Stefan Michaelis

Try - Fail - Evolve - Repeat


Welcome to my online-home. This is my personal website, originated from fun and experiments, built and edited entirely by me. These pages are my way of staying connected both to those whom I know and with those I have not yet met, but who may share similar interests. Take a seat, look around, it will just take a few minutes.

Creating a personal homepage always opens a part of yourself, just like a visit by friends at home. And just as any home mirrors a bit of your personality, a homepage shows a bit of your own style and interests. Twenty years ago it was a must-have to build your own website, so why should have this changed? Maybe today we skip the part with blinking gif animations, but the idea of personal branding remains.

Who is Stefan Michaelis?

Born in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany and raised in the Ruhr-Area, one of the highest populated regions with a strong focus on industry and information technology. He studied Computer Engineering at the Dortmund University of Technology, where afterwards he stayed for a while. Currently he lives together with his wife in Herten, Germany.

Herten is a small city with just above 50,000 people at the northern border of the Ruhr-Area. Initially the city was driven by coal mining, but with the overall decline of this industry in Germany, the profile has changed. The mines now serve as places for events and exhibitions.


Looking back, there have always been a few personal interests impacting the choice of university and later his profession. Technology and innovation driven development have always been a major source of motivation. And one of the most fascinating movies during childhood has been the original TRON. The page Projects presents more details on the resulting specialisation: Pattern recognition, telecommunications and embedded systems. In complement to these research topics, the next section on motivation describes what drives Stefan forward in personal and professional life.

Stefan currently works in Dortmund, Germany, as research project manager with the ultimate goal to enhance pattern recognition and data mining in and for embedded systems.

Motivation - Driving us forward

Motivation is what drives us towards our goals, every day. While everybody may have his own sources of motivation, there is one great presentation by famous author Daniel Pink, who described the Drive as mainly influenced by the factors Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. These are points, which created this warm inner feeling for me in the form of: That's it, these factors have to be present to provide lasting motivation.

Autonomy: This is born by the wish to control your life and your work; making your own decisions and taking responsibility for them. The main task of management and leadership is therefore not to direct each single detail, but to enable autonomy of team members while setting the overall direction. The results can be unconventional, new ideas or efficient solutions, which may not occur during normal daily cog factory work.

Mastery: We all want to get better and finally reach mastery at least in a few things. For example, the same power drives people to learn a musical instrument. Often this is not paid work, but performed for fun and to get better. The same fact drives open source developers, devoting a large amount of personal time. Therefore, why should mastery not be essential for corporate work?

Purpose: What do we work for? Many hours of the day are spent at work, but do we have a purpose, a goal to reach? Having a company vision (same applies of course to life in general) helps on concentrating to reach these goals. It enables people to feel as part of the team.

By the way, this list may sound as if money is not important. Of course, this is not the case, but money in itself is seldom a source for lasting motivation. The amount of money needs to be large enough to free the mind of any anxiety about it. The specific amount needed depends on each single person.

While this list of motivational factors is nearly complete, there is one factor missing in my opinion: Teaching. Sharing your knowledge may even cover all three other topics.

All in all, most people share the desire to leave at least a small dent in the universe. Where and how is the hard part.