Posts Tagged hamburg

Sunday Column (440)

Another Monday morning flight it seems, yet given the late spring bank holiday Monday, it was actually a Tuesday. A short week to get as much done as in a normal week. The usual rush, stress, escalations, de-escalations and so on. Just another week. Ups and Downs. I have to say, and this is common knowledge, my learning curve is exponential at the moment. As much as I love it, I hate it too. LOL. I am fine, honestly, actually I couldn’t ask for anything else.

Easyjet was delayed, again. Incoming. The weather was the reason and as my German colleagues confirmed, it must have been a bad storm sweeping through Hamburg. Never mind. I am not minding the idea of travelling less, which I will do from July. June is still fairly busy with events coming up in Hamburg and Munich. Also I need to see some clients in Frankfurt and Duesseldorf. As stated last week, I need more focus in London and the boys and wife are fed up of me being away every week. And understandable so. There is a fun aspect too. And the boys love the Gummibears I am bringing home. There is an adventurous aspect to some extend, but not regarding the ‘commute’ but to be able to make a difference, to have an impact. So when I used to travel every other week to different cities in Europe, that was different to me travelling at the moment. Then it was more about helping and advising; now it is more about day-to-day, doing a job in a different town. Not sure that makes sense.

The weather last weekend, and how else could it have been on the last spring bank holiday, was mixed, rainy, muggy. My wife did another 10K run (well done) and the kids and I went to Tailgate park near Crawley. A great day out, lots to do for the kids and we escaped the rain. Just. Some board games, a relaxing afternoon nap, lots of food and a movie. Chill out time prior to the kids’ half term. They enjoying a week off. Just doing nothing, sleeping a lot, and watching movies. Pokemon hunts. Mine craft worlds. Yes, they are having a good time. Lucky them. Brighton, Indian, candy floss, new cloths.

In other news, I think I am getting closer to making a decision on which car to get. Unfortunately I had to rule out the old Mercedes due to the lack of seats in the back. So I am back to dwelling on the Jaguar XJS vs. XK8. Former is older, hence more maintenance and likely needing some electrics sorted at some point. The latter is younger, yet certain engines are having little problems, and the car is not yet a classic. Also it is on average about 1-2K cheaper. I got myself another book to see what the status is on either. Whilst I still need to save up the money, it is getting closer to deciding which car to get. Focus is key. And not getting too excited is key also. Latter is the more difficult part it seems.

Further we are contemplating holidays. So far we booked the summer ones, and for half term in October we booked Legoland. We (I) wanted to stay in the Legoland hotel and do a two day trip to the park. It will be lots of fun. But we still got a few days left before/after where we need to decide on an action plan. We contemplated to go to Hamburg, but now the wife wants to come too, having seen the miniature world on YouTube. So this is maybe for another time when we drive to Germany. This is more cost effective for 4 people. Let’s see. Maybe a few days down at the sea, some days over in Devon or Kent. I am not sure yet. I love staying in the UK and exploring my adopted home.

Whilst I have to say that I try to stay away from politics, it might be at the time to air some thoughts. I cannot see Corbyn being our PM. Yet, I cannot see May getting the absolute majority either. What that means for our country – maybe a hung parliament, a strong opposition and a new referendum? Maybe, and only maybe the future is wide open again. Who knows if in 6 months time we might pull out of Brexit and return to a Europe which will support us, maybe even adopting the Euro as a currency. You will call me crazy. And I am. Yet if I had told you 5 years ago that Britain will exit the European Union and that we have solar cells in every roof tile and cars that are electric and accelerate quicker than petrol cars….you know where I am getting at? We can’t tell the future.

And this is exactly my point. Life is fluid. I don’t know where and if I work in 12 months time. I don’t know if cancer hits me when I am 42, 45 or never. We don’t know how life plans out. What was standard last year, might be no standard this year. House prices are going down in the UK and we having more people renting. 10 years ago this was unheard of. Nothing stays the same and we are in the midst of it. And we need to embrace it.

