Posts Tagged new job

Sunday Column (503)

Hello. I am now back from holidays and rested, started my new permanent role, finding my feet. As always things are new, exciting, and it takes some time to really get to grips with everything. That’s it. So I had some thoughts again I wanted to share. This time it is about the future and all.

My oldest was born in the year I turned 32. The next one when I turned 34. Just imagine at that time, I would have had my great grand parents still with me? Wouldn’t that have been crazy?
This week’s column is triggered by something I read somewhere, probably the FT, that the first person who turns 1,500 years is already born. I am not sure 1,500 is a good age, and I am not sure how that is justified, but it got me thinking. What if technology and bio-tech is accelerating, and what if the first person turning a 150 is already born, or alive? That for me is more of a scenario to live or die with. Maybe a bit more realistic.

So imagine I turned 120 years old. Not only would it mean I am about one third there, or still had almost 80 years to go, I would have to think hard about my pension and retirement age. All that aside, wouldn’t it be fantastic to live in one form or another for that period of time? Maybe we live as a brain in a glass container kept alive by robot nurses? For the ease of calculations, if I was 120 years old, it would make my sons around 90, their kids 60 and my great grand children 30. That’s four generations with the 5th generation just being born. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

I certainly like to think so. Whilst I am not the most adventurous person, and I despite flying a lot I am not too keen on flying, and I never liked hospitals nor I am able to watch operations (I am very squeamish), there is this thought of going on a space ship. Actually, did you ever notice that in science fiction films there are less turbulences than flying in an aeroplane. Hmm, does that suggest it is smoother?

The dream of maybe living as a brain, or just emotions as consciousness detached from your body, or maybe in a younger body, transplanted onto a planet far away, or living in a space ship, being able to tell stories of what human kind once was to a generation that would laugh at the way we travelled in the 21st century in a way we look at the Stone Age. A generation that would look back on how we destroyed our planet Earth and how we escaped the Doomsday scenario. How we inhabited uninhabitable planets and how we managed to survive as species. I have definitely listen to too much Homo Deus and Sapiens as well as AI (Artificial Intelligence) books, however I have not given up on the thought that humans will survive. One way or another we will. We are clearly a species of innovators and inventors that push on and beyond of our visible capabilities, re-inventing the wheel or life as we know it.

I am optimistic and think it could happen. Me being 120 is a very comforting thought in my opinion. Then again I would be a pain in the bum for my kids 😉 Payback time I suppose. When I was younger I never read many science fiction books, and the thought of not being around to see how life on earth and beyond might evolve makes me sad. Maybe we are the generation that just see so much more and so much longer to be able to see how human kind evolves. I would like that. And if not, I will continue to write about it and educate the next generation to not be afraid but embrace technology.

All that comes as I am trying to detox from digital. I finally got my pay as you go phone, my emergency number. It is like a landline we have sitting in the corner (we disconnected our landline a long time ago) which we can take with us. That means we can turn our smart phones off, the disturbing and distracting ones, whenever we wish or we leave them at home when we go away for the afternoon. Let’s see if that works.

That’s all. As of writing I just sorted the setup of my laptop out at work. It has been a long time since I worked with a Microsoft Exchange, and I can clearly see why that has been the case. I haven’t seen such a clunky system for a long time, trying to find my productive way with that system is a challenge but I think I am just about there. Early days 😉

Have a great week and years ahead 😉
Volker

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Sunday Column (502)

This is my holiday post. So a bit more personal, less topical. I am sure I wrote it the other day – apologies but I have a few articles sitting at the ready, so I don’t remember where the wording is – that I am not much of a holiday person. I find it difficult to switch off, so this time I tried to force myself to switch off, which of course doesn’t work either. Having said all that I had a relaxing time, and the amount of sleep I got was amazing. Plus, thanks for the feedback regarding my topical posts, I am glad you are enjoying them.

Having finished my contract work and got my first few days at the new job, having a two week break should be easy. And actually, it was. I was yet thinking a lot about the job, but I refrained from checking emails etc., as I am too fresh into the job as someone really needs to rely on me. Hence, this was probably my only chance for a while for a “work detox”. And I am keen to get busy for one job only too.

On the other hand, I cannot sit still. I am creating an article a day almost, topical blog posts, thinking about my career and developing my podcast ideas. As the brain relaxes, there are new brain connections to be made, resulting in new input, new ideas and fresh thoughts. I try not to write on my book though and focus on other things first. There are podcasts I am going through whilst running and seeking new inputs. Not many podcasts recently chime a chord, and I found books that I put away after a few pages. Time for change is on the horizon. If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got!

