Tag: excitement

Sunday Column (487)

Has it been another week? Really? Time flies. Not long now and it’s another year, if you know what I mean. The times are changing and so is my outlook on life and with every conversation, every podcast, I am looking for my next purpose in life, the bigger thing. Does that make sense to you?

This week I recorded three podcasts. One was about homeless people, one about the plastics in oceans and another was about the generation cherry, and what to do when taking redundancy. Serendepity or not, all of those come at a time when I am discussing not jobs, but opportunities to join and work for companies, doing more contract work and see which direction I might go. Look at adjusting the sails according to the wind in the industry and how I add most value to people that are interested in my skills. And as long as people are interested, and as long as I show flexibility, things will be ok. Life isn’t bad at all, life is good and actually, I would almost go as far as calling it exciting. Embrace life for what it is.

Sometimes we just have to take stock, which I did over the past few months, and what I call “re-calibration”. That means for me to assess my values, my aspirations and what it means to me to have a happy, a fulfilled life. What makes me tick? The start up or the corporate? The advisory role or contract role or the permanent one? Whichever path I choose, I move in the right direction, as there isn’t a wrong direction, is there? There is nothing you can loose, if you move forward. Do it. Carpe idem.

What if we question all the conventional boundaries and go for things that we have never done before. What if we set sail and start into the unknown. To survive, to live and to change. To leave a legacy and something to be remembered by. Of course life isn’t as black and white, but imagine for a minute it was and you could be the one adding colour the way you want, not the way others want. Yet you are the one that determines what and when you do things. Wouldn’t you be happier?

I have 13 posts to go. Another quarter of the year. Then I hit the magical 500 Sunday Columns. I launched the first column on the 1st of March 2009. Shortly before my first redundancy in a year which should have changed my life. My first son was born. I took a 2nd redundancy. Wow. That’s almost 10 years now and I just moved forward and forward…..I enjoy writing but I am also contemplating of changing things around. To keep it fresh….

Life has just begun, and you are in charge to make the most of it. Every single day!

Anyway, those are my thoughts this week. What have you been up to?


Sunday Column (486)

Isn’t it just fabulous when the sun comes out? It feels like summer, and the mood is just great. It feels like everyone is out and about to make things happen, to push forward, spring is in the air or summer almost. I sent out an email to a few of my LinkedIn contacts this week, as I am determined to find my next position soon. It is time to roll up my sleeves and get stuck into the daily sales grind, strategically positioning and growing propositions in market. That is what I do, that is what I am good at. But I also look at alternatives to adtech, more focused on bringing the best to clients direct or working for clients direct maybe? Let’s see what life holds.

I am excited about the opportunities. About what life has to offer us. I published a podcast this week with Katie Ledger who is an amazing woman and a great coach and guest. Speaking to her makes you think about life, about what you cherish and what is really important to you. People like her I find inspiring and motivating. I am hopeful my listeners feel the same listening to our conversation and can take things away from it. That is why I am sharing those conversations I have. To inspire and to provoke positive change in you.

Not sure if that is just me, but every now and then I take stock and evaluate my values in life. Of course you do that when you don’t have a job, and when you decide what you really want. And then you think the job you wanted to apply for had over 400 applicants. I am wondering where the industry is going, too many senior people in a field that is going to be consolidated even further. What’s next with adtech I wonder. And I am not the only one, having heard from a friend this week that she applied to a job where 1000 people applied as a lot of senior people got made redundant in the advertising world. It is worse than the 2009 recession it seems.

But you wonder if the rat race, the daily commute to London is the opportunity or if the opportunity is closer, maybe being more present and around the kids, and having less pressure to achieve status and outside recognition. A Buddhist thought for sure. Yes, I wonder what’s going to happen, but taking stock is never a bad thing. What if I never became the CEO of Unilever and return to my old dream of becoming a Shepard in Australia?

