Sunday Column (386)

This week started off wit some travels. On Wednesday morning I went off to a conference in Rome. It is a great opportunity to network with senior industry peers. It is the second time I attended this conference and often the Festival of Media is referred to as “little Cannes”. I will give full account on our corporate blog if anyone is interested. However, as expected, the conference delivered on some awesome contacts, ideas and talks. Media is changing, accelerating. I am excited.

meditation

On the flight over I finished a series called “Collision”, about a car crash, death and ‘random’ connections. Everything is down to chance. Life that is. The moment you make a decision you go for it. That’s why sometimes we don’t want to make decisions. We procrastinate. And then chance plays into our life. Or is it faith. Can we predict life? Not really. Another plane crash this week. No one knows why. Terrorism, or pilot, or technical fault. Awful!

We must believe in the great there is to come. To focus on success and to not worry about setbacks. If we believe long enough in our higher calling, others will start too. One will always find negativity in life but energy only flows to what we give attention to. And those must be the happy and positive moments. The high moments of life. This one was definitely one of those higher weeks.

At time of starting to write this blog, on Wednesday morning’s flight, I can already name a few highs. My wife and I had a brilliant night and laugh on Sunday. We are still in love and look after each other. Despite setbacks we focus on the positive things.

Of course this isn’t always easy. We aren’t that happy with the bathroom (see earlier post for context) but it is all done now. We hope to not having to replace the bathtub. Even if we do, we will learn from it and move on from it. This experience has been very stressful.

And then, my oldest went away for a day with Beavers. He got a badge. And he got one for his little brother too. They were both mighty proud. And they are happy. The little one woke me up the night before my flight. I gave him a big hug, kiss and cuddle. It was nice to see him and hold him before being away. Two nights, three days, sometimes seem like an eternity. And when finalising the post, there were countless others. Go and find your highlights, focus on them. The run around Vatican City before 730 am? Beating the bicycle going up the hill? Meeting this awesome CEO, or getting this campaign finally off the ground?

There are a few loose ends in my life. Of course there are. Some are only in my brain and I am trying to work out why they are there and how I best deal with them.

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Watching that movie and meditating on some of those challenges, I must trust things will work themselves out. Trust and faith into the future and the chance of it all happening the way you envisaged life. Patience. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part and showing stamina and patience can be very difficult. Because life will always work itself out. It always has done. It always will. So I am sitting back and practise patience.

It’s like when looking back in life. How your childhood experience influenced your university choice, and your choice of fraternity your value system and friends. Your first job, which most took because it was out there, and the big plan we had for ourselves. Still all to come or already achieved? How will the next decision influence our life looking back? The car we buy, the builder we trust or the school we choose for our kids. The activities and influences we engage in. Similar, in a few months time I will look back at this busy period, where we made decisions, learn from the outcome and realise why certain decisions were good when we made them. And, at the same time I have another few loose ends to tie up. Life repeats itself. Every 6 months you are faced with a major decision and something will change in your life. At least that’s true according to a theorist I listened to back in 2004 when moving to London. It doesn’t always work out that way.

What an intense week. A great week. Then that feeling when you look out of the plane window high above the Alps. Above the mountains. I used to do that trip every week. I feel so high – not on drugs – yet on opportunities and possibilities in life. Life is so amazing and embracing it is key. Hugging those little people that missed you. Almost missing your plane because you had to buy them some chocolate. And then you have all weekend to make up for being away.

Life is amazing. I don’t travel next week. For better or worse. Yet I get a lot of work done and rescheduled a few meetings. It gives me opportunities. Life happens whilst you are busy planning other things. Embrace it.

Have a wonderful week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (385)

This week seems to have gone on forever. I found it tiring. Very tiring indeed. Not sure if it was because the weather played up, things were a bit sluggish or just because it was one of those weeks. We had brilliant sunshine, torrential rain, long winded discussions, great decisions, good presentations and awesome chats. We made progress, we won things, we lost things. It was just another week really.

Another week. Another decision. Car ordered. A Skoda. Brand new. The finance deals you are getting these days are just too tempting. If you had told me a year ago I would ever buy a new car, I would have told you that you were crazy. Anyway, I wrote a lot about it and will write about it again when it arrives. I cannot wait. It feels like it completes something. We are back to having a car instead of a functional vehicle to accommodate rear facing car seats that are long gone. As a family, we are growing up.

