Saturday Musings - A Sad Tale

Saturday Musings - A Sad Tale

I was talking to a 20 year old at a party last night. I generally enjoy getting enthused by young people as they tend to have a really different outlook on the world which inspires me to new ideas. In the case of the young man, it was really sad to see that his life completely revolved around doing absolutely nothing. Nothing isn’t strictly true, as he sits in front of the television watching movies or playing games all day. Doh!

I love life and just wished that I had more hours in each day to do all the incredible things that seem to come my way….so to say the least, I was a little flummoxed during the conversation. His speech was slow, he moved slowly and everything about him seemed to be just plain slow. There was nothing wrong with is faculties but he had just ground down to a halt.

I tried to get him excited about doing Youtube videos or a blog about something that he was interested in. He told me that they were awesome ideas but when I looked in his eyes I saw that he was going to do absolutely nothing.

In the end I said to him, “I’d never ask you to do anything for me.”

He replied, “Why not?”

I said, “Because you’re not busy.”

It was his turn to be a little confused so I expanded on what I meant by saying, “In my experience, if I want something done then I give it to a busy person. They add it to their list of things to do and it gets done. People with a lot of time on their hands tend to push things off to the next day.”

As I looked into the young man’s eyes I could see a light bulb suddenly turn on in understanding. And just as quickly it looked like the dimmer switch had been wound back. There was nothing…..absolutely nothing there.

What’s amazing is that it’s actually quite easy to become a successful person online and make a whole lot of money. All you have to do is create at least three blogs or videos per week for about five years. Over time you’ll build up a lot of content that Google just loves and you will gain a following.

The problem with many people is that they give up after the first few months. I’ve been writing my own blog for over ten years and during that time I’ve built up a lot of readers. The challenge is to constantly provide quality content that readers want to read…..if you disrespect your readership in this manner then don’t expect them to hang around.

This is actually a really good lesson for young people. It’s rare that anything happens quickly….good things take time and perseverance. The problem with the instant generation is that they expect to become an instant hit immediately and get despondent when it doesn’t happen.

My book Battleframe took me around 20 months to write and publish. My company, ParkLogic has been in business for over 8 years. As I mentioned, I’ve been writing my blog for around 10 years and been in the domain industry for around 14 years.

Sure, I’d love instant success with any one of the new business ideas that I’m trying out but I’m also realistic in that I know that it just takes time. Some people think that it’s luck that determines success. Golfer Arnold Palmer said, “It’s amazing how lucky I seem to get the more that I practice.”

Have a great weekend!

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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America, Please Wake Up...You Are Great!

America, Please Wake Up...You Are Great!

A friend of mine suggested that I watch the television series “The Newsroom”. The show is about a fictitious news show based in New York but it cleverly weaves in real life stories and issues. Jeff Daniels acts brilliantly as the anchor man and he has a staff around him that provide information for the sixty minute news segment.

The opening scene in the first episode was Aaron Sorkin (the writer) at his absolute best. Daniels’ character had always played it safe when it came to the balance between ratings and telling the truth….deep inside it was killing him. During a town hall meeting at a college he was asked to answer the question in one sentence, “Why is America the greatest country in the world.”

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After a number of platitudes Daniels’ character finally cracks and gives a tirade of facts that proves that America is no longer the greatest. He finishes his speech with almost a cry from his heart that it could be again….

Now I find myself in a strange predicament….I’m Australian, watching an American show that is essentially decrying the downfall of America. I want America to be great and I am sick and tired of Americans pulling down their own country….let alone foreigners.

America was built on principles that inspire, challenge and reward individuals to believe that anything is possible. I lament the fact that America’s leaders have become so wrapped up in winning the next election that they’ve forgotten to present a big vision to the people.

A number of years ago I had the privilege of going through President John F Kennedy’s library in Boston and during that time I viewed one of his most famous speeches that he made in 1962. In it he inspired America by saying, “We choose to go to the moon…..not because it’s easy but because it’s hard.”

About ten years after that speech a six year old was sitting in the living room watching Apollo 17 lift off and I said to myself, “WOW, America can do anything it puts its mind to!” America has relinquished its place as the world leader in many fields not because of a lack of ability but a lack of desire.

I regularly go to the USA to attend or speak at conferences and inevitably the subject of politics gets brought up around the bar. Overwhelmingly there is a feeling of despair from my US friends as they talk about the future almost not being there for their country. Corrupt politicians, business leaders and justice for those with money seems to settle like a wet blanket on the conversation…..it’s sad.

So why do I want America to rise up and be great again? As I said, I’m from Australia and although I love my country, I’m also a realist. Although globally, Australia punches above its weight our population is that of greater Los Angeles.

The difference between Australia and the USA is that Australia was given birth as a penal colony while the USA was from pilgrims. Australia is a nation that prides itself on pulling down our leaders and cutting down anyone that is successful. In fact, if someone is successful then by and large we assume that they got there by doing something wrong. Yes, we have the sense of “mateship” and many other good qualities but we don’t have the vision to strive for a better humanity. For that, we really do need the USA.

You can ask my wife that whenever I go to the USA I get inspired and reinvigorated that anything is possible. I think that many people that live in the USA have become accustomed to this environment and risk looking down rather than looking up. The moment that I step off the plane in LAX I feel like there is one opportunity after another and all I have to do is reach out and grab them. Seriously, it’s the most amazing feeling you could ever possibly wish for.

