Posts Tagged future

Sunday Column (500)

Today is my 500th blog post. That makes it 9.62 years 😉 Wow. I have been writing a lot. If I assume that I write about 500 words on average, that makes 250,000 words, similar to a phd thesis I suppose or double the size of an average novel. Oh I love a bit of writing. Thanks for staying with me and reading regularly, participating in my thoughts and life.

Today I want to write more topical…the heat and Brexit! The weather, the British most favourite topic, and I am seriously more British these days than German. Then I flew to Germany again this week for a farewell of an interim Managing Director position I have been contracting for. It was a nice farewell, but with over 30 degrees, just a bit too hot for my liking. Never mind, I survived. Just.

I worry about the weather and decided I write a more topical post about it next week. To spare you with weekly summaries. Maybe you have more ideas on how I can change my Sunday Column a bit, as when I originally started it was about opinions on topics. And I kind of do that whilst reflecting on the week. Yet maybe I need to research topics and give you my opinions on it? Let me think about it.

Let’s look at Brexit. There is a doomsday scenario of food being shipped to Northern Ireland, and border controls taking part of the motorway to deal with backlog of customs. Really? We are preparing for that and a potential additional 3,000 people we might need to employ in order to deal with it? But we have so far failed to negotiate anything with the European Union? The new Brexit minister inherits a tough tasks and of course opinions are divided if the new government proposal is working, but hopefully we agree something with the EU this autumn. Some people seem positive.

As a native German, a British passport holder, and someone who not only enjoys living in the UK but also has his life in the UK, I don’t want a Brexit. I want more freedom for Britain to be in charge of what they can negotiate, and I do want certain rights, but I am not an advocate to leave the EU. Not currently anyway, over time this might be different, as I have been saying for 20 years that the EU will fall apart. But there are so many positive things about it, like the agreements around healthcare, free travel, custom union, cultural exchange, people exchange, and Europe coming together in any aspect. Think about agreements to work with other companies across Europe to foster innovation in healthcare, technology etc., Airbus being a prime example. Wouldn’t it be awful to isolate ourselves?

I am hopeful. I am positive and usually an optimist. Things will be ok, as most people don’t want to be in a worse situation than before, e.g. they will make sure Brexit will work. Will Brexit mean Brexit how 50+1% of the population wanted it. Maybe not. Maybe Brexit 2019 will be a first step towards a new way of working with the European Union which then will continue to be negotiated over the next few years to come. Who knows at this point in time. Stay positive.

And of course we have asked the question whether to leave the country. We have friends that did. But I am about to start a new job. My sons are going to be in a good school, and they have their friends. On the other hand they could benefit from learning another language and getting different cultural influence. This isn’t an easy decision and we decided to stay. For us, Britain means home. This is where my heart is, where I feel home. I have yet to find another country I would like to live in. What I mean is that I wouldn’t want to go back to Germany which would be the obvious choice. I will always carry my accent and heritage, but a return to Germany just can’t be the solution for me. Of course we monitor things and my new job is very international, so I am sure I will be alright.

See, I can fill a Sunday Column on a topic rather than writing to you how exhausting the week was and how pleased I am that the youngest loves cycling. And we went on a cycling tour and had so much fun. That is all still happening whilst everything else is going on.

Life is full of change. Change is happening all the time and the only constant we have. Let’s embrace it and hope it is for the better.

Love and kindness from my corner of the world.
Volkerbrexit

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Sunday Column (499)

A full working week it seems. Not quite, actually, only four days, but I was working in London and I was busy. I suppose I will get used to it again very quickly. I also recorded another podcast and managed to finish the audio book Sapiens. In all honesty, I wasn’t as taken with the book as everyone else seemed to be. Some interesting snippets of human history but a lot of bla bla about life. Never mind, another book done. I very much enjoy reading Richard Branson’s biography, it is a fun story of a successful man’s life. Stories of Success, really.

However, I then started Homo Deus by the same author of Sapiens and it is more interesting as it is looking to the future. It is about how things might look like moving forward for humans, and mankind and on this planet in general. A philosophical book, it gets you thinking, but again if I didn’t listen to it whilst out running, I am not sure it is my time worth spend taking it all in. Nevermind.

