Tag: 2012

Sunday Column (200)

The 200th Sunday Column. That makes it just under four years. I am happy and proud that I found an outlet by continuing to write this column which started as a blog about personal development, then a personal blurb to now a mixture of thoughts, ideas and my weekly thoughts about life – my blurb I suppose.

It is almost the end of 2012. Maybe a good time to reflect on what happened this year.

Milestones this year were probably in January when work announced that the company was sold to another company. Whilst it didn’t have too much of a direct impact this year, it will have a bigger impact next year. Exciting times ahead and I am happy in the space I am at. Also, we got a new car and after deciding to move away from Beckenham after over 8 years we found a place in Hassocks. We made an offer in January for a new place.

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In February a mayor change happened. I split my private and personal phone, sold my HTC Android phone to work and got myself an iPhone. The rest is history. Two iPads and an iMac as well as AppleTV later… Steve Jobs convinced me from his grave, through his biography, that Apple is the way forward. I never looked back and I am amazed to see things just working perfectly together. Oh yes, I still have an iPod too from years ago…. My iPad is my productivity and laptop replacement I couldn’t live without anymore.

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I am not sure if anything big happened in March but we were in the process of buying the new house. Things I believe came through in April and despite delays we moved into the new place in June 2012. Something which not only changed our lives but also was the best thing we have done (ever). Better schools for the boys, a proper family home, space, country life, country walks and a commute which helps me to unwind after a long day at work and lets me have lots of time to work and read in the morning. The train line is often a pain but other than that we cannot complain at all. 25 minutes to Gatwick airport, from there into the world.

I turned 35 which could start my midlife crisis any day now πŸ˜‰ Most of those months, looking back, are a blurr of travelling to mainly Italy, working and sorting out the house. I am sure more happened, like with the kids and getting a treadmill. Funny how certain aspects of life just show through above most others. May was just another month flying past with a trip to Rome and final preparation for the move.

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Summing up July, August and September I’d say: we worked on the house. Organising the removal of asbestos, a new front door, window repairs, garden tidying, removal of a shed, a new shed, removal of lots of rubbish, cleaning, new garage ceiling, decorating, new loo downstairs etc. Some didn’t get finished in that time period but closer to the end of the year, however it was a big project to move into that place. But it is ours now and we are happy. What else could we wish for?

My parents, particularly my dad was a great help and sitting here at the end of the year it is amazing to see how much we got done. The summer as most of this year was wet. Pending the next couple of days we might have the wettest year in Britain since records begun.
Oh we also went to a wedding, Colin started school and I injured my back doing weights. We re-homed one of our cats too.

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Looking through my calendar there weren’t any big things in October. I believe life just continued in this month. I travelled a bit to Italy, was ill and couldn’t travel to Madrid but on the other hand tried to make an effort to do things with the kids every weekend. Our 5 year anniversary was due. We went for a “posh” country pub diner with live music. A treat for us πŸ™‚

Life has changed so much since we started living together. From DINK (double income no kids) to one income, two kids and a mortgage ;-( I guess we moved from one to four bedrooms in the same time, from city flat to country life. No regrets. I sometimes wonder what the next five or fifteen years bring. I will go with the flow and will patiently wait.

Not sure when it was exactly but this guy doing the free fall from space still fascinates me. I cannot think of his name just now but what he does needs so much mental strength I cannot imagine. I hardly cope with two kids balling around me πŸ˜‰ Lots of respect to him.

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In November I got a bit reflective. Also, it was very cold that month. Maybe a month too early I looked back at this year and realised I put on a bit of a belly, hence I started running again, did my back in over the summer (getting old?) and now I was back to a routine of 5 am run in the garage and weights. Was I at the end of my goals? Is that it? Routine. End of life? Will I do that until I retire?

Certainly not! I have lots of energy left I need to release for good causes, and use my time to achieve more. Let’s see what 2013 has in stock for me. Needless to say that by writing this post, reflecting on this year and re-reading some of my old diaries, I learned a lot. I closed more chapters, wrote a few cards to people that are important to me, and trying to close a few more conversations I had. Yes, a bit sentimental, a bit morbid thinking I need to tell people what I think before I die. Not really running out of time soon I hope. Anyway. Done.

