Tag: car

Sunday Column (414)

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Life is heavy going at the moment. I am loving it though, or do I? Of course I love it? Where do I start? We had a great weekend with my folks, discussing some heavier topics. Guess that’s what you do when parents reach a certain age. Then Monday I felt rubbish. The virus that has been lurking around hit me hard. I should have stayed at home but went in instead. Result was that I worked from home Tuesday trying to rest up a bit. It helped so by end of week I was back on the treadmill. Still not 100% but 100% better than Monday. Then last night a temperature hit me, I felt rotten most of today. I guess it is end of year and I am running on empty a bit. Lots to do, lots to sort out before the end of the year, and not much time left. We will be ok. I envisage myself to sit there on Christmas Eve with a glass of wine in my hand, looking back at the year, and smile. And to be honest I will. I know I will. There are some other challenges going on I cannot speak about in public. Things I have seen and experienced before, but to see them with closed and loved ones gets harder. They touch you differently. It is different. But before you panic, it won’t be as bad as it might sound. Sometimes it is difficult to share things here which I cannot speak about as people might interpret it the wrong way, so don’t even try 😉 And just when you think you got things aligned to work through, someone hit our car at the car park and made a runner. WTF is going on? It feels a bit like I cannot win, which makes me even more determine to succeed. In ALL aspects.

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So what’s the exciting bits at the moment? My book is almost there. I’d say end of year is the time I publish it on Amazon or find a publisher, who knows. Yes, I am very excited about it. Another deadline to become more British. I signed up for the next attempt to pass the Life in the UK test. Actually it seems rather simple (touch wood) once you lived in this country as long as I have. It makes sense in the process, yet the first time around they didn’t accept my ID. So the pressure is back on and I am planning to do it all before Christmas. Fingers crossed. Another step closer to Brexit and Naturalisation. A friend of mine is considering to leave the UK, another one already has. Theresa is aiming to negotiate better deals for European Citizens to stay and vice versa, British people to stay. There is a lot of insecurity in the air, making life a bit daunting. Hammond fights with the budget, as more people getting self employed to evade taxes. I totally get all that, yet I couldn’t leave Britain. I love it here. I consider myself more British than German. And where would I go? Even the wife isn’t considering NZ anymore, so it might be Hassocks for a while longer. Or Bali as a friend suggested, but I have never been. That is, if Southern gets their train services sorted. Whilst I had one train this week being early, next week the drivers start striking on top of the conductors’ strike. I guess I will be working from home a bit, and the economy will suffer more. Southern is so sh*! The only silver lining are a compensation of one month rail ticket and delay repay for 15 minutes delay. Wow, that means I can claim every other train! The next weeks are going to get tough train wise but we will survive. Think Christmas. Think wine.

The kids are excited about Christmas. They wake us up early and ask if Christmas is happening yet. Bless. I thought they might have got behind the Santa Claus story by now. But they haven’t, which is really nice. Of course I could do with a lie in rather than being woken up at the weekends but who am I to complain. An afternoon nap in front of the fire sorts me out.

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I look around the train, then out of the window, as I started writing this post, and the houses on my early commute and a touch of frost covers most roofs. It looks idyllic. Life is great. There are millions of people that got up this morning, thought it was cold, put the heating on and a cuppa. However, then I am thinking of those that are not. Not getting up, not getting a warm cuppa. We are in a very fortunate position where and how we live. And in times like these, when winter blues sets in, I keep reminding myself of it. My wife said she read a ‘rubbish’ article suggesting the world comes to an end in 10 years time (see quote above). Let’s assume for a moment that this could be right. What would that mean for you? What if you once of a sudden had a deadline to miss. Would you pack your bags and live your dreams? And if so, what are your dreams? What is on your bucket list to do in the next few years? What is the plan if it fails, either the world coming to an end or your dreams. I don’t believe that dreams can fail. You don’t want to look back in ten years and have regrets, do you? If the prediction fails, you would just go back to what you did. You cannot loose. It is not possible! So you would try and do what you should and most probably succeed, as your energies align positively. Wait for my book!

