Posts Tagged dmexco

Sunday Column (455)

Autumn has arrived. A cold, rainy and windy Sunday last week, building rafts, then a hot bath for the boys and a nice warm fire for all of us, cosy. The natural things, the things we have always known, like fire and blankets, provide shelter and comfort on days like that. We cleared away our garden furniture, cleaning the BBQ and prepare for winter. It isn’t quite there yet, but it won’t be long. Comfort. With hurricanes sweeping over the Caribbean and the US, we can consider ourselves lucky. Yet, the signs this might be global warming can no longer be ignored. Raising sea levels and different sea temperatures make nature more powerful. This is scary as this is only the beginning and seems far away. That might and will change. And I have been saying that since I joined a local environmental group in my early teens. And what have we, as human kind, done to prevent it?

9-11. It happened 16 years ago, just when I arrived in the UK. We seek comfort, we never forget. An event that changed the world and influences our generation as much as the wars have influenced our parent’s generation. Troubled times. We are lucky to not have seen more attacks of similar scale over the years, and I hope that we never will, given improved security at airports etc. We cannot be scared of flying or getting around following our daily business. We shouldn’t. We must trust that the majority of people on this planet are good people, looking after one another and share love and compassion. However, Korea is trying to prove us wrong. Another missile towards Japan. 9-11 is a reminder for us to not forget what has happened, why it has happened and how we learned from it.

Germany hosted the biggest digital advertising exhibition and conference dmexco this year. It has been 11 years since I started attending that event, and I since missed it once or twice. It has grown phenomenal and the owners are doing an amazing job to deliver an event relevant to the industry. Globally. I noticed that I have been in digital marketing for over 10 years, and 8 out of those I deal with programmatic. Even back then I said that the ecosystem will just adopt programmatic as standard. I wasn’t wrong so far. Yet the hype isn’t over yet, it takes 10 years for things to normalise I suppose, hence we seeing so much consolidation in the industry. When at the show I heard that my old boss said to someone at a meeting that ‘I was the best sales person he ever hired’. It is nice to have these things said about me, of course it would be nicer to have heard it from him. The industry is a village, lots of familiar faces, networking, and shaking hands. That’s what I love about it, some great friends you find, connections you make.

In between coming back from Germany and going out to New York, I try to spend as much time as possible with my boys. Travel is full on again, and more than planned, but the job needs to be done. It isn’t glamorous. On Tuesday I got a chance to take them to school and chat with them in the morning. A lovely autumn day it seemed. I missed them coming home delayed and exhausted on Thursday but we made up for it on Friday and Saturday. They do not like me being away and I do not like the travelling either. But it is part of the parcel and it will get better. Important in my opinion is that we talk about it, and that I carve out the time with the family when I can. This is to make sure you do not neglect the most important part of your life. They need to feel valued and given attention, being the most important things I have. Given I love my job, always enjoyed working, family is still there forever, and building a relationship with your kids starts now. As my boss once said, success doesn’t mean being successful in your job only, there is family and other things to consider too. That goes in line with a book I finished reading this week which examines how we – you – measure your life.

In other news, after my wife gave me an amazing bracelet for my birthday, a Buddhist one that makes me feel more grounded and reminds me to be mindful, I got myself another one. It has seven different coloured beads, representing chakras and remind you of virtues too. I enjoy wearing them, alongside my colourful and changing watch straps, in order to remind myself daily of how grateful I am. When on flights and trying to relax my brain and taking a moment to just not think, I touch those beads, reflect on what’s happening in life and cherish the love and focus on the important things in my life. This is important to me, and I am pleased to have those reminders with me.

Before I finish off a few thoughts on the Apple event this week. The iPhone X is amazing. The technology is the future of what is there to come. In my opinion Apple has pulled off an amazing phone packed with mind blowing technology. I also believe that technology will become available to mainstream iPhones in the years to come, and for now is more a gimmick. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have one, but I cannot justify the money for it. So I might just hold on to see how the technology will find its way in the more affordable versions over time. Hence I need to check how to upgrade to the iPhone 8 for now.