2013 is year which I think will be very important for me. For us. For the family and myself. Both in terms of settling into the new life, but also for me progressing in my career and life ambitions.

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December just flew past. A week in the office, a week in Boston and a week full of Christmas parties prior to a two week break. Decembers are like that. Probably a good thing.

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Overall a good year. I learned a lot and met a huge amount of new people, in the new place but also through work. Some great influencers and key industry folk. Loving it.

We stayed healthy but my back which improved a lot from October. It is almost where it was. That is without counting various bugs and viruses of course.
We started working out again and getting into a routine to exercise. My belly will eventually go, aim is to be back at an ideal weight around my 36th birthday. Darn, I better get going πŸ˜‰
We found friends in the new place, and so did the kids. They are settling in well. We do too and have fantastic neighbours. Gladly we stay in touch with our old neighbours who we met again this weekend.

I am very grateful for what we have and how we live. I am blessed with two healthy if handful of boys. I am delighted to share my life with the most amazing, intelligent and beautiful woman ever.

The world didn’t end in 2012. So I am looking forward to add a dog to the family in 2013 (subject to approval by my beloved wife), settle more into our country life (maybe get this Landrover Defender?) and make the job I have the success it deserves. Also I would like to take on some more extracurricular activities. There is a club I might join or find another one that might suit me. We shall see. Loads to do! 2012 with the move and things put me a bit in stealth mode for next year.

BRING IT ON! Onwards and Upwards!!!

All the best to you and your family for 2013.

Love and Happiness from my corner of the world.

Volker

Sunday Column (199)

I thought I had overcome the jet lag but when I tried to get up for my 5 am run on Monday I just couldn’t move. Worse I slept the whole train journey into work. On a high side our new family iComputer arrived and it is fantastic. A lovely little toy. And beautiful too.

20121219-073601.jpg There are a lot of things you need to get used to but ultimately it is my wife’s working machine. Future proof I hope πŸ™‚

I often feel a little overwhelmed on a Monday. A lot of people want to know lots of things all the time from you. Particularly if you have been out of the office for a week or so. This is ok but if you have deadlines to meet it can be quite annoying. So I try leaving early on Monday and catch up with the stuff that needs done at home or on the train. Too much information these days. The year end stress of course accelerates things, so I was very glad when it was Friday. Time to chill out for two weeks. Family. Toy story. Christmas I suppose πŸ™‚

Not sure if I will put a goal or wish list together for 2013. I am excited about the opportunities at work. I am excited about Colin starting proper school. I am excited for Rohan to start talking. There is so much life has to offer us. And it is just there to grab and live the moment. I am tired just now (in general at the end of the year) but full of enthusiasm and positive energy for next year. Bring it on, I can take it!

Now, going with the flow, I plan to do some catching up over my holidays. A bit of writing and reading. Running. This week seemed like running wasn’t possible because of tiredness and Xmas parties. I got a massage this weekend which helped me to relax. My muscles are much looser than in the summer when I had my back ache. I got a few plans for the holidays. Spending time with the kids and going down to Sealife in Brighton again. But, going with the flow (this will be my new mantra I think), there is no pressure for anything but to spend time with my loved ones. Look at what kind of family man I become πŸ™‚ I am loving it too.

20121219-074837.jpg You probably heard a lot about sleep and tiredness there but there is one detail I haven’t mentioned: C sleeps through the night. He now wears socks and has a gro clock which shows him stars when he is supposed to sleep and a sun after 7 am for waking time. He loves it. He gets up and is all excited to have seen the sun. Bless. R also, after almost 2 years, sleeps through the night. A bit more food, a bit of crying and off he went. So after two years I seem to get my life and wife back. Catching up with sleep I never thought I would get back.

I believe I survived our Christmas party alright-ish. I was fine to the point I came home and my wife offered me a few zips out of the bottle of wine she had open. So it got later than anticipated and I did feel it a bit the next day. Crimbo drinks with some “industry veterans” the next day were a bit messier but I survived even that. A bit ropey on the Friday but lucky me worked from home as all trains were cancelled into London. Due to a fire in the signaling box along the line trains were cancelled even at the weekend. So that all worked out well, overall a good last week in the office. I am now off until the 7th of January, a proper break.

