Posts Tagged love

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) 🙂 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 (428)

Another week. More travel. It seems as if the weeks just blur into one and I spend two days a week in a different place. I don’t mind, being away for a night, taking the Easyjet ‘bus’ from Gatwick to Europe. A 430 wake up call followed by a quick exercise routine, a meditation session, a shower and a ride to the airport. Then an almost two hour delay due to air traffic control strikes in France – I was on my way to Madrid. Those delays are annoying. Having just endured almost 12 months of conductor strikes on Southern Rail, I have no sympathy with anyone striking whatsoever. I keep saying it over and over again, I am thankful for the opportunities given to me in my life and wouldn’t want to jeopardise them due to strike actions or anything stupid like that. So I have little understanding for someone who would go to their employer and say ‘if you don’t do this, then we strike’. There are enough people out there that would take jobs and make it happen. Something I am missing?

Yes, there is an argument that if we didn’t have the unions, companies would do whatever they wish. They wouldn’t I don’t think. Companies have a keen interest in making their employees happy. To work with them, to empower them, to make work a nice thing to do. Maybe I am wearing some pink glasses here or something, but companies who are ‘abusive’ to their employees will not succeed. I cannot see that happen. Maybe I am listening to too many American podcasts suggesting that we are all in it together. That we can determine our destiny and people around us want to help us. We must be under that anticipation that an employer doesn’t want you to fail and want to do the utmost to make you happy and successful. After all they are spending money on you and your career. Mine does, and I am grateful for it.

Working in different places is critical. I love seeing the local teams, connecting and understanding the local challenges. Each market is unique, each view is different. Listen to their needs. It widens my horizon and gives me a chance to review what we are doing in HQ and whether we can change things, adopt some local practises, to improve things overall and to help moving the company forward. I enjoy that and believe it adds a lot of value to the company. I have another two weeks of travel ahead of me. Speaking at a conference in Germany which is tricky and challenging as it is a new corporate deck with a translation into German. I will master it and actually I am excited about it. Just in case I fly out the night before 😉 Then Sweden. Then I shall have a couple of weeks in the office before a family break over Easter. No flying then. As much as it is nice to travel, it is not glamorous and it does tire you out. At least I keep up my exercise routine and healthy eating (most of the time). Yet this week I felt a bit drained. The weather is to blame I guess?!

Further to travel this week I read an article in the FT about citizenships and Brexit. You can read it in detail yet the main take away for me was that if you lived here for long enough – and that is uninterrupted – you can continue to live here post Brexit. Or it should be fairly easy to get a passport/citizenship. Or you leave. I am not judging whether that is fair or not, but what I am saying is that if you have lived here long enough there is nothing you should fear. So why did I get the citizenship? Because I wanted to ensure I can stay and be with my family, plus I feel more British these days than German anyway. I don’t have plans to leave this country other than with my family and then we all would be foreigners elsewhere, on the same passport. That’s really it. I wanted to do it years ago but didn’t want to spend the money on it. Now I could and did it. The necessity felt slightly bigger of course. Anyway, this should all be done by next week.

If you feel I write too much about work, then please let me know. I just realised I wrote all about Brexit, travel and work without writing about work or family. If that makes sense? I love management studies, and I love work. That’s what I do and I enjoy it. Even my taxi driver said that, if he won the lottery, he would continue working. So would I, there is no way I could sit on my bum long enough doing nothing. I’d go up the walls. So I used the flight delay to catch up on some work, prepare a presentation, write part of this blog and think about life. I also caught up on some sleep mid air and arrived refreshed. Kind of anyway 😃

The remainder of the week was nice. It is nice to see trains running on time most of the time. It makes a huge difference to both my mood and my state of happiness. Plus the Friday ‘pale ale express’ session with the neighbours. Then I took the wife out for a meal on Saturday. Nothing fancy, just a very nice Thai place, a good chat and some ‘us time’. There is never enough of that once you got children. We are getting better in carving date nights out of our schedule, more than we used to. Then again the kids are getting older. Life becomes easier from a logistical point of view. Attitude, tantrums and questions and demands are the same pain as before, just different. Growing up I suppose 😃 Yes, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

I hope all is well with you and yours.
From our little corner of the world, I wish you lots of love and happiness.
Have an amazing week ahead, and please share this blog if you like it.
Volker

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Sunday Column (426)

