Deutsche Telekom's Great Endeavor

by Raphael Haase

Today, Deutsche Telekom invited us to Darmstadt to a somewhat subtle recruiting event. They hid their efforts a little by venturing into the barcamp format and doing few traditional recruiting sessions.

Instead, they recognized that showing just a little of what they are doing and mostly just being a nice host itself is a good way to attract good people.

In the morning, we had a great inspirational speech by Mr. Kozel, who is the “CTIO” of Deutsche Telekom. He looks and talks little like Steve Jobs. And also he actually is from San Francisco. His rhetoric style reminded me a little of Steve Jobs’s 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech. Kozel told us first about his past at Stanford and Cisco and then how he came to Deutsche Telekom. It was surprising to see that he apparently doesn’t speak a lot of German, being a chief officer in a German company like Deutsche Telekom.

Kozel also talked about speed and not becoming arrogant being the most important factors for companies, both startups and big companies. He told us how many companies failed brutally after becoming too arrogant and slow. True words. Although Kozel was very authentic, speed and not being arrogant is hardly something that I could see Deutsche Telekom departing from in the near future. If you look at Telekom’s core offerings, many parts of that company are still captured in the past.

In the afternoon, the barcamp part of the event began. We had already done the session planning before the lunch break in which I offered a session about Mobile Health.

I was a little disappointed at how many topics were about social media. Come on guys, let’s stop talking about talking without results (which is a simpler term for social media).

In the evening, we had a great dinner. The catering was just excellent. Excellent food, different sorts of wine and cocktails were offered by a best in class caterer. And there also was a dinner speech by Thomas Sattelberger, the chief human resources officer. He is a nice guy and has lots of experience, but it’s not a very good sales pitch, if you call yourself revolutionary and then give the elimination of reserved parking lots for management as one of the revolutionary measures. He continued well, by pointing out that we would find this ridiculous, which was precisely what most probably felt. And he was also probably quite right when he said that other companies like Siemens still couldn’t push themselves towards the same measures. But still, it’s subpar rhetorics. Sattelberger is a nice guy, but Kozel is the better speaker.

It was a very nice day with Deutsche Telekom. They seem to at least have realized some issues and are trying to change. I am not yet convinced about their competitiveness as the other carriers are also moving fast. Further, Deutsche Telekom is trying to survive by moving beyond their core telco business towards providing solutions. As of now, I can’t really see any tangible success in that area.