Saturday Musings - Finding True Happiness

Saturday Musings - Finding True Happiness

So it’s been Thanksgiving this past week….for the people in North America anyway. We don’t have this holiday in the rest of the world but it shouldn’t stop us from being grateful for the good things in life.

A number of years ago I heard a message at church where the minister challenged the congregation to develop an “attitude of gratitude”. I completely agree with him. Particularly in western countries we have so much to be thankful for and yet for some reason we seem to be some of the unhappiest people on the planet.

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Research organisation Gallup Inc, created a “Happiest Countries” scale from a number of metrics and then published the results with the Australian Broadcasting Commission. What was interesting was that countries such as Mali in Africa was only 2 points behind the USA. Where is Mali you may ask? In the midst of suffering from Ebola in West Africa.

About 12 months ago there was a great Youtube video produced by nigahiga called “First World Problems”. The video’s has over ten million views but it really depicts many of the so called problems that we face in the west are plainly rediculous. Where some people are happy with getting a good meal we stress and worry about the size of our televisions.

So at this time of Thanksgiving I think that there are so many things to be grateful and happy about. Family and friends for a start. The incredible domain industry that many of us work in. How about having a roof over your head and food on the table….they seem pretty good to me.

So how do you really get happy? From my experience it’s not how “I” can get happy….it’s all about how “I” can make someone else happy. When we think of others something magical happens…..we ended up frinding true happiness ourselves. When we focus on trying to make ourselves happy then it all just seems so false.

So here’s my advice, if you want to be really happy. Think about doing something special for one person and be grateful for all the things that you have. Do these two things and you’ll be amazed at what you will discover about life.

Please leave comments about your own experiences here….I’d love to read about them!

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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
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What's Next After You Have a Domain

What's Next After You Have a Domain

My recent foray into publishing my own novel has been a really educational experience. For those of you that are unaware for the past eighteen months my skunk works project has been writing a science fiction book. I’m still settling on a title but it looks like the series will be known as “The Mind War Saga” (it may change again)….all very auspicious.

I’m right at the end of the final edit, beta-readers have provided their feedback and I’m about to publish. What’s the next thought that goes through my mind? I need a domain!

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I searched Amazon to make sure that there aren’t any other series of books known as “The Mind War Saga” and I seem to have the space all to myself. I didn’t want any other series of books to be confused with my own or vice versa.

I’ve decided to move michaelgilmour.com to represent my authoring and I’ve just registered mindwarsaga.com to point to the same site. You can actually go there right now and see a few blogs on the site as well as a fan community (yes, I’m hopeful), a library (of one book), forum and also some cool stuff about me.

The website looks a little bland at the moment as it’s a work in progress and I’m waiting on the illustrator to complete the book cover. Once I have that in place I’ll be able to enhance the look and feel a LOT more.

So what’s next? Once I’ve finalised the title I need to register that domain and point it at my author blog. Here’s a few other things on the list for me to complete (it’s by no means exhaustive).

1.    Finalise book content (by mid-next week).
2.    Finalise cover design, typography and blurb for the back (end of following week).
3.    Get a photo done for the author’s biography.
4.    Complete the interior book design.
5.    Update website graphics and content.
6.    Publish the ebook and paperback via Createspace (an Amazon company)
7.    Update my author’s profile on Amazon.
8.    Establish a facebook and twitter account that are linked to my website.
9.    Update my website so that I can take sales via Amazon/Createspace
10.    Have a soft launch amongst friends. Encourage them to buy the book and leave comments on Amazon.
11.    Put together a package of material for other websites to review the book. This will need to include a copy of the book, synopsis, sample article, quotes, photos, artwork etc.
12.    Prepare a sequence of press releases to be released over a three month period.
13.    Approach media outlets for interviews – “Self-publishing author….scifi book etc.”
14.    Send out package to science fiction websites and reviewers.
15.    Engage community and detect who are real fans of the novel. Provide them with inside material, sneak previews etc.
16.    Brace myself for the feedback.
17.    Finalise marketing plan proper….including potential buying of advertising space.

I must admit that there are a lot more things that need to get on the list. One of which is finish book two in the saga! I’ll keep you up to date with how things are going.

Not surprisingly, what it all really hinges on is traffic, domain names and real sales. I understand a lot about those three items but it still doesn't necessarily mean that my publishing venture will be successful. Without a good product and plan I'm still sunk.