It has been a busy week. Exciting with the official showcasing of our new company joint proposition at dmexco. Fully booked, exhausting flights. Networking, fun filled conversations, discussions, open exchanges about the things there are and things to come. I am happy, content about the life I am living and the situation I am. Zen. It is busy but change is good. I am excited about change, whichever way it might turn out. When you read this on Sunday night I will be on the plane to New York for a quick trip. Life isn’t bad as long as we are aware what is important to us, how we measure whether we prioritise correctly and as long as we are in zen with ourselves.

Thanks for reading and tuning in. Have a fantastic week,

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Sunday Column (403)

What a week! It ended with a walk today where I took this picture:


Never know where your path is leading to. Yet you have to trust your intuition and faith. Take massive actions towards your goals. Be you. Succeed. You will be ok.

However, the week started with an amazing Adtech event. ATS, Exchangewire own Ad Trading Summit, which I have been attending since the summer of 2010. Ciaran put on an amazing line of speakers, insights and discussions around the real time bidding, programmatic advertising technology market. Well done! This was amazing. An industry get together. A catch up with publishers, suppliers, vendors, media owners and tech heads; geeks and friends. This year felt special, as I find that the industry is growing up, and maybe because there were a few acquisitions announced or talked about, a big tech IPO due soon, and all of those rumours bring the excitement back. dmexco is the largest global online and digital market show. It’s predecessor used to be a competitor show to one I launched and the founders of dmexco once offered me to join them for a sales role. Maybe I should have….hindsight. Anyway, 10 years on my friends have done very well and it is the second time this year, in the aforementioned 10 years, that I haven’t been to Duesseldorf (OMD) or Cologne (dmexco). That’s ok though.

My focus has changed. Not only do I feel more UK focused, I also feel more inward focused, both from a job and a personal perspective. I feel like my new job and challenge is what I was seeking. It is something that uses a different part of my brain, makes me use my intellect and people skills, yet has less pressure on sole revenue figures. Less travel. More home time. Less email strain. More fun. It is a change, and I openly say it, but it feels right and a change for the better. And I am not only saying that. I am convinced this is the step in the right direction. Thanks for the opportunity!


When you, like me, see an industry growing up. Changing. It feels great. When you are told that you put companies on the market and my name is in line with ‘TV Sync’, it is nice to hear. I achieved something. I made people rich, as someone said, but I also made myself rich. Not in terms of cash but in terms of experience, in respect to contacts and reputation. I am thankful for that. And whilst this sounds like a bit of a funeral speech, I am looking back at my career and feel like I have finally arrived. It has been a good journey, and it will continue to be amazing: that I am sure about. I feel a lot more balanced and content. Isn’t that a good thing? And I haven’t really started yet, have I? My careers is only started, the most important part has just begun.

The remainder of the week flew past. Meetings. Training. Pitches. Management. Kids up late. TV watching the100. New trainers. And on Friday: the Apple Watch. Wow wow wow. Steve. You would have seen a predecessor of that beast. I feel like 2011. When I researched tablets and realised the only device that does what I want and all others are modelled on is the iPad. When I searched for fitness devices 18 months ago I could find the one that was right for me. Garmin was the closest but it wasn’t wearable tech. Now with the Apple Watch I have the fitness tracker and wearable tech in one. I was waiting for it. What a treat. Given I only used it for a weekend, I am impressed by the technology. I mainly used it as a fitness device and still figure out which other added value it has, besides being a gadget and makes me use my phone less often for things like checking the weather, emails, timers, stock market and so on.


And the kids? The kids settling in well in school and enjoy the time with the child minder. The wife started her journey back into work. Life is changing once again. It is a good change, feels like we are growing up. As a family. We went to London this weekend too. We can do things. We can experience things together. The boys understand it. They gain from the experience. It is a joy. We went to London Borough market, a bit crowded and more touristy than we remember it from 10 years ago. Then the underground and DLR to the Emirates cable car. Did you see my live video on Facebook? I was a bit scared to be honest but enjoyed the day out with the kids. When they wanted to buy books, yes physical books, I couldn’t deny them the educational piece, could I. Back home via Victoria with a bus. Yes, we love living close to London. Next time we are eying up the London Eye and maybe a river boat journey. We shall see.