It took me a while to learn all of that. And whilst it is bl* obvious, we don’t live like that. We, as humans, are pre-programmed to worry about the future. That is what we do. So it becomes more difficult to be a Buddhist and live in the moment. We can train to not fear the future but we naturally do. Because fear drives us on, uncertainty and new situations. If we start embracing this, we manage better, become more resilient and succeed. In life.

As I mentioned before, the evolutionary coaching book I am reading helps me understand the obvious. Yet we are struggling to comprehend or wanting to comprehend. We refuse to accept and instead strive to fight what we actually should embrace. If you asked me today, that’s why I would love to coach people. Helping high achievers to push through that barrier. Helping people in my team to move the goal post. Because we can.

Enough for today. How was your week πŸ˜‰

Volker

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Sunday Column (432)

The joys of travel makes it almost enjoyable to sit on an old Southern train on a Friday, bumping in the seat, as I go into the office. The usual routine is back and I had a chance to see both the wife and the kids before I headed out of the house. The life I chose to be living. As I finalise this piece, my kids are sitting in their PJs entertaining themselves, the wife is making lovely bacon butties and I have a strong cup of Joe. Saturday, sunny, and maybe a BBQ on the cards. Life can be pretty awesome.

Friday, and that is not what I anticipated, a terror attack in Stockholm. As I said on Twitter, I was in Stockholm when it happened in London and I was in London when it happened in Stockholm. My friends are safe in Stockholm. I am shocked. I said it then and I say it now, we will see more of those attacks. Terror. Not a lot of casualties but fear. Cheap, little preparation. Stay safe everyone. Then there was Syria. Wow. I don’t know what to say but I am more scared of stupid people than of smart people. And you know what I mean by that.

Anticipating how the week would develop, see comment above ‘or not’, I started my ‘new routine’ this week of flying into Germany for a few days with a lazy Monday night. That was very much needed, and deliberately planned. So I started the week with a long sauna session followed by eating healthy salad, watching ‘The motorcycle diary’, a story about Che Guevaras. The right thing to do. Balancing your life.

I cannot say I know much about him, but he travelled and experienced a lot new input biking across South America. I have not travelled much to new and exotic places (yet) however lived in different cultures since I have been 16. That’s a different experience. A different input. So watching the movie and for Che Guevaras to realise that he is no longer the one he was, stroke a cord with me. I am no longer the me I was when I lived in Germany 16 years ago. Or in the USA 20 years ago. Life moved on and experience took over, and one got busy having a family and all. But we are still we, aren’t we?

Those experiences determine how we react. For our German team we did a personality test (red=driven, blue=organised, yellow=creative, green=team person) which determines your main character. Similar to Meyers Briggs this test just looks at your favourite personality treat but uses colour to determine your preference (see above as a rough guide). I am, of course, red. Driven, determined and GSD (getting sh* done). I strive on productivity and love getting lots done doing two jobs at the time. I try to not let anything slip through the net, but cannot promise to go into every little detail as necessary. That is a challenge for me but as they say, it is interim. This interim position got a lot of traction in the German press which I sincerely enjoy. See my Linkedin profile for details.

So whatever made you the person you are, determined your connections between your left and right brain, and whichever experience helped you to be who you are and achieve what you got, you will always go back to your childhood values. Can you tell I have been in Germany, getting back to making those long winded sentences (Schachtelsatz) πŸ™‚ Values often don’t change but come out in different ways. The basic you, the one that doesn’t change, is still there, even after all those years and experience. And this is what I find fascinating, to still get adjutated (sometimes) with the same things by getting a trigger in Germany. Pushing the button on small things that I had long forgotten. That includes words, actions and attitudes. An amazing muscle/brain memory function of going back and making those connections mentioned above.

As I start writing this post I am about to take off from Hamburg. A lovely city. A nice city. It is funny how every airline seems to take off slightly different, like a different driver of a taxi, getting used to Eurowings. Moving forward I will go back to Easyjet at least for the outbound journey due to a) costs and b) convenience. Also, in all honesty I enjoy the extra challenge of having two jobs on one company, however difficult it is to manage sometimes. It is fun and satisfying. I strive on a challgene and love the company I work for. I do. And the more challenging it gets, the better the job right?

