Tag: data

New Year Column 2020

It’s 2020 – so what’s now?

Happy New Year, and maybe a happy new decade. If you ask some people, the decade doesn’t start until the year 1, e.g. 2021. If you ask me, let’s go for it and call it the roaring 20ies. I always admired the 1920ies, and when did they begin? 1920 or 1921.

We are in times of change. Having started the delivery of my first mindfulness course, I noticed two key learning points already. One was that I have been involved in meditation and mindfulness since 2006. I have studied, practised and developed my mind. This, in all fairness, probably made me cope better with life, and what life threw at me, over the years. I haven’t suffered a burn out or depression, and I am grateful that I didn’t. But mindfulness has been a key part of my personal journey and I feel privileged to teach it to organisations, individuals and showcase the benefits in our ever hectic world. If you are interested in finding out more, please download my pdf on my website about mindfulness.

The other point I noticed is a quote from Eric Schmid. In 2010, so 10 years ago, he said that we generate the same amount of data in 2 days that we did from the beginning of civilisation to 2003. This has surely increased since, and I am not sure what that is in MB, GB or whatever ‘measure’ you have to give it, but the sheer amount of data and information we have is too much. The mind is not made to cope with that long term.

Steve Jobs

2020, a year where the information overload probably more than doubled, e.g. exponentially increased, since 2010. This is a year where I want to help more people coping with that. Whether that is through my involvement in Moment Pebble, Coaching or Mindfulness. However, I continue to consult with a few companies, and still love the buzz of my old industry.

Particularly, there is one company which goes from strength to strength where I can add so much value. That means opportunities and I am a bit torn where 2020 leads me. At the same time I am exploring new industries, the ones that can cope with the information overload, and are able to use new technologies to make sense of it all. There are two conversations I had this week which were mind boggling. One I don’t want to talk about yet, the other is at the forefront of building a new industry on my doorstep.

And maybe, we can connect the dots looking backwards in a few years time. Wouldn’t that be great?

If I say it is an exciting time to be alive, it sounds very cheesy. But I believe it is. When you start to connect your calling with what you do, you create an energy and momentum that really catapults you forward. And, there are more plans for 2020. Let’s just see.

My 2020 plans – what are yours?

I have been debating what 2020 has in stock for me. Of course we don’t know, and we will never be able to live anywhere else than the here and now. But if I had a wish for 2020, I’d like it to continue the way 2019 ended.

As people know, I left what we call a ‘permanent’ job in order to pursue my passion: working on projects I enjoy and where I am in charge, where I can make a positive difference. I found a few of them. One in the data space working with very talented data enthusiasts on exciting projects. This actually is the most enjoyable job in adtech I ever had.

My mindfulness journey lead me to work with another company called Moment Pebble. Their aim is to revolutionise the way we are being more mindful at work and life, reducing stress and becoming more skilful around mindfulness. This goes in line with my latest course I took. I am super excited to scale that business and bring more of the skills around our pebble to the masses, and I will deliver my first Workplace Mindfulness course from early January.

Lastly, I work on a few other projects, such as D:PULSE, a new conference concept for 2020/21 and supporting other companies on their business development efforts. I am happy to be able to split my time between so many talented businesses and people and work in areas I enjoy. This includes new areas too, being a trusted advisor and board member.

I was born to be a consultant, so if someone now asks me, I am a business consultant and trusted advisor. Within the trusted advisory ‘box’ you find executive coaching, my book on productivity principles which sold over 7,000 copies so far, principles for success, my podcast on success and mindfulness practise. It is all coming together, and it becomes an ever bigger toolbox with one aim: to support and help businesses and people to achieve more. Simple. And the real satisfaction I get, is to see people and business thrive on the back of my input.

In the meantime I am blessed for having a healthy and fun family. Anyone with kids around the age of 10 knows that those little people growing up very fast, forming their own character and challenge you. Every single day. It is fun though, isn’t it? I have been able to spend more time with them, more connected time.

So for me personally, for 2020, I want to learn more about health, and go deeper into that topic. Whilst in 2019, thanks for some external influences and people, I had to learn a lot about mental health; 2020 is about my physical health, maybe shedding a few more pounds. It has been over a year since my last marathon, so maybe….just maybe, but then there is food and drink. I have a healthy relationship with alcohol and that won’t change, but drinking less alcohol and eating less meat, becoming a more sustainable ‘element’ of humankind, that’s a goal worth pursuing. And if I learn how to cook some healthy meals, then this is a bonus. It’s an area I still want to be better in. I just love learning new skills.