Monday morning flights kind of suck. Although I should be used to them by now. The good thing? You catch up on your emails you got over the weekend, no replies until you are mid air, and a relaxing flight. Luckily I didn’t have to get up earlier than normal (5 am), so I was right awake and ready to conquer the week. Yet, having had little on the todo list, I enjoyed a relaxed flight listening to podcasts, dozing and enjoying a whole seat row to myself. And the hotel had a sauna. I know British people still think it might be odd to go to a sauna naked, and funny enough so do I now a bit, but it was super relaxing. A steam bath too. I enjoy a bit of spa life in the evenings, trying to not booze up and have fat German meat for dinner. I had it for lunch instead and rather enjoyed it 😉 Fatherland.

Now I still have this Easyjet Pluscard. Yes I jump queues and have fast track through the airport which is handy, and the seats are free to book, however looking at the boarding procedure, Easyjet just let’s people on the plane regardless of speedy boarding or not. I wouldn’t mind but some flights have problems with luggage on board, and children/families aren’t allowed to jump the queue either. I tweeted them a couple time before but so far I haven’t had a satisfactory answer. Children and elderly should board first. Then the ones that pay. Then the rest. This is not about being right but about caring from Easyjet. Everyone who has travelled with little ones knows what hassle it can be. Rant over 😉

Darren Daily, my daily motivational video I listen to at 5 am, reminded me to be happy in the now. I was very happy in the now on Sunday last week. We went to a nice National Trust place and the kids played, ran around, climbed trees etc. I was happy. They were happy. The wife was happy. Happiness is here and now, not when you earn another million pounds, own another car or finish the driveway. We often forget, and I find myself thinking and writing about it a lot, how good we have it and how much we enjoy life. Yes, there is always more to learn, always more to do. Sometimes we just need to stop and enjoy. I feel like I am at the point of doing that. Just as a plane accelerates, breaks through the clouds and almost seems to sail and glide on top of the clouds. To just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. To not push the envelope on things all the time, and just enjoy a bit of what there is. Stop to smell the roses.

My laptop of three years was officially announced dead this week. As I don’t need it anymore, a £400 repair to sell it at £350 or below doesn’t make sense. It seems a waste but my iPad mini set up with keyboard works just like a laptop. To be fair, I think I could easily work off a iPad Pro moving forward instead of getting a laptop again. We shall see. For the time being I have a MacBook Air from work and my iPad Mini for most private things; I shall try to sell my MacBook Air on eBay, or keep it and repair it when I need a laptop again. With most files and pictures now being in the cloud, the question really is for what you need a laptop for anyway. There is talk about having a computer screen at work, in a hotel or at home which just connects to your phone and this will give you access to all your files you need. Fully secure and fully functional. So all peripherals are sitting at one’s disposal and access to cloud based files happens via your ‘dock-phone’. I like that idea. It makes sense.

If you think back, at least for me, when I grew up it was all about owning a CD or vinyl. About having an amazing music system in the living room and owning a fast car. Nowadays it is all about sharing. Buying a part of the ownership, to lease cars, music and streaming movies. Less ownership, less hassle, less responsibility. It is much easier to have access to files these days. Remember libraries? I can’t help the feeling and enjoy the atmosphere of a library. Books, dust and more books. The comics I used to borrow and read. Then cycled back to the library and got new ones. Sometimes more than twice a week. Those were the days. Or at university, sitting in the library doing research, using one of the few computers available, slow, to look up magazine titles. All this can now be done from the comfort of your home. How nice and easy.

Overall I had a great week. The boys were on half term and came and visit me in the office. We had fun! The weekend was good too. My wife ran another race and we went for her early birthday meal. Nice. Life is great.

Be happy and enjoy life.
Love and Happiness from little corner of the world.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (418)

Happy New Year. Hope this year turns out to be what you are wishing for. I have been waiting for this year to happen since I was a small boy. Yes, I am turning 40 this year, and it was always going to be a mile stone for me. Oh dear, you cannot stop time, and why would you want to? It has been a great journey so far, and I just continue to enjoy the ride whilst it lasts. I believe it was Tim Ferris who put a thought in my mind the other day: if you live to 90, that means you have about 2,600 (52*50) weekends left – or he used other examples of less occurring events. Time doesn’t stop and we all have the same hours in the day. Make the most of it. Work, live, be happy and make others happy. And that’s the key for 2017 for me I suppose.