And during my meditation and walks, I every so often get reminded to not take things for granted. To treat each moment as being precious. To be sure I cherish the love of my family. To be thankful for what we have. What we can give and the difference we can make. The responsibility we have for our life and the life of others.

I meditate on it often. I am feeling blessed and truly grateful.

Best wishes,

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Sunday Column (341)

Where to start. An eventful week. A scary week.

Monday was a great conference in London. An old friend has put on his annual RTB/Programmatic conference and I haven’t missed one yet. Just when I settled into the second panel, I got this message from my wife saying ‘there was an accident, I call you‘.

Nothing ever happens to us, right? We are always going to be alright. Your mind goes into an overdrive: Is your family ok? How bad is it…how long will it take me to get home? Luckily this ended up being mild(ish). My wife had hit a pedestrian when that person stepped out in front of her. Lucky for him she wasn’t driving but on her bike. Bad for her, she was knocked off her bike. Lucky for her she didn’t break anything and no car from oncoming traffic ran over her afterwards. Needless to say she wore a helmet.

She is fine. She is in pain. Seen the doctor and eventually the pain will ease they say. Time heals. We are grateful she escaped without serious injuries. I am grateful for her being able to continue looking after the kids whilst I then, on Tuesday, embarked on my adventure to dmexco.


I almost didn’t go. Yet, this is the biggest online and digital show/exhibition in the world. Again, for over 10 years, once it was a competitive show, I have been seeing this show grow from 1 hall and maybe pushing 100 exhibitors to now 4 halls and 300 or more exhibitors. Two days of meetings non stop. Three nights of heavy German food, actually a Michelin Sushi for us on one night, washed down with Koelsch, Wine, Lagavulins and Schnaps.

Discussions about work, the industry, ad blockers, companies, visions, futures. No sleep, lots of input, catching up with loads of industry friends, giving away almost 200 business cards, connecting to people, showing expertise, selling, visualising. And, of course, making deals, closing deals, celebrating success. That’s how the industry rolls and it is fun, exhausting but satisfying. There is no feeling like it when it hits 4 pm on the second day and you calm down, your brain is frazzled and you slowly wind down. It was the first time we presented my “new” company, the company that recently bought my existing outfit: 4C Insights. What I think of them? Awesome, see here for a vision/article I wrote about the merger.

Yes, as much as I hate the strain of it, I love it and enjoy doing it. Once a year! It has been an amazing event. Thank you organiser, Christian and Frank, for another show. Maybe I should have joined you years ago, but hey,….that’s for another time maybe.

I promised the kids some new pens. So I accomplished my mission with 27(ish) different pens I collected, some gummi-bears, squeaky ducks and some blue toys as well as a pixie book about the Internet. For myself I ended up with yet a few more external batteries, still needed at shows or when travelling. Those give-aways are so popular that people attend trade shows just to get freebies. Never mind.

Once I got back on Friday I cleared (most of) my inbox, picked up the boys from school, took them swimming, slept, had a dirty take away and soothing wine. I slept from 9 pm solid for 9 hours. I needed it. Still very tired the whole weekend, I got my wife to make some German food. Why not 😉

Guess that’s all.
I have to say, going for a run and taking it easier on the booze this year helped. I am slowly getting less carried away. Not sure if it is maturity or knowing that my body can’t cope that well anymore. Having said that, due to my fitness level, I can cope with lack of sleep and booze a lot better than I used to which is interesting. But nothing makes up for good sleep, and I don’t seem to sleep well when away at trade shows. And of course there is age concerns, but more about the mid life crisis another time 😉

Have a great week.

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Sunday Column (340)

Next week I will be travelling again. A big UK conference, then the biggest online marketing exhibition in Germany, dmexco. 20 meetings scheduled. Lots of friends and partners to meet. This is going to be fun presenting ourselves for the first time since the merger as a combined company. I keep you posted next week.

