Tag: london

Sunday Column (112)

Another week has gone, and Easter is here. What a fantastic weather we have been enjoying in London over the last week. Summer, sunshine, degrees in their 20ties. Great! It lifts the mood but almost puts a damper on when sweating away in the office.

Btw office: we have now finalised most of the equipment we need in the office and moved in 99.9%. We still need to do some smaller things, but overall the office is ready to use with white boards, board room, video conferencing and all. Looking back to when I first launched the company in the UK last year, renting a desk in a basement office with a laptop, we came a long way. Onwards and upwards, our 2nd anniversary was this month.

So I am happy. Work is great, good lunches with great people, fantastic meetings with intelligent people and good strategic conversations with smart guys. On top of that I am developing some new ideas from books about energy households, innovation and business structures to work on some cb consulting ideas πŸ™‚

On the other hand, I am annoyed at an SEO company that seems to rip of my friend, charging her money for not doing the job right, making use of her ignorance. It really pisses me off, as my understanding of running any business is of going the extra mile, delivering value for money and delivering results. And if companies don’t do that, don’t deliver on promises, and make use of people’s ignorance, then this is wrong and unsustainable. Rant over.

As you have seen in my earlier blog post about London this week I got the chance to be on top of Tower Bridge. A fantastic networking event organised by Improve Digital. Those are the moments when I absolutely love London, enjoy the company and fall in love with this city over again.

Of course, going back to work in overheated and over crowed train carriages the next day puts me back down to earth. It isn’t all as nice as it could be, and my wife and I have ongoing discussions what to do next, where to go and what might be best for our family. Don’t worry, nothing will change any time soon, but thoughts are brewing πŸ˜‰

In the meantime we enjoyed a socialable Easter weekend. We had our neighbours over for dinner on Thursday, friends on Saturday for a BBQ and went to Winchester today after we had to cancel that trip the other week. Only visited a good friend and his young family and didn’t stop to see everyone we know down there but will do so again this year.

We are content, happy, and we love seeing the kids changing and growing up each day. Colin loves the garden, the sand (sand box to arrive soon), and watering the flowers.

Life is good.
Happy Easter.

Love and happiness from Beckenham,
Volker & co

Sunday Column (86)

Rainy weekend…just right for some relaxation.

This week passed very quickly with much excitement. My MIL was down to visit and I hardly saw her. Whilst I
tried to make any effort to come home early, it wasn’t really home until half 8 most nights. However, she is back for Christmas, and I will have plenty of time then (I hope).

I travelled a lot with work this week, mainly within an hour from London but still. It was good to get out. And we met some great clients.

Our cat Hansel got ill this week with an abscess which later bursts – that wasn’t really nice. He seems to get better but hates his antibiotics. Ach well, I am confident he will be ok again.

Colin seems to sleep longer in the mornings with two mornings already not getting up until half 7. Bless. He seems to look more and more like me. I think it is because he doesn’t look in the camera, as he has the beautiful eyes of his mum. However, it is like looking at a younger me. Scary to think what Freud would make out of that. He is fantastic though, great fun to be around.

On Wednesday we had our 3rd wedding anniversary. That was nice, we went for a meal and had a good chat about the old time. Darn….I am getting old now. Married for 3 years, 2 kids (almost anyway), a house, 2 cats, family car…..

Then we got a new front tyre on our car. My wife managed to burst it (not her fault) at a curb. Shame and just really annoying but nothing you can do. Unfortunately, these things happen.

So that, along with lots of work, proved to be enough excitement for one week for me. I have the man flu and not feeling 100%. However, my garlic intake over the weekend should sort me out πŸ™‚

Then a friend called to ask me to get him some Cialis. For anyone not knowing what it is, they are like Viagra but don’t make you feel as bad (and allegedly you get more performance out of it). I don’t know but supposedly you can buy them over the counter in the UK. I haven’t investigated it but found the whole thought of going, or maybe sending my pregnant wife, quite funny. Maybe in 15 years time I will be quite glad of having had the experience and looking into it. You never know. Hang in there πŸ˜‰

As you might be aware, and I thought I share that, I am reading Tony Blair’s book, and after about half way through it (page 330), I am now reading everything that happened since I came to the UK in 2001. I still find it funny that when I speak to new clients, they ask me “whether we should have a conference call” and I suggest “I could just pop around to your office” – them thinking I am in Germany. I know I have an accent, and will always have one, but I have been living in London longer than most people I work with…..