Skoda Superb

The bathroom is done. I mean to 99%. Still some niggles, some electrics, some parts. Only took 6 weeks 🙁 We might still have to exchange the bath tub, don’t ask. We might have got a faulty item. Happens I suppose. Anyway, the bathroom finishing completes the house renovation. A 4 year project. All rooms have been done now. It is done. Sometimes it seemed forever but it didn’t. And yes there are small things to sort, and things to be redone, and of course, last but not least, my beloved drive way. We put that project back a bit, hopefully autumn, to prioritise family holiday, the car and sanity above all 🙂

Things cannot be rushed yet not happen quickly enough. I am writing this bit as I am sitting on the 8 pm train home because I had a great meeting with someone I really value. Someone I know I am going to be friends with for a long time. And that’s when you don’t mind the longer night. You write your blog as the sun sets when you leave Victoria station. Good things take time. And a drink. Something to seal what you have, right. Something to seal that there is more to come. Our industry is a group of friends, this is so nice.

As I am writing this and getting emotional, I am listening to Jack Savoretti. An artist/singer I recently discovered. I love him. Just the right mix of what I’d call folk and ballads. Lots of guitars, good songs and a great voice. I keep listening to him, and cannot stop listening to him. Something in his songs gives me this feeling back of being young and wild. Riding my motor bike down the country lanes in Ireland, getting caught out by rain, seeing my friend skidding off the road. This is years ago and you longing for that freedom and independence you once had. The lack of responsibility but for yourself. Things changed of course. I am an adult now and don’t need to ask for permission or acceptance. I am responsible for my own action and, yet, I cannot have a motor bike. That’s of course where family responsibility and common sense comes in. That is where my new toy, the family car comes in. And following from that, the mid life crisis Jaguar XK 8 or the Porsche for my 40th birthday. Long time to go and who knows what is going to be then. We don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow.

On that note I got a call from someone this week. I value him very much as a friend and mentor. A great citizen, a fantastic boss, an amazing person. He hasn’t been well and he might just read this post, and I want to give him a shout out that I am thinking of him. And if you aren’t reading it, others will. When your life changes from almost over to full steam ahead within a few weeks, it must be the most awful roller coaster ride you ever had. I wish you well. You will be alright. Don’t ever give up. Your Facebook post touched me, and I wrote this prior to seeing it. Anyway, your story should be a reminder for us to always look forward, to never give up and to always nourish and value what we have. What we don’t appreciate, depreciates. One of my many mantras. For yourself, for anyone, it is always worth trying. We miss you! It was so good to speak to you and we see you soon. Sending wishes, prayers and positive thoughts your way.

never give up

Towards the end of the week I spoke at a conference. Another event to show off the great solutions we are working on. Being on a panel with industry friends from years ago, people that have shaped our industry and pushed boundaries. We are, no question, leading the market. And in the areas we are not, we definitely should. I am going to meet a few guys in HQ over the next couple of weeks to discuss that evolution. To discuss how we can continue to lead that space we are so good at. I am pumped about the opportunities we are facing. Look forward, live the now and make sure things are moving in the right direction. And that is the most important bit. The belief and future looking aspect of where things are moving to.

Below the post is the video.

What else happened. I believe I am transforming a bit. There are changes I am looking at, things I am developing on. One is family. I am putting a lot more focus, particularly weekends to engaging with the boys. The wife ran another half marathon and I looked after the youngest. He went to a party, the oldest was away with Beavers. I was in charge of the team this weekend and enjoyed every moment of it. Yet I noticed when I came home one night and worked all the way home, I was very edgy with them. I will learn. Learn to reflect, and learn to relax. As they are the main focal point of my life. No compromise.

Last but not least, and maybe insignificant to you but for me it’s a big thing 😉 The Gatwick Express trains that I use, changed, at least on Thursday night. Instead of sitting on an old 1950 refurb comfy train coach with sofa like seats, we got the new hard seated commuter trains. All change. We are arriving in the 21st century with WIFI on the train, cleaner trains, that make us, England, look very modern to visitors. The tables seem to be very far away from the seats, making it awkward to work on, but maybe we will be getting used to it. And we must avoid the temptation to work just because we got wifi. And we got plugs for mobile phone chargers. And the lights are bright. It is a bit nicer really. Yet, there have been some strikes, some delays and cancellation. New trains won’t change that I suppose. I almost missed the event I was speaking at. Never mind, made it in the end.