However, holidays 🙂 Yes, I enjoyed our two week break. We went to Singapore. A lot of people warned us that 10 days were too long but given we lived in a hotel/flat complex where we had our own little flat, pool and breakfast, this was as much a pool holiday as exploring the city as visiting family living out here. And it wasn’t too long. It also was the idea of introducing the kids to a different culture, whilst knowing it is one of the safest places you can imagine. What’s not to like? A holiday where we could use the gym to keep up with our training, park the boys in the pool for half a day whilst writing blog posts, and meeting expats that just came over to Singapore and stayed at the complex before the final move to a long term arrangement. The kids and us both loved it. The weather of course was amazing, hot and humid, just as it was when we left the UK 🙂

I finished reading Richard Branson’s ‘Loosing my Virginity’ biography (the latest one) as well. It was a stunning read and I read a lot about things I didn’t know he was doing. It almost felt like he had me around for a cup of tea, whilst telling me the story of his life. Not only do I agree with him on most topics like Brexit, Trump, Obama and others, the Elders, climate change and saving the world, are all topics I am keen on investing more time on. It almost feels like I would love to work for him on some projects now and help him make a difference. Let’s see where my life will develop into, as I only turned 40+1, wrote 500 blog posts and finding my own path as we speak. I got plans, they slowly materialise and are put on the right tracks I feel. Patience, as always, is the key to everything. Anyway, I tweeted that man, allegedly he reads them all, maybe I might get a reply too.

Another thing I learned on holidays, and would love to have people’s opinion that experienced similar, is the saying ‘Sorry, I don’t think it is worth it’. I said that to (luckily) a friend who when I apologised laughed, but I didn’t mean it in an offensive way at all. I texted him saying ‘attending his birthday party, giving timing and train journeys, is not worth it’ – in German ‘lohnt sich nicht’. It made me think, as neither the German expression or the English one is meant in a negative way. However, the Germans are very direct in their language and appeal to the nature of the event, saying it is hardly worth anyone’s time to be at a party for 1-2 hours. The Brits on the other hand see it as ‘you are not worthwhile my time at all’. Latter is very rude, former is German directness, hence I me translating one with the other isn’t working at all. I can see that now and hope I haven’t offended anyone prior to this, or won’t in the future. Anyway, if I come across to anyone as rude again, just let me know. Most of the time this isn’t intentional and might just be down to a wrong translation.

And that’s really it from our holiday. I was asked why there haven’t been any pictures shared on social media, and I’d like to answer it here. I enjoyed the holidays. We took about 850 pictures and we had a fantastic time. Family and friends would have seen some pictures, but I personally do not think that I need put an album up on Facebook or Instagram to share what a great time we had. I have been thinking a lot about social media recently and it is nobody’s business to see the intimicy of our holidays, or for me to show off what a fantastic, expensive hotel we lived in. Does that make sense? Oh and it wasn’t that expensive either. I have never done that in the past, and that was partly due for me not wanting people to know I was away, but this time we had someone staying at our house at home, so this was the time to let people know where we went. It is different when you are on work trips I believe, and you will find the odd picture on social media, but the majority….I do not know, not for me anymore. In the past I shared far too much, not thinking about implications but these days I feel a lot wiser tbh.

I came a long way, as did Facebook for the past 12+ years, of how I use social media. And when I think back to when I was a child, I had 2-3 rolls of film, 36 pictures each, and had to develop them after the holidays for expensive money. Now over 20 times as many pictures are sitting at the palm of my hand. I saw people running around with GoPro cameras and I wonder if anyone ever sits on holidays and takes on the experience, and to remember it the way they want it to be remembered? What I mean is that we had good and bad times, as you always have anywhere you go, and I just want to remember the good bits. That’s what I have always done, I don’t need to monitor everything all the time and sometimes like to let go.

Actually, I do feel a lot more relaxed than before, a lot better for it and fear the jet lag, the shorter nights, the going back into the routine and….I will be fine. And unlike me, I am planning the next holiday already. The boys would move out to Singapore in a heart beat, let’s see if we can discover more places like that. Let’s be Brexit ready, but before we know it I am in a new job, new routine, the boys will attend the same school and we get a deal for Brexit and life will just move on as we knew it. Won’t it?