That’s it for me. 2019 is almost over. 2 weeks of hibernation, editing podcast, preparing some work, good food and wine over Christmas, celebrations and gifting. And dwelling on what’s happening with this country moving forward. A topic we can cover some other time.

If you need help formulating your 2020 goals, need a shift in your direction or just want to have a sounding board, schedule a call on calendly.

Let’s have a chat and see how we can work together in 2020.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Volker

Sunday Column (512)

I wrote this post about mobile usage in Asia during my holidays in Singapore. However, I only got a chance to publish it now. Too many other ideas on content and sharing of thoughts, and new ideas. Seems as if my brain is always buzzing. I suppose it is, and I love writing as my creative outlet.

My recent trip to Singapore, 10 years since I have been to Asia properly with the exception of a trip to Turkey, times have changed with the arrival of smart phones. A podcast mentioned 300m middle class mobile phone users in China, and some research suggests a population of 260m in Asia alone (stats from 2016); in comparison the USA has 325m people (2016) and Europe about double that: 741m. Asia as a whole counts 4.5bn and Africa 1.2bn people. Take those numbers in. Just because I have been to India recently, you can count another 1.25bn people in India alone, an emerging and tech savvy market.

Let’s digest that for a minute and look at (observed) behaviour. People are constantly on their phones. In Europe, London, they are, but Asia I found that behaviour even worse. That is of course if it is a bad behaviour, or is being on the phone constantly the new norm? In Singapore people were on their screens 24/7, playing whilst being on the tube, whats app and wechat when queuing, and voice messaging being quite high. Particularly younger people listened to voice messages on chat applications constantly, recording and sending them. A new generation of people with a new usage behaviour. I bet their call charges are non existent. Some stats already show that phones are used less for voice calls than ever before, and that the use of text, data and internet access has long outweigh the use of the phone as a phone (as in calling someone). Weird no? I just renewed my contract and pay less per month but have 20 GB of data. That’s a lot of data!

So the phone as we intended it has disappeared. People don’t talk to each other anymore but use it to send messages. See the picture, who remembers those kind of phones? Anyway, the intensity and the phone being the main internet access point for a younger generation is new. That means the phone is the gateway to shopping and ecommerce, banking, saving and retirement planning; gaming and entertainment, food orders and life style choices. Anything happens on the phone, from watching movies to news, to reading. And of course social media usage. It’s a mobile first generation (Kudos to Mr. Mobile, Mark W).

From a business point of view I could do the easy maths. Let’s assume 50% of the population is 16+ and in the market for smart phones. Probably even more. But even 50% of a population of 1.2bn or 4.5bn people is a lot. That’s 600m or 2.25bn (!) people respectively. If 10% buy an app or a product they like via a phone for 1 US$, your turn over is in the millions with the app purchase alone. Anyone not getting the scale of things here? It justifies the investments companies like Grab are making, WeChat, Facebook, Amazon and others by accessing any of the markets above. The sheer scale of things is crazy. If you are investing in Grab now, an Uber like service for anything from transportation to delivery, then you are getting an ROI that is manifold. Of course that’s why the big boys are doing it, and why I started investing in Asian tech Fonds 🙂

The recent experience sparked a lot of thoughts around mobiles, mobile usage and how the other part of the world accesses both resources and the internet. It showed me the commerce opportunity and the way we are using the mobile phone in the future, as I am certain our European way of trying to avoid screen time will vanish with the new generation. Not a week my 9 year old is asking for his own phone. Laptops seem old school, tablets with keyboards might just be accepted, but boy, if you have a mobile phone and a credit card, you have all you ever going to need. Or do you?

Life is changing, I keep saying that. Having purchased an iPhone XS recently, the main justification was that I use FaceID. I liked the sound of it, and so far it has been better than fingerprint technology. The Apple Watch is nice, and I love the health tech (a market soon worth over 1 trillion US$), but maybe I wait for the 2019 model. I am not sure yet. Normally, I am not a first mover, but early adopter. But as technology moves on, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up. How will our boys live when they are our age?

Hope this sparked some thoughts. Isn’t it a fascinating world we are living in?
Volker

Sunday Column (457)

Monday Monday. Oh yes, nothing like a 2 hour drive in the taxi on a Monday morning to Heathrow. Longest ever; normally it takes 1.5 hours max. So a bit of adrenaline this week to get to my flight, which ended up boarding late, and everything was fine. Being rushed I ended up grabbing the wrong breakfast and feel just so much better about the week ahead 😉 BBQ Pork for breakfast. Yeah 🙁 Calm, breathe. Life is good, and fingers crossed, I have yet to miss a flight. 25 trips this year so far. That’s on average every other week, and more to come. Wow, the most I have travelled in years. And I keep saying it is getting less, but I haven’t got any more news on that at the moment. I believe it isn’t actually the travel as such but doing an additional job that takes focus away from what I wanted to do in the first place. However, I know there are changes on the horizon, and hopefully they will be good for me. One must believe that moving forward things will turn out the way they should. Believe in the future and that the dots will connect looking backwards. And they always will.