I made it to Friday too. I enjoyed the weekend. And I am back on it tomorrow. 3 weeks of travelling ahead.
I am loving it. I am winning.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (384)

A short week. A difficult week. An alright week. This week I thought never finished and I had to leave a lot of unfinished business on the table. That’s not like me. But what you going to do. Each day has only 24 hours. Prioritisation and time management comes in handy. The important and urgent stuff gets done first. And, come Friday, I was on top of things. Hammering out meetings and making progress, training new staff and having home runs. It can be done! Nothing is ever impossible.

We got a new starter at work. The same week the toilets didn’t work. He must have been well impressed. Plus me being rushed off my feet doesn’t help. Hopefully we have more starters soon. I guess we are getting somewhere. The industry seems to be at a pivotal point. We are at the points or take off with exciting product launches in the pipe.

And the weather! Sunny London. You beauty. A funfair in Hassocks, play in the park, football in the street. Those were the days and they are here again.

Change is in the air. I had a good chat with a friend I haven’t seen for 13 years and he gave me some really good guidance. I felt like connecting to my interests and roots. To my inner self. I plan to do more of that soon. With a lot of change looming I will have to put a lot of my theories into action. And I will. For a better life and more love. So here I am, committing to change.

kick ass

In the name of change: the most important thing this week was to get a stand up desk at work. It’s great to have a company looking after your health. A nice lunch with a client in the first summer sun and a chat with some old friends. Life could hardly get better but spending time with the boys at the weekend.

Running took a backseat after a 17.5K on Monday I had to recover. So I just did my essential maintenance runs and some body resistance exercise. This was after the half marathon distance last Friday. I am finally getting fit and healthy. I feel like life is coming together. As if the petals of a flower are interlocking and spinning and taking off. It is happening. Not sure this is the best analogy. And boy did I need that massage on Saturday. Full MOT please 🙂

And one day we look back at the small things in our life that are now the big things. The things that matter now and make us moan are so miniature tomorrow. Learning to live life and enjoy the moment and what you have. The ever changing moment that goes away so quickly.

Life is positive. Life is good.

And we will eventually finish the bathroom and shower room. And do the drive way. And will get on top of things. And then…we start all over again.

Let’s stay happy. Stay positive, be good.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (383)

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend! I even had Friday off and enjoying a mini holiday. The weather has been ok, sunny yet cold. We went for a nice walk, made bow and arrows and had the fire on. I know….we are having a relaxing weekend really. Good food, too much food, nice wine but also plenty of exercise. I was desperate to run the length of a half marathon and so I did. I really enjoy the challenge of long distance running, so you never know what I might run next…

This week is somewhat decision time upon us. There are many lose ends I feel and trying to tie them all up needs decision making. One of them is the car. We spend last weekend and part of this weekend to go through features, benefits, pricing, ideas, necessities around a new car. The finance offers for a new Skoda Superb are just too superb to ignore. So we are set on the car, we are set on the offer yet have to find the best offer in town. Maybe we can make a decision as early as next week, we shall see.

No doubt there is a basic decision on whether we need a new car in general, whether we want a new car and whether we want to afford a new car. The answer to most of those questions is yes, yet it isn’t an easy decision making. You also need to take into consideration what else is going on in your life.

And that is a lot!

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Starting with some family discussions. We are thinking a lot on the private side of things as well. Should we stay the way we are, should we change. What needs to change internally to keep up with changes on the outside. Lots of decisions and discussions are being made.

And then we are renovating the bathroom. That took a lot longer than anticipated but it slowly takes shape. Some more minor things to do and then one room should be done, another should get done over the next two weeks. The driveway might not get done until autumn, yet the trees will be planted in a couple of weeks time. Then we need to decorate, make decisions on things, change a window and so on. It never stops. I couldn’t do it without my wife, Jenny, who does such a great job organising things. We are getting somewhere, and we are happy. That is the main thing of course but sometimes things are just overwhelming.

We are happy, healthy and have food on the table. I have a good job and enjoy the space I am operating in. As a matter of fact the bit of the industry I am working on is just forming properly, so lots of things happening! What is there not to like.

