Dear friends in my social media
Why this blog
I would like to thank you very much for your numerous inquiries, how I am doing here. Most of you live somewhere around the globe. Some of you know my home country only from my photos, which I post on my Instagram or Facebook account during my motorcycle trips and tours.
In order to avoid that I have to tell my story to everyone, either withholding it or telling it too comprehensively, I have decided to restructure my blog and report about things I experience and learn in the context of this unexpected and global challenge. All this from my personal, subjective point of view.
Probably more blog posts will follow, because I realize it does me good to process this global challenge in this way. Even though this is my personal approach here, I would be happy if you would give me your feedback at the end of the blog about what you think about this post.
Times are crazy here. Like most of you, I’m experiencing our world from a side I’ve never seen before. To help you better understand what is happening here politically and socially in the context of this crisis, and how this crisis affects my private life, I will first try to bring you closer to my country and its political system. I will try not to go into too much detail. If you want to go into more detail, you can always ask me. Please also ask me this, at the bottom of this blog.
Switzerland is not yet as badly off as northern Italy. It’s unimaginable that this part of the country, where I usually travel by motorbike so often and have been able to enjoy such wonderful views in the past, is so badly affected by the pandemic virus Corona (COVID 19). I am not really religious, but I have started to supplement my daily autogenic training with a kind of prayer. At the moment I am praying for Northern Italy (Lombardy was the worst hit) and our Swiss, Italian speaking Ticino. I very much hope that the people there will soon be freed from this scourge of nature.
Per tutti gli abitanti del Nord Italia e del Ticino. Sii forte! Pensiamo e preghiamo per voi! = For all the inhabitants of Northern Italy and Ticino. Be strong! We think and pray for you!
I was shocked by our ignorance when I was told that Bill Gates had already warned of this in 2015. Watch this YouTube video.
In the following I would like to show you what my country – Switzerland – has done. But first I would like to explain to you how our country was built and what political structures we have. This will help you to understand the context better. But if you are Swiss, then (hopefully) everything will be clear to you now, and you will find that I will not go into every detail. It is only a matter of giving a rough overview.
Like Germany and Austria, Switzerland is a federal republic. The 26 “federal states” of Switzerland are called cantons. The word canton was adopted from French during the time of Napoleon. In France, however, this term is used to describe a lower administrative level, which roughly corresponds to the German Landkreise.
Switzerland’s 26 cantons have grown historically, and their area and population numbers vary greatly. The largest canton (Graubünden) has 192 times the area of the smallest canton (Basel-Stadt), but has fewer inhabitants than the latter. The most populous canton, Zurich, has about 80 times more inhabitants than the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden.
The cantons have certain sovereignties of their own. For example, schools or police forces and other matters are regulated on a cantonal basis.
Switzerland’s political parties are strongly influenced by Swiss federalism. The larger parties are usually active at the federal, cantonal and municipal level through cantonal and municipal sections, whereas many smaller parties limit themselves to political work in their canton or municipality.
The party landscape is heterogeneous: four to five larger parties, most of which have governmental responsibility in the Confederation, cantons and municipalities, and many smaller parties cover the entire political spectrum as well as a number of special interests. The proportion of voters from the two major political camps has remained virtually unchanged for around a hundred years: Civic (liberal and conservative) parties account for around two-thirds of the vote, left-wing parties for one-third, and there has been a veritable “landslide” in the last elections.
In contrast to many other countries, there is hardly any party legislation and party financing is largely unregulated.
The Federal Council is a collegial authority. In this respect, the Federal Council differs in part considerably from the governments of other democratic states. It consists of seven men and women of equal rights, who are elected by the United Federal Assembly for a fixed term of four years. The seven members come from parties which, with the help of the “magic formula”, are awarded a seat in the Federal Council. The magic formula in brief: the three parties with the greatest party strength receive two seats, and those with the fourth largest one. Occasionally there are shifts here if one party gains or loses voter strength. Sometimes there is a time delay so that Federal Councillors who are not in office must/should be voted out. The Federal Council as a whole (and not the Federal President) also exercises the protocol functions which in other countries are the responsibility of the Head of State (the Federal Constitution does not provide for such an office).
The National Council has 200 members. It represents the Swiss people. The 200 seats are distributed among the 26 cantons according to population (total number of inhabitants = resident population). However, each canton has at least one seat.
