Tag: opportunities


Ballueder Thinks (5) – Marathon and Stamina

It has been another couple of weeks since my last column. Quite frankly, I have been super busy doing things. However, the hassle and bustle hasn’t really equated into the progress I was hoping for, which is why I am always looking for new opportunities. Things are slow, decision making takes time, and building things needs stamina. To be honest, it is like running a marathon, life isn’t a sprint.


However, things are looking good, and I am not complaining. Covid19 has slowed businesses down, everything takes longer, but it all should come good in the end. Stay positive. One dream has been parked for now, but parking doesn’t mean abandoning. I don’t want to be too specific, but my brain is buzzing thinking about a few things – as it always is – and I will soon launch a new positioning and website under www.balluederpartners.com – my new home for my business. Never a dull moment in the Ballueder world 😉

Feel free to reach out and let me know what you are up to, and how my strategic and commercial head can help you to position your company, take it to market or scale it. That’s what I do, from hands-on to process, to strategy, to building successful teams. And if you have idea, I am always happy to chat, network and put my ideas forward. Over the past few weeks, I had some interesting networking opportunities, and hopefully these all lead to something. If nothing else, I already helped a few people connect to relevant others. Let’s keep doing that, we are all in it together.

But enough about work, and stamina at work. It would probably benefit me to take a couple of weeks off anyway. Maybe I will …. but I probably won’t 😉

The thing I want to talk more about in this post, is my involvement in the London Marathon. Of course, we know that charities have been hit hard with Covid19, e.g. funding has dried up and events have slowed down or moved online. In short, they need any penny they can get. Hence, when the RNIB, the Royal National Institute for the Blind asked me if I could run the London Marathon in 12 weeks time, I didn’t hesitate. Yes, I want to raise money and I want to run London. Simple.


My Justgiving page is set up for £2,500 – I hope to raise a lot more but of course I need your help. I believe a few of my contacts don’t want to donate because they don’t know if the marathon goes ahead. But, and that is my promise, I will run the full distance of a marathon on the weekend of the 3rd/4th of October if we raise £2,000 by the end of August. Hopefully, we fill the pot on the October weekend, and then some more when I run the actual event in 2021. Or, maybe it will happen in October regardless. Nothing is certain at the moment, I know the Toronto marathon went virtual – now there is an idea.

I have always been a networker, and I know a lot of people. In simple maths terms, everyone I know on Linkedin has to donate 25 pence for this to happen. With most of my stronger network connections being able to afford a £5 or £10 donation, and some have been a lot more generous already, we should hit the target easily. And that is discounting people that don’t donate, or don’t donate to this charity etc. And that’s fine too. Yes, this is an analytical approach, and maybe too simplified, but it can be done. We learned during Covid, that if we combine forces, we are a lot stronger!

So please give generously, make me run in October and next year, help me to develop stamina, and help the RNIB to help people. Everyone wins! If there is anything I never want to take for granted, then that’s my eye site. Read the full story here.

I have been running for a while, and I did 3 half marathons during lock down. Hence I am confident to manage the race. Yet there is a lot of stamina still to be build. This week I did another 18K or 1:45 long run. Tempo and Intervall runs. Next week will be more. My legs are hurting at time of writing, and I committed to more running next week. I will not stop if you don’t stop donating! The next 10 weeks will be hard, very hard. I trained for my last marathon during the summer, the heat is gruelling, even at 5 am! I am aiming to improve my time from the last event, and really go for it. What a fool I am 😉 It’s about being able to run the whole distance this time, and finish around the 4:15 mark, possibly quicker if I feel up for it on the day. Please help me.


If I am known for anything then that’s stamina, discipline and hard work. Patience. I don’t easily give up, I fall down 7 times, I get up 8 times. The tattoo is booked btw, if you remember my earlier column about this. That’s who I am, and I am super disciplined. I get up at 5 am for 5 years, exercise, meditate and get ready for the day. As a matter of fact, it is early morning when I write this column.

