Sunday Column (289)

There have been a few things that went through my head this week. Starting last weekend with the final decision to get a dog on Monday. So coming mid October we are able to pick up “Rosie“. I am excited, ecstatic yet apprehensive. When you wanted something for 30 years, and when you were always told that you cannot have it, and then had your wife saying that it isn’t feasible for years and then the day comes that her and you agree it is a good thing to add a dog to the family – this is a big day. That is a dream come true. But also a reality come true. I can no longer say “I always wanted a dog”, I now will “have a dog”.

To a certain extend, yet with less people talking about how many nappies you have to change and how this will affect your life, it is like having another child. And it is interesting to see how people give you advice. Some are very pragmatic and tell you about their own experience and what they never thought of. That is appreciated. Then there are those people that never had a dog and think they tell you all about it. Those are the annoying ones. And then you get the odd comment that a dog needs walking and you cannot take it in a plane. Those comments I am not sure about; they are either sarcastic or give you reason to doubt those people’s input.

Making the decision to get a dog is not easy. For me it was a childhood dream and also for my kids to grow up with a dog. This is particular true for them being as they are scared and not used to dogs. But foremost this will be a true companion, someone that is loyal, someone to take for a walk, someone wanting to please you and be on your side. And your wife’s side. And your kid’s side. A best friend, play and sports partner.

Enough about it. I am very much looking forward to it.

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The picture on the left got a bit of attention on Linkedin this week. I am not 100% sure why and I notice me using Powerpoint solely because that is what the company uses. But overall, I am normally on the whiteboard, drawing things up and discussing things with clients. That is more fun and it shows I know what I am talking about. Also it is a lot more engaging.

Moving on from there I have been active working last week at dmexco, the biggest online marketing show. So this week I feel a bit under the weather. Not sure if I caught a bug from one of the 30,000 visitors or if two late nights (I don’t remember when I was last still up at 3.30 am), little sleep and a 10K run on Friday contribute to my physical state, but something clearly isn’t right. I felt a bit under the weather, slept a lot but still got up early. My legs just don’t feel like exercising. Maybe I did too much or needed a break, you never know. The travelling and late nights, constant entertaining and talking take their toll. Luckily this only happens once a year. Also, the weather has been very warm and humid for mid September, not something I overly enjoy.

Looking forward to next week I am going to be in Paris, soon Istanbul, Milan and Hamburg, yet probably another few trips to come before the end of the year. Things are at the pivotal point, so the hard work is paying off. I enjoy what I am doing, and the industry is accepting what we are doing. But I don’t want to write too much about my job today.

Everytime I write my blog post, I am looking at the word count in the lower left corner, how it starts adding up. At 400 words I think I better come to an end and by 630, about now, I believe I should come to an end.

I don’t want to bore you with my thoughts too much, despite knowing that most of you enjoy reading it. This is a huge compliment. Speaking of compliments, the biggest one I got this week was from a lady I don’t even know. She said “my dad used to speak a lot about you, I remember your name” – that is nice to hear. I cannot go into further details (not because of the lady) but because of a surprise. I might reveal it in a few weeks time.

Now we visited Rosie again this weekend. It is nice to see Colin bonding and Rohan liking the dog. Also nice to see Rosie myself.

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Lilly – not another dog, just Rosie’s mum

We assume Rosie will be looking that stunning one day also!

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“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera

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Rosie at 4 weeks

Volker and Rosie week4

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Rosie – German Shorthaired Pointer

We made a decision. More and better pictures to come.

Rosie

A liver German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP). And we are all very excited.

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Sunday Column (288)

What a busy week. Where to start?
Monday saw me continuing my 5 am starts with a 5K run. My osteopath on Saturday seemed to think things are improving, yet I wasn’t convinced on Monday; but usually it gets better during the week. At the end of the week I managed another 10K which second as a detox after a heavy trade show week.

