Today I am honored to present you with an interview with Oliver Tausend. This is the second interview I conducted on this blog.
I met Oliver through blog commenting, and since then I had the pleasure of getting to know him better through a long conversation over Skype last week. One of the few ideas that came out of that brainstorming was an interview of Oliver for this blog.
As you may or may not know I’m from France and Oliver is from German. Both of our countries have a long history together, good and bad. But no matter what, because of geography, we have always been neighbors.
I hope you will enjoy the very deep and interesting answers to my questions from Oliver.
Sylviane: Oliver, please, introduce yourself… Where are you from, and what do you do online and offline?
Oliver: I am the dad of two wonderful girls (11 and 7 years old) and married to my best friend. We live in Tüebingen (South Germany) and I am a professional network marketer and mentor helping people creating extra income from home, with online and offline methods. You know how, most people do network marketing every day; they just don’t get paid for it.
Sylviane: In one of your most recent videos you are speaking French, which you are speaking pretty well, by the way. Where did you learn French?
Oliver: Thank you. I learned French in school and after two years of struggle, I had some aha-moments and my breakthrough. Reminds me of business building. Some say I’m talented for languages. Alright, not the worst talent. But even with talent, it still works. And practice. Reminds me of business building.
Sylviane: Is French easy for a German guy, because even though I do not speak German I know that it’s very difficult as far as the grammar is concerned?
Oliver: German isn’t an easy language because it has three articles which is an overrated challenge though. French has only two articles but the gender (and quantity) of a noun influences the entire sentence. For example, the adjective and the form of the present perfect (passé composé). While this is still no problem in spoken French because you don’t hear the mistakes, it can be a challenge in written French. I am not 100 % sure but French is the only language originating from Latin where you don’t hear certain things such as the endings. Just imagine the present perfect and the infinitive of a verb sounding absolutely the same. But they’re written differently. This requires a deep understanding of a text and its meaning.
Sylviane: Now, I also know that you’ve been traveling to France a lot… what is your favorite place there?
Oliver: That’s difficult to say. One thing I love about France is its diversity. France has absolutely everything without being as large as the US. A reason why so many French folks spend their vacations in their country. High mountains, beautiful beaches, dramatic scenery, boring plaines, the gentle Mediterranean sea, the rough Atlantic ocean, isolated villages, huge modern cities, great food, great wine, etc. Outside its cities, the population isn’t very dense. It’s bigger than Germany, but with fewer people. One of our favorite places is certainly the south (“le Midi”) with its hot, dry and reliable summers – nothing compares to it.
Sylviane: Have you always have a taste for travel and are there other European countries that you know and like?
Oliver: I had the taste for travel, but I didn’t allow it to myself because I was “too busy” in my former business. This is something I am changing slowly but surely. Germany itself is beautiful (without the reliable climate in summer), but also Switzerland and Austria. Not to forget Northern Europe with Sweden for example. I am also attracted by Eastern Europe.
Sylviane: Here in the US, the French have a reputation of being rude, what are your thoughts on that, since you have actually BEEN there many times?
Oliver: They are just as kind and rude as everyone else. An issue is the language barrier. They are very proud of their language traditionally. Consequently, their knowledge of other languages – especially English – is under-developed (and sometimes their willingness to learn them too, to say the least). It’s changing slowly, but the French language is kind of officially protected by the government. Chances are most people from the US speak only one language as well, but it’s the only language most people in the world understand. In addition to that, France is rather expensive (sometimes outright over-priced), especially in tourist areas. And you don’t always get the service and quality you expect compared to the pricing. I met French people doing skiing in Austria who said they prefer the Austrian Alps to the French Alps because Austrians are more welcoming. And it’s less expensive.
Sylviane: In what way France is similar to Germany?
Oliver: Well, we are all Europeans and we love governments. We do not love our governments, but we expect our governments to solve our problems. And they usually promise to do so which creates a mess, inevitably.
Sylviane: In what way France is very different from Germany?
Oliver: In many ways, France believes even more in governments than Germany does. They have a higher birth rate compared to Germany’s tiny one and they spend the most money on average for food whereas Germans spend very little for food on average. In Germany food has to be cheap, in France it has to be good – and they know that good food has its price. That’s why we buy a lot of food when we are in France.
