Why My Mother's a Genius!

Why My Mother's a Genius!

There’s nothing worse than when you feel you’re thrashing. If you’ve never heard of “thrashing” then you’re likely to be one of the few lucky individuals that have never experienced it either. Thrashing happens when you have so much on your plate, you end up jumping from one activity to another and never completing anything.

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Thrashing originated as a computer term to describe the hard drive head as it moved across a platter of disks. When users add and delete files, disk fragmentation occurs and the hard drive head has to jump like a jackrabbit all over its surface in order to access a single file. In a non-tech talk.…you hear what sounds like mice scurrying around in your PC.

The technical boffins solved this problem by constantly “defragmenting” the hard drive and rearranging all of the file parts so the hard drive head moved to one spot to pick up the file. We can learn a lot from this approach.

So the other day I found myself on three IM chats, a skype conference call, emails pouring in and a things to do list a mile long.

As an aside, I’ve used the far more sensible metric system all of my life and yet saying my things to do list is a kilometer long just doesn’t sound right. I tip my hat to all of you recalcitrant Americans who insist on still using miles, gallons and ounces rather than kilometers, liters and grams.

I’ve often wondered though how you express thousands of something? Is it kilogallons? Do you ask your local shop for a kilo-ounce of sugar? Then again, you’d probably end up filling up your entire kitchen with that much, so probably not.

So back to my thrashing around skype, IM and emails. After muting the mike on skype (I hope I did anyway) I let out a little scream, smiled and began to politely extricate myself from the myriad of noise that I really didn’t need to be a part of.

That’s the thing. Thrashing normally occurs when you stick your nose into places that it really doesn’t belong. After getting a whiff of what’s there you feel obligated to do something about the problem and clean up the mess. Note to self….other people are quite capable of cleaning up their own messes.

So I looked at my list, had a bit of a delirious chuckle and began removing all those things to do that I didn’t have to really be involved with. In the process I discovered a long last feature of skype…..the away button. It gave me the time to think rather than react.

At the end of my review process I had a more manageable list and I followed my mother’s instructions. For some reason, most mothers are absolute geniuses when it comes to getting stuff done. It’s probably the fact that they have vast amounts of experience ensuring that children are fed, clean and not sticking their little fingers in power sockets. My mother was brilliant at stopping me from doing the latter btw.

What did my mother say? She said, “Get your list together, start one task and don't stop until it’s finished.”

What a brilliant piece of advice! Before computers were invented and hard drive heads weren’t even a technician’s dream my mother solved the problem of thrashing. I sometimes wonder if the techies just sat down with a few mothers we could have had the world of the Jetson’s by now…..what a lost opportunity.

So I did what my mother told me and my MBA be damned. Who needs a master’s in business when you have an expert with a bachelor of common sense to look up to! It was amazingly liberating. Stuff got done, people stopped complaining because I was delayed in finishing a task and I had a smile on my face.

That’s when I realized, that I’d left skype on “away”…..no wonder I’d suddenly gained so much time.

Have a great weekend!

Michael

Battleframe

Recent Comments
Rawgi
You are right , it is so easy to get overwhelmed by trying to do too much at one time. Then again it is an art to prioritize what... Read More
12 March 2017
mgilmour
Couldn't agree with you more!
12 March 2017
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Saturday Musings - Whizzbangsblog's Upcoming Anniversary

Saturday Musings - Whizzbangsblog's Upcoming Anniversary

Last night we invited a couple of friends around for a barbeque. It’s a quintessentially Australian thing to do and no, we didn’t have a shrimp on the barbie (besides, we’d have prawns). I find there’s nothing quite as relaxing as sitting outside watching the sun set while you feel the cool refreshing breeze on your face.

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It was then that it hit me….I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years! After checking the whois on whizzbangsblog.com I found the actual ten year anniversary date is the 7th April! Time flies when you’re having fun!

One of the things I most cherish is hearing from you, the readers of whizzbangsblog. Each comment spurs me on to keep writing and digging into all the possibilities that business and domains represent.

I don’t think I’ve ever asked it before but I would love to hear from you about whether you find the articles helpful, challenging, funny or something else altogether. Also, it would be great if you could let me know which articles you have enjoyed reading the most.

I'm planning on compiling a lot of the comments (assuming I get any) to be part of the anniversary celebrations....so don't be a stranger and let me know what you really think!

Many thanks for being a reader here….

Have a great weekend,

Michael

Battleframe

Recent Comments
Wolftalker
Insightful observations and long term experience always makes for an interesting read. Don't stop.
04 March 2017
Graham Haynes
You have a different lens on domaining, in that you look deeper into the details which helps give structure to people's own insigh... Read More
04 March 2017
Howard
Happy 10th Anniversary! I always enjoy reading your thoughts on various issues and hope that you keep it up for at least another ... Read More
04 March 2017
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Saturday Musings - What's Your Goal?

Saturday Musings - What's Your Goal?

My wife Roselyn and I have fallen in love with New Zealand and more specifically Queenstown which is situated in the mountains of the South Island. Looking around the incredible vistas is like stepping into The Misty mountains from “The Lord of the Rings” middle earth.....it's stunning.