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (498)

Often, when I am asking for feedback about my blog post, the answer is ‘it’s the same, it’s ok’. What I would really like to hear is ‘it’s great, it is inspiring’. But I guess I am not inspiring to the readers that I ask 🙁 However, please provide me feedback on what you would like to see and read on here. I feel like it is a weekly summary, with some thought-excursion based on my weekly experience, and then some. It is less topical, more personal. And the blog definitely provides myself with an opportunity to digest my experience. Also, I hope it provides you with a snippet of personal entertainment 🙂

So this week, as usual recently, I started a new contract, the one that leads to my new full time position. That makes it interesting, as essentially I am getting my introduction over the forthcoming weeks, then start fully later on. It’s a good way of doing it, because you get all the administrative things out of the way, and can focus on the task in hand the moment you start fully. In the meantime I went to Dusseldorf again, a slightly shorter trip which seemed convenient because of the football game, but actually was because we planned the week differently and it didn’t make sense to hang around all day. However, it was nice to see England from the comfort of my home with my boys.

And what a fantastic result for England. Not like Germany, England made it all the way to the semi finals. A shame they didn’t win against Croatia, but hey, it is what it is. It’s a young team, a team that in 2 years at the Euros or in 4 years at the next World Cup stand a much bigger chance to win. We will bring it home eventually. They brought it home to the nation, a nation crazy about football, and it made us all get a bit closer together, living the same dream. Of course, as expected, France then won the World Cup and all the money I bet on the individual games came back to me, as I put a bet on France very early on. I don’t normally bet but the Grand National or the Euro or World Cup.

Anyway, what else is going on in the country? Besides the Trump visit which I just ignore to be honest, Brexit looks like a disaster. I hope it will stay like that, e.g. the Brexit turns into a soft version of what everyone voted for, resulting in us staying in the custom union, the economy not being hit as hard, and yet carve out some rights as a non EU member state. But what a mess, no question about it. It is troublesome to see the government falling apart, no leadership and no progress. Shambles. Boris Johnson being gone can’t be a bad thing, but I am sure he comes back on the scene sooner or later.

Of course travelling makes you tired, yet running in Dusseldorf early morning felt a lot easier than in London. I am wondering if that’s the milder temperature or if that’s anything else? I feel like having a virus recently but besides a sore throat there are not many other symptoms. Is it hayfever that’s worse in the UK? I don’t know. I just hope it will go away soon. But I don’t want to bore you with my ailings. Just the opposite. I tried for another 15K on Saturday but had to stop and finished a 10K instead. Too warm, too tired.

The week concluded with another amazing thing: a street meet in our cul-de-sac. I started collecting some emails a while back and put the idea forward for a BBQ, some games and get together for our street. It was a great success and turn out, and we all came together, chatting, meeting each other and got a bit closer. Isn’t that what life is all about.

So a nice week, productive, thoughtful, and maybe a bit inspiring? Let me know and hope to see you again next week.

Best wishes,
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 (471)

One week into the New Year. So what are your New Year resolutions? Oh, and before I forget, Happy New Year to all my readers. It was nice to hear some positive feedback from a ‘Northern’ reader this week (shout out to you mate) which I much appreciate. I really enjoy getting feedback, so please reach out and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Socialmedia allows us to reach out to a mass of contacts easily on New Years’s Eve to wish people a Happy New Year. Less of a personal touch and a lot easier than trying to phone people when lines are busy. You remember that, trying to send a text message on NYE a few years back. And the network was down or you didn’t have reception? How times have changed, and technology too. However, it is nice to see what everyone is up to and reflects upon and of course, is looking forward to this year. More about networking below.

Next is my podcast, like an audio blog really. The website went live this week: Stories Of Success. I hope to have the first couple of recordings by this time next week and push out a first episode the week after. I am excited and scared at the same time. You will hear it in the first few episodes I am sure, but it is so much fun creating something, that in my mind, will add value to the listeners. Here is to 2018, to new opportunities and new ideas.

What are your plans? What are your Stories Of Success you want to write?

Btw, if you think you are successful or if you know of someone who is, and you think that person should be on my podcast, please come forward and let me know. Any help or referral is appreciated and paid for by beers….see more about that later. Another cry for feedback today, so yes, I’d love to hear from you.

I have been thinking hard to define my top three goals for the year. Actually, they are quite simple for 2018.