Darren Hardy is talking about looking back, to take stock and move forward into the new year. I do. I naturally do and enjoy looking back. For me, from a professional point of view, 2016 was a great experience and learning. I finished a job this summer after 2.5 years. It was a successful one, 3 company names, one acquisition and a lot of evangelisation. I enjoyed that, deeper discussions around data and more channel sales, an interesting product. Then my first consulting project. Privately, I enjoyed it too. The boys are growing up, some great family holidays, lots of improvement in the house and I sometimes even sit there and go ‘what next‘. What will 2017 bring.

I have dreams and hopes. I have plans. I want to achieve more. I am far from done with my life or ambitions. Coming of age, I am entering the most existing times of my career, the second 10ish years. Time to put the pedal down and change the world. A job and idea at a time. I am excited about my career, yet it needs to fit in with my life, e.g. the kids’ and wife’s ambition. We work it out. We always have done, we always will. You must trust in the future, in life moving forward and the great universe to assemble to make it work for you. And things in life come at the right time, they come to you for a reason, and things happen for a reason. I am a strong believer of that and have a lot of faith. Many moons from now we will be looking back at life and paths we took, just to realise what we learned. That is taking stock. I do that yearly. And I examine a lot, and question and accept a lot.

We must choose and win. We cannot stop and smell the roses all the time, yet never forget to do it regularly. No one said life is easy. It certainly isn’t. But it isn’t that difficult either if you are organised and willing to give. Coming of age I notice the changes I have been through and changes of which I know others went through too. Life is similar for most of us, some are open about it, some are not. And whilst you keep meeting the same characters, you also find new mentors, new guidance and gain new input and understanding. Life is funny like that. But I am a big believer of embracing it. I am keen on challenging myself in 2017, publish my next book on productivity, and also start writing on my next book idea. I cannot stop thinking and improving and working. I love what I do.

So as this year is coming to an end, I came to a hold a bit. The last week I was standing still. All my energy was put towards the family, some reading and meeting friends. Wow. No emails, no work, no powerpoint, no strategy discussions. Just going with the flow. Looking back and realising how lucky we are. How others haven’t been that lucky. Some who lost their fight with cancer, some who won their fight. Life and death are so close together and, besides the celebrity deaths across the UK and Germany, there were some personal losses too. I used my downtime to refocus a bit and decide on what 2017 and beyond should look like. Let’s hope for it to be good and long lasting dreams.

Come Tuesday life is back. I got meetings lined up, things to explore, and hopefully decisions to make.

For you and yours, all the best for 2017. May your dreams and wishes come through.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (412)

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The week started off nicely after a relaxing weekend. Desperately needed. Finally, after 4 years in our house, the work started to get our driveway done. Those who know me know what that means. On the one hand it means that we got all renovation done in the house, yet started over again thanks to the wifey, but it also and foremost means that we soon can park more than one car off street. It will be practical and a feature to the house. Parking is awful in our cul-de-sac thanks to commuters and people going on holidays from Gatwick, parking their car for weeks at a time. We are now independent and Daddy can consider his mid life crisis dream. We shall see. It feels like a long journey in this place comes to an end. We made it ours.

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Whilst we enduring the mild weather, we still get a bit of mud into the house. All be done by next Friday they say. Everything is going to be done some time, isn’t it. No, I am not having thoughts about dying yet, still far too early and too many dreams to finish, but we had a big presentation this week. I knew it would be done by 11.30 on Thursday. I knew that a few weeks ago. The same as I know that some other meetings, next Tuesday, next Friday etc. are coming and going. And they will be over and I will survive them. Some I have prepared better than others and some I have to shine and sell, others I just ‘attend’. My point I am trying to make, and this isn’t different to any other job I ever had, is that time doesn’t stand still. We have all the same time, 24 hours in a day to be precise, and we sometimes start with the end in mind, the task for a presentation. And as we go along the journey unfolds, and eventually we will get there. You don’t let yourself fail, do you? And if you fail, that’s good, as you learn from it. So not that failure is bad but you wouldn’t want to fail on purpose. At a presentation on Friday someone quoted Edison, not that he tried to invent the lightbulb by failing but by trying 1000 different ways. Language is beatiful, isn’t it?