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Yes, I now need reading glasses. I have headaches, aches, pains from staring at screens all day. I am hopeful the new specs will help me see what is going on more clearly, and release some of that pain I am suffering from. Age, I am getting older, I just did, but not the big one yet. Still one year to go. Yet I feel fitter than I ever did and healthy and all. Just a lot of strain, which seems to get more as you get older 🙁

So there is a lot going on in our lives. Once most of the things have settled down and we have made most of the decisions we needed to do, we can move forward and enjoy life a bit more again. More easy. I guess I am just not the type to be all cool about things when I can see there is so much more to be done. And when it is all at ease…then I get bored again, work more on my book and will be busy again. Life goes in cycles. 6 months cycles some people would suggest. But life isn’t all bad, life actually – in majority – is very good. And we must appreciate that. Daily. Never forget!

We also got a sneak peak to Colin’s next school he goes to in September. A proper tour, met one of the head teachers and I think it is all good. I was impressed with the school actually and it strengthened our choice of moving to Hassocks. Life is good, as I said, and sometimes you forget how well you have it.

Drinking water, hot showers, all there. A roof over your head, a steady job, health.

In those moments it is good to just sit down, calm down and appreciate what you have and what you got. To stop. Smell the roses.

Enjoy the bank holiday.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (382)

Last week started on Sunday when I flew to Germany. I piggy-backed a long overdue trip onto a trip to some clients in Frankfurt. Frankfurt is not only a pain to fly to (Heathrow only), there aren’t that many companies in our industry. It has been 18 months since I have been and stayed one day this time to then train it to Düsseldorf. Germany is very scattered when it comes to big cities and there are important people in each one of them. I guess it keeps it interesting.

A bit of travel is essential to cover ground in Germany. One of the few countries without a centralised city for media, not like Paris/France, Milan/Italy, Madrid/Spain and of course London/UK. My next trip to Germany is Berlin in a few weeks time. That again will be from Gatwick, which is a lot easier. It seems that Easyjet changed their flight plan and doesn’t fly to some cities I need to go to. That means a long taxi drive to Heathrow.

On the note of train travel in Germany: my annual travel card from Hassocks to London, which I renewed this week, costs more than a travel card to use the train all over Germany for a year. On first sight my ticket seems like a rip off. Discussing it with people, it seems that Germany subsidises train travel and given you pay almost double on tax, this explains how it works. Guess every country has its pros and cons.

plane

I seem to hate flying out on a Sunday. It seems like I am cheating on family time but luckily this happens only a couple of times a year. Particularly as I got a good engagement going with the boys, playing chess and doing homework. We had a fantastic weekend.

However the meetings we had were awesome. The industry is very responsive to our solutions and we are pivoting. It is nice to see we offer innovation in a crowded market space and drive business forward. What is not to like?

My Hilton in Dusseldorf was a bit unliked by me. We got to a personal chat with the Operational head and a make good. Actually curious to meet him in person now 😉 He seems very much switched on. Next time. First unhappy Hilton stay so far. That’s a better track record in comparison to IHG. Let’s see how the next three Hilton stays stack up. Being away from home you want to have a good bed and a good service, a good place to stay and most of all, value for money. When staying in a very low frill hotel the other day, it ticked all the boxes. Yet, it didn’t come at the price tag of a Hilton. Same is true when we travel, as a family we go into a Premier Inn for the night. Anyway….I keep you posted, no doubt.

Overall it was a very successful trip. Definitely worth while with some very challenging and good discussions with industry leaders. Just the way I like it.

Work is very interesting at the moment. We are, as a company, innovating a lot around cross device data points. That and us playing in the biggest offline silo, TV, and the most engaging online silo, Social, leads to some interesting developments. It’s going to be exciting over the next few months.