Discipline and stamina got me where I am. Yet, things change all the time. Career wise I have been realising that I am drawn back into my first two loves: search/social and sales.

I remember putting a proposal together in 2008 how to launch the social media arm of an agency. Wow, we came a long way. One of my old companies, 4C Insights, just sold this week to Mediaocean. I love that space, and when I look at my career over the past 5 years, I moved from sales into sales management, client services, strategy and back into sales. Actually, I now have the tools and experience of a CRO, which helps companies to put their proposition on the map, whilst also look strategy and execution. Plus, this is a transferable skill across industries. It’s experience that counts!

There was one last thought I had this week. The summer holidays started. So we are back at March, without the home schooling. The wife works, and I am at home, juggling work and kids. But that’s ok. My boys are older. However, one just finished middle school. We were sitting in the park after school yesterday, and I said, that when he finishes the next school, he won’t be interested sitting with his dad in the park. His next 5 years or so will determine who he will become, what he wants to do in life, and who he will rebel against. It’s a big step, and I am ready to take it on. As a mentor, parent, coach – I want to be by his side and guide him. It’s a different world to where we or my parents grew up, change is constant. Sometimes it is difficult for us to change. I know that my parents generation didn’t respond as well to change, as they didn’t expect too much change. Does that make sense? We have a more powerful computer in our pocket than the thing that landed us on the moon. We call them phones.

Change will accelerate. Covid19 is the beginning of the change that will permanently influence how we work, live, and where we set priorities. Hopefully for the better. We might see more evil coming out of it, or it will go away as a warning. Who knows. I am not a philosopher. As a collective, and with a greater conscious, this period in history will change things forever. The way we greet people, meet people, trust people and what we think is important. We will look back at this time in years to come.

I am getting used to change. Mindfulness grounds me in the moment. My weekly groups help me to challenge my thinking. There is so much opportunity to go deeper and become better, as a human, as a father, at things you do. Nothing stands still, and the thing we need is stamina. I say it again, life is a marathon, not a sprint. Building blocks of things to put together to make it to the finish line. And sometimes we need to drift out of our way to reach our goal. But stay focused, with stamina, a positive outlook, hard work, and a marathon running attitude, you will be successful ! Have faith. Trust in yourself!

Have a good Sunday, and if you have a minute, I appreciate any donations for the RNIB. Because you know I am going to run it.

Thanks in advance. Volker

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 (386)

This week started off wit some travels. On Wednesday morning I went off to a conference in Rome. It is a great opportunity to network with senior industry peers. It is the second time I attended this conference and often the Festival of Media is referred to as “little Cannes”. I will give full account on our corporate blog if anyone is interested. However, as expected, the conference delivered on some awesome contacts, ideas and talks. Media is changing, accelerating. I am excited.


On the flight over I finished a series called “Collision”, about a car crash, death and ‘random’ connections. Everything is down to chance. Life that is. The moment you make a decision you go for it. That’s why sometimes we don’t want to make decisions. We procrastinate. And then chance plays into our life. Or is it faith. Can we predict life? Not really. Another plane crash this week. No one knows why. Terrorism, or pilot, or technical fault. Awful!

We must believe in the great there is to come. To focus on success and to not worry about setbacks. If we believe long enough in our higher calling, others will start too. One will always find negativity in life but energy only flows to what we give attention to. And those must be the happy and positive moments. The high moments of life. This one was definitely one of those higher weeks.

At time of starting to write this blog, on Wednesday morning’s flight, I can already name a few highs. My wife and I had a brilliant night and laugh on Sunday. We are still in love and look after each other. Despite setbacks we focus on the positive things.

Of course this isn’t always easy. We aren’t that happy with the bathroom (see earlier post for context) but it is all done now. We hope to not having to replace the bathtub. Even if we do, we will learn from it and move on from it. This experience has been very stressful.

And then, my oldest went away for a day with Beavers. He got a badge. And he got one for his little brother too. They were both mighty proud. And they are happy. The little one woke me up the night before my flight. I gave him a big hug, kiss and cuddle. It was nice to see him and hold him before being away. Two nights, three days, sometimes seem like an eternity. And when finalising the post, there were countless others. Go and find your highlights, focus on them. The run around Vatican City before 730 am? Beating the bicycle going up the hill? Meeting this awesome CEO, or getting this campaign finally off the ground?

There are a few loose ends in my life. Of course there are. Some are only in my brain and I am trying to work out why they are there and how I best deal with them.

2016-05-20 21.05.37

Watching that movie and meditating on some of those challenges, I must trust things will work themselves out. Trust and faith into the future and the chance of it all happening the way you envisaged life. Patience. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part and showing stamina and patience can be very difficult. Because life will always work itself out. It always has done. It always will. So I am sitting back and practise patience.

It’s like when looking back in life. How your childhood experience influenced your university choice, and your choice of fraternity your value system and friends. Your first job, which most took because it was out there, and the big plan we had for ourselves. Still all to come or already achieved? How will the next decision influence our life looking back? The car we buy, the builder we trust or the school we choose for our kids. The activities and influences we engage in. Similar, in a few months time I will look back at this busy period, where we made decisions, learn from the outcome and realise why certain decisions were good when we made them. And, at the same time I have another few loose ends to tie up. Life repeats itself. Every 6 months you are faced with a major decision and something will change in your life. At least that’s true according to a theorist I listened to back in 2004 when moving to London. It doesn’t always work out that way.

What an intense week. A great week. Then that feeling when you look out of the plane window high above the Alps. Above the mountains. I used to do that trip every week. I feel so high – not on drugs – yet on opportunities and possibilities in life. Life is so amazing and embracing it is key. Hugging those little people that missed you. Almost missing your plane because you had to buy them some chocolate. And then you have all weekend to make up for being away.

Life is amazing. I don’t travel next week. For better or worse. Yet I get a lot of work done and rescheduled a few meetings. It gives me opportunities. Life happens whilst you are busy planning other things. Embrace it.

Have a wonderful week,

Sunday Column (225)

Another week. Another busy week to be precise. Summertime. Parties, school runs, interviews, discussions, evaluations, rejections, hopefuls, yeses. No, I don’t have a job yet, and if that’s the sole reason why you read this blog, I cut straight to it. Things take longer than anticipated, then again I have only been out of work for two months. So really, no one expects me to be back at work yet, with upcoming holidays and all there might be no news for a few weeks. Trust me, I will announce it here first, and will write up some of my experience.

On a positive note I took on another freelance project to chair the content of yet another conference. This time Admonsters Screens in London. I enjoy working with thought leaders in the industry, putting content together and network with the industry in the field of “screens”. We shall see. I see another blog post coming, about data and second screen, connected TV, mobile and data analytics. There are some cool companies out there but there seems to be only one that does it all.

We are sleep training Rohan which makes me hangover without drink. Sleep deprivation, him crying for hours at times and my wife and I taking turns of staying up with him. It breaks your heart but we both find this method will be the best moving forward. It also worked with our older one, but we started quite late with Rohan due to sickness. Anyway, Colin was crying too. When I took him to school he didn’t want to part and stay there but instead come home with me. I went through that phase age 3-7 with 30 minutes crying in the corner before slowly easing into the environment. Hopefully this was a one off, but again this breaks your heart. The kids enjoy daddy being around and him playing with them and teasing them. However, this means a lot of attention, and less exercise, book writing etc. then again I won’t get this chance again soon (I hope) to spend so much time with them.


Also this week we had repairs done to the heating and we needed a new car tyre. Just great timing. Some windows need replacing and we waiting for some cash to do some not so urgent repairs before the winter. I know it’s only summer but….time flies and I am confident to put the orders out there soon. Don’t misunderstand, we are not struggling yet mastering the situation and prioritising. A good exercise to be honest.

