This week I ran for the train and just got it thanks to the staff at the station opening the gate for me so I could run straight for it. Never harms to keep the important guys happy with a chit chat in the morning I missed another train this week and had to stand for a while on the crowded one after. Happens. The reasons are simple really. I still try to overcome those viruses, so I try not to jeopardise anything by going running in the morning. My alarm goes off a bit later and Rohan is still up at night, some nights getting you right out of your deep sleep phase, making you feel shattered, dizzy and sick.
But there is another reason too. Those mornings when Colin wakes up just before I go downstairs. “Dad, I woke up because the heater in my room makes a noise. Nights are for sleeping and in the morning, you have to get up and don’t sleep.” Yes son, you are so right. Nothing like sharing the joy of him having a new T-shirt with his favourite cartoon character on it. Putting on the TV. He told mummy the other day, after she mentioned we have to look something up on Google: “Google knows a lot of things, it is smart.” He knows what’s right and wrong and in his own little world he is exploring lots of things.
Then I emptied the dish washer, as I normally do in the morning, and find out all those things that have happened the day before. Rohan has a new blue cup as he lost his yellow one in Brighton. I put the wrong coloured lids on the wrong drinking cups and got told “cheeky daddy” from one and “you don’t know much, do you daddy” from the other. The joys.
I love my family, including my wife, and those special moments are great. When a four year old explains the world to you. Then he goes all quiet and tells you about the Christmas decorations at big school. There are so many things he hasn’t shared with me, as I am at work. I still find it hard not being able to be there when he gets home from school. And, I treasure the days I am, when he has his nativity play in two weeks and I will be there. Seeing him on stage I envy parents that work from home, the ones that can drop off their kids to school most days and pick them up on others.
Ever since this summer I am trying to find the right work life balance. Part of me accepts the fact I don’t see them at night but I enjoy seeing them most mornings. And their schedule changes and yours does and you just make those weekends extra special. That is important. For them and for me.
Like this weekend, I helped at a project from some final year students, aspiring teachers, to get dads more involved in school activities. So we ventured down to school on Saturday and did lots of fun games, baked pizza, played and enjoyed daddy time. He loved having daddy around and I heard all about the school. I met one dad who can work from home one day a week and can finish at 4 pm to help out in school with a Lego club. That’s fantastic.
With me organising monthly drinks for the dads, I got a few more emails to add to my invites. “The dads of Hassocks”, sounds like a cheap soap, but gives us a great opportunity to exchange notes, sort problems, discuss man issues (we are not at the Viagra state yet), the commute, the work life balance, wives etc. It is good to exchange ideas with like minded people and discovering that the issues I have are common across everyone. I am not alone. A community feeling, like a German Stammtisch.
And we all enjoy and looking forward to Christmas. Seeing the sparkling, exciting eyes opening presents, moaning about the food and having family around us. It is this time of year. Joy. Peace, inner happiness, and lots of love. And unfortunately more bugs….which lead to us cancelling some weekend plans
Have a safe time in the run up to Christmas. Stay well.
Love and Kindness,
People in London don’t talk on the tube. Yet, an elderly person did. We chatted about the cramped decision on the tube and whether I did that every day.
I said: I did. Crazy, he said.
When asked for my accent and where I was from, someone else got involved.
In a slight English accent but perfect German he said: My wife is from Paderborn; this is about 30 minutes from my home town.
A small place this earth.
A nice place this London.
I thought this was worth sharing.
This time the quote says that if you hang on to anger, being angry at someone else, is like drinking poison and expect someone else to die.
Do you get it.
Anger is poison. If you have anger, don’t expect it to kill someone else.
It will most certainly kill you.
I am starting this week by explaining the day I had today, Tuesday. For the past few weeks I have had a cold, thought I had overcome it, when I came back from a client meeting feeling rubbish. It hit me. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen later I feel like sleeping and cancel my evening meeting with a good friend. I then manage to leave the office early to find myself on a tube. Overcrowding. London Bridge station shut. Overcrowded train to Victoria. Sweating, tired, exhausted. London Victoria station shut due to overcrowding. Open again. I press myself on a train with plenty of space inside yet no one moves down. Clapham Junction. A seat. By that time I was very exhausted (whinge) and as a result worked half ill from home the next day, was ill the following day and only felt better on Friday. Of course I worked normal again on Friday, felt worse again on Saturday, ok-ish on Sunday. What’s happening?
