Bits & Pretzels #9: The upsetting Lack of an Ecosystem for Founders


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By Britta Weddeling. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Lars Klingbeil (SPD) about how to build a truly effective political framework for entrepreneurship

In this episode Bits & Pretzels Editor-in-Chief, Britta Weddeling, challenges Lars Klingbeil, the General Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), on the upsetting lack of a truly effective political framework for a thriving ecosystem for founders.

For one, Klingbeil argues that his country needs a change in perspective: "Germans admire Mark Zuckerberg as a great founder, but they don't look at the people in their own country. And if our founders get attention all they get is being mocked.”

He also talks about the eroding trust in traditional parties such as his own, the Social Democrats, and how he wants to win back voters who turned from SPD to the neo-Nazi party "Alternative für Deutschland" (AfD) and the upsetting political crisis in the German government after last week a liberal state premier was elected into office with the votes from the AfD.

Because of the special circumstances of the ongoing political debate in Germany, we’re having our conversation in German. Our non-German speaking listeners can find a detailed English summary in our show notes below.


Britta Weddeling, Editor-in-Chief of Bits & Pretzels


Lars Klingbeil, SPD-Generalsekretär

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English core statements from the interview with small edits for clarity

Lars Klingbeil about the ongoing political crisis in the ruling coalition in Berlin:

"A lot of things have been shaken up by this wrong decision made by the FDP and CDU to elect a prime minister together with the AfD. For me this is a very fundamental question. I started in politics because I fought against a Nazi center in the Lüneburger Heide. I wanted it to be shut down. We were successful there, and I always hoped that we would push back the Nazis in this society."

About how to fight the Far-Right:

"The first point is simply to not work with them. I think that's the mistake, if you look into German history, and at some point people tried to integrate them, maybe normalize them, somehow publicly give them the feeling that all this is a legitimate political position. There are many who vote for the AfD, who are frustrated."

His ideas to make life easier for founders:

"One is that we as the SPD would like to have a Germany fund, where founders are financially supported. The second is totally annoying, but we are still on the subject of infrastructure. There is not sufficient infrastructure everywhere in this country. And the third topic for me, however, is this whole area of artificial intelligence. And I say this critically to my own government, where we are not making any progress at all. I believe that Germany has a chance. We are innovative, we have creative minds, but we have to make a national effort."

How German founders should help shaping the future:

"I would like them to get more involved in political debates. Germans admire Mark Zuckerberg, but they do not look at the people we have. I sometimes have the feeling that the founders in Germany should be valued and idealized more."

How you could apply the management lessons from FC Bayern to politics:

"What I always admire about Bayern Munich is to maintain this international level. You get up there from time to time. That happens very quickly. But to keep up, that's a lesson you can learn in politics and as a company."

… and our most favorite answers from our "Either-or-Game"

Bits or pretzels?

Lars Klingbeil: "Pretzels. I can't even say why. But I'm hungry right now."

Nerd or extrovert?

"Extroverted, I would say. Because I wouldn't call myself a nerd. I would say that I'm a quiet type. I'm not the one jumping around, but I'm not a nerd either."

Tradition or change?

"It's not an either/or question. I believe that change needs tradition, but then rather change, if I have to decide now."

In the soccer stadium: standing or sitting?

"I am old, so sitting."

Texting or talking on the phone?

"Texting. Sometimes in the evening I really get scared how little I have talked on the phone and how many messages I have sent."

Risk or safety?

"Safety. I am a very safety conscious person."

53 episodes