Tag: linkedin

Ballueder Thinks (10) – October Update

I am finishing this post as I unwind for the night. A busy day ‘in the office’, lots of zoom calls…but a good day, as most days are at the moment.

When I started writing this post, it was a week after my marathon. My columns here become more of a diary which I publish on an irregular basis. I hope you continue to enjoy them. Please reach out to me and let me know, so I can use your feedback to improve.

That in itself is an important point, if you don’t seek feedback, you never improve. I guess that’s why my coaching clients come to me, they want to be coached from an ‘outside-in’ perspective, someone giving them feedback and suggesting how to better themselves. It’s great to be able to do that, as I really enjoy doing it too. Reach out to me for a free consultation on how I could help you to achieve more in life.

In terms of my running, I recovered from my injury from the marathon and I am slowly going back to training again. For now, I decided I will take it easy for a month, focusing on weight loss, muscle gain and maintaining my fitness level. This means a split half marathon on Mondays, and a further 10K later in the week. That’s plenty to maintain the level for now. I never felt so fit before. Interesting enough, I noticed that I cannot cope with alcohol that well anymore. Even the ‘normal’ amount gives me a slight hungover the next day. Whether that is down to the theory that muscles which are well trained soak up any fluid in order to hydrate, and therefore cause havoc with alcohol, or if it is age, I do not know 🙄 So my beloved wine needs to be a weekend thing for me to continue to perform at my peak during the week. That is a good problem to have IMO.

What keeps me up at night is productivity and performance. You might think that’s a bit geeky but I have two interesting projects which both need high performance from me, for the little hours I have. The balance when working as a consultant. I hopefully add a couple more projects by the time I finished this post, and also add more coaching clients. As a matter of fact I added a voluntary role in the mindfulness space to the portfolio; more info and announcements next time, when things are officially formalised.

I also got approached for full time roles recently and have engaged in a few conversations. However, I am still not sure. But never say never. There is loads going on, and I shared 10 open positions on LinkedIn the other day that randomly appeared in my newsfeed. To be honest, I am very curious how I split my time in the months to come. All I can say is that I truly enjoy what I am doing and the people I am working with.

Things are moving, and are in constant change. Change is good. My podcasts are well received and I enjoy interviewing guests from a variety of topics. Watch the space for some really interesting, mind opening conversations I recorded.

That leads me to another topic. As a family we have been putting our thinking hats on too. From whiteboard sessions around the kitchen table to discussions how we want to live, and what is important to us. As some ideas and plans are shattered, other opportunities are opening up. Again, I am not sure how it all pans out in the months to come, but I am sure we will be fine. As a family we grow stronger, the boys are getting older and things are happening. And that is the most important thing. It showed massively when the youngest had to quarantine due to a Covid case in his school bubble recently. I am sure we see more of that to come, and I am worried about a second lock down tbh. Sometimes I fear the virus will never go away, so we just have to accept it and live with it.

Anyway, given the circumstances,

I am happy.
I am grateful.
And I am immensely positive.

I couldn’t wish for anything else atm. We have always been ambitious and positive thinking. This means we are ready to take on whichever challenge life throws at us, and I am confident we master it. And the boys are growing up with that attitude and learning from us to become more resilient.

This all goes in line with a lot of patience, resilience, and communication with a 9 and 11 year old, who of course see life from a different angle than ourselves. Life is challenging to be explained to some, and making decisions is what we have to do as parents and carers, and we hope we make the right ones. You cannot always please everyone which means, sometimes things just have to be done.

There is of course a negative side effect to what I do: I am working too much. I just love to. Whilst I am contracted by days/hours/projects, I often end up clocking a lot more hours and neglect the family or myself. The other week I realised I hadn’t left the house for 3 days! I made up for it with a session in the pub, and that felt really good! Just the other day I coached someone on work life balance, and how to separate life and work when working from home; from physical distancing to breaking up the day, carving time out for lunch, school runs etc. Don’t forget, we are all in it together, and a small change can go a long way. It’s like the discussion around wearing face masks. They don’t protect yourself, but protect others. And for that reason, unless you are selfish, just wear one. A small price to pay if you ask me.