My wife ran another race. I am very proud of her. She managed to hit her anticipated time. She also signed up to more runs. I am a bit afraid I would get addicted if I start signing up to races. Hence I am still refusing to join races but the one in July running a 24 hour relay race over the distance of 10K. Despite my exercises I seem to be putting on weight. Not a lot to be honest but it seems to be creeping up. So this week I have done a few more runs than normal. 30K and 45 minutes Cross Trainer. That resulted in the weight being down again but I was exhausted on Friday.

beard

For the matter of weight I need to look into my diet again. A few client lunches and boozing sessions with lots of finger food and crisps seem to take its toll. That of course is fair enough so I shall try to cut down on those wasted calories of nuts and crisps. Also I am wondering if this high fat diet, having a ham and cheese omelette every morning, is the best idea. I guess I need to do more research. If you look up athletes’s diets they eat ‘normal’ with focus on veggies, carbs prior to events and fruit as well as protein. Yet they never mention chocolate, cashew nuts or crisps as part of their diet 🙂

You only live once I guess 🙂

I am buzzing this week. Overall. The challenge is our bathroom. The tiles just don’t seem to be on there right. Uneven in any of the three directions. The builder keeps trying. I am hopeful we get there in the end. Quite a stressful experience. But for now, it was weekend. Time to chill.

Last but not least I decided to grow a beard this week, then took it off again. I just don’t seem to be able to decide on the right look. And the right itch. The right format of beard. Off again for now….we shall see.

The joys of life. Hope yours is going well.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (381)

A rather odd week if you ask me. I didn’t work my usual day from home, a window shattered next to me without me having anything to do with it, my back had a spasm when running and overall I am drained. The weather cannot make its mind up and my colleague handed back my old accounts as he was leaving. So things are stagnating a bit with new hires coming in soon.

And then….Winning. Being up there and doing things right. That is contagious. Isn’t it? Tuesday was one of those days. We won. We made progress. We made it happen. We are moving to the next level. Life is very much split sometimes.

Being on later train home than usual and thinking that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Patience. Fear is the key driver of procrastination. I am not fearful. We must move forward. Tomorrow is the future. The day after tomorrow, a step further. A step closer. Life is moving in the right direction.

Steve Jobs Last Day

This week I closed a chapter. Putting things to bed is good sometimes. It hurts. It’s not nice and we move on from there. But we had a good time. We can appreciate, agree and move on. The future is now. It is happening. Either way things are moving on, never stop, never being put on hold.

The most annoying bit this week was iTunes deleting my music library. And then they didn’t restore it properly. I wonder if it is just a technical glitch or a general iTunes problem. As it seems I am not the only one having those problems. The deeper you go into the dependence of Apple, the more you realise even they aren’t flawless. Guess no system is. However they still make the best devices in my opinion.

On Thursday night I had a bit of spare time, as the wife was away, and I watched a few Steve Jobs videos on YouTube. Also, I caught up with a few podcasts. I am making sure I am learning and moving myself forward. Patience is key. Things come to those who wait and things are moving.

Looking forward is the theme at the moment. Believing in positive change. That things will change. Things will improve. That is key. And this isn’t specific but in general having a positive and opportune outlook in life is very important. We cannot just stop, put it all down and give in, give up. We must fight, move forward and make it happen.

The moment we lose hope or wonder whether the path we go down is right, we lose power and energy. We must believe in making the right choices. We must believe. Always. There is no way you can give up. Or give in. You must work it out. Whether in private, your job or life in general.

Trusting the universe with what’s happening and that it will look after you. Action=Reaction. Your action determine the reaction. The universe gives back. Direct you if you like. Taking feeling into perspective and lead with your heart not your head.

And then, as I am finalising this blog post sitting on the train, I am listening to a conversation next to me about electric cars. Having just read the Elon Musk book on Tesla and how they push the boundaries for batteries. Yet the discussion, someone owning ‘an electric car’ arguing with someone else about “the charge will never be able to last the promised miles”. The reason I bring that up – a lot of people do not believe. They believe what they have, what they see. They are not visionary and cannot imagine this improving.

musk failure

We all live with limited information. Even if we are fully informed. That is, because we don’t know everything at any one time, as we are learning and as a human race expand our wisdom. Another report this week about the ripples from black holes puts life into perspective. Hawkings was mentioned and interviewed.

There are people that are pushing boundaries. That make things happen and move things forward. I still have a few beliefs that seem to hold me back, like security and barriers in my head.

They are moving, slowly but surely. And I am still young. I might never, and surely will never be a Hawkings or Musk. But maybe I will be able to push the boundaries in my little world. Moving the needle a bit. Contributing to positive change.