However, the greatest thing this week was R starting school. Now our two boys are in school. It is an odd feeling, particularly for the wife, to have free time and no one around. Yet it is nice to see them being tired, challenged and full on. They are very proud to be at school and enjoy learning. Whilst R was a bit apprehensive I am confident he will settle in. Didn’t we all?

It is a bit like fitting a square peg into a round hole. A child from play to serious learning, step by step, they are made to follow a routine and system. I am not too certain if I fully agree with that, however at least in our country they are educated to free speech and open thinking, being able to form their own opinion. This is something I strongly encourage. Also, compared to Germany, I like the school uniforms, so no one actually looks richer or poorer than their pals, making class differences obsolete, focusing on the character and education. And if they continue to associate learning with fun, I am a happy dad!

For me it is like the first step of letting go. Next is college, then university if they wish. Then they will go all independent and we can only guide them to a certain extend. As a friend of mine, whose last child just graduated from uni, said: my job is done here, they are now grown up. Yet of course we still seek our parent’s advice as long as we live. Support, love, and of course when we have kids, we like the grandparents to help. The cycle of life. No progression in technology will stop us from those basic life principles.

99 success

In other news, the latest iPhone was announced, an even bigger iPad. A more sophisticated entertainment machine, aka Apple TV, and sure there is more to come early next year. Luckily I am due an upgrade, so plan is to get the new iPhone week after next, then exchange my current ipad for an ipad mini…and maybe the iWatch for my birthday…we shall see.

I am sometimes wondering what the future holds. Technology wise, whether we will have a chip implanted that pays for things or tracks our whole body’s chemistry? I stopped paying with cash as much as I can and it is a lot easier than I thought. Of course, as a Buddhist, I should focus on the now rather than dwell on the past or future. Yet, one must be allowed to think what the boys will do for a living, what their work will look like, what our retirement will be like and whether we make it at all to retirement age? Not doom and gloom, but diseases, technology advancement, and accidents might kill us before we even got a chance to finish off our bucket list.

We don’t know. And that is how it should be. Being able to influence it a little bit by eating healthily, exercising and doing our part, we might just be ok. Let’s hope so and stay positive, and focus on the present moment. Let us tick off those items on the bucket list as we go along and let’s not aim too high. Maybe we keep a few we never achieve, just so we never run out of ideas and goals. Something that keeps us going.

That’s it really for the week. Enjoy life as it is.

Have a great week,

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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.

jobs ppt

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,

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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.


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!


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Sunday Column (237)

A lucky commuter week is behind me. I got a seat two days in a row and yet was away for two days this week. I sometimes think I am crazy to commute an hour into London, then another 30 minutes within London, to reach my place of work. I suppose it doesn’t bother me because I use the time on the train to read, catch up on videos and TV shows or write this blog. If I didn’t, I couldn’t do that daily commute. And this week I finished reading a book, caught up on TV and wrote the blog. Productivity!

What still beats me is that train companies charge a horrendous amount for my travel without giving me value for money. Using the only peak hour service from Hassocks to London Bridge this train is “standing only” unless you are lucky like I was this week. Crazy. I keep telling them and hope it changes eventually, yet the way it looks my company might have an office over in the West End of London, meaning I can use many of the Victoria line trains, before anything changes on the London Bridge services. Or maybe Farringdon….

So I continue to complain to both Southern Rail Services and First Capital Connect Trains, latter putting awfully old trains on for my journey home. The main challenge is that they won’t change and we, the commuters, don’t have any power to get them to change. We rely on the trains and don’t have a choice. We complain, won’t be heard, get frustrated, yet are helpless in the end.


Germany also sprang to mind when I sat down to write this column. Firstly because trains are more modern, more on time (yet not in my experience) and somewhat empty when I use them. Yet, I have been standing on commuter trains before between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, and I have been thinking whether Germany’s infrastructure is really that much better? It probably is. I just don’t want to compare it any longer.

This week I went to the biggest European Online Marketing show, dmexco, in Cologne. A trip down memory lane as I visit this show, and it’s predecessor, for seven years now. A good trip to show my boss how different Europe is to the UK and what the European digital landscape looks like out there. He was impressed, we had amazing meetings and it was good to catch up with the industry that forms my home. A small industry. I love being part of it.