It’s going to be interesting to see if I can manage to make it as a part-time author. I love writing so I really hope that it’s a distinct possibility. Besides, my wife has been on my back to write a book on the domain industry…..so stay tuned for that one. Hopefully it will be more science fact rather than science fiction.

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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

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Recent Comments
mgilmour
Thanks for that!
27 November 2014
mgilmour
Whoops! A complete oversight on my part! themindwarsaga.com is not registered ... Read More
27 November 2014
mgilmour
Thanks for that Kassey. :-) It's been an incredible journey....nearly ready to launch!
27 November 2014
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I've Just Seen The Future

I've Just Seen The Future

Last week I was walking with my wife through our local shopping mall and came across a Virtual Reality (VR) Samsung display. Without any hesitation at all we both donned headsets and headphones to experience what the latest and greatest VR was really like.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with VR it involves putting on some goggles and the images for each eye are slightly misaligned so that you get true 3D vision. The headphones are regular and are typically designed to block out any external noise. A head tracking device completes the kit so that when you move your head the images that you are viewing also move.

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I first experience VR about twenty years ago at the Walt Disney Imagineering labs and it was incredible so I was looking forward to seeing what the latest and greatest was like.

The VR gear that we were testing was built by kickstarter funded Oculus Rift (later purchased by Facebook for a couple of billion) and the headset used a Samsung Galaxy phone for displaying the images. It’s incredible how far the computing power of a phone has come!

What I was really looking for was immersion. That point in time where I actually believed that I was where my eyes and ears were telling me.

The simulation that I was experiencing was an ocean dive where I could swim with fish and eventually encounter a great white shark. It really was incredible to be able to look around and see everything. The actual shark encounter was pretty good although being eventually eaten and inside the stomach was a little macabre.

I found the head tracking and the displaying of the images really good. I’d move my head and the image would instantly follow. In the past this would create a sense of motion sickness as the image would lag behind your movement. The only time I did feel a little off was when the simulation moved me up towards the boat. I was doing anything and yet I was moving….this was a little off-putting.

For a device that will sell for a few hundred dollars it was an amazing experience. It has the potential to bring a whole new level of meaning to tele-computing, gaming and education.

For instance, could you imagine your classroom teacher talking about Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and the whole class was waiting for him as he stepped down the off the Lunar Module! Now, that’s a whole new level of education!

Right now Sony, Oculus and Samsung are the forerunners in VR technology. There are quite a number of smaller startups doing some interesting things as well to facilitate the integration of movement and doing things such as simulating your hand in the virtual environment. All really cool stuff!

If you get a chance, I would highly recommend trying it out. VR is almost there but I’m sure with a bit more time that it will truly be a world changing technology. BTW – Oculus is planning on releasing their commercial headset around mid-next year.

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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
It's going to be really interesting as the line between reality and illusion becomes blurred. I actually believe that this could b... Read More
25 November 2014
mgilmour
I'm in with this Kassey!
25 November 2014
mgilmour
LOL! What more can I say!
25 November 2014
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10 Comments

Skunk works and visions

Skunk works and visions

About eighteen months ago I started writing a series of episodes for a science fiction website that I started. Over time this grew into a manuscript of 106,000 words and this week a lot of the final pieces of publishing my first novel finally fell into place.

For a start I purchased a block of ISBN numbers. These numbers are used to uniquely identify each version of a book (eg. ebook, paper back) for libraries, shops etc. It was a great feeling buying the “codes” that my own book will be designated by.

Just yesterday, I commissioned an artist to do the front cover…..you’ve got to have a decent looking cover as many people will judge the book by it. So where did I find the artist? I perused thousands of illustrations from artists all over the world at DeviantArt.com (it’s a great site). I then narrowed down the selection to about five artists I thought best represented what I was after. Of the five artists, three responded and I interviewed each from there.

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This Sunday evening I’m having a group of beta-readers provide their feedback on draft five of the manuscript. It’s the final feedback prior to me doing any minor clean-ups and fixing some grammatical errors that may have slipped through. It will probably be around two weeks work…..so not too long!

So in about four weeks I should have my first science fiction novel in print and e-published (fingers crossed with all the rush up to Christmas). It all started with a vision of writing a book.

Like anything worthwhile, it takes a lot of effort but it’s the vision that empowers you to move forward. I had some really difficult times in this journey and some rather severe critics of a partially completed work…..the vision helped me to move through these obstacles.