Life is intense at the moment. This is due to work being busy and I am still finding my feet. But I am settling in very well, really enjoying the challenge. I finally find a bit more of a routine and seem to get things done. That’s what I like. And I enjoy being busy. This week I also managed to catch up with some friends, long overdue, which I haven’t seen for a while. That was very nice. I also managed to to do my back in. Despite having pain last week and a massage last weekend, I must have pulled a muscle in my back. Spasm whilst running and difficulties getting out of bed. Ibuprofen and a bit of rest should do the trick, but one feels unable. I find I almost got addicted to running and exercising, so not knowing what to do with myself at 5 am is difficult 😉 I pass the time, don’t get me wrong, I am actually reviewing the next productivity book at the moment, so a bit of extra time helps. Not being able to follow your passion and get that energy out of your system is difficult though. I’ll make up for it. In most areas life seems to fall into place. Exciting.

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Home. That’s the place I am far away from London and work. It is not so much that I am bothered by either, but about having a physical distance to the place I spend my week at. Looking out of the living room window and seeing a lot of green, a lot of trees and being able to walk into woods or fields within 5 minutes of leaving the house is priceless. Nice clouds, lovely sunrises and sunsets. A short drive and we are at the beach. The fire in the wood stove that goes on when we are cold and the gym in the garage for my every day routine. The place I feel safe and happy, confident and relaxed. And so does my family too. Peace. Looking at recent house prices it also seems as if we gained a bit on the house over the years, which of course doesn’t really matter. We are here to stay.

Yet, with the nights getting longer, and it getting darker and colder outside, it is nice to sit down, relax and reflect. Where has my journey taking me? Where have I been coming from? What have I learned? I am content. Happy.

From my little corner of this world, I wish you a nice autumn and relaxing weekends. Not long before Christmas now.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (408)

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In life we just need to keep going and keep looking for the positives. We must continue to tell our story to ourselves and focus on what we want to achieve for us and others. Every story is different and some clash, but most of them just move alongside each other in the greater unconscious. Life is there to make the most out of given your ability and desire. It is down to you to achieve what you can and want to achieve, and it is down to you to react to situations in a certain way. Life is simple, embrace it and make it happen. Action it now. Don’t ever wait.

Another strike commute week behind me. Three days of delayed services and reduced services, early mornings without the kids, changed exercise routine. It is interesting to observe how your day is impacted by the commute. But as of last week’s post, there is no point of worrying or getting annoyed about it. I cannot change it. Things just seem to all happen regardless of whether I worry. Let’s look at the bin men. They didn’t collect our bins on Monday because a commuter parked in a way that the bin lorry couldn’t reach our bins. Of course it was the same car that had parked halfway across our driveway entrance before and half on the pavement of our neighbours. People just don’t think. They don’t think of the consequences their actions have on others. Now, in one of my Buddhist podcasts, they explained that the word Karma was invented to explain that every action has a re-action. I truly believe that.

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But maybe I am sweating the small stuff here, or actually I am not. At least not as much as I used to. 9 years ago it would have been different. Just in time for half term and the arrival of our new bed and mattress, we had our 9th wedding anniversary. There is much to say about that. To be honest, looking back to when we first moved in together, to where we are at now, times have changed so much. To an extend that I don’t even remember my wife not being part of my childhood. The arrival of the little ones, 7 and 5 years ago respectively. Our first house, first pets, first decisions on how to arrange the garden. First time I paid for the full rent in a month when my wife didn’t have a job. That was before we were engaged. Then again she worked when I was still at uni. So many happy and sad memories, we always made and always will make it work. And 9 years on, I love this woman more than I ever have. Could not imagine a day without her. Couldn’t imagine not being with her, not having her as a companion in life, helping me to master the challenges, and to share the joy. I love you wifey! And I believe I am the luckiest man in the world to have you around me.

In line with above, and me being a happy person, I was asked this week whether I will be the next German Anthony Robbins. What a compliment yet I am far from being him, and don’t think I will ever be like him. I might be able to help in a similar way to how he does, giving my studies and background, but in a much smaller scale. Who knows and even that isn’t happening yet. However….I read an amazing quote this week: LIFE IS NOT ABOUT FINDING YOURSELF. LIFE IS ABOUT CREATING YOURSELF. Got it. Simple words, and as my Freedom Fastland podcast put it the other day, you are the one in control of changing the future of your family. You can change the standard path. You are the one creating the new opportunity and become the entrepreneur that changes the income and outlook for family generations to come.