I started writing this post as I sit at Clapham Junction on a Gatwick Express service, air conditioned, cold and with wifi access. We were held as London Victoria got evacuated due to a fire alarm. When the train guard announced that we were held due to London Victoria station being evacuated, you could see how people got really quiet on the train. I am not sure if my perception comes due to me reading about 9/11 in Richard’s book, or because everyone went really quiet, but people just seemed to be worried. And that’s a fear we are living with: terrorism. Although, based on the Homo Deus book, more people die of overeating than undereating these days, and terrorism or airplane accidents are very rare. That of course doesn’t necessarily go in line with our perception of things.

What both books show me time and again is that our thoughts form what we make of our environment. I wasn’t too worried it being a terrorist attack but it crosses one’s mind. And then your mind can go on a rampage. What if the city was under attack, would it not be better to sit in Clapham? It surely would be. It was a false alarm, which is good and we continued our journey. Your thoughts however determine what you make of things.

On that note, on Friday I had a day off. My last one for a while but holidays with the family, and I spend with cars. We had a courtesy car from the garage, an SUV, a Skoda Kodiaq. I really enjoyed driving it but it isn’t sportive, it is an SUV. On the one hand I like sitting up, maybe changing my driving a bit and enjoy more comfort. Skoda has a nice ‘Landrover green’ colour they introduced and next year they bring out hybrid models. Let’s bear all that in mind for now 😉

I also spend the day looking at a few Jaguars. My choice of a second car is clear: a Jaguar XK8 or XKR, 2006 model or younger, as the older model is too small for me. Now I need to find the budget and the time to look at one and buy. Or will I hold off and be sensible. But for what? Life is for living and who knows how long we can enjoy it. Anyway, lots to think about.

And on that note it was the last day of school for the boys. Now I got two boys in middle school from September, they are just growing up so quickly. I love that as much as I hate it. Being able to join the leavers’ assembly was great, a bit emotional but overall it is great to see them moving on, growing up and becoming little grown ups. What will the future hold for them? Will AI and robots rule the world when they will be our age? Nothing ever stays the same, things always change.

Let’s use my parents as an example who have been able to connect with us since the introduction of What’s App. I remember putting coins into a phone booth when calling my grand parents from a holiday. Nowadays we send pictures instantly, whilst then we had to develop a roll of 36 pictures and got them a week after the holidays. Wow. We are talking half a life time here, and things will only get faster.

Have a great summer, enjoy things whilst they last.
Volker

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Sunday Column (496)

I don’t believe it’s the 1st of July already. Half ways point. The days are getting shorter and we are closer to Christmas now. The weather is spoiling us.

This has been a very busy week. Admittedly, I started out with a day off on Monday. Funny how when you not contract for a day, you take the day off. But isn’t it a mental thing to mentally shut down and off? We, the wife and I, went down to the beach, got a bit sun burned and enjoyed an ice cream. I am storing energy, producing some great content around my podcast and getting ready for what lies ahead of me.

The days in the office were busy this week. I love the company I am contracting with at the moment, and love the product offering they have. My main role is in Germany, so Thursday and Friday I spend in Munich, next week Duesseldorf and then Hamburg. It is good to be able to help and to reconnect with friends across Germany. Life is good, busy, or as Darren Hardy says ‘we strive on stress’. To a certain extend I agree, we are by default used to flight/fight responses, to exciting situations and to stress. Yet, I am not actually stressed, which is nice also 🙂

Also, this week I decided on what to do next. Where is my career taking me. I decided to join a service unit of a big agency group to position their product within Europe. Sounds not very clear? I know, I will fill in more details on LinkedIn and personally over the next few weeks and after I start in mid August. Things falling into place and I am relieved that things are moving forward too.

But I have to say, and I am not sure who all is reading this, that the decision was and wasn’t easy. I was humbled by the offers I received and it came down to two companies in the end, out of four (who would have believed that back in February), that I thought were a perfect match. It wasn’t easy to make that call to say no. Naturally one wants to say yes to all the good fits. The way I described it to a close friend this week: you have to make a decision, it isn’t personal, it is business at the end of the day. So I made the decision, however difficult and yet easy it might have been.

I can only repeat my thankfulness for everyone who helped me on the journey. The beginning of the year has been rather dark, yet people are generous, pick you up and maybe it was always GDPR that slowed things down, who knows. We will never know and it doesn’t matter. I learned from it. I learned about consulting, see below, and I learned about believing and patience, and that over time things will always work out.

I have been enjoying the freelancing, consulting and contracting world. I enjoyed helping and making a difference in a short period of time. And I continue that for another four weeks. But at this stage in my life I prefer a pay cheque at the end of the month. A pension scheme. That might change again in the future but for now, that’s what I would like. And I am delighted to join people I have known for a long time and I trust and I look forward to learning from them, working with them, making things happen. Yes, I am excited!

