Posts Tagged social media

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 (483)

Happy Easter.
Happy April.

Monday. Did you notice? At least in Hassocks, there was sun. Sunshine, it felt like spring, and I bought the boys some ice cream. I had the day off, took the wife to hospital and her eyes are healing. Things are coming together, which is nice, and we were all looking forward to Easter. To go swimming and make bread, cook some nice food and go for long walks. They say it is going to be cold, but not sure it will be. It cannot be cold, I want sunshine, no? And last Sunday I almost forgot to turn the clocks forward. What a difference it makes in terms of sunlight, but of course it makes me tired. Look at the blog posts from the last few years around March: fresh air, more light, and I am tired. Germans call it ‘spring tiredness’, and I will overcome it. Too much to do, lots to arrange.

It has been a fairly busy and intense week, with a bit of a cliff hanger. But I am getting used to it. As doors close, other doors open, and as a friend described it the other day: Volker, he said, as you push things out into the universe to do their thing, you need to sit back and wait for the results. Ok, I keep doing that. Fingers crossed. Just on Thursday I had a chat with someone where I realised that things could get busy quickly. I am excited, yet tired, yet energetic. Not sure that makes sense, but the dots will connect looking backwards, I am 100% sure. Nothing happens over Easter, enjoy the time off.

Sometimes you just have to dive into things. I remember in 2010 when I dived into this ‘RTB’ thing that turned ‘programmatic’. Take a leap of faith and trust it works out. Life is far from linear and there are so many leaps of faith around at the moment, maybe that’s what it is. Then something else came up this week where I thought that, wow, I’d love to get involved. Patience it is, and programmatic turned out to be a hit, so why shouldn’t this one. One thing I learned is to not update LinkedIn anymore. Who really cares, or the ones that really care will know. Does that make sense? I am fed up of living a life for others to judge by the CV I put online, or the reputation I have on paper. People who know me, worked with me and supported me over the last few years know what I am like and what value I add. That’s important, not a piece of social media where anyone could put anything. Time to do things without telling everyone. No?

Easter came too early for me this year. That’s how I feel anyway. Things are early yet late, yet unknown. However, the boys needed the break, and we spend a lovely weekend together. Those are the times you need to cherish and you need to use to foster growth in them. Create experience as Mike says in the podcast coming up after Easter. Having interviewed a few people for my podcast this week, there was one lady suggesting her mum giving her a mantra along the lines of “you can handle this” – isn’t that amazing. If you can install in your kids early to be able to trust and go through any situation, they will have more confidence than others, being able to master more complex and difficult situations. We used to have the mantra ‘Always remember you are being loved‘ on the kitchen wall.

My wife used a different phrase recently called ‘parent guilt’ – that you as a parent are not feeling that you gave 100%. You weren’t there for pick up, school evenings, breakfast or bed time story. Yet, they still love you and often don’t notice whilst you have the guilt. Of course you have regrets and I am sure my parents would, and it is normal. Like with anything else in life, just accept the fact that you cannot be perfect, you cannot control everything, and move on. You cannot be there all the time, and the little ones often don’t notice. Just be present, that’s my advice, as much as you can when you are with them. Share the love and hugs, be there when they ask for help, and really need you. Ignore your phone or social media. In person or at the other end of the phone line – day and night.

I hope you and your family had a great Easter too.

Best wishes,
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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Sunday Column (328)

If I were to say the week was quiet, then I were to lie. However, after a slow recovery from last week, I managed to get back out there running, doing my Kettlebell and feel alive again. Bl@ exhausted though 🙂 but that’s how I like it. What I don’t like, and yes I seem to have one topic to moan about, is the weather. Hot one day, cloudy, rainy the other day. High humidity. Just how I don’t like the summer to be. Never mind. I am off to sunny Cannes tomorrow for a couple of days. With a cold of course…I don’t seem to win at the moment, do I?

Hard life isn’t it? Almost as hard as the Labrador’s in Hassocks. Allegedly someone left a Lab unattended, tied up with no tag outside the local shops. And it caused a social media storm. Friendly and caring at first, people offering to take him in for the night, go to the vet the next day etc. Yet as the post developed with over 100 comments, mind you that’s about 1.5% of our lovely town’s population, the question came apparent how long this poor doggy has been left. Was it 20 minutes or 5 hours. It seemed to me the former…

I noticed two things in the thread. There are a lot of people that genuinely care. That is great and social media gets the community together. Yet, some people then starting to stir things up suggesting the Lab was never there and people should mind their own business. Whether or not the Lab was left or not, and whether it was gone before someone checked or it was all made up, or the owner left it there for a while longer than normally acceptable (because something can happen!), I don’t know. However, people show their true face on social media, showing their vulnerability and then will be used and accused of minding their own business. That’s not going to work, is it?