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That’s if you want to be like that. I don’t. I am not born to change the life of thousands by creating a product I can sell. I am not. I love being where I am, changing a life and improving a situation at a time. As someone said to me, you might not become rich with what you are doing but it is going to be fun. And that’s important. I created myself. I didn’t find myself. The “ballueder brand” is being build but I am not creating a new Robbins or Burchard. I am creating a person that is enjoying living my life, having a lot of fun on the way and create a future for my family. The things, the small stuff above, is what we create. And I like to just get on with my job, do it bloody well, and go home to be a good dad. In between I enjoy developing my kids, my friends and colleagues. I love helping and giving. About two years ago I managed a very successful transformation of attitude and it scared me a bit how successful you can be by putting enough energy and change management into a person and process. Great learning. Nothing is impossible and everything is possible. But stop searching for something that someone else wants you to be or you think you want to represent. You won’t find the answers. Life is about creation not copying.

Sometimes those personal development quotes just hit you. They all say the same and someone said the other day, that the ones sharing them, are the ones that least live them and are least successful. I tend to disagree. Each to their own and I personally enjoy a bit of self help banter. However, this is just one way of expressing your emotions, fears and thoughts. No results without massive action. That’s a quote from Anthony, and he is right 😉

And as I progress towards the end of Bruce Springsteen’s book there is more that resonates. The stuff you learn from your kids. They make you see the world differently, make you understand the world. And as you grow up you learn how much you don’t learn and how often you just make things up as a parent as you go along. I love my boys, and similar to the wife above, I couldn’t be happier.

As I reflect on this week, having been fairly busy, yet had some challenges to overcome, life is good. I am happy. Content. I arrived.

Have a great week.
From my little corner of the world, I send you lot of love and happiness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (403)

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

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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!

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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.

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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,
Volker

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Sunday Column (399)

Iron-Sharpens-Iron-So-one-man-sharpens-another

Iron sharpens iron – one man sharpens another. Darren Hardy spoke about Rivalry this week. It’s a proverb. Nothing wrong with that of course, the key is what the quote stands for. Iron sharpens iron – as one iron, one man grows, the other grows too. If you are getting up every morning and have someone to fight, you want to better yourself daily to become better than the other person. You want to win. Then he wants to win too. You might become friends and you strive by competing with each other. You help each other to stay focused, motivated and push each other towards the top. Like a sparring partner. I like that analogy and think you should too. Find someone to work against, someone who motivates you and take massive actions towards ‘beating’ that person. In a good way of course, become friends and push each other to success!

A different, in between week, this week it was. I mean, it was my last week at my old work. I tidied things up, did a final hand over, updated what had to be updated and put my work and mind to rest. I reflected on the last 2.5 years. The accomplishment of putting another product on the map. The ability to put something out there in the market, position it, sell it, make it successful. I enjoy that part. There were struggles, challenges and fights but overall, it wasn’t a bad time. I had a few managers I learned from. Good mentors. It was good and I am truly thankful for the opportunity. It was also time to move on. One email I got this week summed it up. Farewell, Goodbye and Amen, as Hawkeye Pierce said in Mash4077.

Listening to another Mentee Podcast, career development is not only about money and what you do, but more about why you do it. The ultimate thing is if you can give back, and if you are able to make a difference. And I deep down believe that I can make a difference and help, support and develop myself and others. That in itself is worth the change in career and focus. Having met most of the people, it will be a fun time ahead! I really look forward to start working with my new team. A team to grow and coach. Unlocking potential and driving business forward. Working on strategies, new technologies and deep diving into some industry topics. What is there to learn? Where can I make a difference? Getting direct input from clients, that will be different. Weren’t they the holy grail to sell to a little while ago? Also, the ability to change suppliers and technologies if they stop performing. Not relying on one but more than one supplier if you like. There are many solutions that are interchangeable, so building the relationships with the right ones is key. Spotting the sales people talking BS when trying to sell you the latest programmatic solution.

reflect

For now I still have some time to reflect. I start at the end of the month. My priority for the coming week is to spend as much time as possible with my family and give them some time back. When you get to the cross roads of your career, open a new chapter in your life, one likes to think about life. About priorities. Those are clearly with my family and the progress of my children – personally and in education. I guess for any parent, there is no doubt that health, development and happiness of your family comes first. Then it is you/your partner, and what you have decided to do with your life. Both of which will impact the main priority of course. I have been thinking about how we model our life on what we know from when we grew up and realised that over the years the technology advancement, let it be iPads or iPhones as the obvious ones, have influenced the way our children grow up. The younger generation is working seamlessly it seems with the challenges of technology and uses it to their advantage whilst we use it as a necessary evil almost. And by the time they have children, things and life as we know it would have changed again. When I was a kid I was dreaming of this big house with this big stereo in the corner. CD shelves. Video cassettes. I enjoyed libraries and always thought I would have one myself. And virtually we do. We have the videos, the CDs and books I wanted. It is still the same, yet different, and in a different format. The world is changing, advancing and nothing will be the way it was. That’s not a bad thing though.

