Sunday Column (467)

Another week in the run up to Christmas. It was a week I spent predominately at home, researching, studying and mulling over my coaching and consulting proposition. It was also a time of writing and outputting more content. On a personal note, if you haven’t done yet, please read and like/comment on the following articles, maybe even share it. No apologies for the shameless punt, but any exposure would be greatly appreciated, despite the Drum feeding me exciting figures back already. What I write resonates within the industry, that is good to hear!

* DMP/CDP post in the Drum
* Consulting and Career post in the Drum
* Growth Mindset

Why I write about data, and hopefully I embark on a few data projects moving forward, is because it becomes key to programmatic execution and is now available at scale and quality. Two factors that haven’t been met over the past few years. That is where programmatic comes into full play.

The other article is more about a shift in our industry. Just this week I spoke to someone who took redundancy at a big tech company this summer, who joined a start up which might be sold again. It is a cycle of exits, M&A and redundancies on the back of it, unrelated to your quality of work. This is madness compared to what a career was supposed to look like according to the old view of the world, but has it changed. Let me know!

Change is everywhere and with everyone. Like a butterfly we are on a constant metamorphosis.

Yet hold on a minute. Another interesting conversation this week suggested that the career is dead and that it doesn’t matter what you do, how you do it but that you do it. To not miss the boat, to take a risk and overcome fear (despite having a family and a mortgage) to gamble essentially on the big exit. Can it be done? Did we all miss the boat on Bitcoin. Guess not all of us. I just heard about someone investing a cheeky £1,000 a couple years back, now not having a mortgage. But hold on a second, when do we know if something like Bitcoin takes off, something like Facebook etc. How much of a gamble are you willing to take and how do you cheat the system? Or, as a matter of fact, can you actually cheat the system or is it all down to luck? Can you influence luck through the LOA (law of attraction) and by playing the lottery and being a good person?

You can see that I am throwing around some buzzwords, connecting the world of believe with the world of realism. Not sure if that is the best way of putting it, but what would we have to change in our ‘personal’ system and view of the world to make the output of what we are doing just ever so slightly better. To take a punt on something like Bitcoin, or gamble on predictable things. Latter is an oxymoron isn’t it.

I am fascinated by that idea. For me, and I had enough time on my hands this week to think about it, the barriers of business and personal development, to overcome fear and building your own system into the greater macro system (see my book on #BeBetter), is an ever increasing key to success. On the back of that revelation, I started working on a framework around my book to apply to high performance achievers moving forward. Plus, I am having my first concept of a new idea at the ready to be launched in Q1. I have been busy and I will keep you posted. These are exciting times. The plan is to relaunch the ‘Ballueder’ brand with some exciting content, alongside some kind of job of course.

On other parts of my life, I manage to uphold my exercise routine and try very hard to not slack on bad food intake. It is all about what you buy and have in the cupboard, the accessibility of junk food. We are getting better at that. I increased my weekly runs to 30K in total plus two gym sessions. I find it hard but know that I will have a week off over Christmas where all I do is accompany the wife for some longer, yet slower runs. I’ll be fine and my body will have time to recover and soak up Christmas food and drinks. It is the festive season after all 🙂

Being able to take the kids to school most days, making their lunch and becoming part of their daily life, is great to get engaged. When working in London every day, I didn’t have that. Or less of it, thanks to the commute and long hours at work. I think I will get back to that at some point, however whilst it lasts, I am more than happy to enjoy the engagement and what I can do to help on a daily basis. It makes me think what life would be like to live in the country side, have a local job and be home for dinner every night – but as my wife said it would do my head in, as I am just wired completely different. So it is what it is. And she is right.

On that note I hope you are all well, getting your presents sorted and enjoy the quieter time.

Have a great week.
Love and kindness from my corner of the world.

Volker

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Thursday Flash (49)

Flash…

This week is a lot about emotions.

Importance of naming your emotions – a great article from the Energy Project.

Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink: Daily routines to change your life – he was recently interviewed by Tim Ferris, worth a listen!

These habits for an EQ (Emotional Intelligent) person can make you a better listener.