Sylviane: What would you say is the main difference between French and German people?
Oliver: Very difficult question. Chances are the French and Germans didn’t like each other in former times because they were actually more alike than they thought they should be. So little differences got over-stressed. But that’s just my personal take.
Germans have a more relaxed attitude towards their language; we hardly translate anything that comes from the US or the English language in general whereas the French take the effort (and sometimes the pain) to translate pretty much anything, even in abbreviations. For example, the NATO is the NATO in Germany, in France it’s “l’OTAN”. AIDS is AIDS in Germany, in France it’s “le SIDA”. Sometimes the “Denglisch” (contraction of ‘Deutsch’ and ‘Englisch’) is ridiculous, sure. But the forced and officially encouraged translation of pretty much anything is ridiculous too, isn’t it?
Sylviane: This is way before our time, but French and German people have not always liked each other, how do you feel the relationship between the two countries is today?
Oliver: Well, I have never felt any resentment which is certainly also due to the fact that I speak French.
My wife is quarter-French because her grandmother on her dad’s side (she passed before we met, unfortunately) was French and came from Lorraine, the part of East France that went back and forth between France in Germany in those days.
My in-law’s families used to live in the Saar area that was attached to post WW II-Germany after a referendum back then. And my father-in-law’s dad was basically married to the enemy, OMG.
This was completely normal though which makes these insane wars even more detestable. Wars are battles between governments and not between the peoples “ruled” by these governments. Governments abuse “their” peoples and they have them pay for their shortcomings.
The relationship today? Sometimes it’s like an old couple, they don’t really love each other, but they can’t live without each other either. There are people in both countries living only 15 minutes from the border and never crossing it. Others on the other hand go to France (the Alsace!) to eat there, taste wine, buy food etc. Whereas some French people come to the German border region to do same. Neighbors’ grass is always greener, isn’t it?
Sylviane: Danke, Merci, Thank you, OLiver, for the great insight you are giving us about Germany and France, and the relationship between both countries.
41 thoughts on “Interview With Oliver Tausend Home Based Entrepreneur From Germany”
thanks again for this wonderful opportunity and the great experience to work with you. Just yesterday, we visited the Alsace, did an amazing walk in the mountains and visited Sélestat (Schlettstadt) between Strasbourg and Colmar. On our way home, we stopped at a hypermarket (hypermarché) and charged our car with food and wine. Although the Alsace is the “most German” part of France, you are already in France, undoubtedly. It combines the best of Germany and France, let’s take it that way. I think Americans could love the Alsace too because of that. And when you don’t have that much time, it’s awesome because distances are short and travelling with public transportation relatively easy – you can see a lot in a rather short period of time without stressing yourself out.
Keep up your great work.
Thanks for coming here first, Oliver.
I just realized that I had not linked your name to your site, so just updated that now. The post looks great I think.
Please, look for comments as more may be speaking to you 🙂 than me. It’s was fun and I had a great time posting this, hopefully people will have a great time reading it 🙂
Thank you Sylviane. Appreciate that.
Every time I come to this blog I want to put on my travelling shoes! Oliver, the town you live in looks so beautiful in that photo. Europe has such grand architecture that sometimes it makes me sad to be living in what we call “cookie cutter houses” here in suburban USA. I relate to what you were saying about listening to French. I took French lessons for many years and I could read and write it pretty well but when I visited France I was completely lost trying to understand what anyone was saying. And I thought Americans talked fast!
Your insight about government made me laugh because it sounds like the US, too. We love to hate our government but we want it to solve our problems… but it doesn’t. That’s probably human nature. Government is a little like our parents. We want their money and support but they better not tell us what to do!
Thanks to both of you Sylvianne and Oliver for this glimpse into two amazing countries!
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What makes Europe so attractive and “special” in a way as the architecture goes is that is old. There’s just something about old stuff.
The problem with learning languages in school is that it’s not sufficient to understand every day conversation once you go to the country. I remember my first time in London with my school and my “school English”. It was a catastrophe! We could hardly understand anything at all. But because of it I remember that we had a lot of belly laughs, and that’s still worth it 🙂
Yes, in the end all government end up to resemble a lot 🙂
Thanks for your visit to Germany and France 🙂
thanks for your kind comment. Yes, it is a beautiful town and we are blessed to live there. I like your governments/parents-analogy, hits the nail on its head.