The Lab, I assume, is safe with their owner. The time the dog was left probably ok but maybe life just happened. Me making it a story of my blog is sad enough yet I care about my community and the village we live in. Let’s use social media in a good way and share those stories, concern and make it a better community. You will always have people moaning, and complaining but so what. Support the ones that care and help others via social media.

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It is just a nice case study of how social media works and can support and help communities, I wrote about the new way of sharing and selling things before. The idea of an online flea market. I would have binned my old kids socket protection, so someone picked them up for free. Nice I could help. Yet there are dangers of misuse of social media and if one doesn’t watch it, one gets sucked into it, and inexperience can lead to frustration and people even being ripped off. That’s life I suppose.

I asked the other day, whether we are too cautious. That came out of a discussion when our kids should go to school themselves, and we agreed that we went by ourselves when we were seven, with a friend though. Could I imagine my son going to school himself in a year’s time? Am I afraid of paedophiles lurking around every corner? The press makes us paranoid, every accident we see we think it could be our child. No one wants their children to be hurt, misused or abducted. But is that the reality we are facing in the UK? I don’t think so! Particularly in family villages there is very small chance. Even the latest shooting in the US: the press makes is sound as if that is normality. And of course it isn’t.

The more you think about it, the more you start worrying. Yet the best thing is to let go, leave it to the universe and trust in your child’s capability to apply common sense and all the rules you told them about. They will. I did. Letting go is the hardest part of parenting I believe. From the first sleep over to school walks, to parties to holidays. Life.

Let’s embrace life. Let’s make it the best there is, there is only the one we have, we all have.
Let’s pull together as a society and community to help each other. Not segregated by money, status, heritage, religion or colour of skin. We, in my humble opinion, don’t have time for that bullsh@t.

Have a great week,

Volker

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Sunday Column (320)

This week got me hit a personal goal! I hit 5,000 connections on Linkedin! Yes, that means I am connected to 5,000 individuals, who admittedly I don’t all know. But, similar to Twitter, this is all about reach for me. Being able to connect, network and reach out with updates to that many people makes it fun. Great input whenever you need it. And it works well. Not only can I find useful connections, I also help others to connect. This can be very rewarding at times.

Otherwise it as an interesting week. Monday started with a busy, but not manic day. That means, in work terms, it was almost not a lot going on, when you can stay on top of things…or is it just mental any other day. Anyway, of course the week changed quickly. By Friday we were running around like headless chickens again 😉 And next week is end of month. I have a day trip to Germany and overall I have a lot going on. But that’s the way I like it. Always nice to have a few days where you can just cope 😉

network

Oh and oh no…you might remember that not only did I attend a Facebook event but I also went back on Facebook. At least for a few hours to post our shed which we wanted to sell locally. That’s me breaking my Facebook detox 🙂 Is Facebook the new Loot, the new FridayAd, the new Gumtree? For me it is and it makes perfect sense. We also managed to sell the shed in wake of us getting a custom one built next to the house. Work is halfway done and should be finished next week. We already ordered the alarm for the shed, the new garden hose, the Karcher, and the list goes on. I am very excited to see the finished piece that allows for more space in the garage to exercise…and for that I got new kettlebells, new flooring etc. I am very excited about transforming the space in the house.

In line with that, my next project is the spare bedroom which I want to be a second living room, chill out and play room, working and home office room at the same time. And of course, it being free for people when they come to visit us.

As you can probably tell, we plan a lot in the house. Next is still the upstairs’ ceilings to be smoothened, the heating pipes to be stopped from banging, some electrical stuff and a new carpet. Once that is done we still need to do the bathroom and driveway but I guess that’s next year. Let’s not rush and I didn’t win the lottery yet. However, I already envisage the new spare bedroom with lots of productivity and chill out gadgets 🙂 Poor wife!

Coming back to Facebook. A friend had a baby. Of course I wanted to see the little one and make sure he is ok, didn’t I? And Facebook is the place to do that. Did I feel I missed out on things in general? Did I go through the last 3 weeks of updates? NO. And since the detox I have been on it less often to be honest. The local groups slacking people off for cycling without helmets, trying to impose their standards on others…come on guys, each to their own and no need to have a go for people to be different.