The Council of States represents the cantons. It is made up of 46 representatives of all the cantons.
The united Federal Assembly consists of the National Council and the Council of States.
The two Councils, i.e. the National Council and the Council of States, usually negotiate separately. However, matters that are not suitable for separate consideration in the chambers are dealt with jointly by the two Councils as the United Federal Assembly. The Federal Constitution lists these conclusively.
The United Federal Assembly gathers to
- to hold elections,
- to take decisions in the event of conflicts of jurisdiction between the supreme federal authorities, and
- to grant pardons.
Emergency law is explained, explained and illuminated in detail in the dissertation by David Rechsteiner.
In Switzerland, we know a relatively young (2016) epidemic law. The law has three stages – the normal, the special and the exceptional situation. The now much-cited “extraordinary situation” – now it applies.
Since Monday, 16 March 2020, Switzerland has been in an extraordinary situation. In fact, this is emergency law, or emergency law. This means that the Federal Council takes the lead and issues ordinances to protect our country against serious disturbances of public order or internal or external security that have occurred or are imminent. The cantons must submit to these ordinances. The cantons therefore lose their sovereignty for a certain period of time, as previously mentioned in the text and as defined by the Federal Council depending on the situation. This has not been the case since the Second World War. In recent days, however, it has also happened that individual cantons have made decisions that they should not have made under the emergency law.
An example from my point of view as a tourist: A few days ago, the federal government decreed that all ski areas must be closed with immediate effect. Subsequently, the canton of Valais, where many ski resorts are located, decided that the hotels also have to close with immediate effect. The Federal Council then revoked this decision by means of a subsequently declared emergency law.
Problem: Hoteliers in the ski resorts are effectively deprived of their livelihood, but do not receive any compensation due to the fact that they do not have to remain closed by the authorities. This is a problematic decision that endangers the existence of many of the hotels affected.
The Federal Council has now issued the following decree, and our 26 cantons (the countries of Switzerland) must also comply with it:
public and private events prohibited. All shops, markets, restaurants, bars and entertainment and leisure facilities such as museums, libraries, cinemas, concert halls and theatres, sports centres, swimming pools and ski resorts will be closed. Similarly, establishments where it is not possible to keep the distance, such as hairdressing salons or beauty salons, will be closed. An overview of all measures can be found here in the measures of the Federal Council.
Unfortunately, these regulations lead to injustice. Example: I had to buy groceries, which is essential for life. I wanted to buy office supplies before the crisis, which is not vital. The local stationery shops had to close, as they are not essential. But I was able to buy the non-essential office supplies from the wholesaler. This is of course unfair from the point of view of the stationery owner. In the meantime the shelves in the wholesalers have been partially covered and closed for sale. From the consumer’s point of view, that is stupid. Idea: from my point of view, it would be desirable if the wholesalers in their localities would pay a solidarity contribution to the local trade association.
As a social aggravation – simply because a few incorrigibles do not want to admit that the situation is serious – the following ban on parts of our society should also be perceived as drastic and change them permanently:
Conglomerations of more than five persons are prohibited.
In addition, border controls with our neighbouring countries were reintroduced. Schengen visas and our own visas will no longer be issued for the time being.
These are drastic, far-reaching but necessary measures. Even if it sometimes leads to heartbreaking individual fates at the border posts.
The willingness to help varies among the population. On the one hand, it has taken a while until the vast majority of the population (unfortunately there will always be a few ignorant people) has understood that the situation is serious. But some were quick and set up aid organisations with the aim of getting younger, healthy people to do things like shopping for people in the risk group. This is where digitalisation showed its pitfalls. Most older people are not on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp & Co. So it took a while and still continues to reach everyone. Here are two laudable and familiar examples: www.hilf-jetzt.ch www.fiveup.org
My intention to help
I thought I’d join in and want to help too. As a motorcyclist I was of the opinion that surely many motorcyclists also want to help and have first installed a Facebook group in the context of helf-jetzt. Because I thought that the logistics could be a challenge from the motorcyclist’s point of view, I have then put together a biker helper group with Fiveup. Fiveup is an app, which is also supported by the Swiss Red Cross. Here you can register both as a person seeking help and as a helper. My idea was or is that we see ourselves as a supplement to the already existing groups. There are certainly people in the risk group who live remotely/far from the shot and do not receive home deliveries. We want to step into this niche. At least that is my intention and that of a handful of other bikers, whom I would like to thank at this point.
