a lot about this dream. The internet is on the decline – people are OK with governments censoring it and are fine with being told what hardware to use and that some materials are not available to them because they are in the wrong country. This is not the medium of the future. I will not give in to marketing telling me that this is evolution – I think we’re going backwards.

3. From what we have experienced the recent years, as a global society, what event would you describe as the biggest end or beginning for humanity?

Wikileaks. Hands down. It was a wonderful information bomb that exploded and unearthed not only lots of information that needed to be heard but also a wake up call for people. Are whistleblowers heroes when the information they leak is important to us? What if the same people leaked information about our security to outside enemies? Who are the enemies? Do they really exists or are we being told what to fear so we don’t ask too many questions?

Much good can come out of this, many important discussions to be had. Events like this can bring out the best in humanity which means to me the beginning of something great. It also shows me how many people are not even interested in questioning their governments as long as there is a new TV show to follow, which is a sign of the end of humanity. It polarises and that means we can now pick a camp. If anything, there is movement and a mass can only be a force when it is moved.

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