See you back in a flash 😉

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Sunday Column (466)

We are expecting the coldest night this year…or by time of reading, we would have had it. Nice, finally winter, and again from tomorrow it should get warmer. Is that global warming? Is that the beginning of the end? Anyway, the cold days are lovely, particularly if you have time to spend it with the family in front of a fire, after attending the annual ‘Light Up Hassocks’, the annual pre Christmas fair.

Some of you have noticed my more spiritual approach to things, my motivational quotes on Instagram. I have daily mantras, LOA (law of attraction) and believe the mindset is key to survival, future developments and success. Part of it is getting out of bed at 5 am – despite not working 9-5, I am still getting up at 5 am, go running or do my weights. It is getting harder, mainly because I challenge myself a bit more, but also because it is so cold. However, the effort is worth it, my circumference is back down to where it was a year ago, my weight is on track. I stopped counting calories and continue the journey. That’s what it is: a journey to weight loss, a healthier life. The bigger picture: a journey of life to survive, to live happily.

Having time is one thing. Starting a business is another. And combining the start of a business with having time is a good thing, I suppose, as you can focus on the business and have time for it too. Yet there is no income as you start and build your pipeline. There is time to do some training, hence I got a certificate for business and life coaching last week, but really I need to balance all those things “I would like to do” with “business essential things I want to do”. I am very positive about it. Before Christmas, there will be little work, and just enough to justify some business expenses. From January it looks more promising, and I am hoping to sign a contract before the end of next week.

What does that mean? It means I am now committed to work for myself in Q1. A big step. I am still keeping my ears to the ground, keeping that safety net with me. And, if there will be a big job, a great challenge, I could be tempted to go back into the security of a regular income. There are reasons for it, a master plan. I cross that bridge when I come to it, and running my own business also means I will be pickier in what I do. It comes as a gradual process going from doing a 6 months project at an agency to a 10 months project at an adtech provider to new projects next year. I just didn’t call them all consulting but essentially that is what it was. An article on that is still to come. I enjoy writing articles and hope you all read the one on DMP and CDP predictions for 2018?

There are some huge things I am learning at the moment and I am confident you can gain from that too.

– I see my kids almost every day and spend a lot more time with them. Hence I can have a lot more influence on their behaviour and teach them things about the growth mindset, personal development and watch them growing up. I am feeling blessed being able to do that. Also, I understand that will change again whether I do consulting work or a full time job. Either way I will be working more in London or abroad.

– I went through the exercise of a thorough understanding of my finances. Starting at ‘how much do we need’ and ‘how much are we willing to spend’ to ‘what’s the bare minimum’, questioning some of the things we have spend money on. I should add ‘I have spent money on’. Hence I deleted my Amazon app, as it makes it too easy to just spend a few quid here and there.

– Despite being in charge of my own time, I am not having more time. I fill the days with learning, chasing, working on databases, pitching new business and exploring everything I need to know about coaching. It is a fascinating stage and I have met some great people since starting this only 2 weeks ago.

– It puts your whole life in perspective. Thinking about the fear you have, the confidence you need, the admin you have to go through and what you are missing out on vs. what is important in your life. How do you define happiness, and how are you managing balancing fear and happiness?

Whatever comes out of the next 3+ months will be a huge amount of experience. No one prepares you for that, yet it is a mental exercise like no other. That’s it. If I end up with an employer in Q2/2018 then I have learned to much, that I add even more value than I would at the moment. If I continue as I am, then I hope I end up in two year’s time where I want to be. And from there, the sky is the limit.

You know, trusting yourself is a huge step. I always have done, and I am so grateful for the support from my family. It bolsters my confidence!

That’s my week really. How was yours?

Volker

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Thursday Flash (48)

Flash…

This Seth Godin mini blog post on negative reviews is quite crafty, and quite true. Love it.

David Allen’s one and only productivity tip, or the most important one anyway is a must read 😉

When tomorrow’s dreams become today’s actions is a nice closure for the week.