Firstly, I would like a new job. This could be on a contract basis, however my main focus is to settle in a more secure job for the next 3-5 years, a job I like and a job that takes my career forward. I started to speak to a couple companies within and outside my current industry and hope that soon I’ll find my new challenge for 2018 and beyond. After all, my main responsibility at the moment is my family, bills to pay, mortgage to pay and to provide security.
My ask to you: if you know of anyone looking for an experienced commercial person, please get in touch.

On that note, I reached out to recruiters and my network this week, and I appreciate that a lot of people aren’t really back at work until next week. However, the response I got so far was overwhelming. Not only did I get a lot of positive replies but people also offered their help. It is so nice to see that people care. And, if you are in a similar position and need help, you know that you can always reach out to me and ask me for advice, introductions etc. I love helping, and I appreciate help. Thank you all for your kindness.

Secondly, and aligning with the first goal, is focus. If I didn’t learn anything else from 2017 from my manager or from my 6 weeks brainstorming and reflection at the end of last year, but to have focus. My focus is clearer than ever, focusing on values around family, stability, security and a happy, healthy life. On the back of that, there are values like career advancement, progression and success. Those values will gain more focus in 2018 as I make them more of a priority than I have done in 2017. But matching my life style and career to the values is key.

Thirdly, my passion for personal development needs to have a clearer form and shape. What I mean by that is that launching my podcast is the beginning of a new journey. Once the first episode is uploaded, I will make sure to let you know. I am excited to interview people who have been successful and uncover their secrets for you to apply their ‘secret sauce’ to your life.

As every year, we were looking to have a dry January. And, similar to most years, I probably stopped it by the time you are reading this. Yes, I was planning 2 weeks really, but as the days are so dark and cold, and the fire is on… so don’t worry, I will be up for pints if you are 🙂

A week off the booze is enough to detox. The idea is more about having less booze overall. Having had plenty of conversations with people over the past few weeks, I don’t drink more than average (defined by my benchmark of course) and well within the norm. Moderation, as always, is key. This of course goes in line with a new exercise routine (less is more = moderation) and focus around a healthier life style. The amount of crisps and junk food I ate over the past six weeks has been fun but awful at the same time. Oh and don’t forget all that cheese 😉

So this concludes my thoughts for 2018.

I wish you and your family a healthy, prosperous and happy 2018.

All the best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (421)

I am starting to write this blog after watching a video of a man with no limbs.


If the video doesn’t work, visit Nick’s video on YouTube.

Isn’t that amazing. The attitude and positivity of a man who mastered life despite disabilities. And we are whinging when the wood for the wood burner is a bit wetter this year or Tesco delivers expired products. His life puts our misery a bit in perspective. Living in the 1st world as we call it, we are spoiled for things. As he states in the video, if he falls over and cannot get up, he will try a 100 times. He never ever gives up until he achieves his goal. However simple or small it seems to be.

Achievement, or however you want to define Success, is your true Potential minus any Interference. Whether that is Interference from the outside (physical) or internal, the things you are telling yourself that holding you back to develop your full potential to progress and achieve. Stop telling yourself how little you have achieved but focus on the whole lot you have achieved. Look at 2016 for instance: realise how many days you have done so well. You made it through, 365 days of success. You made progress, had success. You can do it and unleash your full potential, decrease your interference. Go for it.

Putting life in perspective. I have been trying to do that for a while through
a) meditation and focusing on the things I appreciate, giving thanks and quieting my mind from the hustle and bustle out there, and
b) I started a gratitude journal this year to write down what I appreciate each day and what I am thankful for.

A more religious driven person would do that in their evening prayer, and I suppose the personal development industry has realised that it works to reflect on your day, give thanks and make sure you are focusing on positivity and progress. And listening to a podcast on Buddhism this week, there was another realisation: it doesn’t matter whether you believe in re-birth or not. You can only change this very moment, this very life. Be better now, and make the most of your existing life. If you do, and there is re-birth, you have nothing to worry about. And if there isn’t a re-birth, don’t worry about it. We must stop worrying. Instead we must be living in the moment, being the best person we can be – both from an ethical and achievement perspective.