Whilst we didn’t go out for a few days, we got some life admin done. It’s nice to feel to be on top of things, cuddling up with the boys, spending proper family time together. The fire was on, nice food was cooked and you are creating that home family atmosphere. Isn’t that brilliant? As mentioned above, we are still learning to become the ‘perfect family’ (define that how you want), but open communication and support for each other is key. How do we stop daddy from shouting? How can I trust you more? How can I get you to listen more?

It’s a bit like a board meeting. The application of leadership and management to small independent family organisations 🙂 I can see a book coming soon. As a matter of fact, a discussion last week sparked my interest to write a book called ‘what I learned now and would pass on to my younger self if he was listening’. But it’s true, I remember a friend of mine doing a whiteboard session with his parents a few years ago. It works, and visualisation and communication are key to any team you are working with.

Since I last published a post, there have been a few things happening. I got a new veggie cook book by Jamie Oliver which I love; I ordered the new iPhone (2 years upgrade cycle) and it will arrive soon. It is crazy to think how far technology has come, when I compare that with my first HTC smart phone running on Windows back in 2006. The connectivity or even the camera compared to my first digital camera at university. I am a bit technology geek, and I cannot wait for the machine to arrive. The pictures are soon available in RAW format, not that it means much to me, but this will be a breakthrough for professional photographers. In line with that, we are consuming more, and I got myself convinced to add Netflix to the mix. So between Apple TV, Prime and Netflix, we now have 3 subscription services. I am monitoring this closely, as I don’t really like to pay for many. We also pay a subscription for FreeTV which I happily get rid of. However, that’s just a hidden tax really.

Now, on the weekend of the 17th, I heard the sad news that my old manager and mentor, Andy, passed away. He was fighting cancer since 2016 when he collapsed in the office. I will re-publish a podcast I recorded with him at the end of 2019, in memory and in warning, somewhat, that we cannot escape death. Andy had cancer, an evil one, and we openly talked about it. He made peace with himself, and was ready to go – as ready as one can be. He leaves a lot of friends, a fantastic family and a legacy of a life behind. He influenced my life over the years, and those many others. It sometimes feels as if the good guys go to early. One just doesn’t know how much time is left on the clock. You must make the most of it. Life can be cut short.

On that note, if you knew Andy, please contribute to his chosen charity Garden House Hospice, mentioning his name. I will miss you and our chats.

No matter how many people die, it isn’t getting easier. The closer you are to them, the more memories you shared, the more it affects you. This year I lost two loved ones already. Many people died of Covid of course. It’s not the year to sit and wait. It’s those experiences that make us more determined, to spend more time with our family, to make more things happen, to work harder, yet make every moment count with your loved ones.

Andy and I shared a ton of memories, attending events across Europe, where we spend long days and nights, having lots of fun. We shared good and bad moments, and he will be truly missed. I loved working with him, and loved taking advice from him. Rest in peace.

I think this is a good time to end this column.
Covid, Brexit, life in general – there is so much uncertainty. As I am learning to embrace fear more and more, it doesn’t make it easier. I sometimes think I need a year off, maybe 2021, to reflect and do what I want to do. Lottery win my way please 😉

Give your loved ones a hug tonight. Reflect on what you have, and be grateful. Life can change in a heartbeat, so cherish the precious moments.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world!
Volker

Launching my book Principles for Success (1)

I can officially announce the launch of my book.

I want to be honest on my blog here, I am quite chuffed to have achieved that. Yes, I wrote a book before, but juggling a full time job, family and writing a book on the back of a podcast….but it can be done. It is down to time management, discipline and routines. Latter you heard over the years, and it is mentioned in both of my books.

After interviewing 40 people in 18 months of my podcast Stories of Success, I am delighted to summarise what I have learned in terms of What makes you successful.

Thanks again to all my podcast guests for sharing their stories. I name them all in the book!

In the next few days and weeks, I want to share those principles in short videos. You can find them on my LinkedIn feed, Facebook or Instagram.

The first few chapters are about understanding and identifying your WHY, the why of your business and what it means to you. Understanding yourself and what drives you on. It is such a fundamental question to ask.

We then solve the question if money means success. A question I was surprised most guests answered with no! Or did they? Actually they did, and it gave me confidence that success isn’t related to money, yet you might not be able to reverse this, e.g. money often comes with success. But is it a main driver?