And you are right: The French talk really fast and they cut off endings, especially folks from Paris.
I forgot to reply about the speaking fast. LOL! It’s that any foreigner thinks that people from another language speak fast.
However, with that said, French is faster than English as a whole, you’re right. That’s why when an English speaking person speaks French it sounds like “French in slow motion”. like “bonjour” sounds like “bonnejourrraaaa” 🙂
when I did the dubbing English –> French on some of my videos, I noticed that Michael Dlouhy and Tom Schreiter spoke really fast too. I spoke in French faster than in English whereas it was really stressful to keep up with Tom’s and Michael’s English in French. The French have to speak fast because their syntax is more complicated so the same sentence is usually longer in French than it is in English. Or am I mistaken ?
You’re right Olvier, the typical French sentence would be longer if translated than the typical English sentence. But French is what “I” call a flat and short language. Not much ups and downs in tones and words are said “fast” or “short”.
Like I was explaining in a comment previous, bonjour is two short syllables. But when an American says the word it sounds like four syllables 🙂 like bone-your- re-aaa 🙂 🙂
I lived in France for 8 years. I did not get a chance to visit Germany but I took German in high school. I like the town where you live. I also like the border crossing video. Sylviane is a good friend of mine; we work together and we are both business minded. I just wrote my first book WE ARE JOSEPH.
I think France has more in common with Germany than with any other European country. The auto industry, the food industry, and the banking industry in France and Germany share similarities. France and Germany are the most dominante economies in Europe. They miror each other in many ways.
I enjoyed reading the interview and I hope to read some of your blogs soon. Thank you.
Thank you for coming by Joseph and I’m glad you enjoyed the interview.
thanks for your appreciative comment. German and French economies are a tricky thing. It is said that France’s credit rating would be C if its banks had to show their true engagement with Greece. Its car industry is at rockbottom, or not quite yet, who knows. As I said, both countries believe in super-natural powers of governments, the French even more so…that means that France focused on prestigious industries like nuclear power generation and aircraft construction – industries heavily protected and sponsored by their government.
How’s your German today ?
what a coincidence that you are here.
I have never been to Germany but I plan on visiting soon. My husband went to university in Heidelberg so we must go there to see if it’s changed much. Plus, I would love for my husband to be official translator for me for once.
It was really fascinating to see your view of the French. compared to how say Americans and French Canadians see the French. The one thing i will say is that the French are not rude. I think many non French misinterpret confidence for arrogance and rudeness. Or at least that is my theory..
Glad to meet you Oliver. I’ll see you around. Maybe even Germany. You never know?
I was really hoping your would come and read this interview. Can you believe that in all those years I’ve never been to German? The main reason was that I could not speak either German or English when I lived in France. But I know that next time I’m going to France, I’ve got to go there!
I so agree with you that some people confuse confidence with arrogance. I’ve spent a few years among Latinos and that’s exactly what I felt. Because the French woman is much more confident and not nearly as submissive as the Latino woman I was thought of to be arrogant. Well, far from it! Different cultures make different mentalities, that’s all!
Thanks for coming by, Annie 🙂
glad to see you around here too (after I visited your wonderful blog).
Heidelberg is beautiful and we are not very far away from Heidelberg, a 90 minutes-drive (and we have the same romantic river, the Neckar)
So let me know when you are in Germany…
Thanks for your comment.
I enjoyed this interview very much! This is the first time I’ve been to Sylviane’s blog, and felt drawn to it it today!
A large part of our network marketing business is in Europe, and we are hoping to get there this year to meet many of the people in our group. Our office is in Dusseldorf, and our Paris branch just opened this month. On a recent trip to Japan, Larry and I were able to meet halfway I suppose with some of our leaders from Germany and Austria and learn more about the wonderful people, places and experiences of your beautiful countries.
Two of our top leaders in Los Angeles are from France and both are dynamic women! They have assisted in language translation for our company, and helped with the opening of the office in Paris.
Our closest friend is Romanian, and travels to work in Europe most of the year, building the business and works with his people. I loved the video! It reminds me of our good friend telling us about taking the train from country to country, and how surreal it is because everything is so close together.
Thanks Sylviane and Oliver for a taste of Germany and France!