Similar to the theme we talked about last week, 2017 is all about making the most out of life. The insecurity with Donald Trump taking office this week and the Euro falling thanks to Brexit. Things are changing fast. To not loose any momentum I have made a few decisions. One was to have a fantastic meal with the wife on Monday lunch time – when else will we have the chance to do that again? We went to a place Jen wanted to go for the past 5 years and we finally went and really liked it. The Ginger Fox. We highly recommend it 🙂

Then I made the decision to take the kids to see the latest Star Wars movie in the cinema. And we made the decision how to celebrate my birthday 😉 And, last but not least, I made the decision to meet some good friends on Tuesday. So in summary, I made the most out of a few days prior to (drum roll) starting my new adventure:

Since finishing my last project, I have been debating for a while whether to do my own thing, to work on a contract basis or joining a company full time. I chose the latter, as I think this is the right step in my career. It is a company I have known for many years, 6 to be precise, and which has seen ups and downs, and I have seen them going through the phases from being a competitor, a partner and a supplier. They are now at a point where I am more than excited to join them, where I believe I can add significant value to their growth, using my experience in Programmatic and client handling. In return I am working with some very smart people in the space. Some of the smartest I have seen on the tech side for a while, people with a variety of background and strong leadership. And it is an outstanding technology. To say the least, I am very excited to step into the new role, back on the technology side of things. Back to an EMEA wide role. I am pumped for 2017, I am ready for the new challenge!

So the first few days were good. I love starting a new job on a Wednesday. It gives you an easy week to tune in, set up IT and get my feet under the table. Research suggests it takes 6 months to fully fall into a role, yet I am confident it will be a lot quicker. My KPIs are 🙂 So much to do, so exciting to go back on Monday.

This sums up an almost perfect week. Trains are back to normal (whatever that means) as of Tuesday. I have a few trips planned already. Back on the road, so just as well I have my passport back. I made plans on some personal development goals too. I feel this is going to be a good year.

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (398)

The news is out this week. It is official. I am leaving my current job, and I will be officially leaving the end of next week. I has been a great 2.5 years of exploring a slightly different angle of the industry, going through another acquisition and finding new friends and colleagues across the world. It was nice to hear just last week that clients would have loved to work with us, just because it was me. Those compliments are amazing and make me appreciate the lives I am touching, and the lives I am touched by. I am a people person, I care about people, in business and private. I am feeling flattered and it shows that sales and business relations still come back to personality first, product second. Sustainability, honestly and win/win go a long way. I was always keen to deliver on promises, and learned lessons early in my career that you don’t over promise and under deliver.

Now, the new role is different. It is still about promising to clients, internal and external, yet it is also about evaluating the sales people and technologies I have been representing in the last 6+ years! I am turning the table and apply my knowledge on the other side. It feels like I move from sales to procurement, get a lot more managerial and strategic tasks and joining a company that is on the edge to really move the needle in the space. I like to hope so anyway, and I cannot wait to join them at the end of August! I am going agency side. When working agency side in 2007, being responsible for sales, I enjoyed it and then got dragged into the tech sales, which in all honesty I enjoyed a lot too. Now I am back, with more experience and knowledge about the space, and I am excited to not pay the bills for lunch and ask those questions to sales people trying to sell me the latest tech. If you cannot summarise your solution in 30 minutes without a powerpoint…. 🙂

So the news is out, and the dates are set. I am very much looking forward to my new direction and another step in my career.

hand-over

I kicked the week off with another 25K run. I started early at 5:30 am and was back just around 8 am. It was fantastic, running with the sun rise, overlooking the South Downs being dipped into the golden morning light. Not a lot of people around and it was great to just get on. It cleared my head, made me think and came up with some solutions and ideas. Great start to the week!

Unfortunately my adidas Adistar Boost trainers are broken again after only 350K. My first pair was broken, the 2nd pair lasted, the exchanged first one now broke and I am ‘breaking in’ another pair just now. Definitely my last Boost pair, I can assure you. Having said that I went to sweatshop on Saturday afternoon and tried the new UltraBoost trainers. They are amazing, very soft and cushioned, and feather light. I am keen on getting a pair but it all depends what adidas says about whether the old pair was a manufacturers fault. Given I contacted Sweatshop 3 days after they sent the replacement, I have to take it up with adidas directly. I emailed them, let’s see, sending off the old pair on Monday. Definitely something wrong with that shoe! I did a cheeky 7.5K later in the week with the new pair of Adistar’s, just to be ready to hit the 10K in them next week again. Over are the days where a pair of trainers lasted me beyond a year.

adidas-ultra-boost-deep-sea-blue-1

Then I have been back to Scotland this week. I flew up on Wednesday and then drove the family down again on Friday, with another stop over in Preston. This time the journey was a little bit more pleasant as traffic was better then going up. So we arrived on Saturday morning. Enough time to get the washing on, settle back in and be home again. It was good without the family but it is even better with the family! I missed my two boys and my wife of course. Now the cats pester the others not me 🙂

Also it marks my last flight for a while. At least my new job won’t demand me to fly regularly around Europe. An era of good 10 years in a European role coming to an end. There will be travel and potentially more international ones but for now I can hope for some fewer flights and hotel stays abroad. This will be nice for a while.

