Posts Tagged podcast

Sunday Column (490)

I remember this girl in school who everytime it was summer, she had hay fever. It never affected my friends or myself and whilst on the one hand we felt sorry, on the other hand we never understood. Whilst being over 40, you don’t expect to develop new allergies, and looking at my exercise diaries over the past four years, there is a pattern emerging. Going back to a conference in 2015 in Berlin where I had a bad night’s sleep, some booze and had to get some antihistamine tablets, blaming the beer. Today I know it was and is hay fever. Being tired, sluggish almost, itchy eyes and irritation. Who would have guessed all those years back that I will suffer from hay fever, and consistently around mid to end of May. Whatever trees are blossoming – oak, birch, pine or ash.

Life is changing. Nothing in life is a constant but maybe your family. I drafted another article which I hope will be published next week, where I discuss the consulting role vs. the permanent role in adtech. We all had to get GDPR ready for the past 2 years, yet companies still aren’t ready. The deadline is next Friday. 5 more sleeps. The expectations are that 20% of advertising will be diminished or less targeted, making it less effective, so advertisers spend less money, affecting the industry. And then there is Brexit, and I definitely want to be Brexit ready. Life isn’t all plain sailing. I am so curious to see where we are in a year from now, two years even. I hope we are still where we are today, I like it here, and the setup is nice, but will it be the best we can do for the family. What do we sacrifice and for how long?

Yet I am in the middle of organising a street meet in our cul-de-sac. I would like to get most neighbours together and make sure we are building a strong community. Most of us plan to live here for life. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know everyone, share some experience and greet more knowingly on the street. You know what I mean, life is too short to not know who you share your street with. That’s my opinion anyway. But I have always been outgoing, like to meet new people and I am curious about others.

In other news, besides the lovely wedding this weekend, on Sunday last week, just because I hadn’t had time to see my barber, I asked the wife to cut my hair. Luckily she did and when my oldest saw me, he said ‘Daddy, did you put some grey hair colouring in’, which is ever so charming. Of course he doesn’t mean that in a bad way, and maybe it is me having a mid life crisis (again!) to realise that I am now older than others, and more mature, and carry the decisions and lead by example and being the person I have to be. Not sure that all makes sense, but it is great to see how the boys start to understand my humour (not easy!) and how they grow up ‘under the influence’ of myself. What I am trying to say is that you see how they pick up certain things, good and bad, from their parents. Bless.

Stories of success

Those are my main thoughts this week. It has been a busy week and a lot of things I do at the moment are about timing, about having the right conversations, balancing things. I met an amazing start up which I can only promise a certain amount of days due to other commitments. But I really love what they are doing, so I was very honest to see what we can do. You know, it is as if now and then you come across those opportunities and you know you want to get more involved. And then there are those logical decisions, and they are good too.

Worry less and live more. Or as my podcast guest this week said: be fearless. Not the podcast that is live at the moment but the lady I interviewed this week. I will share more info when the recording goes live but the amount I learned from her in an hour interview was more than I had learned in the week before combined. Thank you.

That’s all folks, enjoy your week ahead. Mine will be busy, good busy! And of course if my grammar is too bad, please let me know (@L).

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (487)

Has it been another week? Really? Time flies. Not long now and it’s another year, if you know what I mean. The times are changing and so is my outlook on life and with every conversation, every podcast, I am looking for my next purpose in life, the bigger thing. Does that make sense to you?

This week I recorded three podcasts. One was about homeless people, one about the plastics in oceans and another was about the generation cherry, and what to do when taking redundancy. Serendepity or not, all of those come at a time when I am discussing not jobs, but opportunities to join and work for companies, doing more contract work and see which direction I might go. Look at adjusting the sails according to the wind in the industry and how I add most value to people that are interested in my skills. And as long as people are interested, and as long as I show flexibility, things will be ok. Life isn’t bad at all, life is good and actually, I would almost go as far as calling it exciting. Embrace life for what it is.

Sometimes we just have to take stock, which I did over the past few months, and what I call “re-calibration”. That means for me to assess my values, my aspirations and what it means to me to have a happy, a fulfilled life. What makes me tick? The start up or the corporate? The advisory role or contract role or the permanent one? Whichever path I choose, I move in the right direction, as there isn’t a wrong direction, is there? There is nothing you can loose, if you move forward. Do it. Carpe idem.

What if we question all the conventional boundaries and go for things that we have never done before. What if we set sail and start into the unknown. To survive, to live and to change. To leave a legacy and something to be remembered by. Of course life isn’t as black and white, but imagine for a minute it was and you could be the one adding colour the way you want, not the way others want. Yet you are the one that determines what and when you do things. Wouldn’t you be happier?

