Tag: networking

Sunday Column (393)


Alright. This week was a weird one. The Brexit seems forgotten. The people that put us in the dilemma have resigned and left a mess behind. Great leadership to start something awful and then bail out. No surprise I always hated politics. I can be quite good at it though. However, in a work context, I don’t enjoy too much of it, but guess it is almost unavoidable. Change of strategy and politics lead to unwanted results sometime. It is what it is.

Networking is speciality of mine. I managed to add another 20 odd contacts to my LinkedIn profile, almost at 6,000 contacts now. Changing some settings and social distribution got me more attention. I enjoy playing around with social media, as a whole, and experience the uplift of attention. ‘Not a place without you knowing someone’, said my sales director the other day. He is right. And the majority of contacts are personal, not just added on LinkedIn for no reason. It gives me reach and one of my articles on LinkedIn got picked up by a Canadian publisher recently. Result.

I caught up with a few industry friends this week. Redundancies, he said, was common place in our industry. So many mergers, acquisitions, the best people get made redundant. Totally normal and one shouldn’t worry about it. Just in Cannes I managed to catch up with someone who has been made redundant four times. It used to be seen as failure, and probably still is, if you work in a different industry. In ours it doesn’t. Redundancy isn’t the same as being fired. So it’s all good, isn’t it?


Why I am writing about it – because people I know have been affected. One speaks in the industry and discusses. I have done a lot of networking, lunches and meetings this week and it was one of many topic that came up. Our industry is a mess, sometimes, and is changing again. If 6 years ago I did one thing, I could do the same thing over again. Equally successful or better. We are coming full circle, it is fun. Yet when companies get sold, one duplicates talent, and within a year changes happen. That’s totally normal and we just come to accept it.

People I am selling to trust me. I have integrity. I am known. It is nice to see the influence I have and the change I can facilitate. However, most importantly I can help others to find a job, to have a career and moving to a better place. I am in no denial that this is my call. Yet, I have not figured out a way yet how to monetise it. Maybe I need to. In the meantime I try to help whoever I can and hope the favour is returned when I am in need.

As with other plans, I am working on some own ideas. Listening to a few podcast I am certain to be able to get my own business off the ground, or at least generate a passive income. Watch that space. Remember what I said last week, I am winning. It will happen.

Life is good I suppose. We are healthy. The kids are happy. I am writing this as we are crossing, once again, the viaduct before Haywards Heath. The landscape is touched by the evening sun, green and beautiful. What is there not to like.


My life got awfully complex over the past few years and I wonder if it will ever feel normal or if it will always stay that hectic. I dunno. However, I do know that happiness, and my children, are a lot more important to me than anything ever was. And that’s what it is to protect. That is what to live for. Everything else has to take a back seat sometimes.

Like this weekend. Whilst my wife was off again, a well deserved break, we had another fantastic weekend together. I notice the stress getting to me and me being on edge. We managed Friday night with a take away pizza and I put two exhausted boys to bed early. Saturday we played by ear and had a nice day down the beach – Lancing – and Daddy fell asleep as soon as we got home. In the meantime we stopped by the garage and got a peek at the new motor we can collect later this week. Exciting times.

I think it is a success if we go through a day without having the TV on. Without parking the kids in front of a box. They played outside, won against me in football, played in the sand and ‘gravel’ from the patio extension. Diggers, monster trucks and stunt cars. They loved it and their imagination lead to cars being hid in the new bushes. Why not? That is what childhood is all about.

They were tired again. And we managed to have a chilled out weekend. They are at a great age to just get on with things. They make life worth living. Yet, I will be glad when the wifey is back home again. Maybe I am off next weekend in return ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a fantastic week with your loved ones. Remember why you do what you are doing. Remember you are winning.

Be well,

Sunday Column (126)

A Family Man in Digital Marketing – the title of this blog couldn’t have been more reflected this weekend. I finally, after long planning, managed to get a few friends over to my family home: friends from digital marketing.

One ex staff member and his highly successful academic partner, one ex colleague of mine, now coach, with his partner who runs a business in wine (so very interesting), and one close friend who I have not (yet) worked with and his partner who works for the big G. Three friends from different walks of life, all connected through the passion for digital marketing.

You can imagine we talked a lot about work and the industry, but more so about passion, the way the world and life is going, and what comes next. A fantastic day, fantastic people, a really good time. And, they all met with the family: my wife and the two boys. I couldn’t have wished for a happier day. Thanks guys.

The rest of the week, given it was my first week back from my holidays, went “balanced”. What I mean by that is due to Colin having trouble settling at night at the moment, I made a point of coming home early-ish most nights. I still managed to fit in a few meetings with friends, hourly catch ups, and a networking night.

The networking night, and I often don’t think too highly of those forced get togethers, turned out to be really funny, entertaining and great for contacts. I have to say that this was the best networking event I attended in a very long time, if not ever. I met quality people, got some leads but foremost met true entrepreneurs and people with a passion. Fantastic.

However, there was one little cloud in the silver lining this week. And that was communication, or mis-communication. This week made me learn one thing clearly: if you work across languages, which I often enough do, you have to be careful how to phrase things. Some “mini-teasing” phrases in one language can turn out to be quite offensive in another. Not a new learning of course, but astonishing in this case.

Without discussing details here, I want to use this topic to share some thoughts on language. With my wife being British (Scottish), we often enough have mis-understandings. Mainly because I as a husband apply selective hearing ๐Ÿ™‚ But often things are clear in my mind, and I just spoke to the boys in German, turn around and don’t know how to phrase simple things. Or I am unsure of certain pronunciations. That is normal.

She also noticed that when I call people for the first time, as I concentrate to say every word as correct as possible, my accent is a lot stronger than when I have a normal conversation. Just this week someone told me “yes, of course you have an accent, but if it wasn’t for your obvious German name, I couldn’t have told you where you were from”. Others of course say exactly the opposite, and my wife often enough doesn’t notice me speaking with an accent.

NLP states very clearly that everyone forms their own map of the world. Some put a high focus on language, some don’t. And, across languages (German-English) or foreigners speaking English together (German/English-Finnish/English-Spanish/English), we have even more problems, as we use a common language that is foreign to all of us.

Hence for important documents, or even for some emails, I get native speakers to review things. I know my weakness and make it a strength by getting help. Something you do with every other task you are unsure of, you get yourself some feedback.

However, the other, probably bigger thing, is that it shows me that I left German and Germany behind. I have left Germany 10 years ago. I have lived in Britain ever since, and English is my main language. And, I wish to believe, in a good enough way to be highly professional with the use of it. Partly, because I ask for feedback and I am willing to learn and listen. And, my map of the world is not as rigid as other people’s thanks to my NLP background and my sensory acuity.

I am ready to conquer the world (instead of taking over the world ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), ready to move up and on. Germany was a big part of my life, and I still teach my boys German. But my life is deeply rooted in the English language now, less often branching out to Germany. Whilst some of my roots might still connect to it, I am happy to let go.

I moved on.

Have a fantastic week, and if you speak to a foreigner this week, ask him what he thinks.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 (106)

Last week passed very quick, once again. Not only work but the short nights with the boys are taking there toll. It seems as if things happen in delirium, a kind of surreal feeling if that makes sense.

The highlight clearly was my trip to Iceland to a conference: Rimc. A detailed conference blog post to follow.

I have known my friend Kristjan from Iceland for some time and was glad to be invited to speak at his conference. Due to Rohan only being 4 weeks, I thought I had to fly back just after the conference, hence missed out on an amazing (so I heard) trip around Iceland. Hopefully next time.

My wife always wanted to travel to two countries for her whole life: Egypt and Iceland.
In 2006 I went to Egypt and only the night before I left she mentioned that โ€œI would see the pyramids before she doesโ€. And, yes, I totally forgot. When I travel for work, I focus on the job I have to do rather than things that need to be done outside the working environment.

