2017 - The Year of Innovation

2017 - The Year of Innovation

If I was to describe this year in one word it would have to be “innovation”. For a long time, the domain industry has been doing the “same old same old” with a tweak here and a tweak there but I believe this year is going to see some massive changes.

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For the last fifteen years, the domain industry has been caught in a malaise where landing pages look the same, domain market places are basically the identical to what they were and development has migrated up the content management systems version numbers. All a bit of a yawn.

While I was at NamesCon I perceived a growing sense of frustration and tension building in the air from people who wanted more for their domains. It was almost palpable. When there is a growing demand from the market then I’m a firm believer that innovative companies and individuals will seek to fulfil it.

I took a few days’ vacation immediately after NamesCon and one of the things I love to do is read. I picked up Elon Musk’s biography (Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity and Paypal fame) and was stunned by the similarities between the markets he has entered and the domain industry.

For example, with Tesla the incumbent automotive industry was a lumbering giant that was incredibly slow to adopt anything innovative. Musk steps and from nothing builds the world’s first high performance all electric production car. With next to nothing he’s built Tesla into a powerhouse of innovation that is leaving the other car companies in the dust.

The same could be said for SpaceX. Through innovation he has transformed the space industry and has the audacious goal to colonise Mars…..which brings me to my next point for the domain industry.

It’s not enough to be innovative or even meet pent up demand with innovative solutions. What is keeping me awake at night (other than jetlag) is why we are doing what we are doing? Is it just to make money or is there some vaster, bigger more all-encompassing goal? What is it that we actually do and how does this translate into an inspirational vision?

At an individual level, many of us have been so caught up with analysing statistics, trying to get the next sale or build out a website that we’ve forgotten why we are doing what we are doing? From an industry perspective, the concept of an inspirational vision seems even more far-fetched.

So why will this year be different? I’ve come to the conclusion that it has to be…..because if it’s not then many of us will die of boredom. We entered the industry as entrepreneurs and have become managers….even if we are very successful at what we do we have this gnawing internal desire to still shoot for the stars!

In the companies I’m involved in I’m looking at these big questions and then aligning innovative ideas and people behind them. My job is then to remove as many of the blockages as possible from their path so that dreams can become reality. It's going to be a really tough task but one that I hope will start to bring positive change to the industry.

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

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NamesCon - The Gilmour Family Are On Their Way!

NamesCon - The Gilmour Family Are On Their Way!

As per normal, I’ve arrived at the Qantas Club in Melbourne, Australia, grabbed a coffee and now I find myself sitting down to write my regular “I’m On My Way” to a conference blog. The big difference this time is nothing’s normal, I’m not alone…..Roselyn and our two daughters are with me.

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For those of you that do a lot of business travel you’ll understand that you have developed certain habits that create a bubble of calm around you as you make your way through an airport. From the moment we stepped out of the car I knew that my bubble had been well and truly shattered.

For a start, I tend to speed through the airport, weaving my way between the elderly gentlemen on the left while slipping around the family with screaming kids on the right. My family, enraptured with the joys of taking in the airport walked at the same speed of everyone else…..let me assure you, this was a relatively new experience for me.

I’ve managed to convince my family to only travel with carry-on luggage (thank goodness) but you’d be amazed how much a young lady can pack into a case. One of the bags was “substantially” over the weight limit and it took a little bit of extra smiling and joking with the Qantas staff to let us take it on as check-on……so all was good. But for heavens sake.....did she pack lead in that bag????

For those of you that are wondering why I insist on carry-on only….the answer is really simple. When you are doing any sort of city hopping business travel if you lose your bags just once then they’ll never catch-up with you again.

Or in the case of my business partner who was traveling to London he asked the attendant if they could please send his bag through to Los Angeles. The attendant indicated they couldn’t do that and he replied, “You managed to do it last time.”

So after briefing my family about how to ensure we all end up in the high speed line through security we got stuck with a Jetstar plane grew jumping the line, several families who believed that a stroller entitled them to first place (got to get myself one of those) and a number of airport staff that thought it was funny to make everyone wait while they went through the body scanner. One of them even kept forgetting to take stuff out of his pockets and pretended he’d never done it before.

After taking the leisurely stroll through the concourse (I was gritting my teeth) I couldn’t help but listen to the three ladies in tow ooohing and ahhing about the different sites along the way. It then dawned on me…..I’ve done way too much traveling and lost most of the joy and excitement of international flying. I’ve become a grumpy business traveller that complains about what other people think is wondrous.

So I decided to turn a new leaf. Now that we’re in the Qantas Club I’m going to have fun…..and as can be seen by the selfie above it’s looking good already. So watch-out NamesCon the Gilmour family are on their way and we plan to have a great time!

See you all soon!