Enough thoughts for a day. When this gets published I am touching down in Frankfurt Germany for a family visit – having booked Monday off. Then business as normal in Germany for a couple days, back to the big smoke. Life is busy. Life is good.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (380)

If I look back at this week, it was a funny one to be honest. People are back from their Easter break, heads down, on with their work. So I had days at work just catching up on admin, last minute meeting cancellations and then days where I went from meeting to meeting. Some weeks are like that – not one is the same as the other. I suppose it is good for variety.

Evenings were filled with watching Outlander on Amazon Prime on Amazon Prime. Found some awesome Outlander Quotes, see one here. The wife and I finally found a series we both enjoy. I also watch Bosch, a police drama, which is ideal for treadmill runs. No thinking required whatsoever!

outlander quote

I also managed to catch up with a few friends this week which was nice. What I realise more and more is that one gets so busy doing things, that one can loose focus on the little, enjoyable things in life. Like meeting friends. Like making that difference to one particular person. It is great though and often I am sitting there on the train home, thinking it was a really good day. Most days anyway.

The bathroom arrived too. The next three weeks we are getting our wet rooms done and that will conclude house renovation part ‘one’. Means we have done the front door, back door, garage door, asbestos removal, downstairs loo, downstairs kitchen and living room completely with fire place, upstairs carpet, ceilings, floor boards, most radiators in the house and now the bathroom(s). Forgot anything? Once through, hurray. Last thing on the list is some garden work and the driveway which we hope to have done in May.

Then the new motor. I had another look on Saturday and we are test driving the car again soon. We made up our minds, and given the finance options, we might be able to do it as early as May….then we have to wait a few months to get it of course. We shall see. One step at a time. Oh, yes, the Skoda Superb with most the trimmings.

I ramped up my exercise routine this week also. After a 10 mile run (16K) on Sunday I swam on Monday and did 2 kettle bell sessions and two 10K this week. I am feeling fitter than ever, yet don’t seem to get enough quality sleep. I am struggling with lots of things going on in my mind atm. And this causes me a headache I am not sure how to get rid of.

Whilst I wouldn’t call it stress, there is strain on decisions and from discussions I am having. Sometimes when you wake up and think about things, it is difficult to go back to sleep. Yet my cats keep me company, they are settling in and got their last injection this week too. That means they can all go outside as of this week. Hurray. We are getting there. They are still a bit coy to venture outside but they have been. Of course Lula got herself locked into a neighbour’s garage on her first outing. The joys.

Guess life is about patience. The famous roses and perspective. Another great podcast this week said that you only create barriers in your mind. I tend to agree. Reading about Elon Musk who founded both SpaceX and Tesla, you realise human potential and what we are capable of doing. Yet not everyone is willing to take the same risk.

Elon Musk
Tony Robbins nicely summarised it with his human needs. Some people are more security driven then others. Some need more love and growth and others might thrive more on contribution and adventure. We are all individuals. And looking at it from a corporate perspective, a company needs to adjust to every one’s needs. Not just one person’s or the other’s. So understanding the individual, their goals, their background and what makes them thrive is key to being a good manager.

The reason I bring that up is that I am going through a bit of a recruitment spree at work, adding to the team and in the process restructuring some processes. That is fun and never ends. Not without challenges of course but great learning. As a company we are transitioning too, and are in a very sweet spot of our industry. Full steam ahead. I am excited!

One must trust the universe and that things fall into place. Having the above patience and enough stamina. That’s key to success in my view. Things never go as planned and nothing ever comes easy. Hard work always pays off and in the end we are going to be ok. Trust. That’s key to anything I suppose. Any relationship.

Let me leave you with those thoughts. It is just before 7 am on one of those days that I drafted my post. With the real time streaming on Facebook and Twitter, maybe I should consider a ‘Ballueder Video Blurb’ from the breakfast table. Maybe one day 😉

Have a great week and stay safe.
Volker

trust the universe

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Sunday Column (379)

The week started with a trip to Hamburg. A night and back again. I am getting used to the regular flights and short trips again. This time I didn’t take my running gear. An unbalanced run the week before paired with a 13K over the weekend left me tired and my knee(s) aggravated. So some needed rest and a treadmill run on Thursday was all. I am cautious of not pushing myself too far and not to injure myself seriously.