We were lucky, ever so lucky, with the weather this week. The hottest day in April for 70 years. Two spontaneous BBQs, some nice beer and wine, and it felt almost Mediterranean. I could get used to that. Then not really, 15 degrees and a cold breeze is all I would need. Or do I? I had some positive news this week too, things are moving in the right direction, let’s see…where and when things end….

Have a great week ahead,

Sunday Column (472)

Another week in January, already half way through the first month. I started writing this early in the week. I have a new creative outburst this year it seems, e.g. I love putting thoughts into writing and talking (see last week’s post with the info on my podcast Stories Of Success). And I am proud to announce that the first (solo) episode went live this week. Check it out. Also, I conducted first interviews which, post production, will be published over the forthcoming weeks. This has been fun and and exciting.

Not sure I mentioned this before, but on weekends, as you would, time is reserved for the family. That is very important for me, as normally I am not around that much during the week. Having said that, I truly enjoy the school runs at the moment, however it seems that whilst this week was still quieter than anticipated, my diary is filling up for the next weeks. Fingers crossed to get back into the ring and get some, even if temporary work. I am starting to go stir crazy 🙁

Anyway, on Saturdays for instance, I love getting a lie in (that means 7 am for me at the latest) and then have breakfast with the boys who are usually up at that time, before taking the youngest to Karate. When I was a child I wanted to do Judo. Mainly because a friend of mine did Judo. Years later I got into Tai Chi and loved it, and think that hindsight I would have benefited from learning a martial arts when I was younger. If I say it wasn’t done in those days, I would be lying. Everything was done, but a lot of things you did were more conventional, not exotic, and martial arts were probably seen as exotic.

As I describe in my podcast, I used to think a lot about what others thought, and that’s probably down to the way I was brought up. That has changed, and when my boy decided to take up martial arts, I would get up at 3 am at the weekend to make it happen. There are always excuses, unless you just move forward and do it. To conquer a fear or an imagined fear. No one really cares what you look like or if you do one thing or another, and you shouldn’t really care if they approve or not. Who are those people that think they can approve or disapprove what you do with your life? That’s the same with a lot of topics, the immediate one I can think of is your sexuality. You shouldn’t worry if you are gay for instance, and neither do I. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case in our society, and neither was it common place to do martial arts. Life is changing for the better. Just see the #metoo campaign lately. Rant over 😉

You know that I have been looking for a job. No news yet, and I believe it will take another few weeks to be honest. I am not very good at sitting at home doing nothing, and until you know what project you do next, you are a bit restless. Potentially I might sign a short term contract as a consultant, yet it is about the bigger picture, the long term perspective. And there are plans, as always.

There is a thought of moving out of advertising technologies (adtech) industry and move to a different industry. Discussing that with a friend this week showed that I am not the only one 🙂 As a matter of fact most people I speak to think about it. That’s never a good sign, is it? I don’t yet have to make a decision on anything but I have been thinking about that for the past weeks. Adtech has been good to me, and I have been working in it for over ten years, pioneering some of the stuff we are taking for granted and yet still, people make it sound complicated. I love my mates in the industry and it is a fun and dynamic industry too. I speak to more and more people recently that are fed up of people who made it to the top and don’t have a clue about what’s happening. The industry is due a change in 2018, and I won’t bore you with the details here, but I believe that a big change is going to happen. The old model and set up of agencies specialising in different discplines and consultancies being specialist in some aspects of it, won’t work. I see them two joining together, delivering strategy and execution at the same time. What that means is that agencies will become more strategic with clients across the board, not only around media and creative, and consultancies becoming more hands-on with delivery and execution.

Adtech will be at the heart of this merging with Martech. Martech will just become part of an overall technology stack, software essentially. Whilst this transformation will still take 3-5 years, there will be lots of turmoil. M&A will fuel all that and big telecoms will buy those technologies, ending up with a few original adtech players like Google but also telecoms being the owner of technologies. I am excited for that industry and love it. However, being in the middle of it won’t be too much fun, as something will have to give, and quite frankly, I could do with a bit more stability in life on the job front, in order to focus more of my spare time on my number one priority: family and kids.

