Saturday musings - What's an Australian Christmas?

Saturday musings - What's an Australian Christmas?

For those you that don’t know I’m actually from Melbourne, Australia. If you have no idea where that is (and downunder doesn’t count) then find China and go a long way south. If you can’t find China, then look for South America and head west. If you can’t find South America then I give up….!

One of the peculiar aspects of our lovely planet is that it’s tilted at 23.5 degrees and this is what gives us our four seasons. This is very unlike Uranus which is slanted at 97.77 degrees, which means the planet basically has two seasons.

escrow.com

So why am I giving you both an astronomy and geography lesson? It’s really simple, when the northern hemisphere is in the midst of winter, Australia is experiencing summer. In fact, it’s not uncommon for us to be having 40 degree days (that’s Celsius). For those of you that have no idea what’s Celsius, Google provides a cool little converter that will allow you to quickly work out that 40 degrees Celsius is 104 Fahrenheit (click here for the calculator). Why anyone would want to use Fahrenheit is still a mystery to me…..but I digress.

Strangely, we still sing “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh” even though there isn’t any of the white stuff around. Many Australians have actually never seen snow and presume that it’s just a myth. For heaven’s sake, frozen ice falling from the sky in summer! The first thing we would do is scoop it up and chill some beer.

As a bit of an aside, the kings in the carol “We three Kings” were most likely from Iran not China. It just so happens that “We Three Kings of Iran We Are” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.....and it would probably be a bit politically incorrect for the wisemen from a modern Muslim nation to bow down to the founder of Christianity (yes, I know that Islam wasn't around at the birth of Christ so let's just agree to not go there.....)

So back to my Australian Christmas. After we’re all sung out with carols, we then proceed to dig into a nice hot turkey and ham for Christmas dinner. I only have one thing to say about a hot dinner on a hot day……thank goodness for air conditioners.

I remember fondly the day when we bought our air conditioner. The salesman told us we needed a unit of a certain size….I immediately bought the one that was three times his recommendation. So when I say that we don’t have snow in Australia during our summer my living room could possibly be the one exception.

And then there’s the family Christmas party. For many people just reading that last sentence sends a chill down their spine (not due to my AC). The family Christmas party is where you are forced to catch up with relatives you haven’t seen in the last twelve months. There is a really good reason why you haven’t seen them in that long……it’s because most of them are a bit strange.

The party is the place where aunties plant slobbering kisses on your cheek, little nephews terrorise the dog, grandparents smell kind of funny and you’re introduced to a sibling’s new partner. In Australia we’ve solved the dilemma of how to escape this travesty of injustice…..it’s called the BBQ.

The “men” seize a cold beverage, retire to cooking the meat and talk about the cricket (this can take a long time). Cricket bores me to tears but it’s better than the option inside.

The problem with you northern hemisphere sufferers is that you don’t have a BBQ to escape to when the hordes descend. You’re stuck inside with all and sundry with no place to go as you’re surrounded by all that white stuff. BTW, I don’t count going to the bathroom multiple times for twenty minutes each a serious “Great Escape” attempt.

At the end of the day when some well-meaning relative offers you yet another serve of Christmas pudding you let out a little groan and casually slip a notch out in your belt. It’s at this time that the little ones end up behaving more like an orc pack from the movie “The Lord of the Rings”. You see, it’s present time and the darlings are salivating for their preciouses (said with a Golumn like voice).

Paper goes flying every which way and then you end up unwrapping your gift. It’s quite disturbing when you have the thought, “please may it be socks” run through your mind. I’ve had friends receive a very special spice rack from the same person three years in a row and another present with someone else’s name on the bottom of it (got to love regifting). The best one I heard about was a gift of wire coat hangers…..haven’t you always wanted wire coat hangers?

I’m pretty easy to please, I’d be happy with almost anything edible but I think that it will be my lot in life to receive something like a book that the giver has always wanted. Before the wrapping paper has hit the floor they’ve got their clutches on the present and promise to return it one day. I’m still waiting.

When I look around the room, despite all of the painfulness of the day there is a sense of reckless joy. Let’s face it, my auntie’s kisses weren’t really that bad and I’ll ending up smelling like my grandparents one day so I’d better get used to it. The talk about the cricket was inane but also kind of pleasant.

I’ve come to a really big conclusion. If you want a really good Christmas then my advice is to come to my house in Australia…..remember that it’s just to the left of South America. It’s got to be a lot more fun than shivering half to death in all that white stuff.

Merry Christmas!

