No, I never was born to stay at home and look after the kids. Neither did I do that really. However, earlier this year I had the opportunity to have a couple of weeks off. That meant I could help my wife and be just like a “Stay At Home Dad”. Of course this wasn’t really the case as my wife made it quite clear on day one that she expects certain things to happen her way, and that I shouldn’t think that I don’t have responsibility and…..
We never fought again. I wouldn’t dare to ignore any untidiness in the house left by my 3 and nearly 5 year old. Nor would I complain about her mess but quietly tidy after anyone in the house. Fortunately I got myself out of any ironing or cleaning jobs and was allowed out to meet my friends on a regular basis. Any time for me, e.g. sitting on the computer or taking a nap, had to be in agreement with the household or done in between school runs.
This sounds like I was living under the thumb yet if you have a set routine, and my wife has, it is me that needs to fit in. Effectively I was almost a disturbance in the routine as much as I was help.
School runs are tricky. The first one starts at 9 am sharp, so he has to have breakfast, and lunch is usually prepared the night before by my wife. Only a few weeks later I made the first lunch for the boys and loved doing it, packing their little things and envisaging their little faces when opening the boxes and find something special.
Number two has to be in the creche by 9.15 and be picked up by 1 pm. That means, by the time you are home and had your 2nd espresso, it leaves you a maximum of 3 hours to tidy, do some errands, clean, go to the gym, do some shopping, discuss a website or just chill out, before you are back to pick him up. If you are lucky he is asleep and won’t wake up until you pick up the other one at 3 pm. That gives you just under 2 hours where you are either fully engaged in playing hotwheels or any other toys your youngest fancies or he is asleep and by the time he wakes up you push him to eat. However, you cannot plan this. Maybe that is where I should mention that our youngest isn’t a good eater, so any distraction like ipad, TV or anything is helpful and almost necessary to feed him.
So by the time you pick up the older one who is grumpy as he is tired from school, you make it home via the crisps and chocolate shop, to end up in front of the TV. The boys relax, have something to nibble and you can catch up on 20 minutes sleep. Time to prepare dinner, their milk or milk shake, our dinner, the next day, the bath, the bed time story and the write up of the latter. Now off to have a glass or two of wine before you fall asleep in the middle of the movie. Shattered you crawl into bed at 9 pm and if you are lucky sleep undisturbed until about 2 am.
But what have I learned?
Nothing is probably different to any other household’s routine.
A lot of respect I have learned for any mother, particular my wife, who day in day out is capable of keeping up with the two youngsters, doesn’t fall asleep with the TV on and doesn’t use the ipad to entertain them all the time. I have respect for her patience, persistence and her stamina to keep those two young fellas happy, content and entertained.
I learned that my wife has time for nothing in between school runs and “free time” as such is when I come home at night telling her about my day at my work. Facebook becomes an outlet for her misery (in good terms) and a platform for her to seek like minded mums and receive and give help from/to them.
Also, from just a few weeks, I see how difficult it is to not be with the family and be at work; I am back at work and only see them at the weekend, and I learned to be with them in every moment. I almost leave my phone at home, make plans and try to be spontaneous, trying to be the best dad in the world, as I only have 48 hours each week to prove it. That is besides the days I work from home or the twenty minutes in the morning.
I look back to my time off and think I might have been a burden to my wife more than a real help. I might have got too used to play hotwheels and being there for the boys. They might have got too used to me being at home too. I bonded. We bonded as a family and went bowling, ate poppadoms, drew pictures, played in the mud, fell asleep next to each other and at the end of the day had a lot of fun.
Whilst I am not sure when I next have the opportunity to disturb the well organised life of the three most important people in my life, I truly enjoyed every minute of this one!
Thanks for letting me be part of your everyday life.
Thank you, my wife, for being there for those two and endure them every day.
I love you all!
Having achieved a nice even number for my Sunday Columns, I thought I divide it by 52 weeks to see how many years I am writing my column. It has been exactly 5 years. It was 1st of March 2009 when I first published a column: Sunday Column (1).
At that time I didn’t know that I would take redundancy about 6 weeks later, 8 weeks prior to my first son to be born. It was 2009 and a lot of businesses weren’t doing too well. I didn’t know that the remainder of the year became a challenging journey which ended in a job that catapulted me to where I am today. And I didn’t know that it repeated itself, if slightly different, 4 years later.
I am not planning to write my autobiography (yet) but maybe one day I will look back and notice patterns. Many years ago I listened to someone giving a talk suggesting that every 6 months there is change. That doesn’t mean a new job every 6 months but maybe something changes within a job/relationship. It has been a challenging time the last 5 years, yet a good time. Lots of learning. Lots of fun. Lots of tears. Life as it is.