It has been 30 days now that we have been back from holidays and I am back into my 5 am routine. They say it takes 60 days to form a new habit, so half way through I am wondering, am I getting there? Of course I do. Getting up got a lot easier, to the extend that I naturally wake up around 430 to 5. Exercising got a lot better with my first 10K run, my weight increase on the bench press gets me back to uni levels. Things are moving in the right direction.

Of course it doesn’t stop you from being tired. Some days I notice that my brain is still half asleep or still full of toxins (as in not relaxed, not hangover ;-) ). Usually this is fixed with a nap on the train on the way into work, if I work from home I usually carry on or have a cheeky 10-15 minutes nap over lunch. That is very refreshing. Also introducing more regular meditation helps settling the mind and clearing thoughts.

As you can see things are improving. So on to the next 30 days.

progress

In the meantime we are back to conference season. Opening conference was on Monday in London, Ad Trading Summit – five years running, not missed one year, it focuses on real time bidding and programmatic since it started. A big industry get together with lots of industry gossip. Lots of fun.

I cut the networking short as I flew into Cologne at 7 am the next morning. There I attended an internal strategy meeting before a high end VIP dinner, ending the night with whiskey and cigars. The next day we kicked off the world’s biggest online and digital marketing exposition, dmexco. It evolved from OMD which I was competing with a few years ago, and turned into dmexco a few years later with over 300 exhibitors and over 30,000 visitors. An amazing achievement for a trade show, whichever niche.

When I came back on Friday I was rather exhausted. As usual trade shows come with lots of alcohol, long parties and little sleep paired with long days and good chats, great networking and fun of course. Thanks to our fabulous marketing team, we had a good turn out at all our events and started making an even bigger dent into the universe of connecting TV to digital :-)

What else happened? R went back to school. C lost another tooth, whilst biting his brother’s (superman) cape. We looked at a GSP (German Shorthair Pointer), more about it in the forthcoming next weeks. However, it looks like it would be the best addition to our family. Exiting times ahead, yet timing is still to be decided.

I guess that sums up another great week. When you are away all week, you enjoy the weekend even more!

Volker

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Sunday Column (287)

I had a great weekend, remember I am writing this about last weekend. Monday started slowly into the new month. Not long until Christmas. Yet we made a decision, we are now actively looking for a dog, a Weimaraner. Lovely pets and hopefully helps the kids to get over their fear of dogs, animals in general and teach them how to take care of a living being. Amazing decision, life changing and it is a bit daunting. Yet, I always wanted a dog!

Weimaraner-puppy

Here we go…not yet confirmed, and no idea how much it will be, but we are eager to find out more and maybe moving forward with it quite quickly. As the week moves along I was stunned about the price and but hope the investment and additional burden will be well worth it at the end. We hopefully going to look at puppies in the next 4-6 weeks. Having said all that, we are now widening our search to potentially GSP – German Shorthair Pointers. They seem to be even better with kids….decisions decisions. We surely keep you posted.

Then, as every year, I took the coin collection to the bank. At my little Buddhist altar I donate gold coins (pound coins) on a regular basis and the kitchen hosts a “stein” in which I put everything less than 50 pence. So this year we got a whopping £200 which we decided to split into four for each one of us to decide which charity to donate too. It feels good to give, and being able to give too. And just by donating spare change we can make a difference: amazing. Hopefully by getting the family involved, Colin and Rohan get a feel for how good of a life we have: running water, warm water, heating and a roof over our head. Things we take for granted.

Colin went back to school this week. He is now in year one. Apple class of course ;-) and rightly so, he is very proud of it. Having a first day at school is not a biggie as it is in Germany, yet a big stepping stone for my wee man. One can tell how he grows up from the models he builds in Lego and which thinking goes into it to create what he imagines. Kids’ imagination is great: submarines, spaceships and monster trucks.