So let’s embrace future developments. Let’s embrace change and let’s embrace technology. Let us accept change in our life and the opportunity to influence the outcome. To trust in the positive outcome. That is fun, that is helping you to grow and make a difference for the better.

Go get them and enjoy the last days of summer.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (387)

The old bank holiday weekend. In Britain that means an increase appetite for BBQs, that is weather permitting. As so often, unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking that good, maybe dry but not too hot. Summer hasn’t really arrived yet, there is hope so.  And yes we managed a lovely park run on Sunday and a BBQ. Hurray!

Let me update you on a few things. I didn’t go on my trip to the states this week. There were business reasons which made sense to postpone that trip. That left me with a rather unplanned week, which I could use to get on top of forecasts, planning, pipeline, Salesforce, and preparations for a conference I am speaking at next week. On Wednesday I shall go to Berlin for a few days to speak at the Ad Trader Conference. I remember its origin in the summer of 2010 in London. A pub, funny enough now opposite the biggest ATD in town, a dark room, and a few entrepreneurs that wanted to do this thing called ‘real time bidding’. That was then, now this conference attracts a few hundred people each year, and RTB became programmatic. Amazing.


On the private side of things are updates too. Firstly I caught up with a friend of nearly 25 years on Monday. Man it was good to speak. To take the time and compare notes and realise this person has the same challenges I have, the same issues, fears and challenges, dreams and opportunities. Yet we live far apart. The beauty is we are so familiar to each other that it doesn’t matter. Latest next year we should be able to catch up in person again! So whatever you think, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, no matter what it looks like.

The bathroom is finished. 6 or so weeks! The finish is not as envisaged but we glad it is all working. Kind of anyway. We found out why the tap/sink is leaking and this was fixed this week. Temporary I should add. Manufacturers problem. The bath still needs to be examined as it moves and shouldn’t. We are kind of confident it was fixed correctly (how can you not fix a bath correctly), so maybe another manufacturer’s fault. Given the money we spend on it….but never mind. If we have to replace the bath tub, then this is what we have to do. No choice. And we will get through that too. It all works out in the end.

Two trees made their way into our back garden. This is to block out neighbours’ views. A new bush to cover a dry area and break up the looks a bit and then we started on the evening patio in the garden plus the extension of our current patio. Things are happening. We are doing all that in favour of the drive way which we pushed back to the end of the year. No rush. The car should arrive in August, so all will happen in the end. Time will pass. It all works out in the end. My mantra in all ways of life at the moment.


Friday saw a nice get together of the local dads. You begin to feel a bit old. Conversations are middle aged man like. Lol. Vasectomy, kids, wife, family life, local shops, DIY etc… As a matter of fact I am feeling a bit old. Tired, headaches from the change of weather, a sore throat, and exhausted after a 14K run. And I was planning to do another half marathon distance this weekend. Maybe not. Time to sit down, relax, meet the MIL and spend time with the kids. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.
You might have seen it on Facebook. I am reflective. There are a lot of those loose ends I was writing about last week. Things you are not happy with. Things that are not as you would do them. Things that you disagree with. Things that make you worry and not sleep at night. Most people would call it stress. A call on Friday added to it. What will the future bring. No matter what we are going to be ok.

I got a nice compliment last week from someone saying that she liked the quote ‘that one should trust in the future, and things will work out’. And they must. Maybe things are different to what you expect them to be. Maybe it needs some more learning for some people to address and understand the issues you have. Maybe you have to change your perspective. Maybe you are the one causing the issues? One must examine all angles, sit down, map them out, brainstorm and come up with a solution. Not all solutions are taken off our hands, there are still a lot we can influence and do. And this works for any situation. Being able to objectively reflect on your life is key. To sit down, meditate, reflect. And one day you look back and all your issues have gone. And you are annoyed at the energy you put in worrying – but that’s life. 