So, as the Germans would say, “Ende gut, alles gut”. All’s well that ends well (Shakespeare). I always knew it was, and I never doubted it yet there were a handful of days that challenged even me. Some nights you wake up worrying. But the future will always be better than the past, and things will always work out and be ok. Trust in you. Trust in the universe aligning things to help you.

On the note of Germany. The football team was playing awful from the start in this World Cup and frankly I prefer the way Columbia or England are playing. Funny that both of my favourite teams are now facing each other in the play offs. Then I don’t know much about football. What I do understand is that there is something missing in the German team: support, comraderie, team spirit. I can see and judge that. And as I said a few times this week, the guys out there on the field are all top players, it’s the team that makes the difference. The team spirit I shall say. As in any job or sport. Anyway, let’s hope the World Cup is progressing nicely for England, they would deserve a good ending.

With that in mind, Ende gut, alles gut.
Volker

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Sunday Column (474)

I thought I start differently this week. The weather: cold, yet warm. Sunny yet rainy. Lack of Vitamin D (supplements!) and it all seems slow. But, there is energy. Positivity. Fun times and conversation with people that make you rock. A hot chocolate with a neighbour who just gets it. A benchmark to mastering life and to understand I am not alone with the problems I face. The challenge with the kids to make their bed, wash their teeth, get dressed in the morning and eat breakfast. Being at home brings those things into focus. It is good to be home, and it has been a fun time, but it is time to go back and work, to contribute, to make a difference.

Anyway, next week Tuesday, my 2nd interview goes live on my podcast. I cannot wait. I got loads of feedback (shoutout to Debbie, Anna and Spencer) and the third episode will see some changes; from the 4th episode onwards the quality should improve. I am recording 4 (!) podcasts next week. So this week it is going to be a different angle on Stories of Success. Another great industry friend, a fun conversation about life. As I investigate jobs I think about what he said:

1. Can I make a difference to the job?
2. Can I learn something?
3. Is it going to be fun?

I found a few jobs where that is the case, e.g. where I can say YES to all of those questions. Some are more formal, some are more fun, and at some I will learn more, others I can make more of a difference. Weighting, values, priorities and what I learn more and more, there is an emphasis on meeting your manager early on. If the chemistry sucks, you are out. For both parties this makes a lot of sense.

However, the companies need to want me first. And I am not at the stage yet where that’s necessarily the case, and I update you as I go along. I am hopeful though, and everything else would be worrying. The pipe isn’t as big as it could be but things only started to pick up. When I first left my last job I had one verbal offer which turned into a ‘no more recruitment before Christmas’ and another where I lost against an internal candidate. Things happen for a reason and things will work out in the end. I am very positive about things and I am keen on moving on.

That’s my update. Or is it?

The most important part happened over the weekend. My youngest got a red belt in Karate. Only a few months in, he managed to get the first accreditation. He was chuffed and proud, and so should he be. And I am too. I am very pleased he enjoys it and keeps going at it.

We also saw my mate who recently had twins. It is somewhat weird to see these small babies. It is as if it never happened to us. It seems so long ago, I feel so old ;-( No, actually I don’t, but I am glad the days of nappies are over. It was a great afternoon with lots of industry friends.

Weekends can be super to chill, spend time with family and friends. That’s how it should be!

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (467)

Another week in the run up to Christmas. It was a week I spent predominately at home, researching, studying and mulling over my coaching and consulting proposition. It was also a time of writing and outputting more content. On a personal note, if you haven’t done yet, please read and like/comment on the following articles, maybe even share it. No apologies for the shameless punt, but any exposure would be greatly appreciated, despite the Drum feeding me exciting figures back already. What I write resonates within the industry, that is good to hear!

* DMP/CDP post in the Drum
* Consulting and Career post in the Drum
* Growth Mindset

Why I write about data, and hopefully I embark on a few data projects moving forward, is because it becomes key to programmatic execution and is now available at scale and quality. Two factors that haven’t been met over the past few years. That is where programmatic comes into full play.

The other article is more about a shift in our industry. Just this week I spoke to someone who took redundancy at a big tech company this summer, who joined a start up which might be sold again. It is a cycle of exits, M&A and redundancies on the back of it, unrelated to your quality of work. This is madness compared to what a career was supposed to look like according to the old view of the world, but has it changed. Let me know!

Change is everywhere and with everyone. Like a butterfly we are on a constant metamorphosis.