Never mind. It is all good, and with my current mood and sense of humour (oh I forgot I didn’t have one), I manage all that quite well.

I guess this is a rather boring post. Like the weather, grey and boring. Winter here we come. 8 weeks till Christmas. Crazy…..

Have a good week.
Volker

Hidden Treasures London

A dirty Martini, or as Hawkeye in Mash says, a dry Martini that can be declared as a disaster zone is the perfect way forward. I did not know that Cocktails and Cocktail bars originated in the US, see blog about Dirty Martinis. The Savoy seems to be a very popular destination for that.

Now, last week I have been to a place that is known as “The Duke“. A gem in London, even the Times Online wrote about it. That is the bar, the famous one, where Ian Fleming got his inspiration for James Bond having his Vodka Martini – shaken, not stirred. I prefer Gin Martinis myself though πŸ˜‰

Going there with a few (male) friends is an amazing way of relaxing after a hard day’s work. The friendly waiters with experience of handling and making great Martinis make you feel welcome. A discrete atmosphere, similar to a Gentlemen’s Club where you only want to take your best friends. Not any friends, just the best, the ones that truly deserve your company and the company of the Duke.

I mean, even Wikipedia refers to St. James as the area of Gentlemen Clubs. Not surprising as you find Jermyn Street close by with its fine suits, shirts and shoes, toiletries and of course pipes, cigars and other things for the pleasure of a real gentleman. Also, the Ritz and Buckingham Palace are close by, so you are in best company.

London – what a beautiful city. Every district has its own charm. You walk from Kings Cross down to Holborn and you think you are going from one town to another. From Covent Garden to Hammersmith, from Paddington to Victoria. Yes, I truly love London and its hidden treasures!

PS: for the world’s best bars, visit the website Worldsbestbars.com!

Sunday Column (12)

Time seems to fly quicker and quicker. It has been a few weeks now that I know about finding a new job and the input I am getting from conversations is good. But, so far I have nothing to report…..to the public anyway. But I keep you posted once there are new developments and progress. I have a couple more meetings next week, so keep your fingers and toes crossed.

This week was all about Social Media and Search Marketing. You read about my Inbound Marketing strategy and about the Social Media Summit. Next week I am going to review Viadeo and hopefully find time to write more about personal development and coaching. Also, I give you my views on telemarketing.

On Monday I went to York for some meetings. Tuesday I was booked all day with further conversations, meetings and discussions about my future. See above, I let you know if there is anything to report.

Wednesday I met a friend after work who I haven’t seen for a while. He was in London for an interview and although I only saw him for about 20 minutes before he had to catch his plane, it was so nice to see him. It so makes a difference to see people face to face! The night ended in a work night out before the summit with a few pints too many for a school night – at least for my liking.

The summit, see above, went well and finished with a great networking amongst the speakers in the Albannach in London. Not only do they have a fantastic Whisky collection, they also know how to make a very dry Martini, using Beefeater 24 πŸ™‚ As Hawkeye in M*A*S*H used to say “I’d like a dry martini, Mr. Quoc, a very dry martini. A very dry, arid, barren, desiccated, veritable dustbowl of a Martini. I want a Martini that could be declared a disaster area. Mix me just such a Martini.

mash

On Friday I had some meetings with my staff in London before enjoying a well deserved weekend. Starting with the finale of the season of NCIS. A sad and interesting end that will give hope for a “new beginning”. I guess it is another 6 months until the next season comes out.

I also updated my CV to find the right Business Development position in London – so if you hear anything, please let me know. I think a start up or a branch of an existing company that opens an office in London and looks for someone to build their sales and marketing team is what I would truly enjoy. Check out my Linkedin Profile for references!

Also, we went baby sitting with our neighbours, I had a great back massage and good food all weekend. Fingers crossed the weather is nicer next week so that I can do some stuff in the garden. Rainy, cold and windy it was. However, after watching the new episodes of NCIS on Sky, I am tempted to get Sky now too…..it saves me waiting for 6 months ;-( (see above).

Let’s hope for a successful week, hopefully more face to face interviews – partly with some bigger companies that offer interesting opportunities. Maybe, it won’t be a start up after all…more soon.

Sunday Column (10)

What a week this was!

It all started normally with a “normal” Monday which was just that: a Monday with all the highs and lows of a day. Due to my continuous knee pain I cannot go to the gym but will see a doctor about that next week again.

Tuesday the news was broken to me and my colleague that our company closes down the London office. Whilst I was given the option to go to York to work in our head office, this is not a good option for me. However, I will wait for the exact information to find out what package will be offered before I make any final decisions.

