Tag: Search


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

The future of search

In an interview the other day I was asked about the future of search. Biased working on multilingual search at the moment, I decided to opt for the answer of “instant translated search results”, e.g. you type in a search term in English and they offer you results in different languages that are instantly translated. Saw this instant translation tool at Google Wave and was very impressed.

But what has happened lately in the search world? We are all familiar with Universal Search or Blended Search where the search engines blend results from blogs, pictures, news etc. Good example are politicians, e.g. Barack Obama. I spoke about that at SES Hamburg in 2008.

barack obama

If you are logged in with your “Google Account” your personal preferences will be taken into consideration, and dependent where on the globe you are and which index you access, you get different results. The one above is for UK only. So is personal search, the search results tailored to your preferences, the future? If so, the Internet would become a creation around your preferences rather than you changing the Internet around you. Or it gives you enough possibilities to personalise your web too and only the search results and of course the advertisement will be tailored to your life. The Digital Britain report touches on behavioural targeting and suggest it will be playing a big role in the future of online advertising.

What about Bing, did MSN’s new search engine changed anything? Google published a video pointing out that they are a “decision engine” too.

Google, according to Mashable, gets a bit scared and takes Bing quite serious. Search Engine Land comments on the “threat” too.

You remember the launch of Cuil last year. They didn’t take any market share off Google. However, if you think about it, then Bing might not want to take market share of Google (as yet) but position itself with a more relevant search engine than the msn.live to overtake Yahoo! and then take on Google in the long run. The relevancy is important and the way results are shown. Again, if that is combined with personalised search, Bing could become a winner and take on Google – but I suggest we don’t really see any shift towards Bing for another year or so. But, with launching Bing, Microsoft did go back to the battle field and the more competition there is for search engines, the better it is for our industry.

Anyhow, see Bing’s advertisement here and keep an eye out on whether they will take on Google or not.

Wolfram Alpha didn’t make the news as much and it is a search engine focusing on results and facts. If you search for “Barack Obama” you get his life facts. If you click on “search the web” you end up at Google. So this reminds me more of a Wikipedia search. However, clearly an interesting step in the world of search and how we might change our way of using search engines in the future.

Barack Obama WA

What is left to look at if we need to decide on the future of search? Maybe Twitter. I wrote about it a lot already, so the instant search which twitter offers and now shows up in Google results too, is definitely something to watch. Local search and search depending on your position, e.g. mobile GPS location, could be very interesting as well. Data protection might be against it, but definitely an area you want to keep an eye on.

Leaves us with semantic search? The user types in a few words and the search engine interprets what it means. Maybe the future will combine this with some personalised information again too? ClickZ had an interesting example in their article about a NY Sandwich: “Tell any New Yorker you had a sandwich made with rye bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing but can’t remember what it’s called. He’ll tell you it’s a Reuben. But just throwing a few ingredients into a search engine may not get you such a quick or even correct response.” That means you might find recipes or anything you cannot remember the name off by putting in the “ingredients” or words you know about the “thing” you are looking for and out comes the answer. Very interesting and the Semantic Technology Conference is definitely a place to go over the next few years.

By the way, I found a great deli bar in NY whilst searching for the above 😉

So, how do we best summarise the future of search?

The semantic search still seems to be in its infancy. However, the personalised search combined with localised search could be a winner, data protection allowing of course. And if Bing will take on Google or if we will find more vertical search engines rather than blended search results in Google and Bing shall be seen. If Yahoo! stands a chance and if Yahoo! and Bing can take on Google shall be seen also. My suggestion is that we won’t see much of a shift towards alternatives away from Google for a while, however we should not anticipate that search engines like Bing will take on Google in the long run, combining some or all of the technologies above. However, Google won’t sit still either, so the future is wide open.

And, instant translation, will get the world closer together – if it is relevant to the results shall be seen 😉