Now don’t get this as a too negative notion on adtech. I am still speaking to a few companies in adtech and some have some smart solutions. Just this week I spoke to an interesting company which has a niche solution delivering incremental ROI. That is so cool! That’s when I get still excited. And yes, likelihood is I am back in adtech before we know it, but let’s also be honest and watch the space as it is changing.

So, that’s all from me folks. More news next week.

Sunday Column (467)

Another week in the run up to Christmas. It was a week I spent predominately at home, researching, studying and mulling over my coaching and consulting proposition. It was also a time of writing and outputting more content. On a personal note, if you haven’t done yet, please read and like/comment on the following articles, maybe even share it. No apologies for the shameless punt, but any exposure would be greatly appreciated, despite the Drum feeding me exciting figures back already. What I write resonates within the industry, that is good to hear!

* DMP/CDP post in the Drum
* Consulting and Career post in the Drum
* Growth Mindset

Why I write about data, and hopefully I embark on a few data projects moving forward, is because it becomes key to programmatic execution and is now available at scale and quality. Two factors that haven’t been met over the past few years. That is where programmatic comes into full play.

The other article is more about a shift in our industry. Just this week I spoke to someone who took redundancy at a big tech company this summer, who joined a start up which might be sold again. It is a cycle of exits, M&A and redundancies on the back of it, unrelated to your quality of work. This is madness compared to what a career was supposed to look like according to the old view of the world, but has it changed. Let me know!

Change is everywhere and with everyone. Like a butterfly we are on a constant metamorphosis.

Yet hold on a minute. Another interesting conversation this week suggested that the career is dead and that it doesn’t matter what you do, how you do it but that you do it. To not miss the boat, to take a risk and overcome fear (despite having a family and a mortgage) to gamble essentially on the big exit. Can it be done? Did we all miss the boat on Bitcoin. Guess not all of us. I just heard about someone investing a cheeky £1,000 a couple years back, now not having a mortgage. But hold on a second, when do we know if something like Bitcoin takes off, something like Facebook etc. How much of a gamble are you willing to take and how do you cheat the system? Or, as a matter of fact, can you actually cheat the system or is it all down to luck? Can you influence luck through the LOA (law of attraction) and by playing the lottery and being a good person?

You can see that I am throwing around some buzzwords, connecting the world of believe with the world of realism. Not sure if that is the best way of putting it, but what would we have to change in our ‘personal’ system and view of the world to make the output of what we are doing just ever so slightly better. To take a punt on something like Bitcoin, or gamble on predictable things. Latter is an oxymoron isn’t it.

I am fascinated by that idea. For me, and I had enough time on my hands this week to think about it, the barriers of business and personal development, to overcome fear and building your own system into the greater macro system (see my book on #BeBetter), is an ever increasing key to success. On the back of that revelation, I started working on a framework around my book to apply to high performance achievers moving forward. Plus, I am having my first concept of a new idea at the ready to be launched in Q1. I have been busy and I will keep you posted. These are exciting times. The plan is to relaunch the ‘Ballueder’ brand with some exciting content, alongside some kind of job of course.

On other parts of my life, I manage to uphold my exercise routine and try very hard to not slack on bad food intake. It is all about what you buy and have in the cupboard, the accessibility of junk food. We are getting better at that. I increased my weekly runs to 30K in total plus two gym sessions. I find it hard but know that I will have a week off over Christmas where all I do is accompany the wife for some longer, yet slower runs. I’ll be fine and my body will have time to recover and soak up Christmas food and drinks. It is the festive season after all 🙂

Being able to take the kids to school most days, making their lunch and becoming part of their daily life, is great to get engaged. When working in London every day, I didn’t have that. Or less of it, thanks to the commute and long hours at work. I think I will get back to that at some point, however whilst it lasts, I am more than happy to enjoy the engagement and what I can do to help on a daily basis. It makes me think what life would be like to live in the country side, have a local job and be home for dinner every night – but as my wife said it would do my head in, as I am just wired completely different. So it is what it is. And she is right.