Rohan has yet another year before he starts reception. That will be an even bigger step as both kids will be at school. I will probably be writing about that next year thinking about this post. He develops a lot different to his older brother and the two couldn’t be much more different from each other. Yet they are both amazing. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

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I am looking back over the years, as I like to do when autumn is on and leaves turn golden the view out of the train window is foggy…and I am thinking. Those days, like at the time of writing, I stare into the fog. I look into my past and the decisions I have made in life. Without regret or burden I think about what would have been if …. And my mind drifts off for a bit, and comes back. I feel complacent to a certain extend. Full of energy, plans and desire. Goals and drive. Things are moving in the right direction. So when I say complacent, it is more happy and content, rather than smug.

When finishing this post, I just got a new suit. I needed one for a fraternity event in November, and I don’t have one that fits me anymore. I gain weight but hope it is muscle; I did my first 10 km run this week in 53 minutes, my osteopath seemed to have cracked my “shin splints” and my weight bench is getting heavier weights. For me this is a sign that things move in the right direction. I got my bikes repaired, might have to get more done, and soon it will be winter again.

And whilst I philosophically wind down, work is ramping up. Shows ahead, travel and lots of work for one person. I am enjoying it a lot! That is how I like it really.

The next few weeks will be very busy.

Have a good week.
Volker

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Life is for giving – and helping each other

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Sunday Column (286)

Spending 10 days without the family was great. Or was it? There is something to it, like being able to leave things lying about like scissors, knives and lighters. There is something about getting up at 5 am and making lots of noise. Or to spend all Saturday in front of the computer trying to set up websites and new blogs about productivity. On the other hand, I did miss those cuddles, the love and being part of a team of people, however small. The constant reminder that life isn’t only about yourself, you and what you want to do. But that life is for sharing, for teaching and learning.

I ordered a huge pizza on Sunday, being very lazy. Did I enjoy just eating by myself? Of course I didn’t. Wouldn’t it have been more fun to share it with the kids and watch a movie in the living room sitting on the picnic blanket. Or, as we normally do, make pizza ourselves. The way I felt on Monday it would for sure been a better idea. Not coming home to an untidy house where toys are all over the place, discovering new ones and fixing old ones. Not having someone in the car with me when going shopping. All those small things where you really miss the company and the ever so curious comments about life.

Yes, I missed my family dearly.

My commute this week was horrible. Or it was close to being horrible, but luckily I could work from home a lot. Monday’s bank holiday helped too. London Bridge was closed so we were working off a weekend timetable. One train an hour into London Victoria. So I got the 6:20 train to Victoria, anticipating the worst for the 7:30 one, the only peak hour train. But I managed and hopefully from next week things return to normal. Actually I enjoyed empty trains in the morning and early arrival at work for 7:45….utter madness ;-)

I was hinting at it last week already, but autumn isn’t far. Theoretically another three weeks, yet the Indian Summer is here. Golden light, first golden leaves falling from trees, fresh air and of course the first days of “Schmuddelwetter”, rainy dark days. I love autumn, nothing like it. Whilst spring is nice with days getting warmer, I don’t think you can beat autumn for the feeling and light in the air. My favourite season.

Autumn Hedgehog 1

Setting up my blog over at tidwows has been a great learning curve. I haven’t changed much at this blog and I am now discovering all new features, plugins and so on. Both blogs fulfil different purposes. Whilst this one is my personal blog where I predominantly share my personal life, tidwows is about productivity and personal development. My original plan for this blog, going back to 2007, was to make it about personal development, but I find it is better to separate it under a different brand. Again, I tried that a few years ago too but now found my niche since writing my book about productivity last year. I often get asked if that is what I do but to be honest, for the foreseeable future, I stick to what I do best and work in digital marketing as my main job. So no big plans. That might change in 5 years time, it might not. We shall see. For the time being I enjoy working on productivity and personal development, being able to help others.

The latter part is important. This isn’t all about me, and hence the separation of the two sites. One is about me, and me alone :-) One is about others, and others only.