Have a good one,
Volker

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Sunday Column (465)

This week had a busy start, and a busy finish to be honest. I am starting to write on Monday night, which is late for me. No trains, no commute at the moment, still trying to figure out what I am going to do next. Strategizing life, guess that is one of my fortes, as I love strategizing. Taking a proposition to market. Turning around a market and making sure everyone is on board. People management. Process management. Allround talent for management. Team and individual coaching.

Hmm, what should I do?

I know my skills are there, and I also know – and speaking to a lot of industry friends lately – that my programmatic skills are there and they seem to be rare. Those paired with commercial acumen. Operations plus commercial. Running companies, managing big teams. I have never taken redundancy by being fired for being shit. It sometimes feels like that but I am not taking it personal, I had to let people go this year too. There is no guarantee and no stability anymore from what it looks like in the industry, which suggests to me that self-employment is the way forward. Essentially it is the same risk but with a higher reward. Plus I will be able to manage my own time. And I will be good in what I am doing, I am not worried about it. But there is fear to overcome, it is a big step being used to a senior exec salary, pension payment, and a life style. Having to pay a mortgage, putting kids through school and education and so on. Whilst I rummage about what I am going to do next, I think the there are a few full time positions still to consider. Why not being more focused, more directive and selective, and in the meantime embark on the self employed journey. Yes, this sounds like a plan!

I am open. Why wouldn’t I be? If you read that, you either are an industry friend, we met sometime ago or met randomly, or you are interested in reading my columns.
Then you might feel like you know me. So if you are reading that, from my perspective you are a friend, and with friends I am happy to share my feelings, my thoughts, my ideas. Because everyone has similar thoughts and feelings. I know I am not alone and no one is. Maybe you are in a similar situation – feel free to reach out and we grab a coffee. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks to my friends who so far helped me on the way. Giving thanks for the opportunity I have had and that will be there to come. All beginnings are hard, but there is so much help out there, I am ever so grateful for. Thank you. Thank you.

I could tell you what I did this week and particularly on Monday, I did two school runs and had dinner with my boys. I don’t remember being home for tea time for a long time and it was good to spend that much time with the boys. I am really enjoying that. I feel like I am actually part of their lives rather than rushing to another plane or meeting. Those moments are very important for me, and I enjoy that time. I didn’t have much of that this year. Now it is all about balancing my time with the kids with a future employment. I want to be more with the kids, whilst also knowing it won’t always be feasible. Balancing this is scary and challenging but if I don’t try, I won’t succeed by default. So I must try and I have the time and finances to try it for a while. Things will work out in the end. They always will, one way or another.

So let’s look forward. Let’s conquer the fear and get over it. Christmas, quiet time, is around the corner. Time to reflect. Then there will be a new year, 2018. We still don’t have flying cars, and we yet have to invent teleporting, but recent videos of robots doing back flips and mini drones killing people based on facial recognition scares me. Having worked with AI (artificial intelligence), it shows what’s possible, what humans can do. It is about opportunity without fear, trusting that technology will be used in a good way, for good causes. I guess the future will tell.

Here is to the future. And to better blog posts, but that depends on the input.
Let next week be the week that takes me a step forward.

Have a successful, peaceful and great week ahead.

Volker

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Thursday Flash (47)

Flash…

An article worth reading about the nostalgia on the internet. You might get some flash backs afterwards 😉

Then I read: Top five career lessons learned. It is all about experience and what you learn from jobs. So that’s fun!

And last but not least, and I recently read a whole book about it, there was a good find on bad body language and which behaviour you find difficult to quit. Take note!

See you next Thursday.
Volker

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Sunday Column (464)

Another week, another flight. Yes, you read correctly. As time of writing I sit on a cramped Easyjet flight back from Amsterdam. People smelling of stale cannabis and I wish I had booked a mid week flight rather than the ‘Monday after a long weekend from Amsterdam’ flight back. But I was only over for one day, one interview which turned into meeting people from the whole company. Worth the trip and experience. And when I say that, this isn’t necessarily that I got the job, as a matter of fact the positive noise in the meeting turned into a silence. It turned into something I knew would happened because I trust my gut. I trust myself and I know what I am doing. But when did you last turn down the chance for a final stage interview with a company for a big international role, a big salary because your gut told you not to? Anyway, consider it done.