We got a couple new fish at the weekend too. Some Neon Tetra, two plecos and more catfish. A friend advised me on the right set up of the fish tank, so fingers crossed this all works out.

Cory-Punctatus

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To be honest, this is concluding the highlights of the week. We are very fortunate and happy. Things are good in our little village and our little home. All set for Christmas. I am sure I will post a picture of a few toys that are meant to be for the boys but I will spend most Christmas Day playing with πŸ˜‰ Christmas is really for the kids and hence we are more excited for them than for us. We already got our Christmas iPresent this week, so we are all set.

This year has been a bit rocky road. With the move, some changes at work, some changes with the kids. But overall it has been a really good year. It went fast but not too fast. We didn’t manage to catch up with as many friends as we wanted to but you never have enough time for everyone. That is mainly true for the guys living in Scotland or Germany. Having said that we saw a lot of the family this year. The move is probably still the biggest thing that happened. One of the best things that we have ever done. We slowly settling in our little village, found friends and just going with the flow.

Maybe one last comment or thought. I read the other day a quote that went like this: “Just because it is better, doesn’t mean it has value. Value comes from improving people’s lives, not impressing them with your technology.”

I work and sell technology. I try and help people to improve their lives. That is very enjoyable. But sometimes more technology, a better computer, a nicer tablet, another laptop, a faster car or just a bigger TV won’t get you anywhere. Just because things are better than others doesn’t mean you add a lot of value to your life. A 42 inch TV doesn’t add more value than a 32 inch TV. It isn’t about “the longest” or “the biggest”, it is about what value you add using technology. And I am determined that this will always be the case for me. With work and with my private life. Value adding, giving and sharing is so important. And, if we can do that utilising technology to make it better, faster and more valuable for everyone, then this is a good thing. That is why I love technology, embrace Facebook and Twitter.

Enough now. I hope you and your family, wherever you are, have a fantastic, peaceful and happy Christmas and a great break.

Love and Kindness to you all.

Yours, Volker

Sunday Column (149)

Happy New Year again. My first proper Sunday Column of 2012. And what should I tell you. The year started a lot busier than anticipated. The break I had seems far away but was very revealing. I think that this year is going to bring a lot of change.

One change is around the corner but I cannot speak about it yet.

However, the other change I can speak about quite openly: we are planning to move. We are quite focused with our search and surprisingly spend all Saturday looking at places (towns that is). And, even more surprisingly, probably already made a decision on the town. Maybe we should look around more but maybe we should just go for this place. First thoughts but we believe it might be the right decision. We are going to sleep about it a few more nights, do some more research and then going to look for some actual properties. Scary thought to decide on a place for the next 18 years or longer πŸ™‚

Anyway. The year started with every take away on the planet and probably close to the amount of booze as we had before and during Christmas. Not sure if it is the lack of light or what it is but we were lazy to say the least.

All that will change as I am determined to go back to the gym – that is when Rohan sleeps through the night. And, I am determined to eat healthy again. I even emptied my wine shelf, so it is a first to go into the 2nd week of the year with an empty wine shelf.

I believe 2012 is all about the balance too – work & family, diet & sports, friends & family. I went out on Thursday with a few mates and I haven’t had such a great laugh for a very long time.

On the other hand you all know how much I enjoy living and working. I also managed to spend one day in the office until 7 pm – things are back to normal and for some reason I have never believed you should change things just because it is a new year. Whatever you want to change, it is in your head. Reading a book about self hypnosis makes you think. That book opens your eyes of what is possible with your mind. Not sure if reading an MBA book at the same time is the best idea πŸ˜‰

Anyway, before I drift off too much, I hope you all have a great 2nd week of the year.

Mine is going to be busy. Lots to talk about this week.

Best wishes,
Volker

Sunday Column (148)

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I hope you started the New Year off well. All the best for 2012.

Let’s continue with my 2011 review rather than trying to predict anything for 2012 and tell you that I want to loose more weight, eat healthier and spend more time with the family….

Half time – July saw our first family holiday to the New Forest. Whilst only for a week it was great to get out. I gave up on my “precious moments” posts. Google+ launched, I went to Germany, and did a whole lot of things in one month. Going through the archive, this has been a busy month with on average 1 blog post a day!

