Posts Tagged weekend

Sunday Column (459)

Monday again – ok Sunday when you start reading this. A mixed week is behind me which started with a Monday flight to Belgrade, Serbia. I have never been, heard a lot and went to see the operations office of the company, Sizmek, that acquired the company I work for, Rocket Fuel.

As a VP Client Success I joined Rocket Fuel back in January, anticipating that they either sell or be taken private. I have seen their history from being a competitor to being a partner to being a supplier and knew most of the people there. And I have been around in programmatic for 7 years, so a good fit I thought, but also a bit risky. Then the sale happened this summer and we are now part of Sizmek, backed by a P.E. Company (Private Equity) which originally took Sizmek private last year. So we have two ex public companies joining forces to build the biggest independent demand side stack in the programmatic space. This is a very promising proposition and I was very excited to be part of this. A great proposition.

With my commercial background and in depth operational knowledge, I was hired to align the back office, operations and analytics, with key accounts to drive further growth. Using my commercial acumen with the understanding of the space and experience of how to run campaigns, aligning back office with client growth. We never quite completed that as I was pulled in to run the German office where I successfully managed a turn around. So two senior jobs since the beginning of the year, lots of travel, lots of time away from the family. Now, the structure moving forward will look different. Less client success, more of an operations and sales divide. So things will change with the company and ultimately for me.

Belgrade. Air Serbia, and again a bit of nerve wrecking when my ticket had a spelling mistake, but everything was fine, and a very hard landing with squeaking brakes. I trust old planes πŸ˜‰ Air Serbia got me there and back again. Belgrade is a city which on first sight resembled the Eastern part of Berlin 20 years ago, yet it turned out to be beautiful and full of the nicest people ever. Lots of meaty food, lovely people and very rich on culture with influences from Russia, Turkey, Hungary and Greece. It took me back to a trip I made to Istanbul a few years back. The merger of East and West, the tradition, cultural influences from all over the region and the amazing, well flavoured food. I believe I got a good feel for the people and the country. Essentiallly, due to travel times, we only spend two days in the office, however those two days were action packed and we learned a lot.

You remember when I spoke about experience in last week’s blog? That’s what it is all about. Understanding. Listening. Sharing the glass of wine and good food. Making friends and bringing people together. An amazing trip, not only for work and the extension of what we are doing in main markets, but to understand the challenges and opportunities in the Serbian market.

What did I noticed most in terms of the cultural differences – besides a noisy hotel that felt like a youth hostel on the first night (and the manager emailed me to apologise) – people still smoke a lot and you can still smoke in restaurants and bars. Yes, this is more of a Southern culture I suppose. Funny how after only 10 years (the smoking ban was introduced in the UK in 2007), we got so used to having smoke free clothes. I quit chain smoking in 1998, then smoked on and off until about 2004 before I finally gave up. Even that is crazy to think now. And given the lack of sleep, I introduced a second espresso again, and I really needed it πŸ™‚ Not only because of the noise but we wanted to make the most with our hosts to get to know them in and out of the office.

So you would agree I suppose that this week was action packed. Enjoyable, tiring, yet encouraging and full of learning. A roller coaster ride on emotions and reflection on strengths and experience. What else to ask for?

Over the forthcoming weeks I can be more detailed about some personal developments, plans and some ideas; I prepared a few posts on life, work and priorities. Christmas is coming up and Tesco has already filled a whole aisle with things that are Christmassy. Oh yes, the joyful season. We had friends over for dinner, went bowling and enjoyed this autumn weekend.

I hope you did too. It is great to hear from more and more people that they enjoy reading this column. For the forthcoming weeks, keep reading, I will go deeper on a few things. And feel free to let me know what you want me to write about.

Have an amazing week ahead,

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Thursday Flash (18)


This week is a lot about finding yourself and thinking about you and what you are and want to become. You become what you think.

But let’s start with a summary of what successful people do at the weekend. No surprise here but similar to below, a nice guide and summary of what’s proven to work.

10 uncomfortable things that tell you that you are finding yourself and become the person you are supposed to be. A nice little guide that makes you think, don’t you think πŸ˜‰

How to reprogram your thoughts or how to get your thoughts under control? An oldie but goldie article telling you how to change your thinking and perception. Go for it. What you imagine and map out, you can create. Believe!

Have an amazing week!

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Sunday Column (262)

When travelling, I enjoy some downtime. Being offline and disconnected on the flight goes down as a treat. However, having an almost five year old that doesn’t understand daddy is travelling, and doesn’t leave for good, doesn’t make it easy. Bribery is key, yet balancing presents and managing expectations of not bringing back lots of presents from trips at the same time is challenging.

Important is the balance and the aforementioned focus. A day working from home to be there for bath time and the good night story, or even taking them to school if the schedule allows. Leaving a paper aeroplane when you leave for a few days or making them a special lunch for the next day, add a little touch and reminder that daddy is still there. And of course, when at home at the weekend, give them your undivided attention.