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While walking around the township we discovered a hiking business that takes people on a five day walk from Queenstown, across the mountains and down into Milford Sound. For those of you unfamiliar with Milford Sound, it’s one of the most picturesque, unspoilt places on the Earth with waterfalls cascading thousands of feet into the ocean, wales, dolphins, and soaring mountain ranges. All good!

We’re pretty excited about going on the hike in just under two years’ time (we’re doing a lot of other already planned travel this year) but there’s one problem. We need to get a LOT fitter. To paraphrase Borimir from Lord of the Rings, “One simply does not walk into Milford Sound through the mountains. There’s ups, downs, river crossings and a host of other obstacles in the way.”

So we have a goal…..lose weight (which is a good thing) and get a lot fitter. Goals can be like New Year’s resolutions that are forgotten after the first week or you can choose to take them seriously.

Roselyn hiking in the fern gladeWe’ve now bought hiking boots and enough gear to make us feel a little adventurous. Our first hike was a few kilometres in the rain through a fern forest in the hills outside of Melbourne. We’re walking, riding or rowing machining every day to increase our stamina. The goal of the Milford track is inspiring us to get fit (which is always a good thing) and to get healthier.

Like our personal hiking goal every business needs to have goals to strive for. Whether it be the launch of a new product, a financial hurdle to strive for or getting a new client onboard. It’s healthy to have a target that you and your business can be measured against. In fact, I would go as far as to say that a business without a vision/goal is already in a state of decay.

So what’s the goal for your business and are you taking it seriously? Many people have lofty goals but few people actually put legs on them by taking the first steps forward. For Roselyn and I, we’re watching what we eat and doing “stuff”.

It could be that your first step is to pick up the telephone and call a perspective buyer for a domain you own. Whatever it is you need to do I can guarantee that your journey into the unknown will be like Frodo crossing the boundaries of your “Shire” and into the wilds of adventure.

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings - Attracting Flocks of Customers

Saturday Musings - Attracting Flocks of Customers

About a week ago, my wife and I decided to purchase a bird bath to attract the local birds outside my study window. The bath sits beautifully atop a pedestal and is replete with a turquoise glaze to make the water that much more enticing. I know if I was a bird I would be falling over myself to have a bit of a splash.

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I had visions of a Disney cartoon where birds would be so grateful for my benevolence that they would sit on a branch outside the window and sing me songs all day. After setting the bath up I waited and waited and waited for the birds to come flocking in to enjoy what I’d provided for them. …..boy was I wrong.

Scratching my head, I thought to myself, “Maybe I need to entice them just a little bit more.” So off I went to the kitchen and grabbed a slice of bread to spread crumbs all over the lawn to attract the birds to my yard. They loved the bread but none did anything with the bird bath. Hmmmm….not good.

You would think the stupid birds would realise that I’d setup the bath for their enjoyment! What more do I have to do to get them to use it? To this day, I’ve been trying to think up new ideas to attract my avian customers to the bird bath and not one has used it……sigh……

Isn’t all of this exactly like building an online business? We spend hours with designers and programmers to get the “look and feel” just right and when we eventually launch we wonder why no one uses it.

We finally succumb to enticing customers with special offers, free giveaways and short-term discounts (eg. bread). Not surprisingly, the customers love the freebies but ignore the main offering. Eventually we convince ourselves that customers are stupid and just don’t have any idea of the value you are providing them. Can you see the similarities with my bird bath?

The fact is, the market is actually really smart. The reason why many businesses close is because they don’t have enough cash to carry them through the start-up phase of wooing customers repeatedly to their website. Modern customers rarely buy from an unknown business but will more likely buy if they continually see it….it gives them confidence that the business isn’t about to vanish.

So what do I need to do about the birds? Keep on attracting them with bread and let them get used to the bird bath. I’m just looking forward to the day when the first bird enjoys a dip.

Have a great weekend!

Recent Comments
Rawgi
I see your point in that you have to entice the new ones with something. Just like people if you offer the latest flashy thing, ... Read More
19 February 2017
mgilmour
Love your feedback Rawgi!
21 February 2017
Rawgi
Thanks. I still do a bit of work on the side, but only let go by word of mouth. I don't want to get full time again, maybe try... Read More
21 February 2017
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Saturday Musings – Disposable Relationships

Saturday Musings – Disposable Relationships

We live in a social age where friends are quantified by Facebook and their “closeness to us” by the number of likes received. So are personal relationships really important anymore or are they something we should put on and take off like an old coat?

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When I talk to the current generation that have grown up with social media as part of the way they manage their relationships it’s clear to me that something has changed. I’ve noticed that committing yourself to an event (eg. a birthday party) is something you leave to the last minute as there may be a better offer in your news feed. Or worse yet, commit yourself and then just don’t bother to go.

I know of a teenager that had a birthday party and only two thirds of the people turned up that said they would. Of the two thirds, about half a dozen cared enough to bring a birthday present. Sadly, birthday parties are now less about celebrating someone’s birthday and more about running an event that attracts your social peers.