In August I gave up drinking. Also, I was bored and thought a lot about my life and directions. I love those months where you have time for doing that. The thought sticking in my mind is that some people just come into your life for a reason, for a limited time or forever. One other highlight of what we did was to join MyDaddyCooks at a show at London Bridge.

September kick started the season of shows. dmexco in Germany and ATS (Ad Trading Summit) in London showed that RTB (real time bidding) is the future of online marketing. A joy to be part of this development and I am grateful to be in the position I am in. The following months have seen publications and thoughts from myself about the industry, RTB and what is there to come. I feel confident and joyful in the field of RTB and see much growth – I am very excited for 2012….at the very latest. When RTB becomes the only measurement and booking technique for media, then things will clearly take off. Onwards and upwards.

October – autumn. We went to Germany. It was a great trip and I enjoyed driving as much as you could enjoy driving. However, it was our last trip with our car as it ended in us needing a new transmission. You can read the ongoing rants about KwikFit who turned out to be quite good in accommodating our costs, and the hiccups we had on the way. However, the car was not to be saved, and maybe should have never been driven to Germany in the first place. But as things happen, they happen. And we have been without a car ever since. I am sure we get a new one next year but I am not sure yet. I don’t miss a car, and I don’t think it is very important to us either. But it would be a lot more convenient. We shall see, I have my eyes on a few models like the Ford Galaxy, the Mercedes Benz R350 or the Chrysler Voyager. And, of course I could imagine getting another Volvo XC90. Why not. I loved that car.

November saw me being promoted to a new job at work. I took on the responsibility for three offices in total: Italy, Spain and the UK. I am really doing a dual role as Managing Director in the UK and VP International Sales. But I enjoy it and help is on its way for 2012. I enjoy the travel and getting away from the family, my day to day job and London for a day or two a week. Of course I don’t like the extra burden I put on my wife and leaving her with the kids. But in all honesty, it is usually one night I am away which doesn’t count for much less time away than being stuck in the office for 2 or 3 evenings a week. It surely made November pass very quickly.

Will 2012 be that bad? I hope not!
Will 2012 be that bad? I hope not!

December. What should I say? We got fibre optic broadband, a new stereo and a new bed. All well planned for Christmas and in unison with our plans that we potentially have to move next year to get Colin into a better school in 2013. Another year came to an end. I managed to have a few 30 days challenges, lost 3 kg lately and made it under 100kg again. I still want to get into a routine of exercise if Rohan sleeps through the night. I still want to write my book “my life” at some point. My life moved into the clouds and Steve Jobs got me hooked on Apple from his grave – yes this year has changed me and admittedly Steve was a great influence.

We got curtains this year, we cleared the loft, we painted the fence, we lost our car, we had our 2nd son, we didn’t win the lottery but a few quid, and I re-potted the plants. Life was just normal. We got more toys, got rid of old ones and trying to stay on top of the boys, sorting out routines, doing a good job, being a good mum and dad, and we are trying to contribute our bit to society. We are living the dream πŸ™‚

In January I wrote about 2011: “I want to do more sports. I know I have to incorporate exercise in my daily routine, lose weight, get fit, get rid of my back pain and get fit again. Not only for me but also for the kids.
I have to stop overeating, stop smoking cigars and stop drinking alcohol altogether. The hang over this morning was the worst this year, so I might as well stop for the next 12 months. I instead will meditate every night, practise Tai Chi, and be a good boy.
And most days, I will just live. Just eat, drink and sh* as normal.”

I guess that is it. 2012. Yes, the Olympics are in town. I will be travelling a lot more with work. We probably buy and move into a new house. God knows where I write my review for the coming year. And if I do. But I didn’t want to get morbid πŸ˜‰ But seriously, does anyone know what life will bring for us? Let’s do the best in order to live as long as possible and necessary for our kids. And, let us enjoy Christmas parties like this year with the whole family getting together. Those are getting rarer. Let’s embrace the single moments. The here and now.

I look forward to this year.

And now, just imagine for a short moment, that we had lived on Mars. Not only would we have to wait over another 300 days before we could celebrate our next year, we also would have only been in the middle of this one. Weird ey?

Whatever comes, let us embrace life.

All the best to you and your family for 2012.
Volker & family