The feedback on my help
Outside the biker scene my intention to help was received with great goodwill. Even our local newspaper, wanted to hold an interview with me – of course in consideration of the Social Distance requirements. The reactions to the article were mostly positive.
But…….. within the biker scene this is sobering. But this time in telegram style:
- Some from the risk group have expressed their thanks. Nice to meet you.
- In my own Facebook groups the reaction was positive-behavior.
- In the other Facebook groups, my call for help was blocked and/or removed. They’d heard enough about Corona…
- In some groups I was rebuked, such an offer belongs in their market place and not in the normal group.
- On WhatsApp groups, the appropriate name for this action was debated. However, nobody offered concrete help.
Unfortunately, there are also people who criticize helpfulness. As well as those who don’t care one bit about the guidelines of the federation in favour of the general public.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of bikers out there who want to actively participate or are already doing so on their own. We helping bikers will only be able to maintain this offer as long as there is no curfew. According to the media – which unfortunately sometimes unsettle the people even more and do not listen properly or only one-sidedly in the press conferences – this is now also being considered for our country. The future will show whether this is true.
Conclusion on the subject of feedback: This kind of biker assistance is new and it seems to need someone who dares and moves forward. For some bikers it still seems to be not cool enough. But I am sure that this will change.
Yesterday the Jesuit and Zen Master Niklaus Brantschen was a guest in the daily talk of SRF1 and said: “Doing good does good! Wie right he is!
For the economy and also for my young startup company Global Riders AG and its affiliated Swiss motorcycle DMC “Swizzlybiker“, which wants to offer motorcycle tours in Switzerland, this is a catastrophe.
Give up? Far from it. No way!: #nowmorethanever 💪🏻
Even before the crisis, I decided to use Design Thinking to map the complete customer journey of our future customers and in a second step, also with the help of Design Thinking, to develop a management cockpit for the local, independent motorcycle tour guide. For this reason, we at Global Riders have decided, together with the Basel University of Applied Sciences, to offer a further training course as Consultant CAS Design Thinking IUE with a 50% discount for the course participant, which will be carried out by the training centre in accordance with the Agility Guidelines – of course, mostly digitally. We will probably have to adapt the question now and perhaps even assign a new field of activity to the company Global Riders AG. I must / may / may now use my skills as a CAS Master Agile Coach IUE & Scrum® Master IUE.
Note: DMC stands for Destination Management Company. This is a company that acts as a subcontractor for e.g. foreign tour operators (tour operators) or as a direct partner for companies in the destination (e.g. hotels, incentive companies and/or other DMC’s) and takes over the handling of motorcycle tour groups and the program design/ supporting programs in the destination.
The Federal Council acted prudently and quickly and issued the following decree: The economy will receive a total of over 40 billion Swiss francs, which will be used for various measures.
The measures and the corresponding ordinances, which are scheduled to come into force on Wednesday, 25 March 2020, can be found in the federal press release
For the time being, I will refrain from going into the subject matter in depth, although I would actually have already written a whole chapter on it. If you are interested, please contact me. I have gathered all available information and am well informed about how the measures are to be implemented.
The measures were decided very quickly and sent a positive signal to the general public, even though individual sectors and problem areas could not be discussed in detail and therefore probably still need to be adjusted. I would like to wreathe a wreath for the Federal Council here. The Federal Council has shown leadership. Chapeau.
It is still not quite clear to me personally whether and where my start-up can make money in its situation. My startup is in the process of being built up, has not yet generated any turnover and I have not yet been able to pay a salary either. In the business plan it was planned that this should be the case soon, if the crowdfunding originally planned for this month would have been crowned with success and the brand “Swizzlybiker” could have offered its first tours from Interlaken and Zurich.
That under the current circumstances a crowdfunding action would lead to mockery and ridicule, and that existing bookings are cancelled and no new ones are being added at the moment, is obvious to any reasonably thinking person. Therefore I had to suspend/suspend all orders (creation of website, refining existing marketing and communication concept etc.) for the time being. Wait and see. Get an overview. Stay calm…
At this point I would like to thank the stakeholders involved for their understanding. They are partly in the same challenging situation. As existing SMEs with proven wages and turnover, however, they do not have to fear for their financial existence.