And we learn how success isn’t a “thing” but a journey you are on. It doesn’t stop. It is continuous. Isn’t that interesting? You don’t achieve success, but you are on a journey of success.

Discover those principles above and more, and feel free to either get a copy of the book or join me when I continue to interview successful people on my podcast in season 3.

Back to School

This week is back to school. If not a lot earlier, most people return to work this week. Particularly in the UK, with people enjoying splendid weather over the bank holiday weekend (just over a week ago), some took the additional week off. Why not.

I have been on it since early August, working on content for my blog, my LinkedIn Videos and launch of my executive and productivity coaching business. I have been lucky to see a trend that companies are interested in mindfulness trainings and how they can create a culture within an organisation that looks after their employees. As I continue with a top end training course later in the year, I started teaching meditation and mindfulness, incorporating emotional intelligence (EQ), working towards productivity. It all seems to come together.

This week is back to school for the kids too. That means childcare is sorted for most of the day, and life returns to some kind of routine. It also means that you see less of your children. Unfortunately, that’s how life is.

Those who follow me closely know that I currently split my time between a part-time job and launching my own business. That is splitting my time between security and flexibility. It is hard work, but I have a great team I am working with at my contract and enjoy both challenges. Best of both worlds really.

Also, this week we are back to my podcasts. On Thursday I launch season 3 of my podcast Stories of Success. It has been so much fun, that after 40 episodes I continue to interview high achievers and personal development people who give us their opinion on success. I have a few really interesting episodes recorded already, so make sure you tune in on any of your favourite outlets (including Spotify!)

As of next week, I am launching my 2nd book, Principles for Success. I will share more info about the book in the forthcoming weeks and give you a taster of what it is all about. It is an exciting journey to write a book and you will find out more on an article I wrote over on LinkedIn.

Despite my busy schedule I still have a couple of coaching slots available for Q4. So don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know if you are interested. Or, if you are part of a business, let me come in and I share my thoughts on how to create a more productive workplace.

Here is to Q4!

Sunday Column (483)

Happy Easter.
Happy April.

Monday. Did you notice? At least in Hassocks, there was sun. Sunshine, it felt like spring, and I bought the boys some ice cream. I had the day off, took the wife to hospital and her eyes are healing. Things are coming together, which is nice, and we were all looking forward to Easter. To go swimming and make bread, cook some nice food and go for long walks. They say it is going to be cold, but not sure it will be. It cannot be cold, I want sunshine, no? And last Sunday I almost forgot to turn the clocks forward. What a difference it makes in terms of sunlight, but of course it makes me tired. Look at the blog posts from the last few years around March: fresh air, more light, and I am tired. Germans call it ‘spring tiredness’, and I will overcome it. Too much to do, lots to arrange.

It has been a fairly busy and intense week, with a bit of a cliff hanger. But I am getting used to it. As doors close, other doors open, and as a friend described it the other day: Volker, he said, as you push things out into the universe to do their thing, you need to sit back and wait for the results. Ok, I keep doing that. Fingers crossed. Just on Thursday I had a chat with someone where I realised that things could get busy quickly. I am excited, yet tired, yet energetic. Not sure that makes sense, but the dots will connect looking backwards, I am 100% sure. Nothing happens over Easter, enjoy the time off.

Sometimes you just have to dive into things. I remember in 2010 when I dived into this ‘RTB’ thing that turned ‘programmatic’. Take a leap of faith and trust it works out. Life is far from linear and there are so many leaps of faith around at the moment, maybe that’s what it is. Then something else came up this week where I thought that, wow, I’d love to get involved. Patience it is, and programmatic turned out to be a hit, so why shouldn’t this one. One thing I learned is to not update LinkedIn anymore. Who really cares, or the ones that really care will know. Does that make sense? I am fed up of living a life for others to judge by the CV I put online, or the reputation I have on paper. People who know me, worked with me and supported me over the last few years know what I am like and what value I add. That’s important, not a piece of social media where anyone could put anything. Time to do things without telling everyone. No?

Easter came too early for me this year. That’s how I feel anyway. Things are early yet late, yet unknown. However, the boys needed the break, and we spend a lovely weekend together. Those are the times you need to cherish and you need to use to foster growth in them. Create experience as Mike says in the podcast coming up after Easter. Having interviewed a few people for my podcast this week, there was one lady suggesting her mum giving her a mantra along the lines of “you can handle this” – isn’t that amazing. If you can install in your kids early to be able to trust and go through any situation, they will have more confidence than others, being able to master more complex and difficult situations. We used to have the mantra ‘Always remember you are being loved‘ on the kitchen wall.

My wife used a different phrase recently called ‘parent guilt’ – that you as a parent are not feeling that you gave 100%. You weren’t there for pick up, school evenings, breakfast or bed time story. Yet, they still love you and often don’t notice whilst you have the guilt. Of course you have regrets and I am sure my parents would, and it is normal. Like with anything else in life, just accept the fact that you cannot be perfect, you cannot control everything, and move on. You cannot be there all the time, and the little ones often don’t notice. Just be present, that’s my advice, as much as you can when you are with them. Share the love and hugs, be there when they ask for help, and really need you. Ignore your phone or social media. In person or at the other end of the phone line – day and night.

I hope you and your family had a great Easter too.

Best wishes,
Volker

Sunday Column (320)

This week got me hit a personal goal! I hit 5,000 connections on Linkedin! Yes, that means I am connected to 5,000 individuals, who admittedly I don’t all know. But, similar to Twitter, this is all about reach for me. Being able to connect, network and reach out with updates to that many people makes it fun. Great input whenever you need it. And it works well. Not only can I find useful connections, I also help others to connect. This can be very rewarding at times.

Otherwise it as an interesting week. Monday started with a busy, but not manic day. That means, in work terms, it was almost not a lot going on, when you can stay on top of things…or is it just mental any other day. Anyway, of course the week changed quickly. By Friday we were running around like headless chickens again 😉 And next week is end of month. I have a day trip to Germany and overall I have a lot going on. But that’s the way I like it. Always nice to have a few days where you can just cope 😉

network

Oh and oh no…you might remember that not only did I attend a Facebook event but I also went back on Facebook. At least for a few hours to post our shed which we wanted to sell locally. That’s me breaking my Facebook detox 🙂 Is Facebook the new Loot, the new FridayAd, the new Gumtree? For me it is and it makes perfect sense. We also managed to sell the shed in wake of us getting a custom one built next to the house. Work is halfway done and should be finished next week. We already ordered the alarm for the shed, the new garden hose, the Karcher, and the list goes on. I am very excited to see the finished piece that allows for more space in the garage to exercise…and for that I got new kettlebells, new flooring etc. I am very excited about transforming the space in the house.

In line with that, my next project is the spare bedroom which I want to be a second living room, chill out and play room, working and home office room at the same time. And of course, it being free for people when they come to visit us.

As you can probably tell, we plan a lot in the house. Next is still the upstairs’ ceilings to be smoothened, the heating pipes to be stopped from banging, some electrical stuff and a new carpet. Once that is done we still need to do the bathroom and driveway but I guess that’s next year. Let’s not rush and I didn’t win the lottery yet. However, I already envisage the new spare bedroom with lots of productivity and chill out gadgets 🙂 Poor wife!

Coming back to Facebook. A friend had a baby. Of course I wanted to see the little one and make sure he is ok, didn’t I? And Facebook is the place to do that. Did I feel I missed out on things in general? Did I go through the last 3 weeks of updates? NO. And since the detox I have been on it less often to be honest. The local groups slacking people off for cycling without helmets, trying to impose their standards on others…come on guys, each to their own and no need to have a go for people to be different.

Maybe I can use Facebook on a desktop only basis, only at weekends or something like that? Life was busy enough without it. I hardly have time for Twitter 🙁 Unless I can moan about the train services of course.

This leads nicely to my topic of rail fares. I renewed my annual season ticket, £3808. We worked it out, cheaper than driving to work. It was a heated debate at the local dad’s night on Friday whether we get value for money, dependance on the trains, working from home schemes, flexible hours and of course whether we should all work from Hassocks. Maybe not. Again, we chose to live here, partly because of the school. Those are oversubscribed already, just extended last year already, and now they want to build another few houses. Something is not adding up.

Ok, you don’t need a phd to work this one out. One wonders, with the upcoming election, what else is going on. Or you don’t. I try not to. Doesn’t mean I don’t care.

Just one word on Productivity before I let you go: Germans rule productivity, e.g. they focus on getting their work done to have more spare time with their clubs. Makes perfect sense to me 😉 Follow the link to see!

I had a fantastic family weekend. The boys are in a great age, and I really enjoy them!

One sad note to the end. As Rosie, our now 8 months old German Shorthaired Pointer doesn’t get along with the cat, or our 7 year old cat didn’t fight back when she was a puppy, we decided to rehome Hansel as well. It has been a fantastic 7 years with him. We had to rehome Gretel when, after she just coped with the babies, she didn’t cope with the new house. Now Hänsel. We are sad to see him go but as he confined himself to the garage and a good friend offered to take him, he will be a lot happier and better off.

Let’s just hope the dog can stay 😉

Have a good week.
Volker

Sunday Column (234)

Can you believe it is September? Show time. There are two conferences and two exhibitions I go to this month. Plus of course my usual work load and commitment. I am loving it. Fast pace. It is going to be a great month! All fired up!

But back to review last week. The night in the tent. It was better than anticipated yet maybe a bit early for the youngest. Having said that, maybe next year it will be great to get away as a family. Anyone selling a used tent?

The kids are my main priority at the moment. I really try to focus on them when I am at home. They stay up the odd night during the week, and in the mornings I see or hear them too. C now goes to the loo at night and then back to his own bed. Normal you might think, yet for me such a big step in his development. He is becoming independent. He is growing up so fast and starts school this week too. My eldest wearing a school uniform. It feels like he was just born yesterday. Where has the time gone?

I am still learning to do all those things the kids love. Letting go and go for kids’ stuff if you like. Reversing my growing up and stiffness a bit, and enjoying the involvement. Time will tell how much I succeed, however it goes in line with my Rotary and Buddhism really: others above yourself.

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It is weird writing this as I am, as repeatedly told over the last few weeks, very open with my feelings. Nothing to hide. Nothing to pretend. I am just a dad learning to get better every week, sharing my experience. Maybe I won’t be the best dad in the world, but I will try.

And you get so much back. Little anecdotes, learning patience, explaining the world, or persuading them to do something they don’t want to. Ignoring tantrums is another one. Leaving your phone turned off or out of reach. Being 100% in the moment with them.

Yes, having grown up with a dad that was home from lunch time, I still get used to be out of the house all week. This is particularly true after 3.5 months at home. I am the bread winner. C asked me if I enjoyed work, and when he is older, he likes to go to work too. And he will. He will, similar to me, become a ‘workaholic’. In a good way that is. I love my new job for instance, and I am not only saying that!

On Friday I organised a night out for the local Hassocks dads, as most of our kids will go to school together, most of the families have moved here over the past couple of years. It is good to see so many familiar faces as in the ‘everyday life of things’ we don’t manage enough ‘man time’. The odd chat at a birthday party between changing nappies isn’t enough. We will repeat that and make it a regular occurrence.

I am doing all that because I enjoy connecting to people. My LinkedIn network is growing daily and I decided this week (you probably read it) to send an email to all my contacts. It is a scary moment to think that you send over 3,000 people a message of what you have been up to recently. Yes, I do that every day on twitter and every week here on my blog, actually I live a very public life, however sending people an email was a new experience. I hope it was well received, it definitely was sent with good intentions. And most of the feedback was positive so far.

At the weekend I met with a really good friend from university. I haven’t seen her for 4 years, yet it was like I just saw her last night. What I mean by that is that it is great to have friends who you don’t see for a long time, then you see them again and it is like no time has passed. Thanks J!

This really concludes my thoughts of the week. Only my second week in the job yet I feel like I have been there forever. I am excited about the prospects. My first email campaign and lots of learning re my family. And a lot of networking on the way, meeting new and interesting people. That is what I do. That is what I enjoy.

Have a lovely first September week.

Love and Kindness.
Volker

Leadership & Great Companies

I recently revisited the book Good to Great by Jim Collins which I read a few years ago studying for my MBA. Now, with the TED talk about inspiring leaders and its affinity to both NLP and DBM, it was time for another post.

“It is your Work in life that is the ultimate seduction”, Pablo Picasso.

In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and DBM (Development of Behavioural Models), you drill down on actions by asking:

– What do you do?
– How are you doing it?
– Why are you doing it?

With more modelling this goes deeper, however focusing on this three questions, and looking at the TED talk, we are looking to answer the question what a successful leader is made of, and what are successful companies made of:

– What does s/he do?
– How is s/he doing it? How is he leading, managing and setting example?
– Why is s/he doing it? What motivated the leader and makes him so good in what he is doing and how he is doing it.

The latter seems to be key to a lot of discussions around leadership. Hence in Jim Collins book it is about “good to great”, the “level5 leader”. As of the graph above, the level5 leader builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. S/he differs from the effective leader, e.g. level4, through the input of personal humility and professional will: the main difference is the personal involvement and drive rather than “just following a vision and stimulating higher standards”.

Now my first question that comes to mind is “incentive”: why would a leader be like that? What are the incentives for that?

It seems to me that most examples of level5 leaders are either owner managers or they seem to have a big share package 🙂 Some of course just want to do it for the recognition but let’s be honest: does anyone really care if you have build a great company over a period of 5 years and you didn’t see any financial rewards from it? I don’t think so.

Of course there are personalities that focus on the larger goal of building a great company, and their ambition drives them on to be above and beyond themselves and only think and work for the organisation.

Another principle Collins introduces is the hedgehog concept, e.g. waiting and being on top of things rather than being a fox that tries all possibilities. Maybe not the best summary of the concept, but I am personally not convinced that this is the best analogy in the first place. It is about “focusing on one big thing” rather than diversifying (too much) and having not real focus.

Let’s have a look at the circles:
– What are you passionate about?
– What you can be the best in the world at?
– What drives your economic engine?

Anyone having achieved a Master Practitioner in NLP and has worked with coaches, coached people or is interested in personal development knows what s/he is passionate about. The fundamental will to live and what makes you tick and cry, what makes you feel complete. What gets you out of bed in the morning. Collins however looks at the company perspective here.

Same with the next circle, from a corporate perspective it is all about: what you are good at? Don’t try to build an engine if you don’t know anything about engineering and don’t try to be a doctor if you cannot see blood. What is it you are good at? What are your skills? This could be something your company is currently not involved in.

Now the economic engine: money and share options? Maybe if you look at this model from a personal perspective but Collins refers to the ROI of your business, how do you measure economic success for the company.

Let’s reflect for a moment: the circles don’t only apply to corporate success but can be equally used to look at personal success. Then, once modelled for the individuals of a company, or maybe founding members of a company, transferred into a model for a successful business. As one of my managers used to say: “I recruit people that I trust and I can work with, I can then teach them the details they need to learn” – personality plays a key role in who we work with and how we (and a company) become successful.

Reading the Collins book, he goes on and describes the use of technology and its importance for further greatness of companies. Definitely a must read book for any manager and aspiring leader.

And the latter is then responsible for keeping the momentum going, or as Collins calls it the “flywheel effect”. Once a company is going, and growing, one needs to look at the results, energize the people and build the momentum to drive the company forward. Not too fast, not too slow, and always looking at the underlying processes. Companies without the right processes, monitoring and feedback tools are prone to fail as control is everything. If you don’t know where your profits come from or whether you make money, you are doomed straight away, becoming a fox.

This sums up the key principles of successful companies by Collins and shows the resemblance between successful personalities/leaders and companies. Maybe another pointer to make a company “more personal” and look at it from a different perspective. What do you think?

Google+ has hit it off with users….

Google+ has hit it off with users the world over who wanted to get the latest slice of technology on hands. There is a delirious response to the search giant’s newest social networking service, which is hyped by many to deal a death blow…

The international business times published an article on Google+ with some quotes, including mine 🙂

You can read the full article here.

Socially public

Now this post was triggered by Claire at the iMedia summit in Brighton. Her, and also John, were speaking about connections made through social media.

It is difficult to think where I best start, and what I really want to say. I was supposed to launch the social media unit of an agency back in 2009. It never happened but it gives me a certain authority to speak about social media. I also managed to get a corporate account up to 1,000 followers within 3 weeks. However, of course I never ran a social media campaign, or did I?

