An interview with Felix Holzapfel

Interview by Leslie Barrett

What inspired your story?

Three main elements inspired me:

First, my having worked for two decades in the IT and digital marketing industry. While explaining the latest trends to an elite audience, I thought that parts of IT are
knowledge everyone should have – especially in our day, when technology is omnipresent and about to change some of humanity’s fundamentals.

Second, after sell ing our company, I took a one-year sabbatical to travel the world with
my wife and our two children. I visited creative hotspots and benefitted from fascinating
conversations with industry experts, entrepreneurs, and other inspiring people. Many of
these inspirations found their way into the book.

Third, we returned home in February 2020, just before Covid-19 changed the world. This
extraordinary stroke of fate influenced what I had been thinking about and added new
ideas to my initial concept for this book.

Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes! Don’t ever think you’re not capable of influencing the bigger picture. If everybody
felt that way, a few would paint the bigger picture for all of us; a picture that’s not likely
to match our expectations. If we each contribute our little piece, the bigger picture of our
future will become more significant, more colorful, and more beautiful than we can
imagine. Contributing is up to all of us. With this book, I want to encourage as many people as possible to think—from radically new perspectives—how humanity, technology, the economy, and our society might develop in the future. Even better, I want people to think about how they would like our world to change and how each of us can become an active part in the decision-making process that has already begun.

You took a one-year sabbatical to travel the world with your wife and your two children. You say that you found a lot of inspiration during this journey that helped you hone this book’s idea. Can you give us examples of what inspired you?

While we were traveling, so many things inspired me every day that it feels unfair to pick
out just a view. But let me try:

In many places we visited, nature reminded us of how unimportant human beings are.
We are just short-term visitors—often behaving, unfortunately, like we are the owners.
We met plenty of different people with plenty of different backgrounds at plenty of
different locations. We were lucky and had many insightful conversations about such
topics as the different social and cultural standards in other regions of the world; the use
of technology; life in general. Many of these conversations found their way into this book.
Traveling with a four-year-old and a two-year-old slows you down perfectly and healthily—
especially if you have as much travel time as we did. Instead of rushing from one destination to the next we stayed at least three days at every place we visited. The little ones are excellent in teaching that it’s often not the big but the alleged small things in life that matter. While adults are excited by large highlights like the sequoia trees in the Yosemite National Park, children have much more fun throwing small leaves into a rapid at Lewis Creek.

Your book’s main objective is to motivate people to think about future challenges in technology, society, and humanity, and—best-case—to actively participate in decision-making happening right now. How can each of us contribute?

This is an excellent question. Our world is moving faster than ever. Thus, that people can’t see the forest for the trees is no surprise. In Catch-42, I try to take people by the hand, step back, and look at the big picture. If Catch-42 somehow makes readers think, then they can become active participants in decision-making by following three simple steps that I list at the book’s conclusion. The bottom line for readers is: learn more about the book’s topics that catch your interest, talk with others to gain new perspectives and create a grassroots movement, and don’t let others paint the bigger picture for you. Everyone needs to become an active part of
the decision-making-process!

In addition, I included examples of fundamental questions that we should all think about from time to time and try to find consensus—even though we may thoroughly disagree on the answers.

What qualifies you to write Catch-42—a book that covers not only a wide range of technologies but also questions fundamentals involving today’s way of life, our society, and our core values?

One of the key points I make in Catch-42 is that to understand the full impact of
converging technologies, connecting the dots among different disciplines may be more
important than ever. To be an expert in every aspect is almost impossible because of the
variety of topics. Nevertheless, I tried to gain as much knowledge as possible and melt
different worlds into one fascinating story. In my over two decades working in the IT and marketing industries for some of the world’s leading brands, I acquired extensive knowledge in a variety of areas in a short time. The experience trained me to ask the right questions while I gained invaluable insights from clients across a wide range of categories—some tech-heavy, others related to social behaviors, desires, or people’s everyday needs. We created solutions
for different target audiences across all imaginable social demographics. In addition, I benefitted from my family background in writing Catch-42. I grew up in an environment where talking politics was valued. My grandmother co-founded a publishing house that publishes the annual book of all politicians who are part of the German government. When I was a teenager, I visited her daily. During lunch, we discussed past and current political developments. These conversations were just one of the influences that shaped my interest in global politics that I’ve had to this day.

These factors may not make me the perfect candidate to have written this futuristic call-to-action book, but I’m confident that at the least Catch-42 will enable readers to look at life fundamentals from different perspectives. I know that I went above and beyond to pack as much passion, knowledge, and creativity in the book as I could.

To find out more about the book or Felix, visit: