Saturday Musings - Why Networking is a Bad Idea

Saturday Musings - Why Networking is a Bad Idea

I can’t stand the term “networking”. It really iterates me when I hear people talk about “great network opportunities” when they refer to a conference. The reason I don’t like the term is that it’s completely self-centered. It’s all about what you can get out of something or someone.

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How many times have you been in a conversation with someone where the only reason they want to get to know you is because of who you work for or the position you hold? You’re merely the stepping stone for them to sell some product or service. They actually don’t care about you and developing a friendship is the furthest thing from their thinking.

Yes, in business we all do transactions with one another but there is a right way and a wrong way to treat people along the journey. Networking is all about getting something…..I think we should flip the model on its head and work out what we can give.

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GDD and Domaining Europe

GDD and Domaining Europe

So here I am again sitting in the Emirates business lounge at Melbourne airport waiting on my flight through to Madrid and the ICANN GDD domain conference. For those of you that think a 3 hour domestic flight in the US is a long way I would like you to pity me (at least for a little bit) as I begin journey my 24 hour journey. Yes, you read right it is 24 hours.

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If you've ever wondered how anyone can survive that long in a flying tin can then let me pass on a few tips. When I finally board the plane I pull out my Bose noise cancelling headphones and assume the foetal position. Eventually I spasm uncontrollably and then collapse into a stupor.....at least until some knocks my head as they walk past in the aisle. This should give you a hint that I'm not flying business class on this expedition.

Flying isn't so much as a joy but something to be endured as you whip around the time zones. The most amazing thing is I often find my body in one location while my mind is several thousand miles away, desperately trying catch-up and jam itself into a new time zone which means breakfast consists of everything you would normally have for dinner.

Enough of my complaining about flying.....so why am I doing it? GDD in Madrid is a smaller ICANN conference which is focused on registries and registrars rather than lots of policy stuff. I'm looking forward to Madrid and also the conference and more in particular it's going to be great to meet a lot of new faces and say "hi" to some long-lasting friends.

After a brief stop-over for the weekend I then head to Berlin and Domaining Europe. There is one thing for sure.....Domaining Europe continues to grow and Dietmar is one of those affectionate hosts that you just love to see each year. I'm on 3 panels and I have a speaking session at the conference and I'm looking forward to it!

I hate to say it but my flight just got called so I've have to go.

See you all in Europe!

PS. I nearly forgot to mention that Roselyn will be with me on this trip.....so make sure you say "hi" as she's really looking forward to meeting you all. :-)

 

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Saturday Musings - Being in a Whirlwind

Saturday Musings - Being in a Whirlwind

This past ten days have been a little crazy in my household. Our son Tim and his girlfriend dropped in for a few days before heading out again with his work. Sarah had her birthday and then moved into her own place and Elise had her car window smashed and bag stolen.

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In amongst these personal comings and goings ParkLogic has been rolling out its new Next monetization platform from one client after another. We’ve also been deploying new systems for registries, registrars, and hosting companies to get the most from the domains they manage.

I’m now looking at a coming week where Tim returns for a few days with a work colleague and he’s hoping I can spend some time with him developing a business plan for a new venture.

While I’m doing this Roselyn and I are getting ready for GDD in Madrid and Domaining Europe in Berlin. The cherry on the cake is preparing for three speaking sessions and twenty plus meetings. Somehow amongst all of this I’m signing off on our corporate, trust and personal tax returns. It's going to be a busy week....

I must admit that the thought of the plane door closing as we commence our 24-hour flight to Madrid via Dubai sounds like bliss. With any luck, I’ll have some time to do some thinking rather than just racing around from one task to another like a headless chicken.

To say that I’ve been in the middle of a whirlwind this past couple of weeks is a bit of an understatement…..it’s been more like a tornado. A strange thing happens when you’re extremely busy…..stuff just seems to get done.

I’ve said this in my blog before, “If you want to get something done then give it to a busy person.” Why is this? Busy people tend to prioritise tasks and ensure that everything is completed. A person with lots of time on their hands will get around to things one day.

I think that it’s absolutely incredible the amount of work that domain investors do to maintain their passive incomes. Responding to sales inquiries, ensuring DNS’s are set, renewals are done and an escrow transaction is complete is but a few of our daily tasks. All the while we're looking around for the next batch of domains to purchase. It can be frenetic and 24 hours per day job.

