Posts Tagged climate change

Sunday Column (519)

Lovely people. This is the 3rd last regular column. And notice the ‘regular’ bit, I might be back 🙂 If you believe it or not, and of course given I am German and organised, I started writing most of the blog posts already. I have always done that, prepared the blog posts and just published them in advance. As far as I can remember there has been one or two occasions where I sat down Sunday night to draft and publish.

It is less the time impact that makes me stopping it. It is the refocus on other things. I am changing my life. The base stays the same, e.g. job, family, house – the stability and foundation remains the same. But I am working on other things that just need more attention.

The week started off awful – if you like – last Saturday with a delayed Southern train from Victoria after the footie. 2.5 hours for a 50 minute journey with an exhausted 9 year old. Just imagine you leave on an 8:41 train, go up to Manchester and back, and it takes you almost as long as that getting home on the final stretch from Victoria. As one tweet suggested it is Network Rail and not Southern Rail – I get it, but my contract is with Southern, and they are the ones responsible for me. My boy was good though and we had lovely company. A retired scientist that told a good story or two, and it is in those moments when you look at life from a different perspective. Or, when the wife texts that Venus is next to the Moon on the sky early mornings when she went to work.

Maybe I am a bit melancholic, sitting on a rather empty commuter train into London, I reflect on how small we are. The climate conference this week showed how much we destroy our planet. The boys are talking about settling on Mars and building the next ISS. We put up the Christmas tree as if we can cut down trees as there was no tomorrow (I know those are sustainable farmed etc. so all good 🙂 ) – the human race must change. We need to change what we eat, how we treat other people and sentiment beings and of course our planet as a whole. At the same time we got our first smart plug, not only out of convenience (to turn the lights on the above tree on and off) but also to realise how much energy you use. A smart meter has been high on the list, let’s see.

What will life look like 50 years from now. The constant change will not be stopped but will rather accelerate. Depending on our life span of 120 years, we might see the colonisation of space or the oceans. Where would you rather be? I know, the planet itself. But will we have the option?

It’s not all doom and gloom. I am more and more convinced Brexit won’t happen and some things stay the same and we might have another 10 years of a good and unchanged life here in Britain. I am hopefully of course and maybe that’s what I want to be and how I should think. I have no ambition to move to be honest and if I had to, I would of course. Wouldn’t I? I must. I must ensure that the next generation, our kids, have the best possible start to make an impact on this planet. For all the reasons above.

Those are my thoughts this week. Maybe triggered a bit by the latest Outlander episode, the cold weather and dark nights.

Have a good week, wherever you are.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (507)

I was travelling this week, attending the biggest online and digital marketing show dmexco in Cologne. It was a reunion of industry veterans. I noticed that a new generation came along and I am one of the older ones now. Gravitas and experience start to show I hope, and friendships form. You almost feel like a pioneer having attended 11 of the last 13 years of the show, being in the industry for 13+ years. But I also made a lot of new connections, meeting people from my new company. A great trip, and well worth the time spent. Thank you again industry.

But I also reflected a lot during my flight. For once I had a window seat and a great view of London, then of planes taking off against the sunset whilst we taxied to our gate. When flying to Singapore for our first big international holiday, I found myself having one of those moments too. Those reflective ones. I am not one for binge watching movies, or downloading millions of episodes on Netflix to watch on the plane. So I started listening to Tim Ferris’ podcast on the way to Singapore, and dozed off. As I woke up people had lowered their blinds and all I could see was a variety of screens lit up by various TV shows. In flight entertainment everywhere, and quite frankly what else would you want to do on a 12.5 hours flight?

Flying on an A380 airbus is a lot nicer than a smaller plane from Europe to the UK (saying that, we have not left yet). I took my youngest up the spiral staircase at the back of the plane and not only did the staircase move a lot, on the top you found the first class cabins and we got some amazing chocolates. How the other half of the world lives 🙁 Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that for a moment, as I awoke, I saw someone watching a drama about a child, others watched the Asian version of X-Factor, then a comic, a love story, a kids movie….and it became a bit surreal, and I couldn’t even really explain why. As if you had loads of different views and experiences put together into the same place.

It must be the influence of Homo Deus (that’s the book I read, remember me mentioning it before?)) – “Human God” if you translated it, that made me become so openly philosophical. Maybe this is the start of a new era of blog posts that are more philosophical and trying to enlighten you as a reader, making you think 😉 The differences of choice of movies, the different cultures, the heritage across our planet makes it so wonderful. The variety of taste and taking a 10,000 feet view of humans, is something I haven’t done consciously before.

You might have read my column on climate change. After the heatwave, the rain and of course the humid weather in Singapore, things were forgotten. The summer at home was back to the best British weather, rain, muggy and stinky 😉 No sign of climate change. Is it real then? Something is happening anyway, and we just don’t know what influences it.