So I managed to wrap up the week from London and focus my energy on my two little boys over the weekend. Actually I don’t think they are that little anymore. It is great to see them again and make sure they know I am still there and love(d). I cannot wait to spend more time with them over Easter. I managed to bring back some new Pokemon and some Pokeballs. And some Gummibears of course and NicNacs which are still not available in the UK. Allegedly, so I heard years ago, there is some licensing issues around it. You’d never knew.

With those thoughts about the constant evaluation of life and work, character and personal destination, I want to close for the week. I can see an increase in downloads for my book which is nice and encouraging and hope it helps people to organise their life’s systems. Link on the right hand side.

Have an amazing week ahead of you.

Love and kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (431)

An immensely intense week I may say. A highly enjoyable week though. It went very quickly too. A normal busy Monday lead to a 3 day off-site in London. That meant I stayed over in London, didn’t sleep well and was sitting in marathon meetings, working early until late. But it was inspiring, useful and drove the business forward. Given one doesn’t have a commute, is used to getting up early, a 7 am start in the office is amazing. One gets so much done. Yet it is intense, but also enjoyable. GSD = Getting Sh*t Done! To finish off the week I met with a friend from NY and ex colleagues on Thursday. That was nice. Friday I made it home for bath time and the boys were delighted to see me. So was I.

Having tried to get over some virus earlier in the week and hence didn’t exercise, I just had to do a 7.5K run plus I had to take an early train to get to the Home Office. The, hopefully, final step to get my British passport, the interview where they ask you all those questions to verify you are, who you claim you are. The guy interviewing me tried to make it funny and entertaining. At least that’s how it came across and I felt very awkward. Anyway, my passport should be with me in the next few days. Some questions were who my parents are, where they were born, which way I drive to take the boys to school etc.

It definitely concludes a successful week. A week when you don’t sleep well, feel under the weather, yet have so much energy and drive to work throughout. I was buzzing on Friday. I so enjoy that. What I didn’t enjoy? Not seeing the boys. So coming home on Thursday to see one still awake at 9, it broke my heart to tell him off to go to bed. I would have preferred to cuddle and listen to him about his week but he had to go to sleep. And the other? He woke just before 10 being thirsty, came downstairs and gave me the biggest smile and cuddle. That made my week!

Besides work and life, there are so many things going on in this world. Article 50 was triggered this week. That means Brexit gets real. There is no way back now and just as well I now have both nationalities. I am safe to chose but hope I never have to. As I mentioned before, the future doesn’t equal the past. With the world changing, we need to realise that years from now we might decide to move elsewhere. Maybe years from now I find myself applying for another nationality in a country far (or close) to home. One just doesn’t know. I will watch the next 2 or more years to see what is coming our way. We must stay flexible and vigilant, always trying to better the situation for us and the generations to follow. That’s our duty.

This weekend we did what the boys wanted to do for ages. They were so taken by the lambs last year, we had to go back this year. So we went to a farm to see the newly born lambs. What a lovely site. Also we saw a sheep giving birth, another one trying and a newly born calf. It was amazing to show the kids and even for us. I am not as taken with the little lambs as my family is, but it makes you think about the time your kids were born. How much effort it was and how much we were fearing for them and the mother. How much pain mother had to endure. It is good to be reminded, yet the main purpose was for the kids to cuddle with the little lambs. They absolutely loved it.

Tomorrow I am off to Germany again. I have taken a temporary assignment to help out leading the office in Hamburg. That not only makes me more busy, which is the part I mind less, but it takes time away from the family. Weekends have to make up for it and hence my wife and I, having known each other for 13 years this week, really plan the weekends and quality family time. So far so good. Easter break is around the corner.

So have a fantastic week, stay safe.
From my little corner of this world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (430)

If I look back at the weekend, this is last weekend, it was a great family weekend. I enjoyed myself, spend quality time with the boys and we even went for some Pokemon hunting. It gets the youngest out and keeps him entertained. I personally do not understand the game, but maybe I don’t have to anymore. Of course I am trying, trying to be the understanding daddy. I guess there will be a time in the future where I will be having more difficulties understanding what the youth is up to and of course how they use technology. On the other hand, I am speaking at more conferences explaining people what programmatic and predictive marketing can do.