I feel ok about Germany too. My second trip within 10 days. I actually enjoy being in the fatherland. A trip to see friends, working on conferences, visiting exhibitions. Networking, meeting people and looking at how the country and it’s landscape has changed. I enjoy going back. I enjoy seeing my friends overcoming obstacles and doing well. I experience a different Germany compared to years ago.

I often get asked whether I could imagine returning home. The answer surprisingly would be ‘yes, if I have to’. The bureaucracy and ‘black and white’ thinking is a safety net I would enjoy in Germany, despite it would do my head in at the same time. The solid foundation of each business decision, the mulling over of decisions, the fear of lack of quality but no fear of failure, the aim to do really well….Germany is build on solid principles and measures. A productive society, a strong work force, a profound education system. However, I would be scared to come to political and social boundaries, limits to expand beyond my own means.

Re-reading the paragraph above I am not sure if it makes sense to everyone. You never know where life takes you. I spoke with an old friend of mine earlier this week suggesting one needs to ‘just go for it’. Unconventional. Taking the risk and trust that the universe, the karma, the greater unconscious, will be good to you. One needs to believe that things work out in the end.

I do.
I believe.

On that note, Colin managed to cycle without the stabilisers on his bike this week. Needless to say I am proud. Very proud. Seeing my boy grow up. Seeing him being proud of his achievements. It almost brought tears to my eyes.

Free falling. Jump off the cliff and trust in a soft landing.
Maybe with a parachute. Maybe not.

Have a lovely week.


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Sunday Column (134)

My Sunday Column seems to gain on popularity. Clients and friends regularly comment on my thoughts. However, particularly this week I don’t really know where to start.

I attended the ATS London on Tuesday. I reported about it, and I am still buzzing with some thoughts. Also, I am about to finalise another opinion piece about RTB. This will be published hopefully in the next two weeks. As you can see I love being part of digital, and I love being part of RTB. Oh, and I love my job!

This week also saw me travelling to dmexco in Germany. I believe ad:tech has seen its days in Europe, as this was by far the best dmexco and international show I have seen in Europe for years. I don’t want to write a summary about the show, but I think the only one that could come close to it might be ad:tech San Francisco or New York for that matter. But ad:tech London doesn’t deliver the same value and content as dmexco. Also, to attend the conference at dmexco is free, and speakers are invited. ad:tech now charges some speakers for presenting and definitely charges for the conference. I could go on with my thoughts. However, I already shared a few with leading conferences in Europe, and hope to be able to share my knowledge with at least one of them for their European shows. Onwards and upwards, I am not doing shows and conferences any more. At least for the moment 🙂

Other news this week are those Facebook changes. I am not sure if I continue to enjoy using it. Facebook is becoming a portal, and I personally don’t mind sharing information and connect to friends, but don’t need all those added services. We shall see how things develop on that end.

The weekend made my wife and I think again what we want to do. As you know we now decided to stay in the UK, even stay in Beckenham after all. I met more and more people that like it here and praise the free and good schools. So this is still a possibility. We also looked into changing our mortgage but haven’t decided whether we wait until we are up for renewal next June or re-mortgage earlier. Rumours have it that the base rate will increase by 0.5% at the latest next April. So we still need to do some thinking, calculating and making decisions.

To update you on the car: the guys at Kwik Fit figured it was only the hand brake. So a £100 job rather than £1,500 for the wheel bearings or maybe £5000+ for the gear box. So overall we might get away with a few hundred pounds and the thought of whether it is feasible to keep the car. Sure, we will now keep it for another year and we probably have the same thoughts again then. We should get it back on Monday.

We also booked our holidays, looking forward to seeing the family. Another long drive, hoping the car will last. But why wouldn’t it? I guess I am just paranoid, as always.

That’s all folks for this week. Next week I have an important management meeting in Cologne. I am very much looking forward to it.

So long & stay well,

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Michael Rubenstein, AJ and I just before take off. AppNexus invited us to fly with a chartered plane and a selected industry crowd from the ATS London to dmexco in Cologne.