I have 13 posts to go. Another quarter of the year. Then I hit the magical 500 Sunday Columns. I launched the first column on the 1st of March 2009. Shortly before my first redundancy in a year which should have changed my life. My first son was born. I took a 2nd redundancy. Wow. That’s almost 10 years now and I just moved forward and forward…..I enjoy writing but I am also contemplating of changing things around. To keep it fresh….

Life has just begun, and you are in charge to make the most of it. Every single day!

Anyway, those are my thoughts this week. What have you been up to?

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (485)

Let me start with last week: thanks for the feedback that allegedly my blog sounded a bit miserable. You know, maybe it did but I am not. I am not 100% sure if that makes sense. The job search of course can be frustrating and tiring but on the other hand there are a few exciting opportunities out there. Patience, trust and ‘letting the universe do its thing’. I am good, don’t worry. As a matter of fact, given I haven’t been searching that intensively for that long due to some other things that were going on, including a contract and family matters, I am very happy with my progress. I have definitely accelerated the search again and also, with the end of the financial year (or start of it), things are picking up. 🤞🏻

On Tuesday and Thursday I had the kids. The wife was working. I was waiting to hear from a few companies and also had a few calls, a podcast recording that didn’t happen etc. So you cannot be fully with your kids when you have other things on your mind. The focus needs to return, and in order to do that I need to let go and be in the moment. Every time you take redundancy, or really every time you are taking time to reflect, you end up getting better in understanding what really matters in life. Having had 5 redundancies so far, 2 because of office closures and downturn, both in 2009, and 3 because of company take overs and mergers (you have to love adtech), one learns a lot. I always bounced back and got stronger. Other industries don’t experience this very much but our industry is very prone to those circumstances. And the higher up the food chain you are, the longer it takes to settle again. So all normal, and yes it takes longer every time, but GDPR (the new data legislation coming into play in May) isn’t helping at all.

For me the learning this time around, is that I need to be more in the moment with the kids, and secondly I need a hobby. As the wife isn’t allowing me to get a motor bike, the next thing to decide on is a car. Something for the weekend, to tinker with and get the boys involved into mechanics. I think it is going to be a Landy but maybe, it is going to be something different…..a Jaguar or so 😉 Anyway, there are other things that are more important first.

My podcast guest next week explains ‘being in the moment’ very nicely. She has been reflecting a lot and a lot of things have been thrown her way. I cannot wait to share her story. This week’s podcast surpassed earlier episodes for downloads. If you haven’t seen my first quarter summary of my learnings from the podcast, please read the Stories of Success Summary Q1. A good catch up with a friend got me another idea on what to do. ABC, always be closing, and moving forward. Chin up and keep on walking. The path will open up to what the universe has in stock for you. Visualise the outcome, and things are going to be great. They will, no doubt. Believe.

No more!

On Tuesday the boys were desperate to watch Liverpool against Manchester City. One supports the first, the other the latter team. So it was a late night for them, watching Liverpool progressing in the Champions League and Manchester City I guess will most likely win the Premier League. Maybe we have two winners this year. If Liverpool vs. Bayern are in the finals, then we might see a cousin fight coming up 😉 Oh the joys. I have never been more interested in football than now, and even contemplating to put my name down for a season ticket with Brighton.

Explaining life to the boys however seems almost too difficult just now. They ask about my job, why I am not in the moment, why I am on my phone and other things. They do not understand the concept of stress, pressure, restlessness and that daddy needs to plan things. And the latter is a big part of my life which is why I prefer going into a permanent role. This will work out eventually, it needs to be the right opportunity though.

One day the dots will connect looking backwards and the learning will increase and the resistance already has. Don’t live someone else’s life. Be the change you want to see. Enough about that. The universe does what the universe has to do, as a friend of mine said, and that is true.

We finished this weekend with a 1 mile run by the eldest and a 10K run by my wife at the Brighton running weekend. She had to downgrade from the marathon due to the eye operation earlier in the year. It is difficult to plan life sometimes, and you have to take it as it comes. But life never gets you down as you always get up again. Never ever give up, life it too precious. We also managed two (!) BBQs, washed the car and got the garden furniture out. Spring!

Make the most out of life and therefore I am ending this with a positive note 🙂

Volker

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Success Stories – first quarter summary.

Dear listener (and readers of course),

You have been likely to listen to my podcast Stories of Success over the last few months. I have been going for 3 months now, and I figured it was time to write up a solo episode which I then decided to put into writing rather than ‘reading it out’ or podcasting it. Again, thank you for staying with me over the first quarter and we have some existing guests coming in Q2 this year. Please rate my podcast if you like it and also, please subscribe on your favourite podcast outlet, as this will help me to increase my fellowship and amount of listeners.