Some people asked me what I did, 10 days without the family? I can tell you that much: it felt a lot shorter, as I had been very busy. Partly I was working on some forms and test assignments, and on the other hand I made progress with my book. Yes, I now need to find the best way of drawing up some nice graphs, put the overall flow together and get it finalised. The end is in sight, early 2017 I should be able to publish my new Productivity on Life book. I thought of calling it #bebetter but feel free to come up with better suggestions.

I also found a lot of time to watch TV, movies, chill out and read. It is almost weird to be able to organise your own days and work around your work. Not sure I ever watched that much TV in a long time. And I also ate healthily, didn’t drink a lot (besides the stag do without a stag at the weekend in Brighton), and overall got a lot of chillaxing time in. A holiday as it should be on my own terms.

Now, having the family back is great. Catching up on 10 days of excitement and experience with my boys is fantastic. Almost a lifetime at their stage. The next break is with them, and I look forward to sharing experience with them too and maybe give the wife a wee break too. Life is hard, yet beautiful 🙂

That’s about all folks. I love driving the new motor, particularly the cruise control that breaks on your behalf and then accelerates if it can. Just like a self driving car.

Have a fantastic week.

Volker

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Sunday Column (371)

This week didn’t look busy at all at first. Yet I never stood still. My brain never stopped processing. I never had enough rest to be honest, waking up regularly at night thinking about things. I feel like things are happening.

The news is out too. I got a new job. An additional job: strategic advisor to a start-up. I agreed to be a non executive director or strategy advisor for a start up in the programmatic TV space called Video Agnostic. An area that truly interest me and I believe needs a lot of evangelism and understanding in and of the programmatic landscape. Being able to advice top notch developers on go to market strategies, and helping with getting traction in the market place, is a great challenge and a big honour for me. I will continue to spend my days working for my current employer yet also help Video Agnostic too.

I have done some strategy roles in the past. Helped start-ups, defined go-to market strategies etc. So this isn’t new but more official. Lots of plans ahead. I am looking forward to play a pivotal part in the programmatic TV Space in the UK moving forward.

programmatic tv

Also I had loads of interesting meetings this week. Programmatic is flying, syncing the silos of off-line and on-line is gaining momentum and we are busy. Our social platform gains more and more traction in Europe too. It is nice to see things are coming together.

In other news I went to the dentist. Not good. Another filling. Then another friend turned 40. I am getting closer to the magic number myself. Wiser I suppose. However 40 used to be old, now coming closer to it, it is more like 50 or 60 being the barrier. Looking back in one of my reflective moments I realise that I am very happy and grateful for what I have achieved in life so far. And that I was a young dad and father. That a lot of people shifted priorities whilst I soldiered on. It makes me feel young and old at the same time. With us anticipated to live longer, life events happen later. Will we all get more out of life though?

That of course depends on our vision and how healthy we stay. It depends on our life style and life choices we made. There is no right or wrong answer. We decide how we want to live our lives, decide on where we set priorities. Whether that is the local community or the work community, the wider ecosystem, family of course We are here to make a dent in the universe. And within my small little world, my closest and dearest, I have a big impact already. I am making a difference and change the world for the better.

That means to me that I can shape the future. And given the state of the world we should be proactive. We must help the future generations to look after this planet, to come up with ways to save civilisation. This might be too futuristic and daunting, but engineers, futurists and technologist will be key to survival of mankind. Having watched Martian the other day makes me think – what would we need to achieve to colonise Mars, to save Earth and venture out to continue living. And what is the likely cause of death? Cancer, epidemics, viruses?

I don’t know. And I want to end this post on a high. I like spreading myself a bit, I like connecting the dots and make life happen. Whichever meaning it has to you!

Love and kindness.
Volker

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Sunday Column (259)

Routine. Let me start this post with talking about routine. One is set in one’s routine, set in one’s way. We all are. From the breakfast we have to the bed time routine. Mine hasn’t really been any for the past 10 months. But now I am back to establish my 5.15 alarms, exercises and regular trains.