Over the years I've seen too many people coasting through life without any clear sense of what they're trying to achieve. I do think that it's important for there to be seasons in your life that are like this....but I wouldn't recommend making it a habit. Before long, you're old and full of regret.

When I was a teenager my grandmother said to me, "Michael, you only get old when you think you are." She had a zest and zeal for life which inspires me to this day. In her late sixties she and my grandfather went on an adventure that involved criss-crossing Africa and even traversed the Sahara desert in the height of summer! WOW!

As well as a vision I find that it’s personally important for me to develop another creative outlet that's not directly related to any of my businesses. This time, it was writing a book. I like to think of it as my skunk works project that just refreshes and energises me in everything else that I do…..besides, you just never know where these projects will lead you.

So I have two questions for you?
1.    What is your vision?
2.    What is your skunk works project?

Having a vision is like oxygen and when the vision is a passion that is a bit out of left field then all the better. You see, I can have a vision for a business that I have no interest in whatsoever. It will help move the business forward and help me through adversity but it really isn’t going to get me excited.

Now having a vision for a passion…..that’s another story! You get fired up and look forward to spending those few moments where you can do what it is that gets you excited about life. So my suggestion is….stop reading this and go and do something you’ve always wanted to.

Have a great weekend!

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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

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Successfully Outsourcing Your Domain Management

Successfully Outsourcing Your Domain Management

I was speaking with a client that had been with ParkLogic for many years and they asked me to conduct a complete review of their portfolio. Without giving away too much about who the client is I thought that I would share some of the history and the results of the analysis.

The client initially had a team of people managing their domain portfolio for them. When they moved their domains over they ended up letting these people go or reassigning them to other projects as they were no longer required to manage the domains.

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I want to be right up front and say that I'm one of the founders of ParkLogic. Despite this, I found the results that we achieved for the client incredibly revealing about how a properly managed domain portfolio can produce huge rewards for investors. They completely outsourced the entire management of the portfolio to ParkLogic and this is what was acheived for a 4 years period.

 

So across the last 4 years the results can really be summarised in four simple charts.

 

Graph 1

 

The first chart shows the number of domains in the portfolio steadily dropping (orange line) as we managed out the non-performing. We had established a set of business rules with the client that we applied to the domains as part of the dropping process.

Naturally, the revenue declined as the domains were dropped and the industry overall declined. The portfolio went from doing around $38K/month to $28K/month or a decline of 27%. Given that many of the domains that were dropped had some revenue this decline was expected.

During the same period of time the domain industry experienced a MUCH sharper decline in revenues. It was through our technology and processes that we were able to bolster the earnings and cushion the major decline for our client.

The key line is the revenue per domain (the blue line). As seen by the dotted trend line it is sharply trending upwards in an almost linear fashion. The average revenue per domain per month has moved from about $1.75 to $4.48. This is an increase of around 256% which is an outstanding result that we see continuing into the future as we release new capabilities on the ParkLogic platform.

Graph 2

 

The second chart gives a picture of the financial position of the portfolio for the past 4 years, both 2011 and 2014 are partial years. The expense line includes all registrations and ParkLogic management fees. The fees cover optimisation, registration management and first line of call on any legal matters. The client no longer has $150K-$200K per year in staffing costs.

Although the revenue has declined the profit appears to be reaching an asymptote as the decline in costs are matching any declines in revenue.

Graph 3

 

Chart three shows the decline in renewal costs as we applied the agreed business rules to the portfolio for domain renewals. The bump up in 2013 is a timing issue on registrations and a portion should really be attributed to both 2012 and 2014.

We see a lot of domain investors renewing domains that are completely worthless and this directly impacts the profitability of the investment. We now have the portfolio at a nice stable base of profitable domains and the number that are being dropped each year has diminished greatly.

Graph 4

 

The final chart sums everything up. The profitability of the investment is trending upwards from 243% to 335%. As mentioned earlier, the cost of the staff that were laid off as the client outsourced to ParkLogic is not considered in the profitability calculation.

So during a tumultuous period of time for the domain industry ParkLogic managed to increase the profitability dramatically. In addition, the client no longer has to worry about the portfolio and waste their time managing their domains…..it’s been completely outsourced. All they have to do is count the money and receive an quarterly report for their board.

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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

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