Is that mad? Our company is at the forefront of digital advertising, using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and literally predicts the future. Moment by moment. Yet Pokemon Go gives me a headache πŸ˜‰ It is a funny old world out there. This week I went to Stockholm, then to Hamburg and back to London on Friday. Given the age of the kids, this got a lot easier for both of them and my wife and myself, for me to be away. So me travelling regularly to Germany for a temporary assignment won’t be too difficult, unless I travel the days my wife is working. But we can arrange and plan in advance. Exciting times ahead, challenging times ahead. Time to make sure the weekends are planned and well thought out, making it the quality time the family needs.

Given EasyJet’s 4 hour delay a couple of weeks ago, I will change airlines to then travel from Heathrow. This is another headache given the time it takes to go to Heathrow. However, I’d rather have a reliable airline than getting stuck somewhere. EasyJet has been great but the last trip was the straw that broke the camel’s back. 7 years of EasyJet Pluscard, regular European travel come to an end. You could argue I didn’t have many problems looking back, however problems seemed to be more common recently. Of course never say never, I might be back but don’t bank on it. Delays were just too often in the last two months, causing some not needed inconvenience. If the same happens with the new airline…I guess I am back πŸ˜‰ Watch this space. Eurowings, here I come. I just hope to get my passport soon, as not being able to go through the automated passport gates is a pain and took 30 minutes on Friday night πŸ™

I remember thinking travelling was glamorous but if you have done it for years, despite being used to it, it is not glamorous. It is fun sometimes, and it is great to travel upgraded on long distance, but really it is a pain. No matter how short the trip is. At least I stay in nice hotels with both saunas, fitness rooms and nice beds. Life isn’t all bad. And I look forward to the additional challenge looking after the German market for an interim period. Onwards and upwards. The me-time is nicer too. Whilst I normally get a lot of time to myself on the train, the time on a plane is better. No disruptions, no emails, no worries. I can work on presentations, read, or watch movies, sleep or catch up on emails without the inbox filling up again. This is nice. And it gave me another excuse to buy a messenger bag. I love my little bags πŸ˜‰

Sweden. I was in Stockholm for a day and a night to visit the local office. That was great. The Country Manager and I had a great time, good brainstorming and made progress on a presentation we needed to prepare. However, the stay was overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in London. I was glad to not be in London. We have survived 9/11, 7/7 and we will get through this period of time. The scary thing I suppose is that those attacks can happen anytime. At any one time someone could just drive a car into a crowd and launch an attack, in whichever form. And that is the unsettling bit. I guess we soldier on, and get on with our daily lives, hoping we won’t be affected ever. That’s the hope I suppose. But there are no guarantees, life could be over tomorrow.

But I don’t want to dampen any weekend or general (spring) moods. This weekend was sunny and I caught up on some proper boys time. Then it was Mother’s day. I almost missed it if a friend hadn’t pointed it out. Useless Marks and Spencer didn’t even allow me to order flowers for Sunday delivery, so I had to do it ‘manually’. Never mind, I am just too much dependent on online shopping. We had a great weekend!

Being back in Germany is interesting. I noticed how much I have changed since I moved away 16 years ago. My travel companions (you will remain unnamed) and I shared a lot of chat around corporate values, expectations and challenges. We are so aligned, that it is great to see the progress we are making. It’s those shared values and common understanding, hard work and fun that makes or breaks a job. Whilst I am still very ‘young’ within the company, I am still learning a lot, yet loving the challenge and the people I work with. Plus of course, we do have the best product out there. The share price has grown massively since I started (this is not necessarily a correlation) and it feels so good to be there.

Onwards and Upwards.
Have an amazing week ahead.
Volker

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Sunday Column (379)

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

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

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

Actually not my fish but almost ;-)

Actually not my fish but almost πŸ˜‰

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

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

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

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

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

a sin. an awesome sin. loving it.

a sin. an awesome sin. loving it.

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

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

Have a great week. Summer is on its way!

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

Cheers,
Volker

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Wee Man in Germany

The wee man keeps me company as I wait for a flight home from Dusseldorf. He flew with me to Hamburg yesterday and to Dusseldorf this morning. Now our flight home is delayed πŸ™

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