Posts Tagged skoda kodiaq

Sunday Column (499)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday Column (402)

push-yourself

It is still dark outside. The street lanterns aren’t on, yet the air is hot and muggy. I haven’t had breakfast. Which sounds like a normal start for me, giving I am up early anyway, was the start to my day on Wednesday and Thursday. A quick weight lifting routine followed by my meditation, a mad dash to catch the 6:30 train. Conductor strike, so any train before 7 am should get me a seat. And it did. Still a mess. I cannot understand and will never understand the unions. I am grateful for my job, my opportunities given in life and just want to get on with what I am doing. So why do others impact the life of thousands of people to fight for what they have or haven’t got. Isn’t that almost comparable to terrorism, where a few mad people impact the life of others to alert people of their situation? Maybe a strike is less radical. However, same selfishness. Anyway, trains operated better than anticipated, let’s move on! I can change my routine for a couple of days. I am winning.

What does it mean for me? Inconvenience. But foremost it means that I haven’t seen the kids after their first day back at school. Can’t kiss them good night. Cannot chat with them in the morning. This strike made me change my workout routine. Some might say ‘poor you’, but hey, can I not expect to get the service I pay 4 grand (that’s 4,000 sterling!) for to be half way decent. What a fuck up! I could expect a bit more.

The challenge is that we work within our thinking boundaries. I mean, we decide how far we stretch ourselves. We are in control of our feelings and ambitions. So when we are going into the strike thing, we know that we are out of control. We play their rules and we are winning. Still. That’s achievement. That’s making it happen. We need to always look outside our comfort zone, make things happen, go some places. I effing love that. Push yourself daily!

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But let’s move on. The commute got better in another sense. I treated myself to some new wireless Bose noise cancellation headphones. The main difference to my old ones is that they are wireless. It is easier to wear them, walk around in them and connect them to two devices at the same time. I am shutting off the world around me if I want or listen to music. Yo Yo Ma is a classical cellist whose CD I bought this week. Steve Jobs himself allegedly said to him ‘you are the closest proof of the existence of God‘, as he is an amazing musician. I enjoy him playing Bach, yet I seem to enjoy a lot of things Steve enjoyed 😉 I don’t believe he has been gone for almost five years, which is when my love relationship with Apple started.

This week wasn’t different. After my car manufacturer, Skoda, revealed an SUV which is our car on stilts, I am keen to see in real life and maybe exchange ours for it in a couple of years. The new Skoda Kodiaq looks really nice and seems to have the space of our car. However, my other brand, Apple, revealed new products this week.

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Whilst the innovation around the iPhone 7 and it finally being water tight are nice, the main thing for me was the watch. Water tightness, particularly using the microphone to keep the water out. GPS. So finally a smart watch and fitness tracker in one. The wait was worth it. I ordered mine on Friday. 8:01 🙂 It is mind bobbling to see the advancement of technology. About 20 years ago we worked off computers that had less features and speed than the watches we can wear on our wrists. That’s amazing. If we fast forward 20 years I would be curious to see what our kids wear, or when we retire. An implanted chip that communicates directly with our thoughts? Probably.

I try to embrace it all but sometimes it goes to my head. I wonder what is going on in my kid’s mind when he wakes me having nightmares. I see the world, in my job this is most noticeable, from a different perspective. I enjoy that very much as the input and learning are so very different. So by using technology and trying to understand what is going on and what is possible, we are pushing boundaries. I am trying to encourage the boys to think big. I said to the youngest that someday he might just go to the moon on a train as he said he wouldn’t want to go in a rocket. And he might. One day, a flying train, might just get him there. And he asked about gravity and why things fall. I love those questions and trying to encourage them to think outside the box. What if they would just come up with a little bit of technology that will make all our lives easier and better, this planet better to live on. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Nelson Mandela said, that the most powerful weapon in the world is education. That must be the key to mankind. Educate. Educate your children and encourage them to learn, to think and question. And to push boundaries. To expand their horizon. To make a dent in the universe.

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Whilst Apple, no doubt, is a big corporate, the Steve Jobs thought of changing the world seems to still be there. Changing the world, making amazing products people like to buy seems to be a call for the engineers at Apple. Details like the above mentioned microphone that pushes out water, or the ear buds that work only when they detect your ear based on temperature. They are pushing boundaries. I like that.

In that sense, have a great week. Push your boundaries. Question every day if you can do a little better in what you are doing. Be better. Learn a new skill or optimise your day. Make it happen. Take massive action.

Have a great one!
Volker

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