However, nevertheless, the trip was very successful as it helped me in my decision making. As my former boss would say: Focus, Fight and Change the Conversation. That’s exactly what I am doing. More to come as things emerge over the next 6-8 weeks.

It finally got colder and the condensation is back in the house. We had to turn the pressure (speed) on our air distributor thingy up again. It also meant cosy nights with the fire on and it meant cold mornings in the gym. I am down in the garage 5 days a week now. 5×45 minutes of exercise. Slowly but surely I have the feeling that my body transforms, stabilises, I am getting somewhere, not gaining weight and not loosing more. That’s a good sign for me, at my age anyway 😉

Whenever you meet people in the industry, you always discover something new, or something you knew and look at it from a different perspective. I enjoy that challenge. I enjoy going out of my comfort zone and learn. Further I learned a lot about how people perceive me on LinkedIn. How one topic is seen as industry changing by some, yet hardly noticed by others. What I have been missing in some conversations this week is simple: the growth mindset. I am reading that book by Carl Dweck. The fixed mindset is about people believing their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent are simply fixed traits. The growth mindset is about people who believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. A love of learning. Like me, reading self development books and listening to podcasts all day long. You never stop learning.

Again, there will be more on that topic over the next few weeks. I am working on a concept to take this to the wider market, coaching and developing people. And people who want to be coached, want to learn. They want to develop. This week I spoke to mentors and coaches. I am getting the input I am looking for, the advice I was hoping for, but I only have 24 hours in the day. So I need to slow down, reflect, focus.

Life is about focus and about doing what you want to do and not what other people expect you to do. Life isn’t the way our parents perceived it and told us to perceive it. No fault of theirs, but that’s how it was. And what do I want to portrait to my kids. I vividly remember sitting with my mother in the living room and I said to her that when I come back from the exchange year in the US (I was 15 at the time), I might just become a car mechanic. She said that I should do at least A levels, and university or a good apprenticeship. A good foundation. She wasn’t wrong, and from what she knew then, this was the right thing to say. Now I wonder what would have happened if I did do a car mechanic apprenticeship. Maybe I would own a few garages now, making more money than I ever made.

However, there is something else: opportunity costs. Money is only one part of the greater life equation. How much money does one have to earn to compromise happiness? Which figure can you put on it? Can you really? Tell me. Direct message me and tell me how much your happiness is worth to you. And then put that money on the table and let me help you find it. Deal?

So how does a life look like for me 2 years from now? Ideally I work with a variety of companies in one capacity or another. Board memberships, non executive roles, advisory boards, hands on consulting and strategy, positioning, connecting and selling….a variety of things to make sure that companies are represented the way they should be. Additionally I would work with companies on corporate and cultural development. Coaching their employees to perform better. 1-2-1 sessions, analysing profiles etc. I would very much enjoy that plus management coaching. I have been coaching friends for a long time and mentored many, however there is so much more I can bring to someone’s life by helping them discover and connect with their inner purpose, connecting to their systems, and discovering happiness.

The right things come to your life for a reason, and at the right time. Be patient. Trust your gut and trust yourself.

To exciting times. More as my positioning is strengthening.

Love and happiness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Thursday Flash (46)

Flash…

This week you can find out 20 Ways to Build Empathy – something to improve your EQ?

Also, why strong leaders attract the best talent, and why leadership is important. It is about choosing your boss as much as your next role when looking for a new job. Definitely worth reading.

And last but not least, some hot tips and tricks around working from home (wfh).

If you liked this week, don’t forget to share it!