So from Wednesday it was all about tidying up my CV and sending it out to my network and contacting some Recruitment Consultants. It isn’t really the best time to be on the hunt for a new job. The economy is in a recession, our baby on its way, and it was my Birthday this week too. But, I guess there is only one way: forward; and I am confident to come out of it stronger than before.

Thursday and Friday were pre-booked holidays. It was my Birthday and I celebrated into it with my neighbour down in the Tapas Bar in Beckenham. Out of my Birthday was celebrated with my friends of my Tai Chi class.

On Thursday itself I finally found myself a nice new jacket which did not need any alteration. So it was all good. My wife took me to the Mandarin Oriental in London for a lovely lunch. That was fantastic and brought back all the lovely memories of our honeymoon. Thank you so much for the day.

Friday & Saturday: My Leibfuchs Volker from my German fraternity Franconia Darmstadt came up to London for his stag night. I arrived home again on Saturday night, after a pub crawl and London night clubs…..not really used to that anymore. Neither the boozing nor the late nights. But it was really enjoyable and I hope Volker and the boys enjoyed it too. They seemed like they did πŸ˜‰

Today I am chilling. Obviously polishing my CV, preparing things for the anticipation of next week. With the bank holiday tomorrow, this gives me plenty of time to be in top shape again on Tuesday.

Here is what I looked like today at our Sunday stroll through the park:

Volker Ballueder

I somewhat think it is going to be an exhausting night.

So, if you read that and have a position or know someone who does have a position as a Business Development Director or Manager, with responsibility for people, e.g. Head of Sales and Marketing or Team Leader in a larger organisation, please let me know. This position should be based in London. I am more than happy to look into country manager positions to start up a new VC backed company or helping a company to launch in Germany. So please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you and have a lovely Sunday night.
Volker

Night out in London town

I know, whilst I am more the “settled down” type, who isn’t really in heading out in London, a good friend of mine and fellow MBA graduate likes to show me around in London now and again to point out new places.

Here we go: Banburi – a nice little Thai restaurant that reminded me of Wagamama a bit. More the atmosphere than the food, because the food at Banburi was great. The calamari as a side dish and the monk fish green curry was excellent. Summa summarum only Β£35 for 2, including a glass of wine πŸ™‚

Afterwards I could be convinced – ok it didn’t take much – to go for a glass of wine. As you know, I am familiar with wine bars in London, and just off Oxford Circus you can find one of the Davy’s places called Chopper Lump.

I had a nice French wine (I know, hard to admit ;-)), a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tannat. Not exactly sure what it was called but it is their weekly offer, “Pelleut” or something similar.

Overall, a very nice evening. Thank you L. and hopefully see you soon.

Any recommendations for good food places are always appreciated πŸ™‚

Volker

Wine Bars London

I was reading my Decanter wine magazine about wine bars in London. Not long ago I was looking for some and couldn’t find any. Thinking of Heidelberg and nice cellars with huge kegs and nice food – but not in London.

As you might have noticed I write a bit about wine, my favourite ones are red. Just earlier on I ordered Yalumba, The Menzies, Coonawarra, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. The 2005 was recommended by Decanter but I couldn’t find it πŸ™ Β£25/bottle.

Anyhow, the 2 recommended places are:

Vinoteca – 7 St. John Street, London, EC1M 4AA.
Looking at their wine list, it seems to be definitely worthwhile a trip over there.

The 2nd one is Terroirs at Trafalgar Square, 5 William IV Street, WC2N 4DW.

Jamie wrote about it in his blog about wine.

Nothing of course can compare to the oldest wine bar in London, Gordon’s wine bar at Charing Cross. Unfortunately too many tourists and always busy but definitely worth a trip if you have not been.

And, Ebury Wine Bar also serves excellent French food! Roasted Garlic with Pitta Bread and a nice wine list. Not far from Victoria a nice place to take your wife for diner!

Catering for all occasions: Davy’s Winebars. The one at London Bridge, Skinkers, is the one I most often visited.

There is another one just off Leicster Square, downstairs. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name but I am sure it is Cork and Bottle. They have most of the Yalumba selection there to try.

Just off the Strand is another place. Between a bistro, wine bar and gastropub. However, I really don’t remember the name for that one.

As you can see, over the last few years I came across a few good places to drink wine – even or particularly in London. It is one of those cities, where it takes time to find the hidden treasures.