I believe I have discussed that before. We don’t really take time off anymore when we are ill. I have been pushing myself for a while and should have taken time off a few weeks ago but instead taking it a bit easier, working from home, yet ending up doing the same amount of work just not physically in the office. Silly. Luckily my boss understood, or not actually, and told me to get better, stay at home and be fit again next week. He is right. Good to have good bosses. Yet I find it difficult to let go, too much work, want to pull my weight and lots of things I need to get done. Nevermind, I seem better now. Fingers crossed this will last this time. And enough whinging!
Sometimes I think I am in a film. Not only with those colds and stuff but also with the above tube and train journeys. I don’t think anyone has thought of a movie called the “commuters nightmare” yet. That day it took me an hour from the office to a train. Then another hour home. I had some comfort food and an early night. Did I mention it was only Tuesday? The commute in London is getting worse as more people are moving to London and then, as they have family, move further out. Whilst I am unlucky tonight, if you followed my tweets, I am waiting for a few delay repay claims to arrive. Trains are catastrophic lately: signalling problems, overrunning engineering works etc. When we moved further out it never crossed my mind. We are on the main line to Brighton and Gatwick airport. Surely this is a priority line. Maybe not, or are other lines even worse?
I am not sure why those problems exist in the first place. Poor management with only one peak hour train to London Bridge? Poor management of train capacities, putting smaller capacity trains on at the wrong time? Old equipment? And all that for just under £450 per month. That is a lot of money! Particularly if think of the service you are getting. Appalling to be honest. Some people on twitter suggested to get the Germans in. I don’t actually remember it being so much better, yet more people drive and hence the trains are less crowded. But that might just be my perception and maybe it is so much better? Not much they can do here I believe.
Btw, the picture was taken when I was chairing the Admonsters European Publisher Forum in Berlin this year.
Anyway, let’s focus on positive points this week. I published my first article on MediaPost Publications. The aim is to have a monthly column there. Thanks to Admonsters I have been looking into 2nd screens and their modelling lately, a fascinating topic allowing for some early adopters to really put their name out there with their technology. That and topics like viewability and view through attribution are still not solved, even years on. Brand Safety is on the agenda too.
Another positive thing was me being at home, if ill. I got to see the boys a bit more and realise how much they miss me and want to be with me. How much they enjoy me reading the good night story. And I learn to prioritise them over my work and work in the evenings after they went to bed instead. Servicing Central Europe, I started with an 8 am demo on Friday, took the boys to school, and finished in time for the Hassocks Light Up. The kids loved the lights and afterwards the dads met for some pints in the local. I tried to cut it short, still overcoming my man flu.
The weekend was the usual but again I kept myself wrapped up, concentrating on getting better. Next week is big. I have three busy weeks ahead of me. Lots happening at work.
Now this week’s blog had a theme I suppose. Work, work life balance and commute. A bit sad maybe…..yet that is life sometimes.
Have a great one,
Last week I chaired my last AdMonsters Conference for now. It was the conference looking at the second screen, the omni screen attribution, and the multi channel aspect of advertising.
Luckily I had a second moderator too, so the day was a little less stressful compared to previous conferences. Below you find my key take aways from the day:
Twitter had a presentation, and I am often wondering how they will make money, particularly that they are now a public limited company. But they started to connect TV and social, the public conversation, through a little hashtag. The conversations around a product, a TV show or a topic can be scaled and brands or advertisers can engage and get communicating. Actually, this is a great way of utilising the 2nd screen to TV, the mobile, from which 82% of all tweets are sent.
Often I wonder what we have done in the time before Twitter. I suppose it give the shy people an opportunity to engage, the loud people to write rather than to shout, and of course it gives brands a way of communicating with their fan base. It gives me a way of ranting about commuting with Southern Railway. This wasn’t there before, this is incremental reach and engagement. Soon Twitter will allow synced advertising to the TV streamed advertising. Also, vine, it’s video micro chatter programme, gives it another channel too. I believe there will be more exciting things ahead.
Nielsen’s presentation was aiming to give us a good understanding of cross device measurement, what has been done so far. It tells us that actually you cannot really measure people but you should measure people, and you shouldn’t trust the 3rd party cookie. So measuring people is becoming more important, e.g. people NOT cookies, collecting data, encoding data, and making use of big data. Yet, we all know that big data only answers the ‘what’ question, not the ‘why’. So we measure the person after all, but we cannot measure unduplicated reach across devices and also the sample sizes Nielsen showed seemed a bit vague. I believe they got the infrastructure, the idea and experience but is there enough scale in Europe. Hopefully we hear more exciting stuff soon!