What bothered me most this week? Zara and Yodel. I had to mention this: Zara this week withdrew a shirt looking like a concentration camp outfit, stripy with a yellow star. You wonder and think this might be coincidence yet you then get pointed out that they withdrew a bag a few years back that showed swastikas all over. What is going on in those designer minds, and the guys signing it off for sales. Are they right in their head? It doesn’t bug me because I am German but just the sheer stupidness of coming up with it. Imagine a brown uniform next….

And Yodel? They said they delivered my item, left it in a safe place. I was in and couldn’t find it. So the customer service suggested they get an answer in 24 hours. An hour later the driver arrives and I said it was described online as being delivered already. His words didn’t make any sense. So essentially, my take is that he had to deliver it before 1 pm and couldn’t, so just pretended he did. Problem is that I was in and on his case already. Maybe those drivers get a lot of punishment for being late, yet Yodel just doesn’t have a good reputation, and whenever I used them, the f* things up.

Never mind, it all worked out in the end. Got my treadmill repaired and waiting for the hoover to be repaired.

For the week in general: it was great to have the family back. We then met friends over the weekend and enjoyed some quality time with them. Life is good. You don’t often realise how well you are and how nice it is to be able to share so many things with your friends. But it is, even if you only see them once a year. Life is busy too. Not only for us.

Have a great week. September. This time for sure.

Volker

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Sunday Column (285)

Steve Jobs loved Bob Dylan. I started listening to him after reading Steve’s biography and recently heard that the first album he ever listened to was Blood on the tracks. So I downloaded it in his memory and realised I really enjoy this album.

Going back in time. Looking at the counter culture in SF in the 70ies. Hippies. Campervans and independence. Life was good. Life is great. We just need to make it happen. Yet I am not living in the past, quite the opposite. I am living in the now with a strong future outlook. We can only change things in the now, laying the foundation of the future.

Another week passed with 5 am starts. It is getting better to get up. One morning I go running, 5K, and the next I do some circuits and work, or as on Tuesday end up watching postman Pat with the boys. I don’t do this to be super productive only but to gain back time. I come home from work around half 7 on a normal day. Before I know it I spend the evening not doing much, having my tea and go to bed at 10; staying up longer results in me watching rubbish on TV, my brain just ain’t working that late anymore.

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So I gain 90 minutes waking minutes. Enough time to exercise and shower or to write on a blog post or review a few articles. I even fixed a squeaking door at 5 am, whatever comes to mind, whiteboard sessions etc. There is plenty to do. This also means I can start working on the train or follow up on anything I didn’t do in the morning. If I keep up this routine, I won’t compromise on sleep (6-7 hours are plenty), I get enough exercise (3×30 min/week + bike at weekend), and I should be able to get more things done. However, the transition period is tough, it takes 60 days to form a new habit. Wish me luck.

For the next few months I am hoping to be more proactive over at tidWOWs which is my productivity site. You won’t see much, but might have noticed that I published a book on productivity which also was available for free this week. Plan is to move it into the public domain and make it available for study, research and public editing, very similar to a Wikipedia. I will of course keep you posted on progress.

My wife and kids were visiting grannie in Scotland over the last week and I had the house to myself. It is quiet without them, yet it is nice to be able and just do what you want to do. Cleaning some bits in the fish tank late at night, turning the lights off in the hallway or leaving bits and pieces lying around as reminders. All of those things that ain’t possible with small people being around. And of course a PJ day. A day filled of movies, pizza, snoozes, doing nothing and plenty of it. I got bored eventually but still enjoyed the freedom to do it.

That’s really it. Not the most exciting week, but hey it is still holiday season. We are moving into autumn. It is getting colder, the bike stand is out and the fire has been on a few times. My most favourite season.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Amazing MTB ride #5amwow

Nothing like watching the sunrise as you cycle up the Ditchling Beacon, then across the South Downs, and chase cows down a chalky path. Back home for 7.

Moving down here 2 years ago was a lifestyle choice. And what a life we are living!

Feeling blessed!

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