On that note I hope you are all well, getting your presents sorted and enjoy the quieter time.

Have a great week.
Love and kindness from my corner of the world.


Sunday Column (244)

It’s another crazy week. It is another journey home after a good Rotary meeting. Trains are messed up due to signalling failure and a person hit by a train. Wonderful, nothing ever goes smoothly? My week started with a temperature. Shaking, sweating 24 hour flu, and dragging myself into the office, ploughing through a lot of work. It is amazing how the body heals itself and repairs itself, just give it a bit of help and sleep. However, Thursday morning my body rebelled. I had to call in sick, some stomach bug made my life hell 🙁 But by today I am a lot better.

At work the fun part of building a team has began, we are recruiting for sales managers, so be in touch if you are looking. Exciting times ahead!

I read a good Buddhist quote this week:

You really have to know your own fundamental mind before you can stop and rest. If you know your mind and arrive at the fundamental, that is like space merging with space. Ta-tu

Whilst this is not my Buddhist column, and it might not continue it next year, I still like to share some thoughts on the above. The knowledge of your deep inside – it is worth exploring. Motivation, issues, restrictions, rules, behaviour. This week I started working with a new coach again. A few weeks lie ahead of me where I want to make some positive change. Again, exciting times ahead. To do that I will work on my deepest understanding, getting to know myself a bit better than before. As a regular reader you will know this is going to be VERY deep. I love challenging myself, in any way, and really look forward achieving more. I am not sure who said that but ‘if you are going through hell, you need to drive like the devil’. No, I am not going through hell, just the opposite. But literally, if you are going to master any challenge, make sure you got the skills and equipment to do so. Thanks Chris for the coaching!

I believe, when you are free falling like I was describing it a few posts back, you are gaining space. When the mind opens up and you start breezing and going for it. I begin to feel like that often, yet I believe I can widen my span and open up wider, falling slower, enjoying the moment of the fall and go for it more intense, more productive, more engaging. Again and again exciting times ahead.


I got feedback the other day that it is good to have a topic on the blog. Something to focus on. Of course if I start thinking about it, I cannot think of any. Gut instinct might be one, knowing what you know, trusting yourself, knowing when a situation is good or bad. That is a good topic. It goes a bit in line with the free falling. You know when to spread your wings and when to accelerate; when to climb up the hill again to accelerate on the next fall down. Isn’t that amazing.

It goes in line with knowing, and trusting your body to heal itself. Lying in bed with a temperature, trying to sleep, focusing on the healing process, yet knowing how far and if you can push yourself the next day, day after, whole week. We can go so much further if we wish to. I think that is my topic. Not to overstretch myself yet constantly challenging myself to strive and improve. Professionally, personally.

I am eyeing up a charity challenge for next year. The one I am thinking about is a 100 mile mountain bike ride on the South Downs from Winchester to Eastbourne. 12 hours if I am lucky. Can I physically do it? I want to believe I can yet I am wondering if I have time to get physically fit. A good challenge. Maybe I do it. I could impress myself, I could show my kids what you can do, and I had a reason to give up drink, caffeine, and eat healthy. All of that paired with client lunches, hard and long hours of work, travel, kids…. – challenge enough for me!

You can see, not one topic, but many small little ones that go around in my head. Then there are more charitable projects I want to do, and if I put my mind to those, I will be able to do them. And maybe, start with a smaller challenge to begin with. Please comment for any suggestions. I am keen on getting my head around it, and as you have seen, I am eager to make 2014 my fittest year yet with the latest addition, the pull up bar.

I guess that’s all for tonight. Let me end with an impressive video where no commentary is necessary, and I am sure I have shared it here before. I still cry everytime I see it.

Thanks guys, have a great week,

Job Hunt – a roller coaster ride

finish-line I reached the finish line. I am back in full employment, hence I thought I summarise what my thoughts have been over the past few months. It has been a roller coaster ride to be honest.