I have been thinking a lot over the past few weeks. See last week’s column, that life could be over quickly without you knowing. Things might change. What is important in your life, what do you cherish. Where do you put most emphasis on, what is it that you enjoy and should do more of. I will cover that in more detail. Anyways…

When leaving home my fish tank was playing up. The temperature dropped and I worried a lot. Thanks to my wife and some last minute rescue measures we seemed to have avoided some major fish losses. I had just added some loaches to get rid of the snails, and feel that the ecosystem within the tank is striving.

Actually not my fish but almost ;-)

Actually not my fish but almost ;-)

My eldest wrote me a card to wish me well for the trip and he hopes that I will be meeting some friends. I did. It is nice to see them grow up and also understanding German (my sons, not my friends 😉 ). When my parents were over for Easter, they spoke German to the boys and the eldest clearly understood. Maybe there is hope and as they get older they get more of an interest to learn the language. I don’t think they will ever be native but if they manage to communicate and get by, it would be fantastic. Having had 1-on-1 time with both of them over the last few weeks really helps to seal the bond. It also helps me improving my football skills 😉

The remainder of the week passed very quickly. I spend two days in Germany, back to back in meetings, catching up with the local staff, and having in depth conversations about the industry. It is interesting to see the differences in markets and attitudes towards product deliveries. It is good though, and I do enjoy the work I am delivering, as we are pioneering in a new space, leading the pack for second screen advertising. But hey, I don’t want to market my company here, do I? 🙂

A good friend of mine invited me for lunch on Thursday. A healthy, good lunch, and a wonderful chat. Those type of chats and friendships last for a long time to come. He was joking I should mention him in my column, however, here we go 🙂 Thanks mate!!!

As I write this blog I pass Gatwick Airport on the train. Sunset. The daylight saving time and all, we are back to having light travelling home from work. I look at the sunset and think about the things to come. I keep forgetting about the past, putting it aside. We are launching new products at work. We are renovating the house and finish it the first time around. The wheel is turning and we are going faster and faster. Then I listened to two podcasts this week that told me to sleep enough and take it easy. Don’t get the burn out. I am not afraid, I look after myself. I am trying to anyway, being more easy going than I used to be (at least I think so) and more pro-active, forward looking than I used to. My thinking is changing.

The Germans have this saying “gut Ding muss Weile haben” – good things need their time. There is no need to rush and make too many avoidable mistakes. You hear it coming – time to stop and smell the roses. When flying this week, way after my working hours (in case you reading this, boss), I decided to not work but chill out. To sit and read, doze, listen to music and just take time off to think and reflect. I manage to split work and life. I am learning. Still. I am growing. I am proud of my personal development.

a sin. an awesome sin. loving it.

a sin. an awesome sin. loving it.

I am also proud of my wife. 12 years this week that we met. 9 years this year that we got married, had kids, a house etc. In another 12 years the kids would have left the house and another 12 I am probably still not retired. Wow. That means I have only been through the first third of my career. I am just warming up and boy, I am ready to go! Patience, Ballueder, Patience!

Life is good. I remind myself daily and make sure that life is going to stay as it is. That it won’t get worse or we stop looking after ourselves and the kids. No, I want fun, love, and live.

Have a great week. Summer is on its way!

We managed a first bike ride at the weekend. The little one on the tag along bike and I. We sat down, smelled the freshly cut grass, enjoyed the sun and some sweets. We laughed. We loved.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (378)

A short week one might think. It started off pretty hectic. We moved seats in the office, changed desks and added desks and we also had to deliver Easter eggs. Yup, 1kg of chocolate Easter eggs to our clients. Hand delivered. That was fun.

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Then, a friend and mentor had an accident which overshadowed the week a bit. It makes you think where the journey takes you, and why. You start reminiscing on the purpose of life. The familiar reader knows, you realise you should stop more often, and smell the roses. And that’s what I did on Tuesday. A spring festival at school, and a play at the Beavers. My eldest, who is not really enjoying plays too much, had to do three performances in a day. Pushing himself past his comfort zone. Very proud. Quality time.

One cannot but look forward. Not sure this sentence makes sense. We don’t have a choice but to accept what life throws at us. We pick it up. We leave it there. We ignore it, we take it on. We move on. Time is precious and can’t be stopped. So we must continue, like the hamster in the wheel, until we find a way to change….the wheel, the cage or the exercise.