Yet hold on a minute. Another interesting conversation this week suggested that the career is dead and that it doesn’t matter what you do, how you do it but that you do it. To not miss the boat, to take a risk and overcome fear (despite having a family and a mortgage) to gamble essentially on the big exit. Can it be done? Did we all miss the boat on Bitcoin. Guess not all of us. I just heard about someone investing a cheeky £1,000 a couple years back, now not having a mortgage. But hold on a second, when do we know if something like Bitcoin takes off, something like Facebook etc. How much of a gamble are you willing to take and how do you cheat the system? Or, as a matter of fact, can you actually cheat the system or is it all down to luck? Can you influence luck through the LOA (law of attraction) and by playing the lottery and being a good person?

You can see that I am throwing around some buzzwords, connecting the world of believe with the world of realism. Not sure if that is the best way of putting it, but what would we have to change in our ‘personal’ system and view of the world to make the output of what we are doing just ever so slightly better. To take a punt on something like Bitcoin, or gamble on predictable things. Latter is an oxymoron isn’t it.

I am fascinated by that idea. For me, and I had enough time on my hands this week to think about it, the barriers of business and personal development, to overcome fear and building your own system into the greater macro system (see my book on #BeBetter), is an ever increasing key to success. On the back of that revelation, I started working on a framework around my book to apply to high performance achievers moving forward. Plus, I am having my first concept of a new idea at the ready to be launched in Q1. I have been busy and I will keep you posted. These are exciting times. The plan is to relaunch the ‘Ballueder’ brand with some exciting content, alongside some kind of job of course.

On other parts of my life, I manage to uphold my exercise routine and try very hard to not slack on bad food intake. It is all about what you buy and have in the cupboard, the accessibility of junk food. We are getting better at that. I increased my weekly runs to 30K in total plus two gym sessions. I find it hard but know that I will have a week off over Christmas where all I do is accompany the wife for some longer, yet slower runs. I’ll be fine and my body will have time to recover and soak up Christmas food and drinks. It is the festive season after all 🙂

Being able to take the kids to school most days, making their lunch and becoming part of their daily life, is great to get engaged. When working in London every day, I didn’t have that. Or less of it, thanks to the commute and long hours at work. I think I will get back to that at some point, however whilst it lasts, I am more than happy to enjoy the engagement and what I can do to help on a daily basis. It makes me think what life would be like to live in the country side, have a local job and be home for dinner every night – but as my wife said it would do my head in, as I am just wired completely different. So it is what it is. And she is right.

On that note I hope you are all well, getting your presents sorted and enjoy the quieter time.

Have a great week.
Love and kindness from my corner of the world.

Volker

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Thursday Flash (32)

Flash…

Maybe things calmed down out there a bit. However, never too late to be productive and improve your productivity over the summer.

Then there was an article about the iPhone in 2020. A longer read but if you are interested in some futuristic thoughts and like Apple, this one is for you.

And last but not least, there are dangers of measuring performance. Not in general but for some start ups, and some not so start ups, as you measure the effectiveness of the system and not the performance of the individual. Some interesting thoughts there, so worth a read.

Enjoy your summer,
Volker

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Thursday Flash (8)

Thursday Flash!

This week I thought it is worth sharing an article from a couple weeks ago, fuelling the discussion around Snapchat and TV. Is TV moving more mobile? Is TV as we know it dead? How do screens look like in the future? I am curious to see all that, and also how things will move along with content consumption for our kids. What is the main medium (video?) and on which screen (mobile) – or will new forms emerge? The future is going to be interesting, no doubt. I already commented on it via a Linkedin article.

On productivity I enjoyed reading about Evernote tips for mobile. I love Evernote and use it all the time. Most notes, meeting notes and reminders go in there. On the go, in the office, at home. Work notes, private notes, industry news, or how to tape my leg. Or the video below on back pain. I love Evernote, and if you ain’t using it yet, maybe you should look into it.

For the first time I also like to share a video. Why? Because my chiropractor recommended it to me to solve mobility challenges in my back. So I am sure some of you might find it useful:

Did you like this weekly read? Did you find it useful?
Then please don’t forget to share it with your friends and let them know about my Thursday Flash.

Thanks you and see you next week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (362)

This week saw the start of the Syrian war, the time when Britain decided to attack the terrorism in Syria. I am not very political but I remember, as a teenager, to listen to the 6 am news one morning, that the US announced to go into war with Iraq. It must be 20+ years ago. I am still not sure if the world is a safer or better place since. I cannot make those decisions and will just accept things as they are. However, as of discussion with a fellow father, what are we leaving for our kids to be sorted. Essentially we have been at war with terrorism for more than 20 years, right? It is a different war to the world wars. That’s for sure. But isn’t war war?