Despite everything, I am positive about my job. From the very beginning I have prepared myself for a rocky road. Figuratively speaking, I have to go into off-road mode…
I usually avoid reporting or writing about my private life. At this point I want to do so exceptionally, albeit in a somewhat anonymous form.
Working in a home office is now mandatory for many who work in jobs that can be done in an office. For me this is not really something new, although I usually work “on the road”. That’s why I always refer to myself as a “digital nomad with a permanent residence”. I have been working in this form for a long time and fortunately I am quite well equipped. However, I had to stop nomadism. Guiding tours is officially forbidden during the Corona crisis. It’s just stupid that the ban caught me in the startup phase.
But I am also learning a lot these days. I am in exchange with other people from all over the world via WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. and get to know new products, apps and facts.
And I am experiencing what it means to set up an aid organisation. A valuable experience.
Note: For a long time I have applied for different positions. Amongst others at travel agencies but also in my original field of banking and insurance. I know that the salary in the travel industry is not lavish. But I wanted to learn something new. On the other hand, I could have brought a lot of know-how and above all salesmanship to the travel agencies, but also to the other companies. I always get the same standard rejections from the institutions mentioned. So the only logical conclusion is to go into self-employment.
My son does not have any school lessons at school, but he has received school assignments from his teachers, which are handed over to him weekly in his school building (hopefully in consideration of social distancing). He is able to do most of this work on his own and we parents only have to check it selectively. Therefore I want to give the following LARGE compliments:
They are challenged and had to conjure something up quickly. In this short time, I think they have succeeded very well. Bravo and many thanks! Now it is important to learn continuously and to optimize the used systems continuously and to get to know and use the possibilities of digitalization. If necessary I can certainly help here. But I can see that you are doing a good job and will probably not need my services.
She organised, sorted and structured the tasks that had been handed in neatly. So it is easy for both my son and me to find our way around.
Drum: a GIANT compliment!
My son learns a lot of useful things from her that he would not learn from me or less. With her a lot has to do with cooking, gardening, handicrafts and nature. With me he learns more about technology and economy & tourism on a small scale and maybe also a little bit about psychology, which he gets from both parents. Decency, respect, empathy. To stand up for a cause he is convinced of. To try to convince with arguments and not with arguments.
Note: We live the alternating or double residence model, or as it is called in Switzerland, shared custody. This form has proven itself for both child and parents. Especially in this extraordinary situation it is – I think – a pleasant relief and enrichment for everyone.
For those who would like to learn more about the double residence model, I recommend the book by Dr. Hildegund Sünderhauf, “Wechselmodell: Psychologie – Recht – Praxis”.
He grows up to be a responsible and conscientious young man. He respects the rules of decency, always listens and asks if he does not understand something immediately. He also defends his point of view when he is convinced of it. Many times I have had to agree with him because Ätti – that’s what he calls me – was wrong. But he also accepts it when he has to agree with my arguments. Solving problems in the discussion: with him it works in an exemplary way. My son, I am very proud of you!
I am in telephone contact with my parents. They are – it is in the nature of things – now also part of the so-called risk group. As a son and as part of the company, I am grateful to them for sticking to this principle and not going shopping any more, and for choosing a route for their daily walk where people are rarely to be found. I offered my motorcycle shopping help, but my brothers would have already provided them with the most necessary ones. Therefore my thanks to them all.
I hope you’ve gotten an overview of my quasi-quarantine life now. It is, from my individual and subjective point of view, certainly a challenge, but to panic does not help me and my environment. I will also not make any hamster purchases. 😉
The bad thing about the crisis is that many people have to endure unspeakable suffering. Professions other than mine are reaching the limits of their capabilities. It is not easy to simply accept this, if we had the capacity to help. Helping the patient is not possible, but in logistics it would be possible. Maybe the “Biker – help now” grouping will become a permanent organization. We could often step in quickly and easily in logistics where other resources are already tied up or where things simply have to be done quickly.
I am grateful and wish you, dear reader, all the best and above all the best health. I will close with a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer:
“Health is not everything. But without health, everything is nothing!”