The whole debate about he preferred screen, or as Jon from ITV put it in a later discussion, “the biggest preferred screen after TV is your 2nd screen”, started with his X Factor case study. He made a good point that from a broadcaster perspective the mobile or tablet would always be a 2nd screen, yet TV learned from those devices to link them up and engage with their audience in real time. His case for Dominos Pizza was clear, close to 750,000 pizzas were thrown into boxes in an online game on the X Factor application whilst people were supposed to be watching the show. Engagement in apps, questions and answers, games and prize wins, are crucial for a good engagement. I enjoyed this session and it made a lot of sense.
Whilst of course those campaigns achieve a high CTR, brand awareness and engagement, the idea as such is not new. However, the challenge to deliver it, make it more engaging and proving the ROI is getting harder. The technology to link the “live advertising on TV” to “in app or mobile/desktop web advertising” will be a future proof thing. Adobe and M6 showed that clearly during their ‘fire side chat’ too.
And again, in the ongoing discussions on the 2nd screen panel, the attribution panel, and the transcendent screen panel….the overall view was the same. Mobile is the preferred device for most things. Then if anything important needs to be done, the excel example, we choose a laptop/desktop whilst the tablet is more of an entertainment device. With price points dropping and Tesco and Argos both making tablets available for the masses, it will be the first screen for anyone accessing the web soon. Mobiles and tablets are dominating the online access, being used whilst TV is on in the background. Some would differentiate on the emotional attachment to each device too.
Of course TV is still being watched. Maybe even more intense by connecting the devices, the advertising and engaging through apps rather than the “red button”. But online and offline are merging too: Blippar showed us an amazing case study about AR (Augmented Reality). Quisma nicely pointed out, as stated before, that only a few companies have logged in accounts across all screens: Amazon, Twitter, Yahoo!, Apple, Microsoft and Google. They will be able to track you. Adtruth, Drawbridge and others try to crack attribution and identification without cookies yet still haven’t quite got to where the big guys are. Or have they?
Now my last question to the audience would be: do we actually want to be targeted across all devices or is it uncool to see the same ad on your mobile whilst seeing it on TV. Would complimentary ads be better? How does the re-targeting piece fit in?
There are still a lot of unanswered questions. As I am hoping to continue to contribute to the AdMonsters programmes in the future, I am looking forward to continuing the conversation.
We see you at the next AdMonsters hopefully.
Another week. If you are like me, sleep a few hours and you are busy and engaged on your waking hours, weeks just fly past. I had a good week. Somewhat. Lots of frustration yet an overall positive week. Good chats about values, skills and what it is that makes me tick. My coaching is coming along nicely, and I make progress on a lot of ends. I worry about my kids, my wife and whether I can keep up with everything I want to achieve. I guess it is a normal worry, not a “mad worry”. Yet, there needs some more bits coming into play soon. Anyway….
I started to formalise my dream, as in my life milestone I want to achieve. I started thinking differently about certain topics compared to a couple of years ago. I start thinking deeper, thinking purpose, commitment and what stays when you are gone. I write a lot, just added another column in an industry publication to my commitments, and I enjoy sharing things. It helps me think.
On Wednesday, at our Rotary meeting, I got introduced to a charity helping people with mental problems: Portugal Prints. if you haven’t yet bought your Christmas Cards, please feel free to do so via them. They are amazing. A self help group, financed partly by Westminster Council and partly through their design sales, they help about 35 people to cope with their mental illness.
These are the moments I feel humble. I wish I could hand over a cheque and support them in their daily business with a day or two of myself. Of course they are not the only charity where I see myself being able to help. Yet, there are a few that touch me deeply. Working with disabled children, helping kids in the developed world, negotiating peace deals. I want to give something back and have an inner urge to give, help and make a difference. I started with some baby steps but hopefully I will be able to help more one day. This is part of my dream.
Life. Death. I finished reading the biography of Ayrton Senna. I wonder what made him such an idol? What makes anyone a hero? I guess one part is always the dying part, and dying in mysterious circumstances. Yet Ayrton was healthy, fit, concentrated, had a gift of handling a car and was a likeable, down to earth guy. He followed his passion and tried hard to be the best in what made him tick.
We should all aspire to that. We might not become Formula One racing car drivers but maybe better individuals: at work, at home, in society. I met a friend this week who has been hit hard by life over the last year I’d say. Yet he soldiers on, be in the moment and is soldiering on. He is not giving up. I am grateful for knowing so many brave, enthusiastic people. The ones that look forward, set an example, live of a minimum and just get on with what they do. Never give up. I can be a bit more forceful, more demanding. But that’s me. We are all different.