Hence this time, after I once travelled to the South of France in December without shorts, I involved my wife to pick cloth to wear. I took her advice and thought I had it covered, until my boss mentioned the blue lagoon, and that I should go there. The blue lagoon didnโ€™t ring a bell with me, so I asked my wife who of course knew about it. And so I went.

Based in between lava rocks, there is a lagoon with hot sulphur water. What an amazing experience. Thanks to my contact I got an invite to go and enjoyed it very much. Whilst the cold wind and minus 6 degrees cooled my head, my body was emerged in very warm water. You had the chance to get a โ€œmassageโ€ under a waterfall or just chill sitting in one of the bays. Sitting in the hot water, seeing the snow fall to the ground and the fog covering your view beyond 10 meters was an extraordinary experience.

I then decided to go to the sauna, did my session there, cooled down by rubbing fresh snow on my body. That was great. Finally I understand why people in cold countries use saunas much more than anyone else.

Going to the hotel, I was just tired, relaxed and my body felt refreshed. However, I went into Reykjavik town centre which is small but nice. I got some souvenirs for my boys and my wife, and then eased my day out with some great networking.

Oh, that was Thursday ๐Ÿ™‚ On Friday I was at the conference and flew back early Saturday. I had to leave the networking party where we saw the Northern Lights around 11 pm. The lights were amazing. The whole trip and Iceland, including the Icelanders, are amazing and very welcoming. My taxi left at 5 am and I was home for lunch. Better be helping the wife, but thank her that I was allowed to go after all. Next year, I hopefully will be back, then for the weekend, maybe even taking the wife ๐Ÿ˜‰

It all went well, I am getting used to travelling again. And, on Saturday we looked at a new sofa for our living room, cleaned the house and sorted things out…just back to our normal routine…..

Have a good one, a full write up of the conference to follow.

Sunday Column (36)

This week ends with Halloween, also known as “day of the dead” in Mexico. Hence we had two pumpkins this year.

pumpkin The first pumpkin was a rather normal one. A bit shaped like a pear but generally ok. So let’s have a look back at the week.

Work seems rather busy but nothing that sticks out as being a big project. I expect things to kick off any day and getting really busy. So fingers crossed for that. Monday after work I went to meet someone to network and find out more about the industry from a different perspective.

I love digital marketing but there are still some areas I need to learn more about. Whilst I continue to pick brains at work, I also try to meet people outside work to do the same.

Tuesday just passed whilst Wednesday was the highlight of the week. A whole day from Microsoft Advertising, imagine09, which allowed me to see the latest developments of bing, digital marketing, touch screen technology and the Microsoft phone. Wow! That is all I can say. I am sure there are plenty of detailed reviews about, so go and check them out. All I can say that Bill Buxton said that anything we see as an innovation has been around for about 10 to 20 years. That means that we already hold the innovation of tomorrow in our hands, it just might take another 5-10 years to realise it. And things are moving faster by the day. We finished the day with a few drinks and good chats!

Colin as Pumpkin Thursday I went to the Tai Chi as normal after work and realised that we almost finished the long form, that is our form from the Hine Institute of Tai Chi. We started in February and I am hopeful to finish the “mechanics of the form” in the next two weeks. If that is the case, we can polish them off, which means another 12 years ๐Ÿ™‚ It would just be such a great achievement.

On Friday, as mentioned, was a Halloween party, and we had our own pumpkin. Jenny, my wife, organised a get together with the babies from her baby and Yoga group. I got to meet them over at a house warming party on Saturday. Good to meet new people in Beckenham, particularly blokes that have babies and go through the same experience I do. Very good to compare notes.

We didn’t get much gardening done this weekend, but I made progress on the coaching side of things. I have another session next week. Later this week I will also publish a video from Anthony Robbins who I think is great!

Sunday was spent being lazy. We went swimming with the boy and he seemed to enjoy it. Overall it was a relaxing day.

Buddha or God bless weekends and time with the boy. What a fantastic week.

All the best from Beckenham,