Should we have got a different bathroom? Should we have prioritised the driveway? Would it have made a difference? Probably not in the greater scale of things. 

Trust in the future. Visualise you sitting there at Christmas. Glass of bubbly. All worries gone, nothing there to stress about, a new year and new start ahead. Things will work out. They always do. Even if you cannot see it today. And whilst this is easy to say, there is nothing we can do about it either. Talk to friends about it, map out a plan and have a massive trust in things working out. Put your energy towards your confidence and trust. Visualise the positive outcomes. Where your focus goes, your energy flows.

Watch Tony Robbins for some extra motivation.

With those (wise) words I leave you to it. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. Maybe we get the weather for another BBQ after all, wouldn’t that be nice? Kids playing in the garden, the smell of freshly cut grass, the meat being cooked on the open fire. It takes me back years. The Shiraz at hand, a football to close to the fire and a laugh with Nanny. 

Have a great week ahead,

Volker

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Sunday Column (381)

A rather odd week if you ask me. I didn’t work my usual day from home, a window shattered next to me without me having anything to do with it, my back had a spasm when running and overall I am drained. The weather cannot make its mind up and my colleague handed back my old accounts as he was leaving. So things are stagnating a bit with new hires coming in soon.

And then….Winning. Being up there and doing things right. That is contagious. Isn’t it? Tuesday was one of those days. We won. We made progress. We made it happen. We are moving to the next level. Life is very much split sometimes.

Being on later train home than usual and thinking that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Patience. Fear is the key driver of procrastination. I am not fearful. We must move forward. Tomorrow is the future. The day after tomorrow, a step further. A step closer. Life is moving in the right direction.

Steve Jobs Last Day

This week I closed a chapter. Putting things to bed is good sometimes. It hurts. It’s not nice and we move on from there. But we had a good time. We can appreciate, agree and move on. The future is now. It is happening. Either way things are moving on, never stop, never being put on hold.

The most annoying bit this week was iTunes deleting my music library. And then they didn’t restore it properly. I wonder if it is just a technical glitch or a general iTunes problem. As it seems I am not the only one having those problems. The deeper you go into the dependence of Apple, the more you realise even they aren’t flawless. Guess no system is. However they still make the best devices in my opinion.

On Thursday night I had a bit of spare time, as the wife was away, and I watched a few Steve Jobs videos on YouTube. Also, I caught up with a few podcasts. I am making sure I am learning and moving myself forward. Patience is key. Things come to those who wait and things are moving.

Looking forward is the theme at the moment. Believing in positive change. That things will change. Things will improve. That is key. And this isn’t specific but in general having a positive and opportune outlook in life is very important. We cannot just stop, put it all down and give in, give up. We must fight, move forward and make it happen.

The moment we lose hope or wonder whether the path we go down is right, we lose power and energy. We must believe in making the right choices. We must believe. Always. There is no way you can give up. Or give in. You must work it out. Whether in private, your job or life in general.

Trusting the universe with what’s happening and that it will look after you. Action=Reaction. Your action determine the reaction. The universe gives back. Direct you if you like. Taking feeling into perspective and lead with your heart not your head.

And then, as I am finalising this blog post sitting on the train, I am listening to a conversation next to me about electric cars. Having just read the Elon Musk book on Tesla and how they push the boundaries for batteries. Yet the discussion, someone owning ‘an electric car’ arguing with someone else about “the charge will never be able to last the promised miles”. The reason I bring that up – a lot of people do not believe. They believe what they have, what they see. They are not visionary and cannot imagine this improving.

musk failure

We all live with limited information. Even if we are fully informed. That is, because we don’t know everything at any one time, as we are learning and as a human race expand our wisdom. Another report this week about the ripples from black holes puts life into perspective. Hawkings was mentioned and interviewed.

There are people that are pushing boundaries. That make things happen and move things forward. I still have a few beliefs that seem to hold me back, like security and barriers in my head.

They are moving, slowly but surely. And I am still young. I might never, and surely will never be a Hawkings or Musk. But maybe I will be able to push the boundaries in my little world. Moving the needle a bit. Contributing to positive change.

Enough thoughts for a day. When this gets published I am touching down in Frankfurt Germany for a family visit – having booked Monday off. Then business as normal in Germany for a couple days, back to the big smoke. Life is busy. Life is good.

Best wishes,
Volker

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