At my last travel I remember one thing, unrelated to the kids, that my two “row sharers” both had the same rucksack as I did for my travels. What is the coincidence I wonder for that to happen? Also, flying into The Netherlands is always a pleasure. Whilst I would say that working for a Dutch company, the friendly and efficient way of the Dutch is refreshing. Whether that is within the company or in the train or coffee shop (the real coffee that is). I love going there.


Yet flying over the past few days seem to get a new twist with the disappearance of the Malaysian airplane. My biggest fear is that it was a cyber hijacked. What if people don’t have to be on a plane to control it?

There is an odd thought. I don’t want to be in the relatives’ skin, their situation must be horrendous. Hopefully we all find closure soon. My prayers go out to those involved.

The last week passed quickly. At the weekend, trying to get over a cold which got me to stop exercising, we went to Lewes to visit the castle and to Littlehampton beach. This was great, the weather is fantastic and it feels like spring if not summer.

Being able to lie in the sun, chilling out, eating fresh fish and chips, playing with the kids, watching the world and boats go by. Ice cream. Chocolates. No surprise I am tired, did I squeeze in 18 km on my bike in the morning.

I spent some great time with the boys at the weekend, enjoyed lots of sun and felt tired. Partly this is spring tiredness, fresh air and relaxation. My first really minor cold of the year, and a welcome break for my muscles after extensive exercising the weeks before, got me lots of sleep as I didn’t get up too early. It has been an interesting week.

For next week I hope to continue the progress I am making in my job and some projects I am looking at. Life is truly enjoyable at the moment, more than it has been for a long time.

Have a great one,

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Sunday Column (24)

This week was dominated by my thoughts on customer service and me getting increasingly annoyed with Vodafone. However, it came to a good end on Friday when my new Blackberry Bold arrived. blackberrybold I am very happy with the device, but had to completely reinstall the system on Saturday already just because some applications didn’t seem to run on it. Shame. And, the same happened again on Sunday. I am thinking of a certain application causing it and will try to eliminate that before I might have to send the device back πŸ™ Hope not. However, at the time of writing I have tried to re-install the software twice unsuccessfully and will soon give up. I guess it is a device fault – shame but nothing I can change. I will call Vodafone tomorrow and get a replacement one, whilst I go back my beloved Nokia 6300 for another few days.

The Bold’s Wi-Fi function is great, surfing at home is just so much easier! Only drawback, and of course I knew that, is that you don’t get many applications for Blackberry. Particularly if you cannot download the “application loader” or “Blackberry Maps” because your device does not have the requirements needed. How can that happen if it is a brand new phone? As you see, I am still playing with it, and I keep you posted!

On Monday I met with my old work colleague for a few pints and had a proper catch up. Good to see that he is enjoying his new job and things are going well for him. On Wednesday I met a current work colleague and we went to have a nice whiskey and a catch up. So this week turned out to be quite social.

Thursday was a mad dash to Tai Chi after work and after visiting the BBC worldwide studies, trying myself as a TV presenter πŸ˜‰ Ballueder BBC Friday was a mad dash to a nice massage, realising that the muscles around my knee are so tight and hence I have the pain in my knee. Nevertheless I signed up for a 5 kilometer run with work in September. But after the DIY this weekend, I will have to cancel that.

The highlight of the week was my wife decorating the living room. Not only was it great to watch her doing it πŸ™‚ – whilst I was babysitting – but more so we realised that we have nice floorboards underneath the carpet. That means I don’t have to put down laminate flooring, or we don’t have to get someone in to do it either. It saves us a few pennies and hassle. Means, if things work out, we can have a wooden floor in a few weeks already. We will publish pictures shortly.

I have a new theme on my blog too, not sure if you noticed it πŸ™‚ I went back to a two column theme as this is much nicer and tidier and found. Let me know what you think.

That’s all for today. I believe it will be a busy week ahead, and one with me being connected on the go again….if the machine keeps running πŸ™‚

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weekend thoughts

There are a few thoughts in my head:

– we might be having our wee house in 2 weeks. how exciting!

– is going slowly, both Marcelo and I feel “clouded”, e.g. have too many things in our mind. Both hope to relax over the weekend.

– I was asked why I let people look into my life by writing a blog. I asked “why not” – not sure why, but I think I am a person that likes to share my life with others. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing here is that important to anyone but me. But I know people like to read it, so I carry on.

– I should write more about personal development. Thinking about that and currently I am not sure what to write. Again, am clouded.

– So this weekend is for relaxation. I tell you how it goes. We celebrate my and my friend’s birthday today. Hope the weather is going to be nice.

Speak later, Volker

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Weekend – lots of progress

Just a quick progress report.

My career coaching worked well on Monday and my client made a very good decision – in his/her and my view. So I am very happy it works out well.

Marcelo and I are about to set up a blog purely dedicated to Buddhism and Management, helping others, which I will announce shortly. Ergo this blog will focus more on cb consulting and on Search Engine Marketing and general management topics. The spiritual side of things will move.

I also finished my essay on Islands – published within the next few days.

We started de-cluttering our flat too. A friend took a table and shelf. Still no moving date but off to B&Q today for a peek on things….all excited.

Hope you are well.

Volker Ballueder


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