It means you need to establish your regular night times, hours in bed, undisturbed sleeps, alarms and regular fitness routine. All that whilst still getting used to a new job. It has only been three weeks yet it feels like three months. One could say I am busy but in a good sense. I am really enjoying it! I am still very excited!

Then I saw an interesting graph this week. Focus: the things that matter and the things that you can influence. So based on the graph we really should only focus on the intersection of what we can influence and what really matters. I guess this is part, if not the basis, of productivity.

matter and control

Of course that all ties in with routine too. Whilst focusing on my daily workout and focusing on the right exercise for core strength, ankle support and muscle toning, I also need to focus on cardio and the right, healthy food. Nothing seems disconnected. The half pint more at night causes a slight slump in performance the next day. I am getting there, a challenging path still in front of me, well worth at the end. A few weeks or months down the line I will be proud of sticking to this new routine, seeing and feeling the results.

It comes a bit at a price. I have been unproductive on my train journeys into work and instead caught up on sleep. Nothing is disconnected. I am finishing my coaching this week for the foreseeable future and made a lot of progress. I still need to focus on more implementation and continue to work on some things. Yet over the last few months coaching helped me a lot in terms of focus, which now is integrated into my routine.

Last but not least it was half term. I have been jealous about the activities my wife came up with for the boys. Bowling being one of it I missed, poppadoms another. Seeing the pictures I wish I could be with them all the time. It makes my heart sink thinking about them growing up and one day living their own life with us not being there all the time. We need to learn to let go, guess another process to learn. We cannot hold on to time and development just for our own sake. We cannot hold their hands forever or think they stay young all the time.

I guess that’s it for the week. I spent the weekend holding on to what I can and enjoying whilst I can. And getting fit, see earlier post.

Have a great week.

Volker

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Sunday Column (254)

In life it is not about what you own, possess or what you represent. Life is about what you make out of it for yourself and for others around you, what you create and how you embrace it. It is about the love you share and the moments you value. With friends and family, experiencing things.

I have been travelling this week and looked at some beautiful landscapes and was thinking, why home (UK) wasn’t like that. One reason is that it is different in its own account, beautiful too, but on the other hand it is how we create our landscapes ourselves. We are the masters of our destiny. We are the ones that are in the driving seat of our lives, we make the decisions and follow our dreams.

Of course this philosophy isn’t new to most of you. But I formed my future this week. A new beginning as I was promising over the past few weeks here and who read between the lines has guessed it already. I will be able to talk about it in greater detail soon.

Out_in_the_open

Sometimes one gets stuck and feels like one isn’t progressing. One sees that things don’t turn out the way they originally seemed. In those situations one makes decisions to wait or to move. All things being equal you would try to make things happen as long as you can. But not all things are always equal.

Maybe a quick thank you for the support from family, friends and my coach. My coach and I have been discussing values in depth, motivations deep inside. It is very interesting to see your insides, and I also had a psychological assessment which revealed a lot of insights also. But I also become more balanced inside, more at ease with life and ambitions.

Enough about work. Life is great. The boys and I have so much fun at the moment. It must be their age. They loved the huuuuge Kinder Surprise chocolate egg with 7 eggs inside which I took back from my most recent trip. There will be more travel soon to which I look forward to. More time away means for me a more intense time to make up for it at the weekend. More treats 🙂

We already treated the guys to another curry last weekend. Seeing their eyes when biting into poppadoms is priceless. They have done so well at swimming that I couldn’t resist taking them to their most favourite place. You cannot beat a feeling of inner love and connectedness to your children, it must be an instinct wanting to please them and having fun with them. Playing monster trucks hotwheels too can be so much fun!

Also, I started running again this week. If only once or twice I was happy to be back in the run of things. It has been a productive, good week for me.

It is still January. Still early in the year. But there is a mood around, a feeling of excitement in the industry, felt throughout. The recession is over and we are on the brink of growth. Things in 2014 are going to be better, life is returning to pre 2009 times. Good times. You can feel the buzz and hear the positive attitude in people’s voices.

A friend of mine who recently, or as he said was pregnant over the past 9 months with it, found a job, changed his life, and has a new beginning feels ecstatic. Opportunities are there to grab them. Life is about that: the chance of making opportunities work. The chance to be who you want to be. Aligned with your values.

Thank you guys.

Have a great 2014. To a new beginning.

Volker

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