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…’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 (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.

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… 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!


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.
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What a CATastrophe!

What a CATastrophe!

The other evening my wife Roselyn and I went out for a bike ride. We left the door to the garage open and upon returning I made sure that I closed it so that it didn’t bang with the wind in the middle of the night.

Around lunch time the next day I asked Roselyn if she’d seen Pepper, our cat. She’s a wonderful cat that often curls into a ball in some hideaway in the house so it’s not unusual if we haven’t seen her for a while. She always comes when we call her name as she hopes to get some tasty morsel or two from us…..strangely this time when we called her name there was no sign of her.

After hunting around it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I’d inadvertently locked Pepper in the garage. Sure enough, after opening the garage door there was our cat staring with accusing eyes back at me. I apologised to her with a can of tuna and all was good.

So let’s unpack this story a little as there’s so much to learn from it.

When I closed the door of the garage from my perspective I had done nothing wrong. In fact, I was doing right by making sure that it didn’t bang all night. From Pepper’s point of view I was the most horrible person in the world! How dare I deliberately lock her in the garage!

This is often exactly the same when two people have a disagreement. It’s all about perspective. Like Pepper and I, it’s often the case that neither party was trying to do something deliberately to antagonise the other. Stuff just happens.

I could have tried to prove to Pepper that I was right and the cat was wrong for going into the garage in the first place. Pepper could have hissed at me that I should have checked the garage before closing the door. Both of us would have been right…..and also wrong.

The key here is the apology (ie. the tuna). An apology is all about recognising that you’ve hurt another person’s feelings, it’s not about whether you are right and they are wrong. In fact, it really doesn’t matter if you’re right or not.
My father used to tell me that you can win an argument and lose a friend or say sorry and keep a friend. It’s your call what you want to do.

This past week I wrote an apology and it did not matter whether I was right and the other person was wrong….what mattered was “I’d locked them in the garage” and they were hurting. A genuine apology was needed to help rebuild the bridges in the relationship that I’d inadvertently broken.

When I read some of the comments on the article it was clear that many of them missed the whole point of the apology as people rushed to take sides. It wasn’t about rights and wrongs at all…..and hence, for the first time ever I closed the comments on an article.

One of the comments would bear mentioning, as it really struck me… was suggested that I looked weak by apologising. You know what, I personally believe that someone who is willing to apologise is actually strong. It also means that when they mess up or hurt your feelings etc. they are willing to place the relationship before their pride. This is not to say that I’m some great “hero” but it’s a good life lesson to ponder. It’s also one of the major reasons why I’m still married after 27 years.

Let’s take this cat and garage story one bit further. Let’s imagine that Roselyn had asked me whether I’d locked the cat in the garage. I would have said, “No, of course not.” Later after the cat was found in the garage Roselyn could have said, “You’re a liar!”

No, I wasn’t a liar. From my perspective I didn’t lock the cat away. Luckily my wife is very understanding and she didn’t say these things but how often have we leapt to conclusions about someone’s actions and disparaged their character? It’s easy to do and it’s very destructive. My advice is to be very careful before you judge another person’s actions.

Over the years, it’s been my observation that many arguments are the result of different perceptions of the same events. In my case, the can of tuna went a long way to mending my relationship with Pepper and last night she curled up on the couch next to me. :-)

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Thank you Kassey!
16 November 2014
I'm a regular visitor to your blog.. but never commented on anything.. But This time I'm commenting... I would like to say that S... Read More
15 November 2014
Kan, it's great to see you here and comment on this article. It means a lot.
16 November 2014
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My Apology To Donna at DBR

My Apology To Donna at DBR

I went and tried to login to the Domain Board Room yesterday and discovered that I’d been banned. I’ve never been banned from anything in my life so this was a new experience and one that caused me to be quite perplexed.
So the question has to be asked, “Why did I get banned from a forum that I’d been taking part in for a number of years?”
It was really simple. As a part of ongoing threads if I’d happened to have written an article on the topic then I’d say something like, “I’ve investigated this issue and you may want to check out a detailed article that I wrote on it.” I would then provide the link. The link was more for expediency, as I really don’t have much spare time it saved me from rewriting everything that I’d ever written on the topic.