---------------------------------------------------

Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
Click here to arrange time with Michael
Click here to advertising on whizzbangsblog.com

Recent Comments
mgilmour
I had a lot of fun writing that post.....I hope that people realise that it was a lot tongue in cheek and for just plain good fun!... Read More
21 December 2014
2170 Hits
2 Comments

Taking Traffic Analysis to the Next Level

Taking Traffic Analysis to the Next Level

I have a really simple question to ask you, “Do you really understand your numbers?” For years now many of us have been staring at traffic statistics produced by different parking companies but do we actually understand what they’re telling us?

In this article I’m going to take you through a high level view of an account on ParkLogic (please view this article as a case study) and some of the analysis that we conducted to understand what was going on with the portfolio. Any client identifiable information has been removed.

Escrow.com

The portfolio has over 48,897 domains and has a baseline revenue of $303.33/day over a 30 day period. ParkLogic was producing a revenue line of $287.09/day for the last 7 days or $16.24 less than the baseline. Most people would immediately suggest that we have failed to improve the results……and they would be wrong.

This is where we need to get under the numbers…..

What we discovered was that the vast majority of the domains weren’t receiving the same levels of traffic to them. In fact, of the 48,897 in the test only 11,223 had the same level of traffic or greater compared to the baseline. The results can then be summarised in the following chart.

Graph 1

The values on the left are the daily earnings for the portfolio for both the baseline and the test period for each level of traffic. In other words, you can find out the performance of domains that had greater than 0% - 100% of the baseline traffic etc.

For example, at the 40% traffic level the baseline domains earned $230/day and ParkLogic $257 producing an uplift of $27/day. For those domains where ParkLogic received at least the same level of traffic as the baseline then the performance is $192 for ParkLogic versus $125 for the baseline. This is an uplift of $67/day, which isn’t a bad performance at all.

So let’s take a look at the second graph and begin to interpret what it is telling us. The blue line is the ParkLogic revenue less the baseline for the particular domains that are part of the traffic sample set. The red line is the percentage increase in revenue for each traffic level.

Graph 2

For example, for domains that had at least 60% of the traffic that the baseline received, ParkLogic provided an increase of $47/day in revenue or a 24% uplift. Where we received at least the same level of traffic as the baseline ParkLogic provided an additional $67 in revenue per day which equates to a 53% increase in overall revenue! Now, that’s what I call smashing the ball out of the ball park!

If we had left the analysis at the macro-level and just compared the portfolio numbers then the massive amount of gold wouldn’t have been discovered. This is why getting underneath your domain traffic statistics is so important. I see so many domain owners make bad decisions on their numbers simply because they don’t actually know what they are telling them.

This is sometimes due to a lack of analytical skills but more often than not it’s a lack of time to do the analysis. I would recommend that you put your Excel skills to work. Remember that each and every day that goes by you’re leaving money on the table that could just as easily be in your bank account.

---------------------------------------------------

Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
Click here to arrange time with Michael
Click here to advertising on whizzbangsblog.com

2142 Hits
0 Comments

Developing a Domain Into a Business - Part 2

Developing a Domain Into a Business - Part 2

Raising investment money is often seen as the “holy grail” of many budding entrepreneurs. After all, once you have the investment then the worlds your oyster! This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A number of years ago I had a business partner that was absolutely convinced that our company needed to go and raise some capital. I told him that he could go and try doing that if he wanted to…..and I would just grow the business. In the end he didn’t raise the capital and we still had a successful business.

Escrow.com

I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to raising capital. It’s the old cliché, “When you need capital you can’t get it and when you don’t need capital investors want to throw it at you.”

Let’s imagine you have one of those incredible businesses where you believe an investor would have to be crazy to not invest. A common practice for VC’s at any level is to believe your “conservative” cash flows and then add a ratchet to the shareholders agreement.

So what does this mean?

Continue reading
Recent Comments
Fred Mercaldo
Excellent article and advice! Very true.
17 December 2014
mgilmour
Thank you for your kind comments. I think that anyone that gets involved with a VC or other investor should do so with their eyes ... Read More
17 December 2014
2895 Hits
3 Comments

Saturday Musings - Give When You Can't Get

Saturday Musings - Give When You Can't Get

A few years ago I had the stupidest idea come to me as I stood at the check-out of our local supermarket. The idea was perplexing, somewhat terrifying and definitely made me incredibly nervous. No, I didn’t plan on robbing the store…..I planned on doing something much more adventurous.

I said to the lady in behind me, “I hope that you don’t mind but I’d like to pay for your groceries.”

Escrow.com

I could feel my heart beating like crazy as I said the words but at the same time I felt oddly good about the state of the world.

She thanked me for the offer but said that she’d pay for her own groceries. I smiled and said, “I’ve had a really good year this past year and I really want to share some of that around. Please let me pay for your groceries.”

In the end she let me pay.

Let me tell you that I got the better end of the deal. After paying the bill (which wasn’t really that much) I left the store feeling so good I felt that I could almost fly. It was the effect of giving to someone that will never have a chance to give back. I hope that she did the same thing to someone else…..sort of like the movie “Pay it Forward”. If you haven’t seen this movie then I would highly recommend it.

I’ve done this similar sort of giving quite a few times…..one of the best ones is paying for the car behind you at the McDonald’s drive-through and then just driving off. It’s awesome!

Right now it’s the Christmas season and to me Christmas is all about giving. If you don’t have money then try giving some of your time, making something or just giving some love by listening to another person’s story. It’s easy to give when you may get something in return but how about if you never can?

So try something adventurous this Christmas and give to a stranger. You’ll be amazed at who gets the better deal. Feel free to share your own stories here about what it was like for you to give.

Merry Christmas!

---------------------------------------------------

Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
Click here to arrange time with Michael
Click here to advertising on whizzbangsblog.com

Tags:
Recent Comments
mgilmour
Kassey, what a great story! I'm sure that the experience you related will be a real highlight for you for the rest of your life. I... Read More
13 December 2014
2644 Hits
2 Comments

Developing a Domain Into a Business - Part 1

Developing a Domain Into a Business - Part 1

So you’re all excited about developing that really special domain name and you’re wondering what the first steps are. Most people immediately jump into getting a website up….whatever you do this is the completely wrong approach!

In this article I want to touch on a number of things that I look for in start-up businesses and then as the series progresses discuss how to actually build a successful business. I've founded many successful startups and there is nothing quite as satisfying as creating something from nothing.

Escrow.com

I've found that successful businesses typically start with a well thought out business plan. The technical implementation of a website is only one small but important aspect of the plan. The first thing that you need to work out is how you’re going to make some money. You may only have a vague concept about how you are going to do this but nevertheless, get it down on paper!

For example, I love writing my blog on the domain industry, business and even my weekly personal musings. From my very first article I had a clear direction that it would be an advertising based business....it may seem obvious but there are many other things that I could have done. Speaking of which....reach out to me if you are interested in advertising!

I was recently approached to invest in an online business and the first question I always ask is, “How are you going to make money?” This seems an obvious question but believe it or not it’s often forgotten in the excitement of getting a pretty website up and running. If you can’t answer the question then stop whatever you are doing and work on that problem because it impacts everything else that you do.

The second question I end up asking is, “How fast can you earn your first dollar?” Like the first question this one is vital as it helps scale how big an investment you require to really understanding if you will actually have any customers.

Once again, I see many budding entrepreneurs believe that they need everything nailed down, automated and working at peak performance. I personally don’t really care about many of those things. I’m more interested in them actually earning the first dollar.

Jeff Bezos started processing his first online payments by literally taking a disk out of one computer and walking it across to another computer. He nick-named this sneaker-net. He didn’t have all of the automation in place but he knew how to collect the money…..the automation came later.

So I come back to the question, “How fast can you earn your first dollar?” Forget all the bells and whistles. I want to know how long it will take you to get a client to buy your product or service. From an investment perspective this proves so many things about your business:

1.    That there is a market.
2.    The really basic technology works.
3.    Your product/service works.

Once you have this in place then it’s just a question of scaling.

It’s like me with the science fiction book that I’ve written called “Battleframe”. I’ve never written a book before and it’s been quite a journey but now that I have my product I need to think of innovative ways of getting it into the hands of customers. I need that first customer that I’ve never met before (ie. not a friend) to buy the book and say that they enjoyed it. Once everything’s in place I then need to scale…..and write book two!

A number of years ago I met a domainer that had built a website into a business. They’d spent $6m on it before they had earned a penny. I must admit it that I just don’t get this mentality. What happens if the market rejects your product? You’ve just spent $6m on something that is pretty worthless.Once you’ve answered my two above questions then you need to answer the third one, “Do I really need any investment.” I’ll cover this in the next part in the series.

---------------------------------------------------

Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
Click here to arrange time with Michael
Click here to advertising on whizzbangsblog.com

Recent Comments
mgilmour
You are exactly right with this comment.....I debated about covering it in this article and decided against it. Many venture capit... Read More
12 December 2014
2818 Hits
2 Comments