I started the podcast in January to explore how some of my friends are successful, some aren’t as much and what it takes for some of my mentors and industry leaders to climb up the career ladder. This was triggered by a) me looking for a job and looking for inspiration but b) also to build more of an expertise of what it takes to coach people to become (more) successful. So a lot of my learning is based on their learning and experience. Naturally, as it is in adtech, we are a male dominated industry which sees a lot of male leadership. However, I have since managed to get a few women onto the podcast and there are many more to come. Also I have been venturing outside the industry a bit. It is and has been an exciting journey with me having a lot of fun recording the podcasts, meeting new people and digging deep into principles and habits. Thanks for sharing your stories! I appreciate my guests’ time and effort and patience.

What are the main learnings? I think the main learning for me is that most of the successful entrepreneurs and leaders aren’t feeling successful because they earned money. Money seems to be more of a measurement of success in the USA, whilst overall for most interviewees success is all about achieving a goal, being on the journey of achieving things and ideally making the world a better place. Making that famous ‘dent in the universe’ Steve Jobs spoke about, and money usually follows. Follow your passion of being in the moment, create experience with others, and help others achieve their goals. Rise with the tide and lead from the front. Success as a term seems to be very objective, and further is not really the same as happiness.

Is it that simple?

Yes, as a summary maybe. It is also about a lot of hard work and clear cut prioritisation. On the back of that, work life balance seems to be key for most Europeans, and a key part of the success story. From what I gathered, this is because you work very hard, you sometimes neglect the family a bit, but you will make up for it as and when you can. And sometimes that means to put family first, and turn off emails or calls for a while. That is dedication on both ends, and a bit ‘black and white’. Preparation and being thorough is key too – whether that is to prepare a board and investor meeting or just to organise your thoughts. The focus on the bright sparks in your brain that move you forward, focusing on positivity rather than negativity.

Not that I want to quote Steve Jobs too much, but a lot of the success is due to serendipity, and that means, that the ‘dots connect looking backwards’. Being at the right place at the right time – but how do you know? You don’t until you had the success or you are on your journey of achievement.

We also spoke a lot with my guests about routines and habits. I have, as most of you know, a 5 am routine. That means for me to get up at 5 am, exercise for about an hour, meditate, shower, breakfast, out of the door. That’s what works for me, and it wouldn’t work for everyone. But I noticed that a few of the guests I interviewed had a morning routine, to achieve something before everyone else does; or you had, similar to myself, a journaling routine, a planning routine or to take time off on a regular basis to do what David Allen would call a ‘brain drain’. And those habits are sacred, and from what I learned more instilled in men than women, given the way our brains work. However, I have heard of fantastic morning routines from females, so not all black and white after all.

Meditation is a common theme and really relaxing and focusing on things outside work, which could be reading or building models, or just family as of above. It is the focus and drive, the razor sharp prioritisation of the right things that make the difference. The yin and yang of work and life.

Another topic and theme I explored was upbringing. You would expect upbringing having a huge impact on your life. Whether an entrepreneurial family breeds an entrepreneur or quotes and mantras instilled into you from a young age. Or the influences you had from a cultural point of view. A lot of success is related to self awareness, being emotional intelligent (EQ). In contrast to that I found that the connection across the globe was mentioned and people being more connected through smart phones and social media. That in return leads to loneliness and as one guest (episode with Chris) pointed out a higher suicide rate. Is greate connectivity really leading to more loneliness? This is an area I would like to explore more, yet it is a bit outside the scope of a success podcast, more of a view on the social development of the world. I do have an opinion on that of course but maybe that’s for another time. We often drifted into different topics and got philosophical, which I found interesting and the listeners appreciated from what I heard.

And as we found more and more philosophical terms and discussions, we learned about visualisation and how there seems more energy in America to push things forward. The law of attraction (LOA) was discussed without many using the term of it. The visualisation of what is going to happen and how life will plan out. However, some cultures hold themselves back or express their energy in a different way. But we all move towards the same connectedness and realise the potential of coming closer together. Like failure used to be a stigma in the German culture but now is more and more recognise to lead to success – as long as you learn from failure I suppose. The more mistakes you make, the more you avoid those same mistakes in the future.

Another trend I noticed is that we find more coaches and mentors being present in the Anglo-Saxon world (US/UK culture) and this is a trend that continues into the rest of the world. To have someone you can trust with anything, you can share your fears with and also to speak to like a mother or father. But someone who understands the corporate world and the values that are important to you. They are helping with being persistent, with helping to move forward. I do this coaching too, so if anyone has an interest in that, please feel free to reach out. Nothing like someone that can help you develop and understand the situation you are in. Someone you can trust.

Yes, as we are looking at some of the key drivers above, we notice one more theme: don’t take yourself too seriously and make time for a laugh with friends. Life isn’t all work. Play it well.

I am looking back at an intense and amazing quarter of podcasts and discussions around success. Some philosophical, some flowing, some less flowing conversations. Some I listened in awe, others I got right in. It has been a lot of fun, so thank you for your time and input.