Another of my lowlights this week was an early morning start. Not because it was early but more because it was early out of the door. And surprisingly to me, when you catch a 6.13 am train from Haywards Heath it is ram packed. That’s a 5.53 am from Hassocks btw. Crazy. No way you can work or get anything done. So I started writing this blog post on my phone 🙁 I am getting too used to be able to get a good hour of work done on the commute each way.

What followed that day was awesome. A really well attended panel discussion, 8 am breakfast meeting, delivered by a few people on the convergence of social and TV. Digital and TV. And it is coming together. Finally. We are far from connecting the dots but we are getting there. I am excited for next year. As the industry evolves, so does the attribution, the connection of the silos and the cross device connection. And we are in the middle of it. Amazing.

tidsoptimist

Then my wife called me a Tidsoptimist this week. What’s that? Oh someone thinking they have more time than they do. And because of that they are late for things. Time, as it seems to me, expands. But it doesn’t. It is the same for everyone. It all started when I worked for a company that made meetings with agencies. I arrived in time and realised that 9 out of 10 meetings started 10-15 minutes late. So I started being 10-15 minutes late, to make my work flow more efficient. In London you can always blame the tube.

Having said that, even when moving closer to my clients, I was still late, as there was always something to finish off taking only a minute. And none of my clients mind, as it seemed to be the norm. I have gotten better again now, as the meetings become more senior. After all, I am still trying to leave a positive impression 🙂 So nothing to be proud of, just I get a lot more done really.

On another note I published another article on productivity. Whilst writing my next book chapters I realise that being productive is actually not that difficult. I also realised there had been one advice I got in 1997 that is still true today: only plan 70% of your time. As soon as you step over that red line something will be left undone. This is because you are having to account for the unexpected. For the unknown. The incoming pitch, the email from your neighbour to help or the information about something you need to action on.

Days sometimes don’t feel busy but turn out to be quite manic. And also over the summer I had little time to breathe and think. Sounds mad but if you don’t have time to think, things will be missed. So give yourself time to think, to breathe, stare out of the window and come up with some cool ideas.

We also managed to get all out Christmas presents ordered. The tree is up and cards sent. We went to Winchester to see a friend and his family. Christmas is all about the children. I totally enjoy looking at last year’s Christmas pictures, and the ones before, to see the glow in the kids’ eyes when we put up the tree. The future, the love, the activities, anything we do, is about the children. And then there is Syria.

It is a bit of a damper for Christmas. However, we decided to give some money to a charity supporting a child that got cancer and the hospital he is in for which they collect money or unused toys to give to the kids for Christmas. Isn’t that nice. Nice to give. Nice to be able to make other kids’ Christmas as special as our own.

No, life for me isn’t about myself. My job is for myself, and my goals. But the greater things in life, they are about the children. And they are who really matter in life. Everything else is just not as important. No matter what it might be at the moment. If you are with your kids, the only thing that matters is them. If you are with clients and something happens to your family, everyone understands if you had to cancel a meeting. It is everybody’s first priority. It took me a few years to learn that too.

We had a blessed and great week overall. Despite some lowlights. We also had plenty of Christmas lights and sparkle!

We are truly grateful.

Love to you all,
Volker

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Inspiring TED Talk: 30 year history of the future

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Inspirational Thought: Past vs. Future

Time spent fixing the past takes time away from building the future.

I often spoke about the “Here and Now”. About not living in the past and drill on things that you cannot change anymore.

A few years ago I got rid of this rucksack I call the past. I rid myself of a burden and package I was carrying to focus more on what is happening in my life. I did that by writing a book. Today I write a blog doing it I suppose. It helped me a lot to close my past, catch up with what I was doing up to now, and then making the conscious decision to look forward.

That is when I started getting more involved in personal development. Training yourself, working on yourself to constantly improve yourself. Reaching for the stars.

I stopped trying to fix the past but instead took all learning from it, closed it, coped with it, and ended the chapter. From here I started spending my time living in the here and now to build my future. As everyone is their own master of destiny it is up to you to decide when you want to make the cut, get on with life and focus on what is necessary.

This doesn’t have to be the CEO career but your decision on what you would like to do. Work for the UN, found your own charity, run a marathon or just building a nice business.

Cut yourself loose and get on living.

Have a great future,
Volker

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