Supposedly the years that you have children, kick start your career, buy your first house and go through lots of changes meant to be turbulent. Not even mentioning the recession and downturn. But since 2013 we are back on the up, and 2014 will be awesome. I feel it. Maybe my Sunday Columns will one day form part of my next book.
Sometimes I wonder whether my Sunday Column becomes a diary or summary of the week. I set it up initially to talk about my view on things. More often than not I try to keep it non political and avoid hot topics, as I don’t like offending anyone unless absolutely necessary.
But of course I have some opinions. Over the years I found other media to express my expert opinions, like Mediaposts, iMedia or comments on personal development sites. That leads to me having less of a focused blog. Less work related and more life related stuff. Of course this might change.
If nothing else I discovered my inner self over the past few years, and in much more intensity during the last few months. Coaching, and unleashing power from within is very powerful. Unfortunately this year’s event by Anthony Robbins is too soon, I was hoping it was in May. I feel that over the past few months I have touched on the new Ballueder on to whom I am going to build even more. Writing itself has helped me expressing both my thoughts, experience and actions. It helps me to cope with life.
When I started this blog I had no idea that I would end up being where I am today and now I don’t know where I might be in five years from now. I might be back in London, Germany, Scotland or still live where I am. I might have more kids and a bigger family close by or….but you never know, do you? I wish it stays the same and just becomes more amazing.
It comes back to the thought that we should live in the here and now and enjoy every bit of life when we can. If that is the weekends with the kids or my train journey using the time, sleeping less to exercise or taking time for myself to go mountain biking. Whatever it is, treat time as precious, you cannot stop it or bring it back. And, isn’t it nice to not know about the future?
Excitement. Looking back and looking forward.
Let me finish with that. Let’s see what the next five years hold.
Routine. Let me start this post with talking about routine. One is set in one’s routine, set in one’s way. We all are. From the breakfast we have to the bed time routine. Mine hasn’t really been any for the past 10 months. But now I am back to establish my 5.15 alarms, exercises and regular trains.
It means you need to establish your regular night times, hours in bed, undisturbed sleeps, alarms and regular fitness routine. All that whilst still getting used to a new job. It has only been three weeks yet it feels like three months. One could say I am busy but in a good sense. I am really enjoying it! I am still very excited!
Then I saw an interesting graph this week. Focus: the things that matter and the things that you can influence. So based on the graph we really should only focus on the intersection of what we can influence and what really matters. I guess this is part, if not the basis, of productivity.
Of course that all ties in with routine too. Whilst focusing on my daily workout and focusing on the right exercise for core strength, ankle support and muscle toning, I also need to focus on cardio and the right, healthy food. Nothing seems disconnected. The half pint more at night causes a slight slump in performance the next day. I am getting there, a challenging path still in front of me, well worth at the end. A few weeks or months down the line I will be proud of sticking to this new routine, seeing and feeling the results.
It comes a bit at a price. I have been unproductive on my train journeys into work and instead caught up on sleep. Nothing is disconnected. I am finishing my coaching this week for the foreseeable future and made a lot of progress. I still need to focus on more implementation and continue to work on some things. Yet over the last few months coaching helped me a lot in terms of focus, which now is integrated into my routine.
Last but not least it was half term. I have been jealous about the activities my wife came up with for the boys. Bowling being one of it I missed, poppadoms another. Seeing the pictures I wish I could be with them all the time. It makes my heart sink thinking about them growing up and one day living their own life with us not being there all the time. We need to learn to let go, guess another process to learn. We cannot hold on to time and development just for our own sake. We cannot hold their hands forever or think they stay young all the time.
I guess that’s it for the week. I spent the weekend holding on to what I can and enjoying whilst I can. And getting fit, see earlier post.
Have a great week.
The week started with Rohan’s 3rd birthday party. It was fantastic. I never realised how much I enjoy kids’ sweets, cleaning up and enjoying to watch a 3 year old unwrapping presents. Their innocence, ignorance, excitement (all in a good sense) is amazing, heart melting. Never before had I more of a desire to pause time and just enjoy a moment forever.
As cheesy as it might sound I really enjoy the boys at their current age. Building and playing hot wheels. It is their main thing and sometimes, when they are still asleep and I am up during the week, I catch myself setting up the course or putting a car through the loop. The remote control car gets more used by me than anyone else
My life focus has changed. Not so much my commitment to either family or work, but thanks to my coach I enjoy a lot more focus. I am more productive in what I do, either at work or at home. Now I need to get back into a exercise routine, early mornings and the commute. It feels like I haven’t had much routine commuting over the past 10 months. But as a friend just said to me, 2013 was about focusing and getting direction. 2014 is to take off.