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Ad Trading Summit London #atsl

On Tuesday this week the industry around RTB gathered to celebrate the 3rd Exchangewire event: Ad Trading Summit London 2011. Ciaran O’Kane got a great audience of 450 people and high end industry speakers together: well done. It is a testament to our ever growing niche within online.

RTB is here to stay, as I wrote in a blog post earlier this year. So Brian O’Kelley from AppNexus had the opening keynote. It was great to see an industry veteran setting the scene, putting RTB on the map. After Mike Nolet’s classification of DEM (display engine marketing specialists), Brian came up with the latest acronym for people working across exchanges: ATS – Ad Trading Specialists.

I guess companies like mexad, e.g. Ad Trading specialists, are what you need if you want to get the best performance across exchange buys. And, the exchanges space just gained another new exchange yesterday. Hi Media announce that it partners with AppNexus to channel through their remnant inventory in Europe. That is fantastic news and shows how networks evolve into SSPs and how our industry is getting more exciting by the day.

The first panel about attribution modelling was more of a discussion around what one could measure rather than giving some insights or examples. Attribution modelling still seems to be in its infancy, is client dependent, channel dependent and difficult to measure. There are new technologies coming to the market measuring actual views of ads and measure whether they have been seen, and for how long. Also new ad formats are on the rise as shown by AOL and Microsoft lately. This is fantastic to see, as the message and creative itself is getting more emphasis as well as the user engagement. So will we be able to get brand performance away from some premium sites and on to exchanges. Not saying you won’t get premium inventory across the exchanges but if brand engagement can be measured we are a step closer to tapping more money away from direct sales. Another step in the right direction if you ask me 🙂

MediaMath’s CEO was supporting this saying the question marketers need to ask is not how but why are we doing what we are doing. And now is the time to reduce friction and focus on the advertiser and get the ROI. We are in the middle of the RTB journey, we are in full swing. As you can imagine this got support from the audience.

In the following sessions the debate was a bit flat. We spoke about 5 display ads on one publisher site and whether there is a mechanic to buy them all? Would an advertiser appreciate that? What about the control of message, context and personalised ads. Can we learn from TV or can we test video ads online and then transfer those learnings to TV in order to save production costs? I will publish a think piece about where RTB is going soon too, e.g. the increased RTB capabilities for mobile, video, VoD and IPTV. Another story for another time.

Another discussion was around the added value of exchanges and SSPs for publishers and advertisers. Surprisingly the debate was less heated than anticipated as I believe most people saw the increased value those technologies bring to the market. But of course they would, delivering the right ad to the right person at the right time and the right price. Come on, can it get any better?

Dennis from Microsoft showed the 1984 Apple ad for their first “Mac PC”. This might be surprising Microsoft showing a competitor’s ad, but to be honest don’t we all have appreciation for some really good ads of our times. And the 1984 Apple one for the superbowl surely is an iconic one. It is about engagement and creativity. Microsoft is selling itself well, a slick presentation for what they can do. Even Dennis touched on IPTV and the above mentioned IAB Filmstrip ad format. Advertising is changing once again, and we are in the middle of it.

Before I get too enthusiastic, the next panel with agency trading desks, networks and ad trading specialists on board, was a little dissappoiting. I was hoping for a much bigger “fight”. Most trading desks or networks that also buy across exchanges use one technology. They all sticked to their guns and no one dared to come out of their corner. I was hoping to see more discussions around the best business models. Of course I’d say that, but there needs to be more of a attempt to test different technologies and put the emphasis on performance for advertiseres rather than political discussions, profit margins, and agencies trying to hang on to publisher data, creating a network model in house. Will networks go directly to advertisers moving forward? I am confident that we will see advertisers soon focusing more on independent specialists (ATS), a move I personally don’t think is the right way forward, as an agency can still add a lot of value to the media plan.

These are my thoughts and main take away from the ATS and I cannot wait to see you all again at the next ATS. Ciaran did a great job, and I hope that with all the acquisition rumours flying about, we soon have more stuff to talk about.

Let me know your thoughts.


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