I have my blog. My blog links to Facebook and to Twitter. Twitter links to Linkedin, and my Linkedin profile of course has a link to my blog. Anyone searching for my name will find me, and find out what I do and where I am. The latter thanks to Foursquare which I recently joined (for good).

Now what is my reach? Just short of 1,200 followers on Twitter, over 2,000 connections on Linkedin, and about 160 friends on Facebook. With the latter I am very selective as I am happy to speak very openly about my feelings there which I wouldn’t do on any of the other sites. That is where I draw a fine line between personal and public social life.

But can there be a personal social life? I start to disbelieve that to be honest. I share my life, and I don’t mind. I am happy for John Smith to know that I just checked in at Victoria Station on my way home or that I am at work. He can read my blog and find out how much I love my kids and wife. And I am happy to share my feelings, what I believe is special and what I have done all week. Not many people are interested, but more so my clients enjoy reading my blog. A client said the other day “you are on my Google reader”: I thought that was a compliment.

In our industry, digital and online marketing, we are not client and seller, we are friends with the same passion. Most of us anyway. It is about opportunities, creating value and not being one in a million. We share our lives without being shy about what we think. This industry is open, we share!

However, there is a small percentage of my life I prefer not to share. If my wife is ill, when my dog dies or when I look for a new job. No one’s business really. How bad would it be for me to share on Twitter that I need a new job before my employer finds out. Or for me to tell the world that a close friend died whilst I just have to keep up morale in a client pitch.

This is, luckily I suppose, the minority of my experiences. Besides I am happy in my job, I don’t have too many “problems” that I don’t want to share.

Hence for me the answer to the question whether you might want to have different profiles for a “work twitter” or a “personal twitter” is NO. You are one personality, you are one person. You are who you are, and of course, even Google has a profile of me.

So for me being engaged in social media, writing a blog and being active in and for our industry, I am happy to share. Twitter is me, my blog is about me, and Facebook is my private little online space reserved for closest friends.

I love it. A mini celebrity, somehow. Don’t you think? 😉

Sunday Column (108)

A quick week lies behind us. I am trying to remember how Monday started, but can hardly remember. It was probably just life as usual.

Tuesday I went to a conference from the AOP where we discussed ad exchange optimisation and internal networks. The big agency groups were there and it was interesting to see all of the groups’ solutions surrounding ad exchanges. From my point of view, GroupM’s Jakob Nielsen presented his group’s solution very well. However, looking at the responses and discussion, I also believe things are still in early stages with most agencies. Probably this is a post in itself. However, those of you who have read mexad CEO’s article on DEM, DSP, WTF will understand that it is far too early to rely on technology and that only well trained and experiences people can handle the bidding well across all the ad exchange platforms. With the experience we have, we seem to be miles ahead, and it also seems as if our positioning is much clearer than comparable companies….as some seem to build networks rather than offering an independent service solution.

Enough about my little part of the industry. Besides ad exchanges, I listened to a lot of social media this week. I attended the imedia Brand Summit in Brighton. where I felt home in terms of social media and the overall state of the online industry. My main takings however are that when I was heavily involved in the search, social and mobile marketing side of things, that we discussed the same topics. I still don’t believe that some brands haven’t figured out all the ideas around Twitter, Facebook and Mobile advertising, don’t make use of search and put display into the mix. I don’t want to have a go, but it seems as if the same topics are discussed for over 3 years. It makes me think I should work more as a consultant to the online and digital industry. I believe I have the skills and the broader 360 degree view to do a good job. However, maybe my dream to become Marketing Director of a Whisky Distillery in the Highlands, earning a good living and living the life, will one day become true….but until then I stay put where I am, as I enjoy very much what I am doing. Now, we look forward to the agency summit in the summer. It will be another, more advanced discussion all around. Or will it?

Enough said about work, our part of the industry is still very young, and things are developing quickly. Now, I finished the week off with some visitors from Germany, e.g. Rohan’s godfather, who I have known for many years. Avoiding the awful demonstrations in London over the weekend, we managed to go to the Imperial War Museum, and Colin had a blast running around. We also managed to go through the odd bottle of vino and having a great time and conversation. Today I feel a bit knackered, given the fact the clocks went forward, and that I am still lacking sleep due to the wee one. So bring on another week…I’ll be fine.

Have a good one,
Volker