Lieberman and Greenberg

Michael

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Saturday Musings - Thinking is Not Overrated

Saturday Musings - Thinking is Not Overrated

There’s nothing like a vacation to renew flagging spirits and get you energised for the new year. For the past week, my wife Roselyn and I have been enjoying the many activities that Queenstown, New Zealand has to offer.

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I’ve been an entrepreneur all of my life and one of the things that I value the most is taking some time out to assess whether what I’m doing is really what I should continue to do. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind that you forget to actually work on your business rather than in it.

When I go on vacation I like to take some time out to think about what I’m doing and if it still makes sense. I’m away from the noise of skype, emails, instant messenger, facebook, twitter etc. It’s just me staring at the horizon and thinking. It typically takes me a few hours to clear my head before I can let my mind drift through all of the things I’m currently doing with my life.

Why drift? I’m not trying to nut out a problem but rather get a sense for what makes me feel the most fulfilled. For me, I find that it’s best just to let my mind almost lazily move from one thought to another.

It never ceases to amaze me that during this process great new ideas form and a revitalisation of my internal drive occurs. Previously invisible links between business activities, clients and new ventures begin to take shape as I really begin to think. I find that many business people are so busy doing stuff that they forget to think……let me assure you that thinking is not an overrated activity.

I’m writing this blog on the return journey from my vacation and I must admit that I’m feeling pretty good. I have a renewed sense of purpose and 2017 is looking to be a great year. So watch out, NamesCon is just over a week away and I’m all fired up!

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

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Saturday Musings - The Entitled Generation...

Saturday Musings - The Entitled Generation...

If I was to describe the current generation of late teens to twenties in one word it would have to be “entitled”. They believe that everything should be served up to them in a pretty box with a bow on top and heaven forbid they actually have to work for it.

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This blog is inspired from a recent experience I had speaking with a twenty-one year old that couldn’t understand why they should pay board to their parents. Without even talking to their parents they’d made a series of decisions which meant they would have a reduced (not zero) income. They believed it was their parents responsibility to continue to support their lifestyle. Go figure?

When I quizzed them about this they cried, “It’s just not fair!”

I immediately responded, “Fair to whom?”

The response was a grumbled, muted reply.

During the last ten years, my generation has largely pampered (there are exceptions) this current crop of young adults. We build idiot proof interfaces for apps, provide them with miraculous technology and ensure the little darlings ego is continuously stroked.

I’m not sure what it is like in other countries but in Australia the education system has tried to eliminate all competition because it may adversely impact a child’s development. I’m not a child psychologist but seriously? These same “children” that have been brought up in cotton wool protective environments are now hitting their twenties.

Like children, they throw a temper tantrum when they can’t immediately step into a senior management role. The shock they go through when everyone older looks at them as if they are some sort of bazaar creature doesn’t even register. Throwing a tantrum worked all through school but the real world doesn’t put up with that behaviour.

The same generation wants everything now and they don’t care how much credit they need to use to get it. They don’t have any sense of patience and saving…..why should they when in one person’s case the bank provided a massive credit card to spend up on.

So this blog is a little bit of a rant but here’s the challenge for my generation…..we provide goods and service to these “brats”. There is an opportunity but make sure you get the cash before anything.

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all those readers of Whizzbangsblog a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I would also like to say thank you to all those companies that have sponsored my blog over the last twelve months. Your continued support has inspired me to keep on writing about domains and business on the Internet.

In particular, I would like to highlight:

It’s with a sense of sadness and loss in my heart that I approach Christmas this year. A few days ago, Pepper, my feline friend of 16 years, passed away. She was a great friend that was the subject of many Saturday Musings over the years.

When I was working late at night she would come and curl up on the carpet next to me. At some point she would nudge me with her nose, hoping for a scratch behind the ears and to let me know it was time to stop working.

Whenever I went away on business my wife told me Pepper would sit in my study and look out the window waiting for my return. When I finally arrived back home she would scold me in a very cat-like fashion until she allowed me to give her a bit of a pat again….after all, I didn’t get her permission to leave the house.

We normally wrap a present for Pepper and stick it under the tree….typically, it’s her turkey dinner. Sadly, this year we’re not going to be doing that. Although there is a sense of loss I know she is lazing away in the sun in cat heaven.

So in memory of Pepper I would like to highlight a number of past blogs where she featured:

What a CATastrophe

Saturday Musings – Why My Cat Is a Genius!

Saturday Musings – Why Cats Are Geniuses

Saturday Musings – Being Obedient To Our Masters

Saturday Musings – When Someone Spoils Your Week….

I hope you enjoy reading those articles as much as I did writing them.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Michael Gilmour

PS. I will be taking until the new year off writing.....so see you in 2017.

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