Weekends. Trying to spend more bonding time with the boys we went on a long walk down Littlehampton beach last weekend. It was nice and we all just love being close to and at the sea. The noise of waves coming on shore and then the water disappearing into the pebbles. It is great and calming, it makes you feel far away from home, on holidays. Balancing life.
We also upgraded to the latest iPhone 8 this weekend. A bit of a hiccup, we had to go twice as only passports or UK driving licenses are accepted for having a credit agreement – no German driving licenses or ID cards. But we got there in the end, and it was probably the first time I used my UK passport for something official. The new phone is great, but not much of an advancement in comparison to the 7, and just a slight improvement from the 6s I had before. The main differentiation is water resistance, wireless charging and an improved home button. Having a hardware contract with Apple now, means we are eligible for an upgrade from 12 months and have a 12 months pay monthly deal with Vodafone. This gives us the opportunity to get a new iPhone every year, something I always aimed for. But nowadays the innovation year on year is getting smaller, hence the need to upgrade yearly is less. Anyway, let’s speak about that in a year’s time, as technology and face recognition will move on.

In terms of data, it was easy to restore the iPhone. Everything gets backed up in the cloud but my gratitude journal didn’t. Since February I have been writing a daily gratitude journal which seems to have vanished. This is a bit of a shame. It is a great practise to reflect once a day on all the positive things in life. I wondered if I ever look back at it…guess for now I won’t 😔 I will no longer trust an app, but instead will write the journal on Evernote. Maybe it is my fault for not backing it up properly and then restore it, but then again if it isn’t an obvious process in the app. Never mind. The NHS app I used for 5 years with my BMI/weight data has also vanished, but luckily I had a back up in Evernote. I just love Evernote! So for anyone who hasn’t seen my posts about it, please do use Evernote to track everything. I write my blog on it as it syncs cross device and I can edit it on the go, then copy and paste it later. I collect my Thursday Flash links in it and take all my meeting notes on it. Evernote for everything!

Germany. If short, I stayed two nights in Germany, Hamburg, this week. I went for a walk after work as I still can’t exercise, go to the sauna or gym. I overworked my back after the initial minor surgery, so I now need to wait until it heals properly. It takes longer of course. I reflected on my relationship with Germany, thought about whether I could live there again. I like Hamburg, enjoy the organised life and the city is just georgous. However, I also feel like that about Munich. In Germany, the cities are nice and green, not too big, and one can find a good life life balance within the city or close proximity. It is just right. But it doesn’t feel right. Just because things are ticking all the boxes doesn’t mean they are right for you. Logic doesn’t always prevail. Does that make sense? If your mind isn’t in it, it doesn’t make sense.

I suppose you can achieve the same in the UK but maybe not in London, maybe in smaller cities, or only at a price that is reserved for the few. Yet, I am very happy with my life in London, being able to have the best of both worlds, balancing both village life and city career. Germany yet somehow doesn’t appeal to me anymore. The latest elections aside, and the negative movement towards right wing politics, Germany is just another country – and where I grew up in. After moving to the US 25 years ago, I learned what life could be like in a wide open space and I enjoyed something bigger than what I had at the time. Germany, and to a certain extend Europe, is a place that can get too small. And if not physically, I feel like I couldn’t permanently live in Germany, as it would be too small for me. Not sure if that makes sense. Sometimes village life gets like that too, and without the escapes to London, it might not be for me either. Freedom – that’s what I associate with the open space I experienced. Like the pubs in New York that just have space. Or you find a 20 lane bowling alley in the middle of town with 15 pool tables. The space you have, the freedom you feel. And, as Europe moves towards Brexit, maybe Europe is just not the place to be in a few years time. We shall see.

Those are my thoughts this week. Of course there are more but I don’t want to bore you. Interesting chats about politics with a taxi driver in Germany. Booking of my next trip to Belgrade, Serbia, which will be new experience.
There were days I took the kids to school and felt very privileged to spend more time with them. They are my purpose and priority.

Another busy week and a week of no travel ahead. That will be nice and I have lots to do with the team this week in London.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

Thursday Flash (12)

Flash….