I was asked by Donna (the forum owner) to not link as she thought that it was self-promotion. Even though that wasn't my motivation I can now see how it could have been viewed that way. Despite her request, I then made the fatal mistake of publishing a link to an article that another member had requested.....
I now find that I’m banned…..given that I didn't comply with Donna's request I may have deserved it. I think that she does a fantastic job with DBR and as the owner of the forum she has every right to ban whomever she wishes and for whatever reason.
From my perspective I honestly believed that I was just trying to help and self-promotion was the furthest thought. I bear no malice or ill will towards anyone at DBR and have enjoyed the many threads over the years. I contributed where I could and given my time constraints I participated in the best way that I knew how.
So why am I writing this blog? Right now there are a whole lot of people that I have been conversing with that will suddenly see me just vanish. This is the only way that I can communicate with them and indicate that I really wasn’t trying to do anything wrong. Donna, please accept my unequivocal and humblest of apologies as I never meant to do anything to offend you or anyone.
For those of you that are wondering, I’ve reached out to Donna a number of times as I didn’t want any ill feelings to be between us. I genuinely wish her and all of my friends at DBR all the best.....sigh......I will miss you all.

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Stop Biting the Hand That Feeds You!

Stop Biting the Hand That Feeds You!

I’ve been in the domain industry for more years that I care to remember and I constantly hear the cry of domain owners claiming that parking companies are defrauding them. So are they defrauding you?

I'm actually Parking Company ParkLogic we send our client’s traffic to whoever pays the most at that specific point in time. In the last 8 years I’ve have only found one parking company do something deliberately wrong....and we terminated the relationship with them.

On the whole the major parking companies are run by honourable, good people that are doing their best to earn money just like the rest of us. They don't have a secret bucket of money that they are stashing away and they also don't steal from domain owners. If they did, they would pay out less and we would instantly move the traffic away.

That being said, stuff sometimes goes's technology and as we know technology isn't 100% perfect all of the time. When something stuffs up give your account manager the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t trying to screw you out of a few dollars. The typical account manager has no say what goes on with the technology anyway!

I’ve talked to our own account managers and they often share about clients yelling, swearing and generally being completely unprofessional to them. Give them a break! They’ve got feelings too you know.

What I suggest is that you pick up the phone, skype, email, IM or whatever and thank your account manager for doing all the work that they are doing for you. They often do a lot of stuff behind the scenes that they either can’t or for whatever reason don’t share with you. So go and share some love :-)

Have a great weekend!


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

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Saturday Musings - Relationships Not Things

Saturday Musings - Relationships Not Things

I’ve had a lot of people asking me why I’m not at TRAFFIC in Miami. I’ve been to every TRAFFIC conference for the past 10 years (other than the very first) and I’ve found them exceptional events for developing business. So why aren’t I attending this time?

It just so happens that my daughter Elise is turning 16 and despite my love for TRAFFIC she trumps it. I wouldn’t miss her birthday for anything. So I am really sorry to all of my great friends at TRAFFIC but you got beat out this time……but I will be there in 2015!

When I think of my decision it’s all about what I regard as important in my life. Do we work to live or live to work? I love my work but the reason why I work is so that I can live a more fulfilled life. It's focusing on people and relationships not things and money that provide a richer better life. In this case it was my relationships with my daughter that won the day.

The order of importance for me is my relationships with God, Roselyn (wife), my kids, work colleagues, friends etc.  I find that if I have these priorities in the right alignment then life is good. Sure, I can break the rules for a time but there’s always a cost.

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Recent Comments
You both are way to kind with your comments. Thank you for your thoughts and I will pass on the "happy birthday's" to Elise!... Read More
02 November 2014
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