So that’s what I think when I travel. And I enjoy the podcasts. And when I run, like this weekend, I listen to audio books. It takes my mind away and it gives me new perspectives. On AI, on human kind and human behaviour. Those snippets you experience. Isn’t life wonderful?

Anyway, enough for this week, I am off to Germany again next week – maybe a few more stories of philosophy from a plane 😉

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (501)

How are we doing? The height of summer and it is warm. Or it has been warm. Allegedly this is due to the jet stream not moving air and weather around the way it normally does, because there isn’t enough cold air above the Artic which means hot and cold air aren’t making the jet stream flow. See this article for a more scientific explanation. I did some research for this topic and want to share accordingly. But also as this heatwave goes on globally (!) there are more articles emerging, including one that had highlighted the high temperatures above the Nordic hemisphere being above 30 degrees Celsius for far too long, and higher than ever before 🙁

We shouldn’t complain, yet the heat gets to me. It’s not what I am used to. And I am probably too British to not complain about the weather. Either way, too good or too bad. What I really worry about though if that’s the start of global warming or if that’s a one off. The Independent says that our minds are ‘clouded’ with our own short term memory and that the weather might just be going through cycles and there is nothing unusual about it. On the other hand, of course, climate change results in spring happening earlier and the seasons being affected, yet is the heat wave down to climate change?

The Guardian on the other hand says the heat wave is due to carbon monoxide, and again not unusual but supported by climate change if I read and understand it correctly. So if I summarise, we should get used to the weather being more extreme and warmer in the spring, colder in autumn, seasons are shifting but the heat wave as such isn’t due to climate change on its own but more a result of a few factors coming together, which as such are also influenced by climate change. Not sure if that is all sensible or not? And surely the Arctic being warmer is due to global warming. Maybe it’s just another earthly cycle, which means we get a colder atmosphere and ice age again sometime too?

I cannot help myself but getting worried. And maybe it is because of the books I read like Sapiens and Homo Deus. The Doomsday scenarios of the world, historical and futuristic, are there. Should we put people in charge who think the world is going to end and we are all ending up in an escape pod or spaceship? Are we relying on finding a solution to the problems humans have created in the first place? On top of that we have Brexit, see my comment last week. Are we living in the most peaceful times on our planet yet instead of going after other nations and cultures we decide to kill ourselves via carbon monoxide emission, ocean pollution and all of the changes affecting our weather? And if that isn’t enough we start changing the political system to add a bit of spice to life? Sorry for a big rant 😉

We should just worry about everyday life, our jobs and families, about not having too much sugar and how we pay for our pension and mortgage. And maybe we should worry about AI and it taking over the world (Human Deus)? Shouldn’t we be happily engrained in society, helping others, and wonder what our kids want to do with their lives? Wasn’t that the life our parents had just one generation ago, or is that me painting a rosy picture of the past? Have I forgotten the struggles they had? Instead, we are worrying if the first person living to 150 years has been born, and if we all live past 100; and in the same breath we talk about our planet being destroyed and us having to go to space. I sometimes don’t really know what to think anymore. And maybe I should stop reading books like Homo Deus and just enjoy the weather as it is…. What do you think?

Given my nature, I just cannot stop thinking about the global impact of those changes. Over 25 years ago I was part of an environmental group warning about the pollution of the oceans and global warming. What have we done to our planet since? I feel like I am turning into a philosopher to a certain extend, and wonder if we end up in space ships driven by AI? Or if we all die young, so we don’t have to worry anymore. Or as Elon Musk or Homo Deus states, maybe we are part of a big model, actually living in the year 3000, and we went back to experiment with the planet to see if we can save it. And will we? And are we? If it is an animation, we would, wouldn’t we?

Given the other part of my nature, I am an optimist. I am positive and believe that we will always come up with a new solution, something that will save mankind. Of course I would not rely on it but somehow we will. There might be mass exodus and mass extinction, and maybe another war, but similar to the TV Series of 100, there will be few of us that will be saved. Maybe that’s what the planet needs? Aren’t we all in it together?

Maybe not my most motivational post, but I thought I share this, as there aren’t any other news. Sommerloch, the German saying of ‘summer hole’, no news in the summer. And I don’t really want to bore you with my day to day all the time 🙂 Hopefully an entertaining, yet thoughtful post. Next on my reading list is a book about AI – maybe you get more posts like that.

I hope you enjoy the summer.
Have a good one, wherever you are,
Volker

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Sunday Column (468)

This week’s post is written on a keyboard I still need to come to terms with: My new MacBook Pro. Since Southern Rail reimbursed me my travel card, I could justify the hefty price tag to get a new laptop. It sounds crazy but the MacBook or the MacBook Air just don’t have enough power to really justify any investment past 1K. So the MacBook Pro, without the fancy touch bar, seems like the only reasonable machine out there if you want to buy an Apple. And I am overall quite happy with it. The keyboard, as said, needs getting used to, the touchpad too but you already know it is better than the old one on the Air, and definitely is similar to the external one; and last but not least, the display is amazing. Particularly compared to the Air. However, as friends warned me, connecting it to my 10 year old Dell screen, just doesn’t cut it. It feels like the Dell is fading, and I prefer to do the main work on the Retina display. Maybe there is another investment coming soon.