Please if you get a chance, subscribe to my podcast on your favourite podcast outlet, and please rate me 5 stars if you think I deserve it of course. If you can share this post or the podcast with friends, that would help me too. This project is going to continue for the foreseeable future and please let me know who else I should have telling me their Story of Success.

If you are looking for the books that have been recommended on the podcast, please got to my recommendations page.

Thanks for listening, and please leave me feedback (just email me)
Volker

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Sunday Column (482)

Let me start with last weekend. My youngest attended a Beaver’s sleep over and on the way home he noticed that I downloaded a new song to my car playlist. Seems to happen after watching Steve Jobs on a Saturday night, over and over again. Walk on the Ocean….and Stronger Than I’ve Ever Been. He easily picks up on small changes. Not only was he keen on listening to the new songs, we went for a bit of a drive, to catch up, to listen to music and then go home. I absolutely love those moments when you have quality time together with your family, friends or people in general. Hence I strive of doing my podcasts, interviewing highly successful, and highly interesting people about their stories, about what they want to share that made them a bit more successful than their peers.

Just going with the flow, the little man sitting next to me on a booster seat, listening to tunes. This is heaven, I could have driven for miles without stopping, just the two of us, the music and the chat. That’s why I love taking him to Karate each Saturday. That’s our thing to do. Our thing!

On the note of my podcast; on Monday I recorded a fascinating chat with a fellow German. She went through an amazing transformation and now helps people to transform. I keep thinking that I should move to recruitment as I have learned that much about recruitment and understand the industry that well. You never know what’s next I suppose. Amazing transformations…

You know, when people talk about gratitude and giving, and being there for others, and helping. I just want to say here that I am grateful for all the help we received over the last few weeks. As you know I am contracting and therefore have to go to work as regular as possible, and also have to attend interviews to see where things are going to. Yet with my wife having had her eyes lasered, and her having had pain, sleepless nights and ‘complications’, the amount of help is overwhelming. I am very grateful for friends and neighbours taking the kids during hospital visits, taking them to school when I can’t and pick them up, driving them to tennis or just generally giving us a big hug that life will be better. Needless to say I happily return the favour, but that’s not what it is about. The sheer amount of positive energy we received, let me just say Thank You!

On Tuesday I took an early train again to a breakfast session on leadership change. Due to the above challenges I ended up booking my MIL a flight to London the same day, which was a huge relief to have her with us and not relying on too many people re basic daily tasks. Luckily by time of publishing the wife is a lot better (we even went out for a cheeky drink) but it is fantastic to see the help we received. Thanks again, and thank you MIL too! I never thought I was so glad to see her LOL (just kidding, I know you reading this 😉 ).

In other news. Were there other news? I keep myself so busy that on Thursday night I collapsed into bed. When you do two interviews in one day and have some other things going on….preparing a presentation for next week which you get so engaged in because you absolutely love doing what’s required. Where is this journey going to end? Nowhere. It’s a journey, where is the next stop? I want it to be long, intense, yet full of learning and full of fun. Can I make a difference? Whilst hopeful, I don’t want to jinx anything.

And maybe that’s it for this week. Let’s keep it short. Surely I have more time over Easter to write a bit more.

Not long now, I keep telling myself, thanks, from my little corner of the world….
Volker

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Sunday Column (481)

Spring is in the air. If you listen carefully as you board the early morning train, you can hear the birds singing. Our cats got a lovely mouse I rescued from them, and there is a ‘new beginning’ in the air. I signed another advisory role for a blockchain and ICO/ITO (Initial Coin/Token Offering). This is exciting for many reasons. On the one hand I get to work with some very smart people and on the other hand, I am able to learn a lot from them and the product/offering itself. There is no doubt this part of technology is going to be big, so getting involved early is never a bad thing. Exciting times ahead, and more info will be shared on LinkedIn when appropriate.

So as you can see I keep myself busy. That is essential. It is interesting how weeks evolve and things happening out of nothing and your week just gets a different spin. For example I spoke to a company one day which after only 30 minutes thought I wouldn’t be commercial enough, despite my experience definitely being able to do that. Then just a few hours later I was in knee deep discussions how to help a business to structure their sales and account management team across EMEA. Wowsers. Let’s see. I am hopeful.

I won’t, for obvious reasons, discuss any details here, and I am deliberately vague. However, the point I am trying to make is that with every interview you learn. I even discussed my education and went back throughout my whole career. I enjoyed the thoroughness and the chat, being very reflective, it helped me to focus on what I enjoyed in each job, which is what my interview partner wanted to know. It is somewhat fun this journey, to explore opportunities, technologies, and meeting very interesting people. Yet is can also be tiring adhering to time lines, chasing etc. I am hoping that at the end of this journey, besides a job, I will come out with a position that will last me for a few years. And as of the paragraph above, people see and spot different things in different people. The reason that’s the case is because everyone has their own filter of the world, I am going back into NLP here now, but if you are someone that is keen on finding X in someone, then that’s all that matters. Chin up.