Maybe I can use Facebook on a desktop only basis, only at weekends or something like that? Life was busy enough without it. I hardly have time for Twitter 🙁 Unless I can moan about the train services of course.

This leads nicely to my topic of rail fares. I renewed my annual season ticket, £3808. We worked it out, cheaper than driving to work. It was a heated debate at the local dad’s night on Friday whether we get value for money, dependance on the trains, working from home schemes, flexible hours and of course whether we should all work from Hassocks. Maybe not. Again, we chose to live here, partly because of the school. Those are oversubscribed already, just extended last year already, and now they want to build another few houses. Something is not adding up.

Ok, you don’t need a phd to work this one out. One wonders, with the upcoming election, what else is going on. Or you don’t. I try not to. Doesn’t mean I don’t care.

Just one word on Productivity before I let you go: Germans rule productivity, e.g. they focus on getting their work done to have more spare time with their clubs. Makes perfect sense to me 😉 Follow the link to see!

I had a fantastic family weekend. The boys are in a great age, and I really enjoy them!

One sad note to the end. As Rosie, our now 8 months old German Shorthaired Pointer doesn’t get along with the cat, or our 7 year old cat didn’t fight back when she was a puppy, we decided to rehome Hansel as well. It has been a fantastic 7 years with him. We had to rehome Gretel when, after she just coped with the babies, she didn’t cope with the new house. Now Hänsel. We are sad to see him go but as he confined himself to the garage and a good friend offered to take him, he will be a lot happier and better off.

Let’s just hope the dog can stay 😉

Have a good week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (269)

Oh yes. I started writing this post early in the week, as I normally do. For the first time in many years I had a good wash rather than a hot shower, however the boiler has now been fixed and we are back to modern times. A weekend passed at which we had a family bath: hot water and one by one got a turn. Youngest last. I also spent a lot of time trying the best method on how to make fire. This should be an instinct to men really, yet we are not living in a cave any longer.

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Someone suggested we should put a fire guard on the wall for the boys to stop playing with it. The thought never crossed my mind tbh, as the stove is that hot and we explain at length not to touch it. Actually, I showed Colin how to use matches and when we get our axe, he will learn how to split wood. Others might disagree. When I grew up I was so scared of fire but at the same time so curious. I made loads of them. On a building site across the road I set paper on fire, lying awake all night being scared the fire was out, and as it was forbidden, and I didn’t have any experience, I was scared to talk to anyone about it.

Education is key. Kids will be kids and they will play with fire, or will try cigarettes, or beer when they are under age. Of course the impact of fire can be horrendous yet I am a strong believer that they need to learn. And I don’t let them light the fire or move hot logs, open the door or leave matches lying around.

Whilst I am of course justifying myself here, I am also thinking of something else: the influence and comment on social media, which is to no offence to the above. I just read a chapter on productivity suggesting we are wasting a lot of time and listen to a lot of noise. This is certainly true, yet over the past three month I improved on a few things.

Firstly I don’t check my social media or emails at the weekend that often anymore. I am deliberately tuning out, also making it less of a habit during the week. Working in the space will certainly mean to not being able to completely stop checking in, tweeting or updating Facebook, but I am getting a lot more selective. Feedly is also being reduced again massively.

The reason is time. Learning how to organise, prioritising and making sure you put important things first, shows you how much time you waste, trying to be up to date on everything that happens. That in return means you might never really focus on the things that are important or important to you. A simple learning in time of information overload, learning to filter the information we get.

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Then there was my birthday. Nothing of overly importance and just a step closer to 40. Not there yet though. My wife treated me to a few goodies which was very nice and kind.

However the best birthday present came this weekend: a new couch and arm chairs. We now got our living room back. Less echo in the place, a place to come home to. A kitchen work top. A new espresso machine, furniture back in place and our spare bedroom back to how it should be. Yes, we finally finished the place. Still some smaller. It’s to arrive but the majority is done. Thank god!

The laptop replacement arrived and seems to be working fine. The boiler works. The aerial got repaired. I think it is all done now…fingers crossed.

I will post some impressions later in the week, just to give you the heads up on what changed. For now I am getting over the last symptoms of a heavy cough I had this week. I went to work on Thursday and coughed from train to conference to office until I decided to best go home. No sleep etc. but hey, you only get that when you have kids 🙂

I am better now.
Things will be ok.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (213)

Happy Sunday!