First world problems I suppose. On that note, Arnold Schwarzenegger was very outspoken this week about climate change and someone in a podcast said that we are the first generation that actually has enough data to make an informed decision. And, we cannot ignore the fact the world is changing. Minus degrees, snow, it being cold and the fire is on, cosy nights with wine. The next day T-shirt weather and rain, it being around 10 degrees. No, this isn’t normal, and I don’t need to be a meteorologist to figure that one out. What to do? I am still thinking of how I can contribute to the greater good moving forward.

A friend of mine had a website a few years ago about connecting dots. And Steve Jobs is most famous for saying you connect those dots looking back, even if looking forward we can’t see it yet. And it is Anthony Robbins who said that the brain is wired to avoid fear, because that’s how it was millions of years ago. There is history and if we look back, we cannot predict the future – still. But with climate change we can say: it is real!

I figured, sometimes in life we just need to sit still and listen. We need to connect with friends and family, new people and get input. And based on the input we get, we redefine our lives. We all do that, all the time. However, doing it consciously, and deliberately reviewing your life’s purpose, is something else. That’s what I have been doing over the last few weeks, since I took redundancy. I am open about it, because I am wired to talk, to write, to share thoughts. I am not wired to be a great motivational speaker on a stage, as my background is very scientifically grounded. Of course, one doesn’t exclude the other. What I am trying to say is that what I like to produce is profound, which is why I was successful in my sales career: no BS. Ever. Win/Win. Always. And the input this week was as good as last week, maybe a complete different directions. That’s what I call a growth mindset, and I am keen on not doing anything for a few days over Christmas.

This feels like a year end post already. Despite being a bit put off by ‘my’ digital industry, I cannot stay away. Having been at a few Christmas drinks this week, it is so great to see people from the industry I have known for years. That is fun and continues next week, with even more and closer friends. The industry is part of me, and I am part of it. I love technology, and particularly technology pushing boundaries and being in a position to improve the ecosystem and deficicies. My tasks got bigger from selling ads to influencing the way we see the ecosystem and how we approach it. Things are changing. I am changing. And some of the tech I have been speaking about over the past few weeks has been amazing.

I am also deep into personal development and change. Not only in theory with my book about productivity and articles on growth mindsets that I write and that resonate well, but also the application of this on a daily basis. Being one of the few that never struggle with their workloads and emails for instance. It’s about getting things done and putting out more than others at higher quality. But at the same time looking at your balance and work culture for your team. This is difficult when we look at value creation versus hours worked. Quantity vs. Quality. Another discussion this week.

So I have been thinking on how to best combine the two things. In the New Year I will make a few personal announcements. I plan to launch a few things that are more personal development related, that fuel my passion and hopefully your interest in the personal development space. And the main thought for me: focusing on Europe, rather than the US. There is a lot of good influence coming from the US, but I believe we need more focus on what’s happening in our world. Things we can apply to what’s in front of us. There is a lot of great stuff coming from the US and I love those motivational gurus and ideas, but the market is so different to Europe, to the UK. Size and scale are only a small part of it, culture is another.

On the other hand I will continue to focus on changing the world, changing the ecosystem we are living in from a digital and technology perspective. Helping others to understand what’s happening and how to be back in control. Being able to change the world, maybe, and even if it is a little bit at a time.

As Christmas is around the corner things are slowing down. Decision making is almost coming to a stand still. I have taken more online courses and made first decisions. I will disclose at the appropriate times but two projects are secured. Both are, so far, unfunded, e.g. freelance without pay. That is ok though, as there are thoughts behind it. I keep you posted. You, my friends, will be the first to know about my new endeavours and ideas. No, they aren’t related to climate change but there is no reason they won’t be moving forward. One just doesn’t know, do you?

Just finishing the week, we went to the Brighton game on Saturday. I wanted to go back for over a year, when I first took the boys to a football match. And my first one too. So this time my wife joined and we had a great family time. My youngest missed out on his best friend’s birthday party in favour of the game. Creating those experiences are fun, and then it doesn’t matter whether you win or loose. To be there, engage fully, and being part of something, that is key and much more valuable than winning or losing.

Have a great Christmas. Wind down, give your loved ones a hug and make sure you stay warm and safe.

All the best,
Volker

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Thursday Flash (14)

Flash….

This week I like to share a couple different topics.

This article is about Stephen Hawkings and Climate Change – and it has a message to Trump in it too. Definitely a good read.

Further, a couple of weeks ago, Adidas announce to go Digital only – is that the right way? And would this really result in it taking on Nike? Will online be enough, without TV ads? We shall see.

Last but not least, a good read about 20 beliefs you will stop believing in 20 years time. Life is changing and so are our beliefs.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s flash.

See you next Thursday!
Volker

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