On top of that I recorded 2 of 4 scheduled podcasts this weekand, and I scheduled another 2 to be recorded next week. Amazing conversations, each of their own kind. Maybe I need to increase the frequency and the best thing is, I so love doing them. The thought crosses my mind to build my own media company in years to come. Producing podcasts, events and venturing out into new areas. There is no limit to what you can achieve in life, is there? And I am still trying to identify the perfect way, but to be honest, is there ever going to be something that is perfect? Is there something ever going to be the life you dreamed of? As my wife pointed out, life isn’t a straight line, and once you accept it being up and down, ride the wave. F* it. Easier said than done when you are the breadwinner. Who knows what life holds. One interview this week might have lead to some media deal – oh I love those days in media really LOL – Don’t I?

I am trying to figure out bigger questions in my head, and to be honest, my question supporting those thoughts are around ‘why did we dream of the perfect life in the way we did’. Maybe I should have studied philosophy and psychology, but if we imagine for a moment, and I discuss that in my podcasts, that our dreams are influenced solely by upbringing and parents. So success, and however you want to define that, is based on what ‘seed’ was planted for your dreams. Did your parents suggest you dreaming big or small? In colour or black and white? Were they taking risks or not? One of my podcast guests coined the phrase of ‘entrepreneurial GM’ which I like to adopt for myself. Fits the bill, dont’ you think? He made me a great compliment too 🙂 . And he made me think whether I am already at the right place at the right time, but I haven’t noticed it yet. You ever thought that sometimes you step out of the future you dreamed of, to be sidelined into what you should do (or what seems right to do), but not realise it?

My other theory which goes in line with that is that life is constantly changing. So if I discuss what my career looks like in 5 years time, there is no point. I believe that in 5-10 years our lives would have changed so much, that we essentially work and live completely different to the now. I shared Elon Musk’s theory this week which suggests we all live in a simulation. Maybe we do. Stephen Hawking died this week, one of the greatest philosophers based on physics/science of our time. How is the universe and the universal conscious putting things together to move you forward as an individual? How do we know what is right or wrong, and can our intellect really rely on our gut feeling at all times?

I am drifting again. And people keep telling me that my blog is getting too long. So apologies. Feel free to reach out – with jobs, contract work or for a chat or feedback re the blog 🙂 – as someone said the other morning when we both met on the train ‘Volker, feel free to reach out anytime for a chat, things will be fine, but happy to listen’. Thanks, and you know who you are. And for anyone out there going through the ups and downs as well, ping me, I am always happy to help if I can. Life is about giving back and rising with the tide.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (480)

It has been an interesting and very intense week. I don’t really know where to start but I had a few experiences this week I’d like to share. As someone pointed out to me this week, my blog is very detailed, yet as I explained, I enjoy writing it and it is my creative outlet. And usually I write on the train or during my son’s karate lesson.

I published another podcast and recorded my first 90 minutes long podcast. If there was a way to earn enough money doing that I would consider that full time, maybe one day. For the time being it is a great hobby. If you haven’t seen or HEARD it, Dominic Joseph speaks about his story, and I believe there are lots of learnings you can take from him. Thanks for being my guest!

The main thing this week was my wife’s laser eye correction. I am quite squeamish, so don’t want to go into detail, and whilst I shouldn’t complain as I don’t have the pain, she couldn’t sleep and it kept me awake too. Just to be sure we don’t have a misunderstanding here, I am not cursing her for it, but having had an 8 am interview on Friday, a 6.23 train and being awake half the night knocked me out on Friday afternoon. How did I cope when we had babies?? I remember going from hospital and night feeds straight into interviews in 2009. Maybe a good omen?!

At time of writing she is getting better. And that’s the main thing, and I caught up on some sleep too. It feels a bit like Dusk till Dawn at home, as all the shutters are closed to avoid sunlight coming in. No, she hasn’t turned into a vampire 😉

On Wednesday I tried a new massage therapist. Mine had to cancel and since the meeting didn’t get re-arranged, I figured it was time to try someone else to keep my muscles entertained. I am believer that change is good and that you need to change things on a regular basis to keep yourself or your body from being complacent. For someone who doesn’t get massages on a regular basis this might sound silly and odd, but the massage I got was a mixture of massage and physio which my body responded very well to. If you need a recommendation, I am happy to refer you to her.