It has been cold in the UK for about six months. I have had a cold and viruses for about 4 weeks. The family was ill. Not only did we change seasons into spring and turned the clocks back, no we also passed Easter with little sunshine. Maybe I should have immigrated to Australia whilst I had a chance? But then, I would most definitely be moaning about the heat.

The weather, one of the most discussed topics in Britain I believe. But 6 months of winter? That’s half a year in the shade, that isn’t typical. Some people predict a wet summer and another three weeks of cold winds. Oh how do I miss my Italy and Spain trips 🙁

Anyway, this weekend finally saw some sunshine. We got out in the garden (pictures to follow tomorrow), and we went for a nice walk. Still cold but better!

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I started following a few new spiritual and motivational blogs. Looking at the quote – did you live today? Did you make a difference? Follow your passion? Your dream? Did you help? Did you or society make a step in the right direction thanks to your contribution?

In about a month time I am hoping to join a charitable organisation. The final decision is next week, followed by an application (or invitation really) early May. Subject to approval I would join a group of people that get together to discuss how they can serve. Serve a purpose, serve others and be of use to society. Isn’t that great? More to follow.

Hopefully towards the end of the year I am planning to join another institution to do good. It makes you reflect a lot. To serve. To do good. I want to contribute to society, help others, network and be part of a group of likeminded people. You gathered that I enjoy those things. Being a member of a German fraternity to serve society and business was my first step in a direction of personal development through club memberships, gaining valuable input from members with a variety of backgrounds. Mentors. I am sure you remember last week’s post.

On slideshare I uploaded a presentation with 10 principles for success.

I set myself the goal to write more about management, personal development and business principles. Currently, I am reading a few new books with new aspects of organisational skills, how to structure your brain and mind, as well as how to apply this principles to time and personal management. I find that there are new theories refining the old established principles.

For instance the 7 habits of highly effective people, of which I got a copy in 1998, which I then discussed and “dissected” in my MBA six years later, are still true; nevertheless the world has changed in the last 15 years and I believe that some of those habits, or other guides of being successful, efficient or productive, need a bit of a review or addendum. So watch this space for more updates.

A final note on updates. I have now started using Google+ a lot more. I find that LinkedIn is great for business relations and networking, and so is Xing to an extend, and Twitter is great for some noise and updates for the community; Google+ is nice for sharing essentials, public personal stuff that you don’t need or want to hide on Facebook, and it is good to join the debate in communities which I find lack in terms of discussions in the public Linkedin forums and to a certain extend on Facebook. The latter due to people not wanting to be “seen” in their private environment. Makes sense?

Anyway. A short and exciting week comes to an end.
Spring is in the air, or is it?

My parents came for a visit, quality family time. With my parents I managed to clear the loft, put the floor boards down, tidied some rubbish away and made lots of space. We also managed to get a night out in the pub and got on in the garden whilst having two baby sitters 🙂 I sometimes wonder how life would be with family in close proximity. Also I made good use of the EUR-GBP exchange rate by stocking up on some wine. Happy days 🙂

I am happy, are you?

Hopefully I can go back on the treadmill this week. I still feel a bit under the weather but a lot better than I have been. My energy is coming back and I am ready to rock ‘n roll.

Watch this space 😉
Volker

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Blog Action Day #BAD12 – The Power of We

20121009-185551.jpg I only recently found out about the Blog Action Day, where people around the world blog on a particular day (today) about a particular topic: The Power of We.

It is about: Community, Equality, Transparency/Anti-Corruption and Freedom: The Power of We is a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around he world.

Now here are my thoughts: The power of we is an interesting topic. We? We means you, I, us. Some group of people that are connected. That can be due to a common interest, through social media, a third person, an event, coincidence etc. you are probably aware of the theory that we are all connected in this world by never more than six people in between us (six degrees of separation). So the meaning of we is not defined by presence in one space but by connection.

I know people I play chess with at the other and of the world. We play chess. There are people I know from when I went to high school in the USA over 15 years ago. And I know my neighbours and we have things in common. I commute with the same people every day but I don’t know them. But we are a group. We. And by being in any of those groups we got power. Power to complain to our train company, or power to help each other if the train had an accident. We are connected as a group which ultimately gives us some kind of power, or even energy I suppose. My chess friends and I have the power to play and fight each other virtually online. We might want to change the rules of something. I am getting at something now, which probably fits right in.