I feel the same. I am sitting in my little rocket ready to fly off to explore new space!
I said it before: I have a good feeling about this year. I am confident that when I will be looking back to this year I would have made a few really good decisions. And everything will have worked out and it will just be the beginning of something bigger, better and more stable.
This week I walked a lot through London, including Soho. Some parts have changed. A lot of restaurants I used to know closed, new ones opened. Some places I associate good memories with have gone. Some parts are still as dirty as they were 9 years ago when I last worked in that area. I came a long way since
Whilst I enjoy this trip down memory lane, thinking those were the days when we were young, there is nothing replacing what we have in the now. Besides us making our place even more homely over the next few months, there is nothing like coming home. I feel at home, I am home. Life has changed (me) since I arrived in the UK almost 13 years ago.
The train ride I am writing this on is very bumpy, at least not many delays as we are (surprisingly) little affected by the flooding. However, it still beats me how a train can be 15 minutes late on an hour’s journey with it going at decent speed? That is 25% longer than it is supposed to be. Never mind, I stay positive with the train system in the UK. One must.
There are delays expected for tomorrow, flooding causes delays and bus replacement services. Luckily we are on high ground and I feel sorry for the ones affected by flooding.
The weekend was nice: both in terms of weather and relaxation. I sorted my ankle which is causing shin splints out by going to the chiropractor. We went for a nice walk in the woods and explored nature. Yet, we cancelled due to suspected bad weather to meet some friends. A shame but you never know what the weather holds these days.
Overall I am happy. The only things that niggles me is my work laptop. Going back to a Windows machine after having used Apple for almost a year feels clunky and non intuitive. But those are minor details and I might just change that soon
Have a good week,
An exciting week lies behind me. I started my new job with a trip to Eindhoven and a day in Amsterdam, flying back late on Wednesday. The UK was full of storm and rain. I sat on the plane and felt like I arrived: A new challenge to evangelise, position and sell targeting in real time based on TV ads triggering the delivery. A new chapter in the RTB (real time bidding) ecosystem. Connecting broadcast to online ads. Yes, I am very excited!
We came a long way in our industry, and more technology is now enabling us to do more sophisticated things, to make ads more relevant to the users. As I like to tell my stories, four years ago a company that recently filed an IPO still worked off excel sheets. So the rumours anyway. For me this stands as a testament that the industry came a long way, a very long way and is slowly but surely growing up. Pure awesomeness
Another thing I am equally excited about is tomorrow, my son’s third birthday. It feels like no time since he was born. He still doesn’t sleep through but charms himself through everything, cuteness 10/10 we were told. There is going to be lots of fun ahead as he grows older.
Whilst travelling I enjoyed an app called “7 quick fit“, an app allowing you to do strength exercises only using your own body weight, finishing 30 second long stints of push ups, jumping jacks etc. in 7 minutes. Ideal when travelling and yet still exhausting. I enjoyed it and might do it more often, potentially additionally to my gym sessions. We shall see. I also would like to find a sauna routine as (miraculous) I haven’t been ill yet. Both my new boss and colleagues have had the flu, also my wife and kids. But I am in a lot better shape than I was before Christmas. 2014 WILL be my fittest year (ever) yet.
If there was anything to moan about this week it would have to be Easyjet’s flight from Amsterdam to London Gatwick. I couldn’t get speedy boarding, ending up in the back of the plane. The flight then was delayed by 35 minutes and with such a short flight one hardly get anything finished, almost not even the glass of red Luckily the service was switched on and quick…
Tube strikes. Transport problems. Bad weather. We just cannot control everything, can we? I am working hard to accept the fact to not being able to and not getting annoyed at situations you cannot change. Having had a few days off really helped me to improve my state of mind. With the help of my coach I feel like I achieved everlasting change. That was the aim. 2014 will be awesome and already is!
Is life that simple? Surely not. A friend’s dad passed away this week. Cancer. It reminds me of posts I wrote before that we need to really try and prevent diseases by living healthy, staying active and eating well. But even then there is no guarantee that we will be spared. My thoughts are with his family.
As I famously wrote before, from Buddhism, the suffering stops for the one that leaves us and our pain increases. We are still here and need to cope with the endless suffering.
Let me finish here for this week. I got a day off to celebrate tomorrow and I tell you, I am so looking forward to it!!! The best present is the one from me (no bias), a remote controlled monster truck. It is so much fun to play with it….. :-))
Have a fantastic week.