Recruitment or job search was another topic of course and I know some people read this hoping for some news. So do I 🙁 I got some new leads, had interviews, managed to schedule some really good interviews for next week, awaiting some more, and of course got some rejections too. It is difficult to balance chasing without annoying the recruiters, so any job that comes direct is so much easier to manage. I feel things are moving forward and definitely I found one job I would love to do. Fingers crossed. Any of my recruiters reading this, let me know if I annoy you, yet most say call me whenever you want….some say every four weeks, others just don’t answer or bother. The industry is an odd one, but hey, I also made some friends in the process. Having this extra layer in between allows you access to the bigger jobs. But on the other hand, it comes with less control. So finding the balance with the middle man can be hard sometimes. Anyhow. I have some interesting discussions at the moment, and I am so curious where I end up in a few weeks time. Or I hope it is weeks and not months anyway. I keep you posted.

Oh, and after some contemplating and meetings, I have now decided to take on another advisory role. I heard headhunters saying I am too young to do that. Other would question whether I am too old to work for a 20 something entrepreneur? Neither is true. I quite happily work for a young entrepreneur and have done so in the past, as that is how the industry rolls. At the same time, I am not too young for advisory roles, yet depends which start up and what area. I have, and that wasn’t intentionally, found one where I am curious to learn more about the topic (it is about blockchain and crypto currency) and at the same time can add value with my experience. It happens to be run by a very smart and young entrepreneur too. I announce it formerly once the paperwork is signed.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that a job search has an impact on one’s mood, and one’s surrounding. My kids keep asking when I go back to work and luckily I got some contract work which keeps me sane. I want the right job (fingers crossed), not any job, and I am keen on keeping it that way. Patience is getting less, but on the other hand I need to keep on going, filling the pipe until things are sorted. And of course they will. The next job should be 3-5 years ideally, so better make it a good one and I am keen on staying somewhere longer to make a proper impact.

Now, coming to another experience I wanted to share. My youngest is wearing contact lenses for a couple of weeks now. They shape his eyes over night and he takes them out in the morning. On the one hand they stop him from having to wear glasses and on the other hand it stops his eyes from getting worse. Fingers crossed that will be the case. I am so heartbroken seeing my seven year old putting contacts in, his struggle when he is tired. I am so very proud of him doing that whilst myself I am too squeamish to even consider it. See above, the eye problems run in the family (that’s my wife’s line btw, just saying 😉 ) and I am glad we have the possibilities to make things better moving forward. It all will be good in the end. But it is a struggle to make things better sometime and putting this on children early is balancing pushing and understanding. Not easy to be a parent sometime.

I have been networking this week too, and my Instagram followers would have noticed, I have a new drink of choice: an Old Fashioned. A drink that lasts longer than a pint and taste nice and is still ‘cool’ after the Mad Men era. Having said that, depending who you are speaking to, Mad Men is a thing of the past. The right comment given it was IWD this week (International Women’s Day). This could be another post in itself, I think it is great that the world wakes up to equality, but as I have said here and elsewhere before, I am still buffled that people would treat others differently based on gender, or race, or age, … Anyway, we as a global society are on the way to improve things.

With that hope and wish, my wife being on the mend, and a roast dinner in the oven, I hope you had a great weekend too.

All the best for the week ahead.

Volker

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Sunday Column (479)

6.52 – Monday – my train is leaving my local station to get to Victoria for an 8.30 meetings. It is minus degrees, and bitterly cold. As I am waiting for the train I reflect a bit and realise that I should have taken a woolen hat and some gloves. But no, I never really think about this. As most of my readers know I am an early bird. I lost over 10kg a few years ago and ever since had to bake in exercise into my daily routine. The only way it works for me, given I have a 90 minute door-to-door commute, is at 5 am routine in the morning. So despite people asking me if I am mad, I am not, I am just scheduling things so they work. 5 am wake up, about 45-60 minute exercise, 15 minutes meditation, getting ready, breakfast and out of the door by 7ish. Simple, isn’t it?

Having done some research recently into my sleep pattern, I realise that I have been waking up earlier than 5 am. What happens is, as my body must have got used to getting up between 4.45 and 5.15 every morning for the last 6 years, that the sleep cycles, the 90 minutes cycles, kind of start messing up my sleep. So what I noticed recently, going to bed around 9:30 pm, that I wake up at 3.30/3.45 fully awake. This suggests a theory I have been following by someone who only sleeps about 6 hours (4*90 minutes cycle) and gets up at 3.30 am, yet goes to bed at 9 pm. The theory is that if you get 4 good sleep cycles, that is all you need, rather than 4.5 cycles which leaves you actually more tired. Or you go for 5 of course, e.g. 7.5 hours sleep, about 8 hours in bed. You could argue if I go to bed at 9 pm, I should get 7.5 hours, getting up at 5, but it seems not work like that for me. So I shall continue to experiment, and maybe go to bed around 11 pm. The challenge is that I do not want to compromise on sleep and definitely don’t want to run around like a zombie. Just planning 8 hours for sleep seems a big ask on my time I find, that’s ⅓ of the day. But if I get 4 full cycles, e.g. 6 hours, and wake at 5 am, then 11 pm seems to be the right time to go to bed.