Through social media, Facebook for example, you can join a group with a common interest to exercise power or influence someone in that group. Twitter on the other hand is more random I think. You get interested and connected to people via a very random conversation. Without any intend to join a group or discuss a topic. You just start joining in and end up forming a virtual group. Without you realising you become powerful, attack brands, advice people and become authority, supported by a virtual group.

We become power. The power of We. We become influential. Across borders. Social media let us do it. Being part of #BAD12 allows us to become a we with the power to write about us, our power and influence, our thoughts.

We can change the world.
We got the power, join us today.

Have a great “bad” day 😉

Volker

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4^2 – Foursquare

I have been joining Foursquare a few times in my career in digital. I joined it, quit it, joined it and quit it again. I didn’t want anyone to know where I was, particularly if I left home.

However, not too long ago, I finally joined for good. Joining for good meant for me to be part of the Foursquare community. I tried to get as many mayorships as possible in as little time as possible.

In my 64 days I checked into over 400 venues. I managed to gain 11 badges and 9 mayorships. Most of them are my regular train stations and of course home and work. So I am not sure how successful I am.

In the UK you find that only a few shops offer promotions, so the reason to join Foursquare is more about “see and being seen” and showing off where you are. This could be “dining at the Ritz” for instance or “checking in at the Charlotte Street Hotel”. I haven’t found use of meeting people using it yet, and I haven’t used any promotions yet.

So as a conclusion after using it for as short as 2 months, I think it is a nice game. Something that is fun to do, and potentially has an attraction particularly if you are in an environment and within a community where people use it a lot.

As a friend suggested, in the US this has a more relevant use as almost every shop is using it for promotions and hence it is more useful and commercially viable.

So until I either live in the US or Foursquare offers more promotions, e.g. pairing up with Groupon, I think I might be a little less active than I was.

Location Based Services (LBS) is still on the raise, and having the option to not share a check in, makes it a lot more attractive and safe too. However, I just cannot see the full benefit yet.

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Sunday Column (128)

My head is spinning for several reasons this week. I had a interesting week with lots of things to think about, some work related and some private things.

Let me start with the London riots. I published my thoughts and fears, as well as my Buddhist thoughts on it too. Without twitter and the update from our @beckenham community tweet, I think I would have been more worried. As David Cameron said, no one should be fearful in his own home. I would have fought for my rights and safety of my family and community. However, I never thought I had to feel like I did in the UK 🙁

This leads me nicely on to the next topic. For a while now I am debating with my wife and work, whether the UK is the country we want to work and live in. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with both my job and the UK, but after 10 years, I am thinking, whilst the kids are still young, whether we should try a few more countries before we make a final decision where we’d like to settle and bring up the kids. This is a decision that is not to be made before next year for various reason I don’t want to go into just now and yet.

However, I met a good friend of mine this weekend; I met her 10 years ago in Aberdeen. We had different lives but both being German, we had lots in common and good conversations back then. For the past 7 years I lived in London, and she lived in Aberdeen. We both got married, we both had children. Now she lives in London and after a long 7 years we met again. And, as described above, she is in a very similar situation: she wouldn’t return to Germany, would like to live abroad for a while and then decide where she wants to settle. It was really good meeting her and her husband, to discuss dreams, thoughts and just to catch up on a long time we mainly spoke via Facebook 🙁 A sad life social media plays, no?

On the note of social media, and I know I am going on a bit, we have Twitter that saved my sanity this week. Heello which is a twitter clone I signed up for, Facebook which is great to keep in touch with friends over time and distance, and of course Google+. It is getting a lot, but that is the industry I am working in, the thing I do. I love social and online but sometimes feel I should be more disconnected. Could my next 30 days challenge be to stop using Facebook? To not tweet? That would be hard. And amongst all the social media, there was one person this week that kept me sane, just by being normal and a good mate – in the real world too.

I am not sure what it is but I’d call it Sehnsucht which translates to longing. I am longing for simplicity without missing out on things and giving up what I enjoy. I am longing for freedom and peace without giving up the choices, loved ones and friends I have. I am longing for stability, planned future and a normal life.

I guess I am just a bit sentimental and think too much about life. It is silly because life is going to do what life is going to do. Simples.

Alles wird gut, ich vertraue Dir.

Have a fantastic week, I am looking forward catching up with some really good people!

Best
Volker

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