Saturday Musings - There and Back Again...

Saturday Musings - There and Back Again...

The above title is reflective of my past week and also first written by Bilbo Baggins, a character in from the “Lord of the Rings”. During this past week I’ve been away on vacation and now I’m back again.....so it seems quite appropriate.

There’s nothing quite like a vacation to get the creative juices flowing. While having a really interesting conversation with my wife, Roselyn, I suddenly had an epiphany about the domain industry. It was like a light-bulb was switched on and so I quickly wrote it down so I could dig into it when I returned.

The next day I was playing a mindless game on my Windows Surface and again a great idea sprung to mind about how to extract additional value from domains. I went away and wrote it down next to the first idea so I wouldn’t forget about it. This continued to happen while I was away.

Vacations are more than just having a great time (which we had). They are all about refreshing yourself so that your mind is able to come up with new ideas, solve intractable problems and to really think without the clutter of the day-to-day activities. Even after only one week away I’m feeling refreshed and reinvigorated about the upcoming month.

So what’s happening? First of all, I’m heading to “The Domain Conference” in Fort Lauderdale this Friday. So if anyone is going to be there on the 9th then I’d love to catch-up with you.

Once again, I have the privilege of sharing on domain monetisation. Trust me when I say that 99% of the material I’ll be sharing will be completely new. If the conference is anything like the last one, then it’s going to be outstanding for doing a lot of business.

Thirty-six hours after returning home from Florida I’m heading to Hong Kong for DomainFest Asia. Last year was a complete eye-opener to the Chinese domain community mindset and I’m looking forward to this one more than ever.

I’ve been invited to share a number of times and I wouldn’t be surprised if the conference ends up being one of those special events that will be looked back on as a bit of a bell weather for the domain industry.

So now you can see why “There and Back Again” is relevant for me this month. I’ll be heading out and returning and doing it all again. Although I’m sure the conferences will each be amazing what I’m really wanting to do is get stuck into some of the concepts from my vacation…..

So do yourself a favour, take a break. You may be surprised how you end up transforming your business.

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Saturday Musings – Being Obedient To Our Masters

Saturday Musings – Being Obedient To Our Masters

There’s a solid body of evidence that my cat, Pepper, completely rules the Gilmour household. Each morning Pepper is waiting outside our bedroom door with an impatient look on her face, demanding that we satisfy her need for food.

Cat owners all understand that their feline masters can be most petulant when it comes to the types of food they demand. In my case, Pepper has gone off the gourmet variety turkey dinner and is insisting on salmon.

If I behaved this way with my wife then it would be bread and water for me. As for Pepper, she now has us buying the salmon…..well at least until she gets tired of that morsel.

At the end of a long day it’s always nice to put your feet up and watch a little bit of television. I have to make sure that I don’t sit in Pepper’s spot on the couch or like Sheldon from the TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, she’ll pace back and forth until I move.

Once I’m resettled, she climbs up beside me and demands that I give her a scratch behind the ears. The demand comes in the form of a head-butt until I satisfy her itch. I could be in the middle of a great show but as her underling I must first comply with her wishes.

It’s at this point my other masters, I’m mean children, come into the room and calmly place a vacuum cleaner into my wallet to suck out everything but the lint. At least they give me a smile and thank me for the privilege of leaving me destitute, so I suppose all is good.

Just when I’m really enscounced for an evening’s entertainment at the end of a long week my youngest daughter (ie. Overlord) requests my attendance at the car to drive her to youth group. Sighing inwardly, I take off my moccasins, put my runners back on and head out into the cold night air.

Upon returning home my eldest daughter/master gives me a tongue lashing because I didn’t reply to her text message within the required two seconds. I don’t know what it is about the younger generation but they seem to assume that you’re dead if you don’t instantly respond by typing on a device meant for speaking…..I think I’m feeling my age.

So after settling back in my assigned spot beside my feline queen on the couch, I once again return my attention to the television, completely oblivious to the fact that my wife has been having a conversation with me for the last thirty seconds. I finally get the hint when I hear my name follow by “are you listening to me?”

For most guys this is a really difficult question to answer. If I say no, then I’m in big trouble for ignoring my wife even though I didn’t even know was there (which is really bad). If I say yes, then I have no idea what I’m about to agree to.

So what do males normally say, “Honey, can you please clarify what you mean again?” This provides us with a breather too catch-up on the clearly important decision that you’re about to make. After all, happy wife, happy life :-)

It’s at this point that I become distracted by the fact that I forgot to pause my television show and Pepper resuming her head-butt treatment. I then receive a text from my youngest daughter asking to be picked up because everything is finishing early and my eldest daughter picks up the remote, changes the station and sits down to watch something about “Bachelors”.

After answering my wife while I give Pepper a scratch I depart to pick up my youngest daughter. Upon returning, I excused myself, disappear into my study and buy a domain. Oh it’s good being free again!

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings – How To Be Successful in Life...

Saturday Musings – How To Be Successful in Life...

I must admit that I was really nervous writing this title today because it suggests that I have the answer to the underlying question of “How can I be successful in life?”. Well, I hate to disappoint you but I don’t have all of the answers…..but I do have some.

To me, success has less to do with bank accounts and more to do with relationships. The most important relationship in my life is with my wife. Roselyn and I have been married for nearly 30 years (big anniversary next year!) and like any marriage it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

We’ve had difficulties to overcome but over the years we’ve discovered an amazing secret. It’s really simple, “Don’t be selfish”. What we found was the more we tried to meet each other’s needs the more our own needs got met. It’s actually pretty cool.