What do you think? Are you an early bird? What works for you? Please reach out to me and let me know. If you read that and have done some studies, please let me know, I am curious on how to master this.

Now the #uksnow – panic set in from Monday yet most trains were running as normal on Tuesday. I was impressed. And pleased. Good to see that the system works and that enough preparation didn’t kill the infrastructure. Well done Southern and Thameslink. I wore my old Navy boots to town, yet changed into more formal shoes once I got there 😉 It is a shame that the UK seems to normally collapse under an inch of snow, the more I was delighted to see it didn’t. And the boys loved it, they haven’t seen proper snow for a while. Personally, I love the cold weather. A few weeks of bitterly cold weather, snow and chaos sometimes doesn’t hurt. But then again…..it is easier without, isn’t it?

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I decided to stay at home. Weather was ok-ish on most days, but deteriorated on Friday. So I postponed a meeting I had to go in for on Friday but thought it’s better than getting stuck on a train half way home. A Skype call worked just as well, and after all, the trains were running fine. I actually enjoyed the cold snap and having the fire on most days, getting cosy and drinking wine, and maybe taking it a bit easier, was actually rather nice. Cheese boards. Oh yes, I love a good night in. I have a busy week ahead next week. Fingers crossed I will be getting closer to making progress towards finding a job. I keep saying that every week, but I feel like things must come to an end before Easter. Fingers crossed, I keep you posted as always.

So not a hugely eventful week but with the snow and all, that’s what happened. For a few this was the perfect excuse to not do any work on Friday at all. It is wonderful for the kids and only ever happens every 5-10 years. So not a big deal but disruptive. It slows down a lot and given it was MWC this week in Barcelona, half the industry was out of the country anyway. Easter is getting closer with 3 weeks to go, so let’s see how things plan out. I definitely enjoy being out there doing some contract work, being busy and having a purpose. It helps not going stir crazy.

Additionally I booked a few new podcast guests in, and almost filled the schedule until the end of the year. I finally got some women committed and also started having some guests that are not in the adtech industry. We are moving in the right direction and I enjoy listening to my guests, discussing the Stories of Success.

Apologies for a rather diary like column. My focus at the moment is on the job hunting, the contract job and juggling a few things on the family side. Life never stops.

Have an amazing week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (477)

Here we go again. Another week. Half term and we had the MIL and her partner here, which was great for them to take over some of the child duties. My wife managed to work and I went to do some work on stuff too. No news on the job front yet, still waiting to hear, working on a pipeline – this is a full time sales position where I am the product and the more people know about my job search, the better. So please spread the word and if you know anyone seeking a senior commercial person, let me know!

Whilst I have been out of a job, the real job hunt has only just started, thanks to Christmas it has been a slow start. Not a good time for redundancy but a brilliant time to spend with the family and clear your head and understand what life is all about for you. Not wanting to play down the challenges that come with redundancies, but it has helped me to bring more focus to my life, and also everyone always says something better comes out of it. And I believe this is because you have to start thinking about what you really want. What is it you love? What is it you enjoy doing? What is important to you? A fascinating exercise and a journey full of fun and discovery. Not always easy though, but with the right mindset and support, it can be useful too.

I am about to put out another podcast this week, and the podcast keeps me busy. With two more recordings scheduled for next week, a few in the pipeline, this is a part time job. And it is so much fun, to really find out what success is all about. And how hard success is and why money doesn’t matter. This is going to be a fantastic research piece. This week I speak to Bruce Daisley from Twitter who has been an amazing guest and has a unique view to most people I interviewed so far. I cannot wait to hear your feedback and it was the first podcast I recorded face to face. They are more fun, but more difficult to arrange if you believe it or not.

Last Sunday, and not in time for last week’s column, my wife and I finished the newest Twin Peaks series. I loved it. I even loved it more than the first one and I cannot say I understood either to be honest. It’s almost as if the cult of Twin Peaks is so much stronger than the story itself if that makes sense. I remember watching the first series when I was maybe 14 and it was more something my brother watched. Then I got into it when my wife and I revisited it about a year ago. Now the new series I could watch again. Whatever strangeness there is, and whatever they suggest might be out there, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. You ever wondered, and of course you have, what might be in the twilight zone and what might come our way from external sources, planets etc. The creepiness and yet helplessness is fascinating. Like the fear of spiders that essentially cannot do anything to you but you are afraid of them nevertheless. Do you think they are afraid of you? Maybe they are, we never know. I am sure they aren’t out there to scare us, yet I don’t like them at all.