Latest research suggest to NOT eat Bacon Sandwiches. Oh no, I just love those 🙁

On the data front, I found this article about small data. An interesting point around more specific, maybe less scalable, however more accurate data. Would you agree?

And whilst I shared this before on my Sunday Column, I wanted to share it here again. You should read this article in the FT about Brexit and Citizenships.

Have a great day and please share this post if you liked it.

See you in a flash 😉

Sunday Column (388)

A short and busy week. Whilst it was quiet on the client front on Tuesday, given Monday was a bank holiday, I managed to catch up with lots of internal discussions. Also we made progress in the garden and got more commitment from our bathroom guys, so this should be sorted in the next few weeks.

Things just take time. We must accept it. Nothing ever, or maybe hardly ever, goes to plan. But that’s the beauty of life. Or is it? We always get there in the end. Patience.I am typing this post on my latest gadget. A Bluetooth keyboard by Zagg that attaches to my iPad. It is rather small but very versatile with different options to attach the screen in a way to work in presentation, reading or typing mode. And it works well so far, still getting used to it. However, already, I am loving the fact to be laptop less. Essentially all but attachments can now be easily done on the go on my iPad. Longer emails, excel sheets, presentations, etc. For short trips, conferences and most of my private advisory roles, this is the ultimate working machine.

There is this quote I heard in a Tim Ferris podcast the other day, that just wouldn’t leave my brain: Do you believe what you think? Do you? I listened to it whilst doing my half marathon distance on Monday, 22K in just under 2 hours. Do you? I mean our brain plays tricks on us all the time. We use our kids’ brains thinking to get them distracted or off to sleep. Whatever it is, our brain tells us something. It makes us feel sick thinking of things that might happen, no matter how irrational those thoughts might be. It keeps us awake at night and yet we are able to calm our mind down through meditation or exercise. Latter works really well for me, processing thoughts. GTD users would know how to sit down and ‘drain their brain’, e.g. Writing all your thoughts out of your brain, to free up thinking space.

We must train our brain to think positive and to engage with us, listen to us, and be confident. It must black out the negative thoughts, the what ifs and the maybe one days. The worries should be neglected and we must focus on the positive things in life. Maybe not a new thought but very important, particularly with more and more input coming into our brains atm.
Another podcast, Freedom Fastlane, suggested that there is no insecurity as our brains will always fight for survival. He gave you the food for thought to be told you are incurable ill. If you were, wouldn’t you fight for the most satisfactory life to have until you die, making it happen, no matter what. And once you have been told that there was a mistake, and you live, you never go back to your life of fear but you stay at your most intensive life and living experience you ever had. And that is it. That is the one and only thing I must still learn: living the life of no regrets and within realms of our society and peer pressure life style. Latter are probably the most worrying restrictions, and quite frankly, we shall succeed. 

Video link

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/AVo7DdiMXGY” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Stop thinking about what you need to do. Instead focus on who you need to be. We do not live someone else’s life, we are creating our own life. Our rules and dreams, no one else’s. We are leading not following and we make it work, always. No matter what. The inner force will drive us on, make us succeed in whatever we do. And that is life’s golden ticket, isn’t it?
So do not believe everything your brain thinks and believe in what you want to believe. It will happen. Life is funny like that. Believe you are going to be the next CRO and you will. Believe in your kids and give them all the tools you own for them to build their own life. They will not disappoint you, and how can they if you just expect them to build. Don’t tell them how the house is supposed to look like, they work it out themselves. Their life. Their love. Their passion. What is it to you? Why should they follow your ideals? They will work it out themselves.

My MIL stayed this week. Her partner too. The kids were off school and I was in Berlin. I would have loved more time off with the family but I was speaking at a conference about data. I enjoy those kind of things and it went really well. Likewise I enjoyed the networking, the discussions and of course attention 😉 I am back out there mingling with my old friends and partners. 
Then there was a 10K run I did in Berlin. Tiergarten, Brandenburger Tor and Reichstag. At least that’s what I planned. I ended up with a 13.5K run, a detour and seeing a different part of the city. Never mind. It is nice to run in cities, see post about Rome, and nice to see some great things. Life is good, and with me doing on average about 110K per month, I do feel fitter too. Actually, as a matter of fact, I am feeling fitter than I have ever been. Yet German beer, Schnitzel and Gyros didn’t help this week.

Life is amazing. Let’s embrace it and let us enjoy it. In full swing, in full acceptance. And let us pass on our passion to the kids, to make sure they grow up and develop the way they want. We can only help them on the way, they have to walk themselves.

Have a great week ahead,

Volker