I may be showing my age here, but I wouldn’t dream of turning up to a friend’s birthday without bringing a gift. It seems this courtesy has deserted the current generation in their self-absorbed focus on me, myself and I.

Many gen Y’s don’t have a party in fear that their “friends” will opt to go to something else and leave them looking like a social pariah. It’s a sad fact that a person’s word to do or attend an event is secondary to their desire for self-gratification.

It’s any wonder that Jane Austen movies like “Pride and Prejudice” are still hits. The character of Mr Darcy has become a figment of a girl’s imagination as they look around at his antithesis being displayed by the behaviour of the current generation of males who are more concerned with themselves rather than the “fair maidens”.

Friendships are transitory and survive as long as they are needed. The goal here is to have lots of acquaintances (ie. friends on Facebook or Snapchat) so your social calendar is full of meaningless parties where no one actually gets to know anyone else in a deeper sort of way.

Here’s what I see is the problem with all of this. It’s through deep friendships that we truly learn about ourselves and the good and bad aspects of our character. If you hop from one person to another I can guarantee that no one will take the time or effort to have any sort of serious conversation with you. It will be all froth and bubble that’s aimed at fulfilling the most superficial of desires.

I’m not against having a good time but there’s something so much more satisfying about having time with a friend you’ve known for many years. You can sit in silence together just enjoying each other’s company, laugh about some funny story from the past or lend an empathetic ear when one of you is going through a difficult time. The current generation looks on someone openly sharing as an opportunity for a tweet to increase their own social standing….so much for confidentiality.

Close friendships are often the training ground for close relationships. If you don’t know how to have a close friendship, then how are you going to survive a lifelong commitment to a relationship with a partner? Or how about committing yourself to children? The potential end result is fractured families with devastated children. Society does it’s best to cope but governmental child agencies and family courts are bursting at the seams as the demand for their services escalates. This is despite the huge sums of money invested.

There are so many basic interpersonal skills that have been lost. I was looking at a group of six friends at a coffee shop the other day. While one person was speaking, the other five were typing away on their phones. Why bother getting together?

Many young guys no longer have any idea how to ask a girl out let alone how to have a pleasant conversation because everything is typed with emojis. LOL and ROFL have now become words as raucous and hilarious have been dropped from the vernacular. It sometimes makes me wonder whether George Orwell’s 1984 Newspeak was just a little delayed with expressions such as “double good” to mean something is twice as good as good!

There was a great scene in the move “The Intern” when Anne Hathaway’s character (company CEO) commented to Robert De Niro (Ben - who is an older intern):

“How, in one generation, have men gone from guys like jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford to... take Ben, here. A dying breed. You know? Look and learn, boys. Because if you ask me, this is what cool is.”

So who was Ben? He was a courteous, hardworking and chivalrous older man that showed love and respect to those around him. He was more concerned with serving than being served. He ended up being promoted and appreciated by everyone in the company.

The other day I attended a friend’s daughter’s wedding and the minister insightfully spoke about the different between a marriage contract and a marriage covenant. Sadly, in many respects the contract reflects many of society’s current attitudes….it’s all about my rights, what I get and receive from my marriage. In contrast a covenant is all about giving, not getting, and has nothing to do with rights.

For those of you that are thinking that you’ve escaped what allures the Gen X, Y and even Zers then think again. When you look at President Trumps behaviour of late he is more interested in the content of his next tweet than keeping confidential private discussions with world leaders. If I was the Prime Minister of Australia, then I would insist on an NDA being signed prior to my next discussion.

So is social media bad and is the current generation completely “off the planet”? Like many tools (including money) social media is not bad but needs to be treated as a tool to encourage and foster relationships around the world. It is not a substitute for relationships. A quick IM is nice but don’t expect your relationship with someone to grow solely on the back of such activity.

I’m fifty-one years old and I’m well aware there is a generation gap between myself and the following generations. What I find revealing is that when you talk one-on-one to a young person they relate many of the same concerns that I have. They long for meaningful friendships and a person who will really listen to their cares and concerns.

So where to from here? I think society is in for a number of social shocks over the coming years. When I talk to parents, many of them are struggling to relate to their teenage children and this often places stresses on all the family relationships.

In my own family, the meal table has become a phone free zone….in fact, for a long time we had a sign which said exactly that. Each night we chat (verbally and face to face) with one another, listening and laughing at the days events without constant text interruptions. It’s now become a time that we all look forward to (the fact that Roselyn is a great cook helps!) and a breath of fresh air is breathed into the almost lost art of conversation.

Have a great week!

Greenberg & Lieberman

Recent Comments
Rawgi
Our world is changing, our youth becoming internet dependent. I think you are showing good family base skills by setting the din... Read More
13 February 2017
mgilmour
It's always a pleasure hearing from you Rawgi. I completely agree with your comment that social media should be viewed as a tool a... Read More
13 February 2017
Rawgi
I would add that the family unit has degraded so much these days , that reading how you and your family go about daily life seems... Read More
14 February 2017
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