Where should I start. I started the race for a new job quite well but soon realised a few things: just because you get down to the last two or three out of 20 or 30 or more candidates won’t guarantee you a job. Even after seeing many people, companies might decide last minute to change the profile they are looking for and rule you out. I have been lucky with some interviews where they noticed after 1 session that I was short of experience in one criteria (out of 20) but as the weighting for that criteria was much higher than the other ones: I wasn’t a match.

All of this is of course fair enough, as you don’t want to start in a company where you aren’t a match. And sometimes you find that recruiters put you forward despite you missing that little bit extra, just to fulfil their quota. But never mind. I believe that I cut down the amount of recruiters I would work with in the future to approximately five. This seems like a good number. And the ones that are, know. Thanks for your support!

In our industry the supply of senior people is greater than the demand, so companies get hung up on one criteria. Big brand names, agency contacts, a black book of publishers and all that for a graduate salary. Digital is a flat structure. Between director level and MD/CEO there aren’t that many positions. And everyone seems to wait for a 2014 earn out. Will it happen?

The ultimate choice for me was again to do what I do best: fast pace, high energy and exciting start up! The title is not relevant, as it is the role that is the exciting bit.

For me it was important to go for the right role:

– Exciting product (tick)
– Healthy business (tick)
– Start up feel and environment (tick)
– Within programmatic (tick)
– Responsibility (tick)
– Smart guys (tick)
– MacBook Air (tick)

I need to be enthusiastic about a role and be ready to roll up my sleeves and get on with the job. Leading from the front and knocking on doors. After all I am a trained sales guy, the management part comes later. I believe I found just that role, in a start up, with some awesome, industry leading, cutting edge tech and ideas. Yeah!


There are a few things that are key to finding a job. I am a natural networker and if I didn’t do anything else I met and caught up with a lot of people over the last few weeks. Some offered me a part time job (Thanks Admonsters!), some offered me commission based jobs and some are interested in me being involved as an advisor. I believe I came out better at the end with a more stable, more connected industry friend network, having shared ideas that might take off one day.

But after all it came down to decide between a full-time position and a part-time / consulting position. Since I got a family, a mortgage and big bills to pay each month, I opted for the full time, the more secure position. A consulting or free-lance position could be an option further down the line, maybe in a few years. We shall see.

However, making those decisions is easy. But the whole period of finding a job (which is a full time job in itself) is actually very stressful. Interviews, preparations, rejections (yes, not everyone wants you) and lastly waiting to hear and get official confirmation. The moment you stop looking because someone verbally told you that you are the next hire, you loose. Never ever take your foot off the pedal until the ink is dry on the paper. And, keep believing. Some company pulled their verbal offer after 10 days – leaving me in a bit of a limbo.

What made it hard for me is that I was always believing things work out, and given my Buddhist conviction on Karma. Having said that, you start doubting yourself, you start exploring other areas, but then things turn around again. Things will work out. They just take time. A week in recruiting is nothing. You get paranoid, you cannot relax, you cannot enjoy your time off. These are existential fears. What if you aren’t able to afford food for your family? What if you cannot keep up with the mortgage payments.

Finding a job in 3 months is hard. I just managed and ideally you need 6 months to evaluate all the right options and compare each opportunity against each other. Particularly during the summer months when companies are not recruiting, people are on holidays. Your mind starts playing games with you sitting around not being able to do anything but not being able to enjoy your time off either. Comfort food, take aways and bottles of wine help to calm you down. Herbal tablets, lots of exercise and a good support system help too. However, the times my wife and I were fighting because you are on the edge were a lot more often in the last few months than over the past 6 years of our marriage altogether.

These periods of fear and stress are periods to test you. You come out of it stronger, with a stronger determination to make things work. Even if it wasn’t your fault that you don’t have a job, even if you got a package to leave, even if it is all down to others, you will be more determined to do better. And you will. Everyone I ever spoke to came out of these periods with a smile and a better position and more happiness.