As I am sitting on another train journey, studying and reading, I think this was a good year so far. I am in an amazing place with amazing people doing some outstanding work. I feel I am making a difference, and touching lives for the better. That’s amazing. That’s fun, and it gives me a great inner satisfaction. As I am getting older, I am more intrinsically motivated, a discussion I had with one of my staff this week. I blink against the morning sun and see the world go by, listening to my favourite tunes. Life is actually quite amazing.

Have an outstanding week. Touch some lives. It makes you feel great.

Best,
Volker

Sunday Column (385)

This week seems to have gone on forever. I found it tiring. Very tiring indeed. Not sure if it was because the weather played up, things were a bit sluggish or just because it was one of those weeks. We had brilliant sunshine, torrential rain, long winded discussions, great decisions, good presentations and awesome chats. We made progress, we won things, we lost things. It was just another week really.

Another week. Another decision. Car ordered. A Skoda. Brand new. The finance deals you are getting these days are just too tempting. If you had told me a year ago I would ever buy a new car, I would have told you that you were crazy. Anyway, I wrote a lot about it and will write about it again when it arrives. I cannot wait. It feels like it completes something. We are back to having a car instead of a functional vehicle to accommodate rear facing car seats that are long gone. As a family, we are growing up.

Skoda Superb

The bathroom is done. I mean to 99%. Still some niggles, some electrics, some parts. Only took 6 weeks 🙁 We might still have to exchange the bath tub, don’t ask. We might have got a faulty item. Happens I suppose. Anyway, the bathroom finishing completes the house renovation. A 4 year project. All rooms have been done now. It is done. Sometimes it seemed forever but it didn’t. And yes there are small things to sort, and things to be redone, and of course, last but not least, my beloved drive way. We put that project back a bit, hopefully autumn, to prioritise family holiday, the car and sanity above all 🙂

Things cannot be rushed yet not happen quickly enough. I am writing this bit as I am sitting on the 8 pm train home because I had a great meeting with someone I really value. Someone I know I am going to be friends with for a long time. And that’s when you don’t mind the longer night. You write your blog as the sun sets when you leave Victoria station. Good things take time. And a drink. Something to seal what you have, right. Something to seal that there is more to come. Our industry is a group of friends, this is so nice.

As I am writing this and getting emotional, I am listening to Jack Savoretti. An artist/singer I recently discovered. I love him. Just the right mix of what I’d call folk and ballads. Lots of guitars, good songs and a great voice. I keep listening to him, and cannot stop listening to him. Something in his songs gives me this feeling back of being young and wild. Riding my motor bike down the country lanes in Ireland, getting caught out by rain, seeing my friend skidding off the road. This is years ago and you longing for that freedom and independence you once had. The lack of responsibility but for yourself. Things changed of course. I am an adult now and don’t need to ask for permission or acceptance. I am responsible for my own action and, yet, I cannot have a motor bike. That’s of course where family responsibility and common sense comes in. That is where my new toy, the family car comes in. And following from that, the mid life crisis Jaguar XK 8 or the Porsche for my 40th birthday. Long time to go and who knows what is going to be then. We don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow.

On that note I got a call from someone this week. I value him very much as a friend and mentor. A great citizen, a fantastic boss, an amazing person. He hasn’t been well and he might just read this post, and I want to give him a shout out that I am thinking of him. And if you aren’t reading it, others will. When your life changes from almost over to full steam ahead within a few weeks, it must be the most awful roller coaster ride you ever had. I wish you well. You will be alright. Don’t ever give up. Your Facebook post touched me, and I wrote this prior to seeing it. Anyway, your story should be a reminder for us to always look forward, to never give up and to always nourish and value what we have. What we don’t appreciate, depreciates. One of my many mantras. For yourself, for anyone, it is always worth trying. We miss you! It was so good to speak to you and we see you soon. Sending wishes, prayers and positive thoughts your way.

never give up

Towards the end of the week I spoke at a conference. Another event to show off the great solutions we are working on. Being on a panel with industry friends from years ago, people that have shaped our industry and pushed boundaries. We are, no question, leading the market. And in the areas we are not, we definitely should. I am going to meet a few guys in HQ over the next couple of weeks to discuss that evolution. To discuss how we can continue to lead that space we are so good at. I am pumped about the opportunities we are facing. Look forward, live the now and make sure things are moving in the right direction. And that is the most important bit. The belief and future looking aspect of where things are moving to.