The 9:04 train becomes a 9:14 and I see myself London bound a lot earlier than anticipated, catching a delayed train prior to my original plans. It is a rainy day today and I am reflecting a bit on the past few months. Tomorrow I start a new challenge, a few months ago I would have called it a ‘gig’ but I believe this is more. This is an exciting opportunity to evangelise, to start something new around the “2nd screen” opportunity: a new job, a career. It is about linking TV advertising, connected and unconnected TV, to your second screen: laptop, tablet, mobile. This is going to be amazing. Tomorrow morning I will start some training and of course report back next week.
I had a few days off in between jobs and will properly reflect this in a separate post later on. I enjoyed spending time with the boys, with the wife, getting involved in the daily routine and disturb it somewhat with my presence. I had one day I spend most of the day dozing on the couch, watching Monster Trucks on YouTube, only interrupted for a massage and picking up the take away from the front door. I had some me time yet never stopped engaging with my industry on Twitter, Facebook, in person, or by reading articles. I love what I do and the industry I am in. Could life be any better?
Working with my coach I have been thinking of trade offs. What if scenarios. Would I be happier working local and not having a career in London? Would I be happier moving back to London and not commute for an hour? Or what, god forbid, we were two earners living in a London flat without family, DINK (double income no kids)?
I don’t think so! If nothing else I realised over the last few months is that family is an important part in my life. It is something I truly enjoy, something that makes life worthwhile. My life is planned around it. Yet, on the other hand, career and success are important too. So my life needs to balance both, and I believe I manage quite well. Of course there is always room for improvement, but I life is good. We are making the most out of it.
I often get asked why I openly share all these thoughts in public? The reason is twofold. On the one hand it is a way for me to express myself, air myself and share my thoughts. If you disagree you don’t have to read it. The other part is about sharing my life, people can, and based on feedback they do, relate to my life, and take a thought or two into their own life. We as people have this greater unconscious. I believe we are all made out of the same material if you like, and think similar, similar basic standards. Of course there are a few exceptions. Speaking to industry peers, friends in Hassocks, family, dads, career driven people, they often have common reasoning similar to myself. Someone in the industry changed jobs recently to have more time for their family whilst other can block it out and work 24/7 regardless. I try to balance it and so do most people.
Everybody has their own twist to their purpose in life. A friend recently decided to pack a suitcase and jet off around the world. I envy him for it but at the same time he doesn’t have the same commitments I have. We keep comparing ourselves to others, yet forget people have different circumstances why they are in the position they are. Also, everyone has their own perception and conviction to live life the way they want. No one seems equal if you like. We live our life according to our needs and means. That’s really it, and to be honest not a new revelation.
The closer one lives their life in accordance with one’s values, convictions and dreams, the happier one becomes. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have about two or three hours commute in order to read, catch up on personal things, TV, blog posts, industry news etc. I wouldn’t know where to fit it in. I soon will fly more across Europe and this will be disconnected time. I cannot wait for this quality time. An hour or so of just me and my thoughts. Amazing. Yes, there might be work that needs doing but that’s fine, undisturbed time for emails and presentations.
These are my thoughts this week. Not much more to add. As promised I will fill you into more job details over the next few weeks.
Have a great week, a great February for that matter. My youngest will turn 3 already. Where has the time gone?
Love and Happiness,
This weekend I was made aware of re/code’s latest article on Ad-Tech Valuation.
This is worth sharing I thought, looking at our complex Luma Landscape in Digital.
According to the article the main points to consider for the valuation of adtech companies are
- Operating Leverage
- Strategic Value
Net revenue is still key, e.g. the media costs which sometimes blow up balance sheets are neglected, so if a company takes 20% margin or 58% is a huge difference. In other words the latter might be valued higher despite a lower gross revenue (media).
For valuation purposes Luma groups companies into:
- Network 1.0
- Network 2.0
This of course explains, and please read the article in full, why most companies aim to be in the SaaS bracket, a programmatically driven platform with own technology, ongoing contracts. On the other spectrum are the I/O based networks.
What becomes clear to me is that our industry is growing up. Our digital industry is changing. We move from the network I/O business to specialised adtech partners (programmatic) to SaaS companies.
To my mind this is not only a market valuation ‘play’ but foremost a market shift. We start to think differently about media and as companies we are more accountable for what we do. Hence bespoke solutions based on solid tech and data input make our companies valued more within the marketplace to our clients. This is key to any business and not different in digital. However, it is still new to digital. Somewhat it shows how immature our markets had been prior to programmatic and with the increased value for customers, we ultimately create shareholder value.
Yet we should consider that we are just starting the shift, and that the old network model is still alive. It will be for a few years but slowly comes to an end over the next couple of years.
Please see below for the Slideshare presentation.