I am not sure where this leads us. Some random, charitable, praising thoughts? No common theme again. But maybe someone likes my thoughts. Maybe they are a bit random. It doesn’t help that I read HERO, another book by Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret.
On Friday I chaired the last AdMonsters conference for now. This will free up some time to do other pet projects. I recently started coaching a student from Aberdeen University. This is great, I enjoy that. I want to get more involved in Rotary, also looking into another membership. Some people wonder where I take the time and energy from, but it is me expressing myself, creating variety, growth and love around me. That paired with my family is probably the happiest I can ever get.
But let’s stop philosophising. There are still a lot of day to day tasks to be done and lots of stuff to achieve before the dream might become a reality. For now, today, I need to focus on finally shaking off this cold, build up an immune system and get going again on the treadmill.
Onwards and upwards.
Have a good one,
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you If you do not act on upon them?”
Or some would say:
A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.
It is action that counts and not what we think. Whilst what we think and carry in our minds will influence our moments and our future, we will never be able to achieve anything without putting it into action.
You need to apply your thoughts into reality to prove your belief. Walk your talk!
Be inspired, be inspiring!
Lead by example.
This week has been somewhat sentimental. There are few reasons for it. It is hard to describe a man’s feeling needing to go to the train, running late in your own mind, starting to stress when upstairs you hear a “daddy” call. And just this split second to run up the stairs and giving your four year old a hug and a kiss because he hasn’t seen you for two days, makes your day. It makes you run for your train. It makes you sad too. One likes to be with the little ones all the time yet they need to understand that daddy works. They need to understand, and will understand. However, give them a few more years and they couldn’t care less whether you are at home or not.
I really enjoy being a dad. At the weekend we made Pizzateig, mum cooked with them some roast chicken, we went swimming and had lots of fun at bath time and we read lots of bed time stories. I guess my priorities are changing for the better. The clear cut between being in the moment with the kids, and the moment working or doing something else. We are getting there.
Life. I suppose life is just like that. I am reading Ayrton Senna’s biography, and he says in one paragraph that ‘kids fully engage in the moment, don’t think about the next hour, are fully concentrated in the here and now’. How right he is. A very emotional person, a very concentrated person and passionate about what he does. It is true that only children really fully live the moment by nature. Adults have to learn that again. How often do I see me distracted in a short 30 minute meeting even? How often can I not keep my thoughts clear and focused in my head? My head is spinning and I need to calm down, organise myself. Information overload, trying to do too many things at a time. That’s probably true for most people in my generation.
Today would have been Oma’s birthday – 102 would have been her age. She never wanted to live to a hundred, yet looking at the pictures of her when she was younger, in her 50ies, there is a aura around her. The “Wirtschaftswunder” years, economic wonders would be the literal translation. In the 50/60ies when Germany was rebuilt after the war. She was one of them who through hard work, passion and dedication to her family made things a bit better for the people around her. She was a good person. I like to believe that I inherited some of that from her, yet still trying to refine it. Buddha bless.
It summarises for me two things. Concentrate and get on with your shit. And I am doing exactly that. I am refining a few things with my coach at the moment to then move things forward more concentrated and better than ever before. I am very proud of my wife who has done exactly that: baby photography. She is awesome!
I seemed a lot of calm this week. There are weeks when you just need to withdraw yourself from activities to focus on your wife, yourself, your life. I have been ill with colds and coughs and flu for the past few weeks. Because of that I couldn’t exercise, losing my balance a bit. I am determined to go back to my exercise routine. I miss the balance. Interesting how one notices. There is something missing. 2014 will be the best year ever. How do I know? I just do.
There have to be a few decisions to be made before Xmas. A few things refined and coached. I am ready to change, the next steps. My wife reviewed a personality test I did. She thought it was accurate. I feel like cleaning, tidying up a room, getting rid of old books, picking up a few tools, changing the picture at the wall. Year end I guess.
Maybe I get into my mid life crisis realising how important certain things are over others. And maybe I am willing to stand up for it now. Thanks to a little change on my Linkedin profile I ended up with lots of attention for my book on productivity. You find the link to the right. I am very proud of the achievement and hope it will help a few people. Yet, I already plan my next one. Maybe I can fit that in for 2014 too.
Anyway, I maybe should be stopping here. Enough said. Enough sentimental thoughts shared.
Time to put some thoughts together and set some goals.
Yeah! Let’s go for it.
Have a great week,