Below the post is the video.

What else happened. I believe I am transforming a bit. There are changes I am looking at, things I am developing on. One is family. I am putting a lot more focus, particularly weekends to engaging with the boys. The wife ran another half marathon and I looked after the youngest. He went to a party, the oldest was away with Beavers. I was in charge of the team this weekend and enjoyed every moment of it. Yet I noticed when I came home one night and worked all the way home, I was very edgy with them. I will learn. Learn to reflect, and learn to relax. As they are the main focal point of my life. No compromise.

Last but not least, and maybe insignificant to you but for me it’s a big thing 😉 The Gatwick Express trains that I use, changed, at least on Thursday night. Instead of sitting on an old 1950 refurb comfy train coach with sofa like seats, we got the new hard seated commuter trains. All change. We are arriving in the 21st century with WIFI on the train, cleaner trains, that make us, England, look very modern to visitors. The tables seem to be very far away from the seats, making it awkward to work on, but maybe we will be getting used to it. And we must avoid the temptation to work just because we got wifi. And we got plugs for mobile phone chargers. And the lights are bright. It is a bit nicer really. Yet, there have been some strikes, some delays and cancellation. New trains won’t change that I suppose. I almost missed the event I was speaking at. Never mind, made it in the end.

I made it to Friday too. I enjoyed the weekend. And I am back on it tomorrow. 3 weeks of travelling ahead.
I am loving it. I am winning.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

Sunday Column (373)

It was half term this week. That meant I took a few days off to spend with the boys and the wife of course. It was great. Three days of ‘peace’ and happiness.

On Monday we went to London and the Natural History Museum. Again. Yet every time we go, the boys seem to understand a little bit more about earth quakes, lava, dinosaurs and so on. It was great, and Rohan’s best part of the museum was how life is created as a dot within a mother’s womb. Then evolution….we must go back again soon.

mother's womb

Having had some time to myself, I decided to shut down my productivity blog ‘tidwows’ this summer. The content finishes end of March and I shall move it under my blog’s pages as an archive. The decision was made to focus on other things that are going on in my life. Life is fluent and I enjoy working on new projects.

With my second book on productivity far from being finished, I just don’t have the time to maintain two blogs and two separate sections of productivity, e.g. one on a blog and one in a new book.

Regarding our car buy…or not buy. We have been thinking a lot. There seems to be a lot of new SUVs coming out this year. Whilst I enjoy the thought of having a new Skoda Superb and drive it for three years, then get another new one etc., from a financial point of view it might make more sense to buy used and drive a car for longer. Or does it?

Having done some research, looking and offers and realising it is a huge financial burden to add a monthly payment to our outgoings, we decided to put our decision on hold until later this year. Our beloved Seat Alhambra works well and is ok to drive for another year or so. Yet, for longer distances, like going to Scotland or Germany, it would be nice to have a more comfortable car. And then again, Ford offers a better deal with better car features….decisions.

The challenge is of course that the new car deals are very appealing. However, if you have the money to buy a used car, or nearly new, out right, it doesn’t stack up to buy new. And financing a new car makes sense if the interest rate is lower than the one from the bank….anyway. Decision made for now. Yet of course we keep looking 🙂

There aren’t many other news this week. I kept up my 5 am routine when being off and also added some additional milage to my running. I noticed it more than anticipated, but won’t have time to keep it up. Even a 5 am start doesn’t allow more than 10K before work 🙂 I think however that this is enough, twice a week. I tried our new elliptical trainer which wasn’t too bad and worked on different muscle groups. I might just alternate between swimming and cross trainer. Oh, and I did eat too much this week 😉

Going back to work was fine, having two days in the office is just enough to get on top of things, go through your emails and catch up on 3 days you missed. Sounds fun, yet all set for next week. It is unbelievable sometimes as to how much you are missing in only three days. Never mind. And given next week’s activities and schedules, it is going to be very busy. Full steam ahead!