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Very nice to see you here. I am glad that you enjoyed the interview. I had fun asking the questions and Oliver gave wonderful answers.
Hope to see you around soon. Looks like your business is huge!
yeah, Sylviane is right, sounds like a huge business. And yes, sometimes it is surreal that everything is so close together and you can travel from one country to the other without customs or border controls (apart from Switzerland). The € is certainly helpful too whereas we are paying a high price for it, too.
Thanks for your comment.
Cool interview, opens a lot of ideas for my own content.
so what did catch your attention the most ?
Interesting interview Oliver and Sylviane!
I am half French half Greek living in Italy and working as a business coach.
Today Germany is the focus of all Europe as it is a crucial moment where real collaboration and values are integrated between all countries of the EEC to reach prosperity and balance.
I like what you say about the relationship of France and Germany being like an old couple i think we need to renew all relationships in Europe right now we need more love passion and collaborative vision, would you agree on this?
I’ve noticed yesterday that you were living in Italy. I am Italian from my father side. So, I am half French half Italian, but never spoke Italian as my parents spoke only French to me.
My father moved to France from Sicily with his siblings at age 17. His French was therefore perfect. I’ve been to Italy 3 times.
chances are you’re right that the relationships in Europe need a renewal. I would distinguish between the official relationships between the governments and within the EU and the true relationships between people, the citizens of different countries.I think that people don’t have any real problems with each other, but governments. They will never unite – and this is probably a good thing because it maintains diversity. In addition to that, politicians are selfish. Angela Merkel doesn’t want to be the chancellor who buries the euro, that’s why it needs to be maintained at all cost. Sarkozy knew about her vulnerability and used it to “blackmail” her politically.
And hey, you are a true cosmopolite, are you not ?
Thanks for your comment.
Hi Sylviane, I enjoyed the interview also! I haven’t been to France yet, only to Germany a couple of times. I should’ve learned Germany before going there, because I stayed at Hotels where they only spoke German. But then, I went to Spain and Bulgaria also, and not many people spoke English there either. One can’t learn all the languages in a short time. I wasn’t very popular where I stayed in Germany, it was a beautiful little hotel in Aachen, and I went for a short course to the University for a few days. I remember having to get up early on my last day and had to get a taxi to the train station. So, I asked one of the students at the University, if he would write a note for me, asking the hotel manager to call a taxi for me. I gave the manager the note and he just grunted and gave it back to me. I heard him speaking on the phone a few minutes later, and it sounded like he was calling a Taxi. I didn’t really know until the Taxi arrived the next morning:-) Looking forward to coming back to your blog again Sylviane! Regards from Julieanne
PS. my surname has 2 words, but I’m not allowed to have more than 2 words in my name:-)
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Yes, your story is the reason I’ve never been to Germany. No German and back then not even English. European countries back, then any way, were notorious to NOT speak any of the language there were neighboring to no matter how close to the border you might have been. I’ve seen that happened with my own eyes 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. See you soon again at your blog 🙂
Hi Oliver and Sylviane,
Great interview Oliver. I remember you sharing with us on your blog about having to learn French in school and why. That the German language was a lot more difficult but I couldn’t imagine having to learn another language.
I’ve never been to France or Germany for that matter but would love to visit some day. I can only imagine how beautiful they both are.
I didn’t realize that bridge was so easily accessible. Heck, we’ve got border patrols here. So you don’t need a passport to enter into another country? That’s fascinating.
I got my lesson today about France and Germany and how they are similar and different. Thanks for sharing your views with all of this with us Oliver and always a pleasure to see you at Sylviane’s place. Hope you both have a wonderful week.
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How glad I am! That blog which had been a dead log for so long, because I wasn’t doing the right thing, and now me replying to comments every single day! I love it!
Every language as it’s “pros and cons” so to speak, when it comes to their difficulties. German and French have a much harder grammar than English does, but for a foreigner English is harder to pronounce and understand. To me German is easier to pronounced (or was) but man, they have a tough grammar as I heard some people explain it to me and they were French with our own being grammar crazy too 🙂
I’ve never been to Germany, but next time I go to Europe I really want to go, Oliver game me the German bug now 🙂
With Europe unification we do not need to show passports anymore traveling from one country to the other. How cool is that?
thanks for your comment. Yes, we don’t need passports or identity cards to get from one country to the other – Switzerland is an exception because they’re not part of the European Union. So you have to pay your duty too, either way.