I’ve seen a lot of marriages fall apart and normally the parties say at some point that their spouse didn’t meet their needs. My advice, stop focusing on you and focus on the other person. The risk here is what happens if they don’t meet your needs still…..trust me, they will. This isn’t a solution for all relationships but it goes a long way to helping out.

So likewise, I try and bring this mindset into business relationships. How can I help out this client even if it means I don’t get the business? For example, just today I recommended to a domain owner that they should keep on doing what they are and not move their domains to ParkLogic. They were in a unique situation and trying to twist their arm would have been a disservice.

What focusing on your relationships forces you to do is take a long-term view. I may not do a deal with someone today but there’s always tomorrow. It means you’re focused on building trust rather than just your bank account.

What ends up happening is you do business with good quality people where you have developed strong relationships. Like a marriage, those relationships will be tested at times and if they are strong then they will last for years and years. It also means that you’ll have a lot of fun in business with great people along the journey.

Anyone can do transactions, buy or sell something to someone you will never see again. Business is different. It’s all about repeat transaction where people trust each other and look out for each other.

I have the privilege of counting many of the people that I do business with as friends. They may run parking companies, hold large portfolios or monetise traffic in unique ways but what’s special about our friendships is there is a commitment to the relationship that is beyond just business.

Next time you talk to one of your partners, business colleagues, clients, children or wife ask yourself, “What can I do for them?” You may be amazed by their response.

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings - I Want A Revolution

Saturday Musings - I Want A Revolution

Over the years a number of people have asked me how to build a successful blog. I answered that it’s really quite simple. Write three to four articles a week for nine years and you’re guaranteed to achieve success. For some strange reason they normally go away with a downcast face at that answer.

Typically, instant success takes a lot of time, effort and discipline. All of these traits are things that most people really don’t want to hear about but needless to say are necessary for success. What they really want is the success without putting in the “hard yards”. I hate to say it but the world just doesn’t work like that.

Often to be successful it requires ninety-nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration. I recently watched the movie the Social Network again for about the fiftieth time and two things really struck me about the way Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. He worked during breaks while being deposed and there was one scene where it was clear that he’d put everything into the launch of “The Facebook” and just wanted to sleep. Facebook just didn’t happen. It took a huge amount of work from some very smart people.

As a serial entrepreneur nothing drives me more crazy than a person who wants the success without the work. I was chatting privately on Namepros recently and it was so refreshing to speak with a domain owner that obviously worked incredibly hard to improve the performance of his portfolio. I'm confident that he will become more and more of a success story for the industry because he has the right work ethic.

The second thing that gets me really frustrated is evolutionary versus revolutionary improvement in any business. Over the years my company, ParkLogic, evolved one step at a time to provide better and better results for customers. It drives me completely crazy! Why? Evolutionary improvement takes results from 100% to 102% improvement and in the short-term it barely moves the needle. Over the long-term the improvements are significant but short-term they are really quite disheartening.

So now, we are on the verge of the launch of ParkLogic Next…..it’s a revolutionary improvement in everything that we do from the backend right through to the client interface. It’s taken a long time to write and we’ve still got a little way to go but I haven’t been as excited about the domain industry as I am now for a long time.

The reason for my excitement is that revolutions by their very nature are rare but they are often transformational. We’ve been working on Next for a couple of years and so you can assume it’s one of those “instant” stories. What’s so good about the platform isn’t what’s in the front end (although that’s pretty darn good) but what is happening behind the scenes. More on Next another time....

If you’re wanting to achieve success in your own life then ask yourself whether you are really committed to it and willing to put the time in to match the inspirational idea you have? If you are then you’ll be a long way down the track to achieving your own goals for your domain business.  My advice though is when you’re successful……keep on looking for the revolutionary idea that may kill your business and launch something new…..better you sharpening the knives than someone else.

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings – Virtual Reality Consciousness

Saturday Musings – Virtual Reality Consciousness

This past weekend I’ve had a real opportunity to play around with Virtual Reality (VR) and my Oculus Rift. If you’ve never experienced VR then I would highly recommend you take the first opportunity possible…..it’s simply incredible.

Earlier in the week I downloaded the social app V-time for the Oculus. This app allows you to meet with other people and then “teleport” to a wide variety of destinations. So you could be chatting with friends in Paris (including hearing the traffic in the distance and someone playing La Vie En Rose) or look down on the Earth from the International Space station.

Rome

There are other aspects of the app that allow you to share photos in a boardroom at the top of a skyscraper. I think it’s only a matter of time before you can share a power point presentation and have a white board materialise for anyone to interact with.

International Space Station

I downloaded Chronos the other night which is a VR game where you are wielding a sword to fight off bad guys. All really cool but the best application by far would have to be the star fighter combat game, Eve Valkyrie. When you hit your thrusters and whip around the far side of an asteroid to escape a locked-on missile it’s nothing short of spectacular. The sense of actually being in a cockpit and launched out the side of a space-carrier is amazing.

When you really think about it, VR is in its infancy and everything will just get better and better. I hate to think what it will be like in a couple of years time…..and hence my decision to dive into the programming side of the Oculus.

Games and apps from other people’s imagination are great but building a world yourself is nothing short of mind blowing. So far I only have really simple objects built out of spheres and cubes but not long from now I plan on building far more complex buildings that people can explore. Why am I doing this? Because it’s the future and any online business depends on entrepreneurs being able to quickly grasp the changing opportunities that VR like technologies will provide.

If any of you have an Oculus Rift or another VR headset then let me know.....maybe we can meet online. Anyway…..I’d better get going as I have a bogey on my tail!

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