The weekend passed quickly. Given it was half term, there weren’t any kids parties. So that was good. A relaxing weekend to finish off half term was nice. My wife decided to spoil me with nice food and I did my part in choosing a nice wine. One tries 😉 A few errands and play time with the boys.

Also the week I discovered Blinkist, which is a tool that summarises non fiction books. So within 20 minutes I can read the main and important content from a non fictional book and get the gist of it. I like it. The only challenge is can I make it work for £5/month to read enough books? Or in other words, how many more non fictional books do I really need to read?

We shall see.

As with most decisions this week it is down to patience and time. Time will tell and patience will pay off. Fingers crossed anyway. Yet patience, as you all know, is something I have little off. But one tries :-p

Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (368)

This week started with a surprise. Things that meant to happen will happen of course. After a very relaxing weekend things just wouldn’t stop. And this wasn’t even work related. Luckily it all worked out and to that point one needs to trust that things will be working out. The famous dots will connect in the future. Looking backwards.

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Whether that is for work, career or personal things. One must trust the greater universe for what there is, what there will be and things work out in the future.

My biggest concern, besides money which will always be a concern, is health. For myself, my loved ones and friends. Hence I run, reduce drink, swim, exercise, meditate and try to eat well. But will that be enough given circumstances like work and the commute, stress and the environment? Are we having enough influence on our own well being?

I don’t know is the honest answer. Maybe we will develop enough new technology for healthcare that we don’t have to worry in the future. But I guess we cannot bank on it.

Work was busy this week, or intense seems to be the better expression. Good intense and it felt like we made a lot of progress. Signing a big deal is always a great fulfilment. Touching base with people that are pushing boundaries and move things forward is satisfying. This was a good week. There will be some things I hope to share soon, but I am in a very happy place.

Also I gave up on my dry January. Not because it is difficult, actually I could do with never drinking again. It’s not that difficult but I do like my wine. I didn’t drink for two weeks, it wasn’t a big deal but thinking of having a glass of wine, sitting by the warm fire, coming in from the cold…that is a piece of heaven. I can do without drink, don’t need to prove that to myself, and a detox of two weeks is enough. As a matter of fact, I would like to consider an alcohol free week every month. With 14 units being the limit, this will be a good idea. What would Donald Draper have said to that?!

On that note I am down to the last few episodes of Mad Men. I cannot wait to finish it, or not to finish it as I really enjoy watching it. It is escapism, yet within my industry.

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We then test drove a car at the weekend. Looks like the only spacious saloon car out there big enough for us giants is the Ford Mondeo so we are thinking of getting one. The new car finance deals are tempting, yet we aren’t convinced whether we a) need a car just yet and b) whether a good used one might end up being the better deal. Or, we could wait until we can afford a SUV.

No rush, so we shall see. Still waiting to win the jackpot 😉 After two wins over the weekend of around 10 pounds, I am hopeful LOL

On the note of jackpot. My wife is running a half marathon on her 35th birthday and raises money for RISE. She really goes out of her comfort zone and pushes boundaries to achieve both the fundraising and the fitness. I am very proud of her and hope you spare a few pennies.

Last but not least the boys have been good lately with trying new food. We printed off food charts showing the different things they tried. It turns out to be a competition. We find it very important for them to be exposed to different foods, try things, go out of their comfort zone. Big steps for my little people. I am a very proud dad.

Guess that is enough of an update. Today we mainly enjoyed the snow, a long walk, some yummy hot chocolate and cake, another log fire …. a fun day!

Have a great week. Wrap yourself up warm. Winter is finally here.

Love and kindness from me.
Volker

Sunday Column (305)

The first week back is always a struggle. Changing from a 6 am lie in to a 5 am start, new physio exercises, new weight routine and the blimming man flu. Got a few 8 hour sleeps to recover and feel like the week has passed by very quickly. Managed 10K without too much pain at the weekend. Struggled a bit though, coughing and all. But needed to be done.