At the same time, we all need to learn to take some time out. You can’t keep the foot on your life’s accelerator forever without something going wrong. For me, I secretly look forward to long flights as it allows me to write another chapter or two in my next Battleframe book series. I find that I can relax with my laptop while I let my imagination take flight to the background hum of an A380’s engines.

What do you do to relax? What is it that recharges your batteries? Are you burning the candle at both ends as you pour yourself into your business while forgetting why and whom you’re doing this all for? One of the most under rated things that we can all do is take some time out to really think. We seem to be rewarded for doing when in fact it’s the thinking before the doing that brings the rewards.

Stop, right now as you finish reading this article and do some thinking. I'm sure you'll be surprised at some of the creative ideas you come up with.

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday Musings – When Life Brings Changes

Saturday Musings – When Life Brings Changes

Our house has been in the midst of a lot of change over the past week. Tim and his girlfriend flew down from up north for a flying visit and our daughter Sarah is in the process of moving into her own place.

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Life’s been a little bit chaotic with people coming and going. Come Tuesday next week and there will just be Roselyn and I with eighteen-year-old daughter Elise rattling around the house built for a lot more than just us.

When life throws you a whole lot of changes you can either resist what is happening or go with the flow.  I’m an eternally optimist so I like to look on the empty bedrooms as an opportunity.

I recently had a person tell me that I’m too optimistic and that I need a dose of reality. I responded by saying that I like to make my own reality so it may as well be a positive one. I must admit that I get tired of people that always seem to point out that donuts have holes…..for heaven’s sake you’ve got a donut. Enjoy it!

I’m now in the process of turning one of the spare bedrooms into a video/sound studio with a green screen and all. I love messing around with being creative with that type of stuff and my “donut” is looking better every day.

I’ve now bought a high-end microphone, mixing console, and some sound software so that I can record an audio version of my book, Battleframe. I’ve always wanted to do this and now I have the space to do it in…..so get ready for some audio and even video action!

When life brings changes your way remember that not all of them are bad. It seems to me that when your children get older and leave the nest they inevitably bring back someone else with them. You can either view this as a threat to the way things were or an opportunity to get to know someone your kids really love.

Sarah had her birthday this past week and we had all the boy and girlfriends around for a great celebration. It was fantastic seeing them laughing and interacting with one another….it’s one of the many blessings of being a parent.

So decide what you're going to do in your life, look at the donut or grumble that it's got a hole.

Have a great weekend!

Michael

 

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Part 5 - How To Get New Customers

Part 5 - How To Get New Customers

Many readers are aware that I recently launched a new business and that I was having trouble enticing customers to the service. It just so happens the business is a new bird bath outside my study window and the customers are birds (the flying ones).

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Although there’s been a lot of funny anecdotes there has also been a serious thread of discussion about how to attract customers to a new business. Every new business has a vision of their ideal customer and a “full proof” plan on how to attract them. The problem is that years of experience has proved plans look great on paper and reality is something else entirely.

For example, I had a great vision of birds flocking to my wonderful bird bath and I would enjoy them singing away outside as they happily splashed away. My reality was a bird bath that was entirely ignored.

The one thing that a start-up has to their advantage is their ability to quickly change direction. If the plan isn’t working, then change the plan. Don’t burn more cash…..move!

In my case, I tried to entice the birds with bread. They loved the bread on the ground and completely ignored the bird bath. I then moved the bird bath. That still didn’t work so I moved it again. I constantly tweaked my “business” with the end goal of attracting my customers (ie. birds).

If a start-up is to succeed, then it must get customer feedback as fast as possible. There is no point in building the ultimate product that no one wants. For those people who tell you they love what you’re doing then ask them the same question with a charge attached.

I’ve seen so many businesses give their products/services away in the name of “market share” only to find that once they try to charge no one wants what they’ve built. A sale isn’t a sale unless ultimately there is a financial transaction attached. Anyone can give a service away…..it’s much harder to sell it.

So where am I at? As can be seen by the pictures I now have multiple different species of birds enjoying the bread and the bird bath. This is important as the different species indicate that I’ve now tapped into not just a single market but multiple different market segments.

Magpie

A start-up needs to quickly classify what customer segments are buying their products/services. This means really paying attention to what customers are buying versus the time wasters and then focusing your efforts to exploit the revenue opportunities.

I should say that my feathered customers are also paying customers. The other day, Roselyn and I woke up to a magpie warbling beautifully outside our bedroom window. That was payment enough for us both. For me, it was wonderful to know that I’d managed to successfully launch another little start-up business.

Battleframe

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