There are many things in life you learn from. Things turn out for the better and decisions happen for a reason. You are in charge, you decide. Karma is there and the greater universe to guide you if you listen. Are you willing to put your life out there based on a gut feeling? My wife is good with that. She says we be ok – so we will be ok. Oh yes and we will, the kids will go to big school soon, the house will be fixed, the new kitchen going to come and so on.

But I learn that some things are just not important. A beer with my Greek friend is more important than a take away; and the love of my kids, quality time with them more important than some other appointments. And some trips to London and beyond are necessary evil. That’s life. It is all part of it.

And enjoying it is key. We have been to great parties this weekend. Being able to live in the now, focusing on the future, balancing the ups and downs and enjoying life for what it is. A journey. A place to make the most out of your ambitions. Love.

Staying sane. So far anyway.

Have a great July, a good week ahead.


Sunday Column (218)

I often start with how quickly a week went. This one did. I went to a meeting on Monday despite the bank holiday and worked in the morning on some Central Europe related business. No rest for the wicked.

Tuesday and Wednesday were busy with working on a project that finishes early June and Thursday I spent in town in meetings. This resulted in a late night, and a slow Friday finishing off what I had to do and attend to the family.

Life is great if you are flexible to work but it also puts a lot of pressure on to get money in and feed the family. I have been discussing this with a few self employed people and came to the conclusion that it will be best to go back into full time employment soon. We shall see what the next few weeks bring. It seems that a few avenues open up and opportunities show themselves. I guess that only happens when you have time to let this happen. It doesn’t happen if you are tied down in the daily grind.


My MIL (mother in law) arrived much to the joy of the kids. They just love having their grandparents around to play, read, spoil them and show them things. It is fantastic to see that and the bond they are building. It makes you almost wish for a big family get together, like at our wedding. I am always thinking of having one for my 40th birthday but maybe we don’t need an excuse. Why not set a date and celebrate life and family. We need to think about that one.

I actually do think we don’t celebrate life enough. I am so astonished at life most days at the moment because I see my four year old discovering things. The blackbirds that pick the worms out of the ground and the snails going into their house. The bean stock that grows to heaven etc. This independent, clean and simplistic view of life that we lost. Naivety, curiosity and eagerness to learn. How many of us wouldn’t like to be childish again and jump in muddy puddles? Of course we would and I tell you: just do it.

There is nothing wrong with letting go and having fun. Of course there is a time and a place for it but regaining this childish feeling for just 5 minutes is amazing. Anyone who has kids is aware of it. Or should be anyway 🙂

I need to moan as well. After I finally got over my 6 weeks ordeal of colds, I started cycling and running again to find myself getting another cold last week. I don’t understand it. Not sure if my vitamins aren’t working or if my immune system is so down or if I am just relaxing and properly unwind to have another cold. Cough and snotty nose. Nice ey. But of course I will get over that as well and soon I am back to normal strength.


My new daily routine includes writing an hour in the morning on a potential book, so that’s is slowly coming along. I actually use a Bluetooth connected keyboard for my iPad to speed up the process. Writing in the clouds allows for editing on the go. You gotta love technology.

At the weekend we took the kids to a day out with Thomas the tank engine. We went to Tunbridge Wells were we met the fat controller, Thomas and Diesel. We then went on a 25 minute journey, got off, and they changed the engine around. We then made the same journey back the kids absolutely loved it. It is great to do those things at weekends. And the weather was good too, sunny and dry. Looks like it won’t stay like that.

We washed the car too. C and me went to the car wash and he rather enjoyed it. I used to cry going through the car wash as a child but not my boy, he cannot wait to go back and take his brother along. Other than that we struggle to get a good night sleep but hopefully teething finishes soon and we get our sleep back.

So yes, another quick week. Balancing work life working and living at home seems more complicated and challenging than anticipated. A lot of change but for the better at the moment. Let’s see how long it lasts 🙂

Have a great week,