So besides the car playing up and needing repair and the usual commute, a busy start at work and lots of meetings, there is not much to report. The family is well, the weather was mostly ok but we got some rain and I didn’t miss the booze at all. Drinking is all about habit, having a glass of wine at the fire at night instead of juice. It’s not that you need to have it, and if you did that would be a big problem I suppose.

Regarding the car: we also, additional to last year’s repairs, need a new alternator which wasn’t picked up at the major service. Dispute with the Seat garage too, trying to charge me for a diagnostic which according to the Seat website is part of the major service. Yet, the garage says they only do a visual inspection. To be continued… There is nothing more than bad service that I hate, and people trying to rip me off. Working client facing, I am disgusted, particularly after very bad experience with Volvo a few years ago. Anyway, let’s not assume too much for now.

Yet this week was somewhat funny. Amongst all the daily routine, there were calls from people, visits to people, meetings with friends and clients that suggests one thing, and one thing only: 2015 is going to be exciting. It seems like the digital world is ready to ramp up in Europe!

I can’t put my finger on it yet. Whether this is job related, money related (lottery win?), or exciting in some other, maybe sad way? But when I look back in a year’s time, I will surely say, 2015’s excitement was all about ???.

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This is a good feeling to have. New year resolutions are all fine given we are a week in. That means no take aways yet, no alcohol, little carbs and some exercise at least. But that is nothing that has changed from last year with the difference of having less steak for lunch as the Christmas lunches are over. All sushi so far. I am confident to drop a few more kilos over the next three month. Bikini figure for the summer they say 😉

Ok, enough of that 🙂 It is great to see how the kids grow up and being able to spend quality time with them at the weekend. Let it be experiments (Colin got an engineering kit from Oma and Opa for Christmas) or watching Tarzan, cuddling because the wind is a thunderstorm, or taking the dog for a walk. Fun, shared experience and lots of love and happiness. That is what it is all about. When you are on the couch, cuddled up with two little boys and a puppy, the fire is on and you watch an emotional movie. Why not just enjoy and let go. Forget about the negativity and bad things in life.

I leave you with those thoughts as there are too many bad thoughts out there this week: the awful things that happened in Paris, the drowning of two people in Brighton over the weekend.

Stay safe! Enjoy and live the moment.
Volker

Sunday Column (137)

Going back through the week makes me realise why I feel a bit run down. I had 39 degrees temperature on Friday, sleeping 13 hours – a proper 24 hour flu or as Wikipedia would put it: ILI = influenza like illness. I was feeling better on Sunday: so back in the ring tomorrow.

Friday I took our Volvo down to the dealership in Orpington. The dealer we bought it at in Croydon annoyed us, so I needed a trustworthy dealership. Unfortunately, Kwik Fit took 4 weeks to find out that the noise we kept hearing came (allegedly) from the transfer box. However, taking the car to the dealer, they couldn’t place the noise at all. I wait to hear back on Monday. So Kwik Fit is definitely crossed off my list for anything but maybe tyres – did I mention they slacked off the cheap braking pads that were on my car which they themselves put on last year?

Never mind. The car really stressed me out I admit. Not least as we were supposed to visit friends this weekend too. I just still not understand how some companies can be so careless. With Kwik Fit for that matter, I had a conversation on Twitter, then with the customer service team over the phone, then with the area manager, and when I collected my refund I was told that they had a few complains unless the garage manager is in. Bad process management but not my business I suppose.

Other than that my work is busy which is great. But the main problem we have is recruiting. We are looking for media sales people (and I know a few actually read my blog and mention this in interviews). Sales people who are selling to agencies, know how to deal with media planners and maybe have sold network solutions before. Media sales people with display experience. Those are hard to get by as it seems. We only recruit what we would think of the best people and whilst there is a huge unemployment rate in this country, there is a shortage of staff in the digital industry. It seems paradox but the whole industry seems to be the same. It also results in salaries being paid that go beyond any sustainable level – I believe that the industry will be in for a big surprise when salary levels drop to a “normal” level again. We shall see. Dot com boom number 2?

These are all my thoughts this week. I am still recovering this weekend, not making it easier for my wife me by being useless at home at the weekend.

I keep you posted.
Best wishes,
Volker