And the same is true for Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels. We cannot stop the wheel. We cannot stop using planes or public transport. We mustn’t be afraid. As I said to a cabbie, whilst delivering above mentioned eggs, my philosophy is that when your time is up your time is up. He said, he had a lot of things still to do, and is far from ready to go. Neither am I. Far from it. But if I have to go, what choice do I have? And if there is an hourglass somewhere with my name on, I hope it has a lot of sand left. Fingers crossed.

Not wanting to go into more details of morbid stuff, but I had a virus that came out end of last week. Not that I am the only one: half the office and half the industry is having some kind of bug. It’s a nasty one, that seems to form different symptoms a day, so you never know if you have a stomach cramp one day or just feeling tired the other. Hence I couldn’t wait for a few days off over Easter. My parents came to visit, the weather is rainy, yet Spring is in town. As a matter of fact, we had a wonderful Friday in Nyman’s Garden. I smelled some roses.

I feel like I am accomplishing something, getting something done, things are moving forward.
I feel like life is moving forward, the wheel is turning.
I feel good.

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Yet the virus slowed me down a bit too. I skipped some exercise sessions this week and cut down on a few kilometres running. Now catching up again. I feel pretty fit, so that’s good, with lots of energy to go and I will get things done. I must.

I keep looking forward. We made arrangements for holidays. We are discussing options to see people and I am still dreaming of the new car, which we won’t have for our trips to Scotland or Germany this year. And there might be a school reunion soon. 20 years since I graduated from high school.

In the meantime I enjoy the time off. Tuesday starts with a trip to the fatherland. I will be on the road again in the next couple of weeks. It’s good. Likewise it is good to stop. Reflect and smell my roses. Springs is here, and they are blossoming.

Love, peace and happiness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (377)

This week brought on a few changes. Mainly work related and I don’t want to go into great detail. In reflection of my career, I have managed to learn a lot on how to deal with change, engage in situations and which approach I should take. Experience I suppose, age and maturity of course. Putting all of that together and going from a career level up to an industry level, I can see almost the opposite with the broadcast industry.

You probably wonder what I am on about. I attended a conference for TV people this week. They don’t know much about programmatic advertising. And, should they not change, the youngsters from the digital programmatic space will teach the older, maturer generation from broadcasting, how it is done. Upside down. Innovation and automatisation will always be ahead of rigidity.

I don’t want to have too much of a go, but the conference showed me that some of the broadcasters don’t really understand what is happening in the world. They seem to be stuck in their old business models, neglecting the insights they can drive. And when consultants then suggest the magical steps to change and list action points I haven’t seen since my MBA, my neck hair stands up. I honestly fear that the digital world will roll into the TV world, force change which the broadcasters should lead themselves. Seeing Sky winning most of the awards for being the most innovative broadcaster wasn’t a surprise. They are currently, at least to my mind, the leading force of change in the broadcaster industry. Where next?

Hawkeye

In other news we found out that our new pets haven’t been vaccinated yet. This meant a blood test, vaccination, another couple hundred in vet bills and further five weeks in confinement. You get what you ask for. We wanted to help those kittens, were under the impression to do good and ended up with a big bill. Just as well we didn’t pay for the cats and they all seem to get along. We will get through that as well, still learning in the process.

Life is good. Reviews in school were due and we are happy and proud of our kids. We have some bright, intelligent and lovely boys. Just when they are at home…no, of course they are good 😉 it is funny to see how their character develops and how you discover part of yourself, part of your spouse in them. Yet, they are complete own characters, humans with their own ideas and thoughts. I love them more than anything in this world. An inspiration, future and purpose in life.

On Thursday I managed the first 10K run in just under 45 minutes, that’s 4:30 per km. This for me is a big step. I never thought I’d could do it but pacing myself on some runners in Central Park made me determined to do it. I am winning. Thinking back that I used to be part of my American High School track team running 800 meters huffing and puffing because I smoked 60 cigarettes a day. I remember my first run after I quit smoking almost 20 years ago. It was for 10 minutes and I could hardly breathe and had to stop often. I obviously came a long way since then.

That pretty much sums up the week. On Saturday I had lots of time with Rohan, another party and time to prepare some thoughts. Life is full of change and challenges. Also I mixed myself my own Martini again. It has been a while but Americans like a good cocktail before dinner and so do I now again, after I used to drink Martini a lot watching Mash 4077 back in the days.

Anyway, have a good one, speak Easter,
Volker

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