A time of reflection. A time you want (and I did) to give to charity. You need to keep yourself occupied and help others. Consulting offers, small projects, helping out for free but being busy. I wrote a book, so that is something good that came out of it already. You reflect on what is really important in life.

There are no tips but to be patient as the right opportunity will (eventually) come along.
Plan for 6 months and hope it is shorter.
Enjoy the time with your family; this time never comes back.
Look for a hobby to enjoy: read, write or work on the house: use the time.
It all comes down to timing, karma and belief….and yet, a bit of luck.

If you read that and need some advice, please contact me. I am happy to help, consult and show you tricks how to get through this. I was never worried of not finding a job, I was only worried to go crazy in between and loosing faith. Luckily nothing like that happened, and my wife is still in love with me too. I saw more of the kids, had a great holiday and about to start my newest adventure. I cannot wait!

Good luck to you.


Sunday Column (123)

This week started in Cologne where I stayed in a peculiar hotel which also had smoking rooms. I had to transfer out of that into a non smoking room, and who did I find?

It was the first time away since I started bonding with Colin so much more. I realised my last trip in March wasn’t as bad but since Colin just started saying “Daddy” last weekend, I started being much closer to him. Not only because he is saying it but he has been engaging much more over the last few months. Also, just this weekend, because I spend so much more time with him than normal, you can see our relationship deepening. It is fantastic to be a father.

I used the chance to meet my cousin in Cologne and little Lia, her daughter. Writing this post I realise I didn’t take any pictures. However, she is 6 months and a proper big girl, just like her 2nd cousins being proper boys. Family I guess 😉 I cannot wait for the family reunion later this year. It was good to see my cousin and her husband, and Lia of course. We are all grown ups now.

She and my work colleagues noticed that after 10 years in the UK I have a way of forming “English sentences” in German, so speaking with a slight accent. Wow. Last week I was writing about me talking too much with a German accent and forming German sentences, now it is the other way around. Do I live or speak in between two worlds?

I returned from Germany with a slight hangover and went to a conference from which I reported on Friday. It is amazing how our industry is changing, and how familiar faces are moving from one part of the industry to our new and growing part, e.g. RTB (real time bidding), and it is sooooo exciting. I don’t only say that because my boss reads my blog but because what we do is cutting edge and so new within online. It is fun and a great way of spending most of your week (kind of).

Also I realised that when my wife went out on Friday night that I worked until 10 pm. I knew I loved working in general but also think that if I didn’t have family, I would work long hours every day and weekends. So I guess it is the family that keeps me sane and makes sure I don’t wander off to the lunatic site, lol.

Enough said about work. I was so glad to see Colin and Rohan again. Both are a bit ill at the moment but it almost breaks my heart if I don’t see them for a day. But I guess as the bread winner you have to make a decision what you want in life and how; and you work for the greater good of the family. One tries to compromise whilst they are young and don’t realise you are away. We shall see. I am not the only father in the industry and often end up speaking to clients and prospects about family. We are all one big community and are all in the same situation somehow.

We had a fantastic weekend with some friends who came over, so enjoyed a great Saturday night. These occasions seems to be rarer than they used to so more enjoyable when they happen.

I leave the family again this week, this time going to a friend’s wedding to Berlin.

Have a great week.

A day to live for

I just want to quickly use my lunch break to add some good news:

My sister in law gave birth to another Ballueder today, allowing me to be 2nd time uncle. Hurray! Not only do they now have 2 children but also it is great to know – sorry this might sound chauvinistic – that there is a boy in the family! Well done and congratulations to my bigbrother and his wife. I wish I could add the first pictures ….

Today, 28th of April, I do my bigbrother a favour to eliminate any information about himself and his family to keep the little one google protected.

Now, there is not much to add to a day like that, is there?
When I woke up this morning I said to my wife “I have the feeling things are coming together and we are making progress” – guess the above is part of it. An email from a dear friend last night and a great night with old friend all adds to the perfect picture of a “day to live for”.

More news at the weekend.