And of course, the outer borders of the European Union are heavily protected, Europe is a fortress.
Let us know when you come to Europe.
Frankly, true. Customer satisfactory level is at a low phase which is highly priced in France unlike in other European countries that gives more than what you expect with a price you would not believe.
as high the average quality of foods and services are in France, more expensive doesn’t automatically mean better. It’s probably especially true in France where they have many myths and are proud about their food, wine etc. So you might end up buying a myth at low quality but high price.
Thanks for your comment.
Hi Oliver and Sylviane,
Thanks so much to both of you for the interview. I have talked to Oliver via Skype in the past and had the privilege to be a guest on Oliver’s blog so I know a little about Oliver.
Being an Australian I am always in awe of how you can cross countries as you can. In Australia you can drive for days and still be in Australia 🙂
I lived in the UK for 12 months in my 20’s and spent a bit of time traveling in Europe. I love both of your countries. I speak very bad French (school type) and zero German so I am always in awe of people who do languages like you do Oliver.
Thanks to you both
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thanks for your comment and your compliment. And well, after driving for days, you would still have to swim for days to get anywhere else, right ? Well, that his its charm too, of course.
Sylvaine you couldn’t have chosen a better choice. I know Oliver and visit his blog each week.
Oliver… Thanks for explaining your perspective on Europe (France and Germany) Here in the U.S. we have different ideas, but you my friend bring it all to life. I remember your blog about learning French.
I had to chuckle to myself when you mentioned food. I have many friends in France and they are all about food. So am I being Italian-American. We live to eat. Then complain we are gaining weight lol!
Oh…And Thanks for running over that bridge Oliver to show us how close these two countries are together.
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Yes, this was a good choice, wasn’t it? Oliver gave some good answers that many people could learn from.
The video, that wasn’t Oliver, just a video I picked up from YouTube to show a cross border by foot. Oliver lives about 2 hours from the French border so he needs a car 🙂
thank you for your appreciation. Yeah, Sylviane has already clarified that it is not my video, but it could have been one of mine 😉
That’s really a cool question: Do you live to eat or do you eat to live ? I do both actually, not always at the same time and I have to do something about getting heavier…
Great interview. Talk about an education in French and German. I have many friends from both countries, but what a treat it was to really get it from two people that live there still. I love learning about other countries, their culture and what makes them so unique. Oliver is so well-spoken, articulate and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interview and learning more about him.
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Nice to see you here 🙂 Yes, Oliver gave a very detailed view of France and Germany. This post sure attracted a lot of comments.
Thanks for coming by, Sonia and I’m glad enjoyed the interview.
thanks for your comment and appreciation…
Hi Sylviane and Oliver,
This is my first time here and what a treat! This was an awesome interview! Although being from Germany myself I knew a lot of what you shared above, but still learned a great deal. I always was amazed about how the French could eat for hours. They really enjoy their food and rightfully though as it is very delicious. One of my priced possessions that I brought with me from Germany when I moved to the States is “Tante Marie’s Kochbuch” (Aunt Marie’s Cookbook) chuck full with French recipes (well, it’s a French cookbook). Hmmm French food is just so delicious! Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t share my love for French food so I hardly cook out of that cookbook anymore.
But Oliver, you make my mouth water all the time with those awesome pictures you post on Facebook 🙂 You should have been a Chef.
Well, again, very well done interview. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview with Oliver. I had no idea you were German, and had grandparents from France. I though you were from here, the US, but I see now that you’re more like Oliver and me 🙂 Glad you came to this blog, so now I know 🙂
I’m sorry your husband doesn’t like French food, I rarely ever heard that :0
Yes, in France Sunday or holiday dinners that are actually lunches there, can last for hours. Some people are worst than others in this area. My mother thought that a couple of hours at the table was enough for big family reunions, some people make it last 3-5 hours 🙂
really ? Randy doesn’t like French food, now that’s interesting 😉
Thanks for your comment and your compliment, well I could have written way more…the longer I think about it, the more new ideas I have…
I certainly love cooking but I wouldn’t make a business cooking…that is something else, is it not ?
I hope the day will arrive we can cook and eat together…
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