The weather – always a good topic – I spoke to a friend in the US this week and he says there are 280 days of sunshine where he lives. I am thinking Australia would be better yet a quick Google search reveals that the US and South Africa as well as Egypt and Sudan are the sunniest places. Not sure if sunny means too sunny though. Having had a terrible rainy day on Wednesday, being miserable, then a sunny day on Thursday, when does it stop and it is spring and summer again?? Or could we have it properly miserable for a few weeks, and how much does the weather affect our mood? I think it does and it isn’t helping to change from one day after another, particularly if you are ‘grounded’. Keeping up morale whilst wondering what is next and debating where to put the focus, I demand sunshine and happiness. Latter I get through the excitement of my children who just love having their nana around; the oldest started doing Sodukos and the youngest loves some puzzles. That’s what grannies are for, I remember mine used to show me all those cross words puzzles when I was younger.

But did you notice, back in the days we used to have a magazine from the butcher, one from the bakery and so on. They all had a cross word puzzle, and we could win something. A horoscope was in there and you read those every week. Even the pharmacist did have their own. I don’t think they exist anymore. The reason I am saying that is because I watched an article this week about the overflow of information. We had a lot of information in the days of no internet, now everything moves online and the amount of information to siev through to find the ones relevant to you is getting worse. Maybe soon every butcher, pharmacist etc. have an app for information? The people that are most active online and pushing themselves the most, are actually developing ADHD – attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder – and there is a new term about ‘developed ADHD’ as we are changing our nerual pathways based on the information we try to process at any one time. Overload!!! Scary.

I am watching this with great interest. The fear I have is that it happens to me or has already happened to me. No, it won’t have an impact on my performance, will it? Will it cause more stress or make me more productive even. I believe the latter to a point of inflection where we start getting less productive. So be aware of it and make sure you get enough rest, down time and off-line time. Like when you are very smart and at some point you are going crazy. That’s similar I suppose as you are at the point where the overload just gets too much. I won’t be that, LOL, maybe stark raving mad, but not crazy. Pending on my new position and whether I will have a work phone, which of course is unlikely but my reason to put it off, I might just get a cheap pay as you go phone which allows me to be ‘available’ yet disconnected.

The envy of others, the advertising in social media like Instagram and Facebook that makes us think that what others have needs to be owned by us. And that is true for most channels I suppose. With more exposure, more frequently, we are getting to the point of not being able to escape, process and actually understand what’s happening, and if we aren’t consciously aware of it, we might get sucked into it. Sometimes, despite being in the advertising industry, it feels like we need to press the pause or even the reset button. I tried to explain to my 9 year old what an algorithm is and how it works, data and AI (artificial intelligence) and how it can improve lives. We haven’t even touched on blockchain. I love technology and eventually I find my passion in one that makes our lives better. Watch this space.

Here is to another week.

Have a good one,
Volker

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Happiness, Success and Chemicals

This is a post about an article I read recently. This article was suggested to me by one of my podcast guests from Stories Of Success. Happy Valentines Day.

We talked on the podcast (release date tbc) about how success and happiness go together. There are a few chemicals that are actually responsible for happiness:

* Dopamine
* Serotonin
* Oxytocin
* Endorphins

The argument goes that when we are happy, this will result in us being more productive, motivated more and healthier. As a return of those impacts you could argue, that success is higher too. So the happier you are, the more successful you are. Is that conclusive? Maybe not, but that’s to be discussed on the podcast.

The article goes into depth of each neurochemical, but I wanted to summarise the main ones here for you:

* Dopamine motivates us to take action towards a goal. Low levels lead to procrastination and self-doubt. So whenever you achieve a goal, a todo and take it off your list, there is this little kick, the reward for having achieved something. Then on to the next one.

* Serotonin flows when we are feeling significant. One of the six human needs. Significance. The opposite is loneliness and depression. So if you don’t feel important just now, live through past experience. The brain doesn’t know if you visualise or your experience real. Quite a trick isn’t it? And sunlight helps too, 20 minutes a day which might be tricky if you live in the UK just now 😉

* Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust and healthy relationships. That will make you happy – orgasms will release those chemicals. It’s also called the ‘cuddle hormone’ and little (or big) gifts increase the level too.

* Endorphins – most of us would have heard of them. They are released in response to pain and stress to remove anxiety and depression. When you push yourself in the gym, have a ‘runners high’, that’s when your endorphins kick in. Laughter releases those chemicals too. And, the article suggest that the smell of vanilla and lavender (ever wonder why you love that smell) is linked to the production of endorphins too. Also dark chocolate and spicy food triggers those chemicals.

In conclusion, to release your happiness chemicals, just follow the list above: have sex, eat chocolate, tick things of your to-do list and make yourself feel important. Simple this happiness thing, isn’t it?

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