Have a good one,
Volker

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Sunday Column (463)

Good evening. Sunday night and as usual a busy week for me. To start out with a summary, my Monday was super busy. Working from home to get an air ventilation system installed that pumps dry air into our house in order to reduce condensation and therefore the build up of mould around the windows. We don’t have a huge problem with that so the unit we got should solve it and I am excited to slowly but surely finalise the house and get it into the ‘perfect’ state. So far it is working fantastically. I know it sounds like a daunting task but over the years you want to know what’s going on in your house and make sure the systems are running smoothly and the heating is working, the lights, etc. – guess it is my German efficiency and I just want to keep it in good repair I suppose. Sad life but as I enter middle age, the house is becoming a priority 🙂

I also added some new features to our spare bedroom in order to display my Lego model I build and also to declutter my desk, anticipating I might work from home more often again. Then I don’t want to anticipate too much, as I am still not sure what I will or want to be doing next. My last official day was on Friday, so 10 months, two jobs (running operations and Germany), and some great people and experience. I worked my butt off, flew to Germany every week and I feel like I accomplished something for the company. Some people said to me that this isn’t fair, however it is a job, and life in business isn’t always fair, is it? I never thought about it, as my thoughts are about the future, about what I will focus on moving forward. No point of looking back, I cannot change the past.

Having a few drinks with the crew, reading the leaving cards and looking at a fantastic leaving present (a nice bottle of whiskey), I cannot resist to say thank you. The team has been fantastic, a great time at Rocket Fuel, a great culture and fantastic people. Thank you. You have been fantastic. It is a small industry and paths will cross again. If I am not misinterpreting the notes, I had a positive impact on most of my staff. For that I am truly greatful. Not often can you look back and think you made an impact on someone’s life or people’s life for the better. Gave them some thoughts, some advice or just helped them to get perspective. And as always, I am happy to continue this and be there as an advisor or mentor moving forward. Don’t hesitate to reach out. My mobile is the same and most of us are now connected on various channels. Thank you once again.

Coincidental with me having my last week at work, my wife had 4 shifts to work. That meant school / child minder runs every day with the boys. Great times and thinking about it, I really enjoy waking them up in the morning and having that one on one time with them. We adding more of that individual time too, so moving forward I plan to take the youngest to Karate on a Saturday morning. Not long I will find something with the oldest too. I think that’s super important to build the bond and trust with the main priority in my life (see article on LinkedIn too).

Then I attended an industry event this week. Wow. I am impressed. Or not. I know I have been in programmatic coming up 10 years, but really, the amount of “non existing knowledge” is crazy (and no this is not lack of knowledge from the host or speakers!). Lotame invited for an amazing industry event which really show cased what needs to be done on the data side of things. However, the comments coming from the audience and some of the panel members set me back years. I had an interview earlier that day asking me about how many industry relationships I have and how many people I know, and how much I know about certain tech providers. Maybe it is stating the obvious, but if I need to speak to any industry tech or need my way into any agency, I find a way. Yet even the best relationships won’t get you a deal. I am sales by trade and I know people. People know me, this is surely not a criteria to employ or not to employ me. I have so much more to offer: leadership, management skills, processes, fun, industry knowledge, connections above and beyond and knowledge how to sell technology. Oh yes, I do listen to customer needs and if I don’t know I only sell once the integration or product team actually gave their go ahead. Sales pitch over 😉

Anyway, in the process of networking and knowing people, now that I don’t really manage people at Rocket Fuel anymore, I add them on Facebook. It seems to be a nicer way to connect and be part of people’s life, rather than the ‘professional’ LinkedIn. Latter is becoming cluttered with similar posts to Facebook and is moving into that direction. I wonder where we end up in years to come, if Snapchat can close the age gap and become an important platform, or if a newcomer will enter the market. Who knows. As with most things in the industry, you cannot predict the future or the outcome.

As the week comes to a close I reflect. It has been a good week. A good 10 months. Life is good, and I am healthy and happy. The house is better and I can put my last 10 months aside to focus on my next … 10 years maybe. The future is key and it is going to happen. I might not know how yet but it will and we will be alright. We always will be. Believe.

Things happen for a reason.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Thursday Flash (45)

Flash…

This week, there is an article about five ways to improve focus at work – some useful tips, don’t you think?

In line with that, have a think, as a business owner, how to become a great place to work! Even if you don’t own your business, how can you contribute to it?

Mike Vardy writes about ‘This is What You Do’ but really asks the question whether what you do is what you should be doing and why is it that you are doing it. Enjoy. A good read IMO.

See you soon,
Volker

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