As a foreigner, I actually don’t have much faith in the current crop of American leaders to pull the country around and inspire the world forward. What I do have is an incredible faith in the American people. Many of you need to reacquaint yourself with your entrepreneurial drive and stand up and say to your politicians that, “enough is enough!”

Back in the 70’s, a generation marched on Washington and filled to overflowing the area between the capital building and the Lincoln memorial. They weren’t happy with their leaders and said, “We’ve had enough!” It wasn’t long afterwards that the Vietnam War ended. My encouragement to the current generation is to stop looking at your smartphones and look at the world around you.

From my perspective, America can be great and more importantly America is still great….to all Americans, you just need to realise it. It’s an incredible country that is currently wrestling with some really tough issues. If the people that recently had friends massacred in their local church are any indication of the latent strength of character of the average American then I believe there is hope. They forgave the mad gunman and took the higher road that wasn’t down the path of revenge. What an incredible inspiration to the world!

The most wonderful thing about America in the past is that it was doing good not just for America but for humanity. It assumed the role of world leader and rose to the challenges that the world presented. Scientific breakthroughs, medical advances and technological wonders enriched the nation and provided all humanity with marvels that would appear more like magic a few generations ago.

This entire post came from a television show…..and yes, that came from America as well. You were once a great nation, you still are a great nation and will be into the future. I implore you to stop looking inwardly and set your sights on another great big vision that is inspirational to the rest of us. Let the world envy you at your audacity to “do things not because they are easy but because they are hard.”

Have a great weekend!

Here is the link to the Youtube video that has really inspired this post.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zqOYBabXmA

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Saturday Musings - Rowing is a Pain

Saturday Musings - Rowing is a Pain

I made the big decision this week to purchase a rowing machine. After using it I’m sure that it’s one of those devices of torture that was first inspired by the Roman galleys that used to ply the Mediterranean Sea. I could have sworn that I heard the beating of the slave master’s drum as I pulled back on each stroke.

So why did I part with some of my hard cold cash for such a device? It’s really simple. Like many domainers I end up sitting in front of my PC for endless hours each day. It’s a sure fire way to increase weight, reduce health and lower my overall enjoyment of life. According to the salesman that sold me my rowing machine he said that I will feel so much better for having it…..but there is just one problem, I have to use it.

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If I’d purchased the machine and gazed lovingly at it for hour after hour then it wouldn’t do me any good at all. I could tell all my friends about my new gym equipment and wax lyrical about how I’m on my way to becoming an Adonis (I wish!) but nothing would happen until I actually used it. This is really similar to business.

I’ve heard lots of great plans by people explaining in detail how they are going to make a fortune doing this and that. Some of them even had a deck of powerpoint slides and a cashflow (only some of them) that proved they were going make a lot of cash. The one thing that they forgot was that they actually had to execute on the plan. Talk is cheap, results speak volumes.

In a similar manner, I’ve had a lot of different companies want ParkLogic to integrate them into our platform so that they can get access to our large volumes of traffic. What they are really telling me is that they want me to spend a whole lot of money to help them earn advertising dollars.

I’m polite but I would much rather talk to them in 12 months’ time and see if they are still in business. Why should I spend money trying to help them and only to discover that they aren’t in business a few months later? If they were smart they would put $10K+ down on the table and say, “Here’s the money for the integration.” The chance of me diverting the team to do what they asked has now increased dramatically.

Starting any business is hard, hard work. I’ve founded a heap of them and not once have I thought, “That was just so easy!” Like my rowing machine, I can talk about a new venture until the cows come home but nothing will happen until I actually do something.

So many domainers talk about developing domains out. My advice is to stop talking and start doing. The first site will likely be a mess but you will have learned heaps!

Anyway, I think that I hear the drums beating and my task master calling….cheers!

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Personal Musings - Travel Tips for the Frequent Flyer

Personal Musings - Travel Tips for the Frequent Flyer

I’ve just completed reviewing my travel plans for the next six months and it looks like I’m going to be doing a lot of international flying. This is good because it means more business but bad because I’m away from home. So where am I going?

Date Reason Destination
Sept 4 – 7 DomainFest Asia Macau
Sept 26-29 The Domain Conference Fort Lauderdale
Oct 18-22 ICANN  Dublin
Dec 31 – Jan 7 Vacation (Yeah!) Queenstown New Zealand
Jan 10-13 Namescon Las Vegas

 

As you can see the second half of the year is going to be pretty busy. I really don’t know what happened between NamesCon in January this year and DomainFest Macau…..nothing that I attended. Seems to me there is an opportunity for a conference to be organised around May.

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I love catching up with all of my friends at the various domain conferences around the world but what I really don’t like is the journey. Being from Australia, every flight is well over 10+ hours and sitting in a tin can for that long is never fun!

After clocking up way too many air miles over the years I‘ve developed a bit of a routine.

  • Do whatever I can to ensure that I have a spare seat next to me. When I say, whatever, I really mean it.
  • Hydrate with lots of water in the Qantas club
  • Be nearly the last person to enter the plane
  • Insert noise cancelling headphones into ears and put on some nice music
  • Assume the foetal position
  • Close eyes and pray for sleep

Every so often I open my eyes to check out the best movie on the plane. I’m sure you know the one, it’s the picture of the little aircraft moving on the map. Trust me when I say that if I can possibly move the plane icon by force of will alone I would. Anything to get the journey over with!

A few other things about the way I travel. I never take check on bags. A good friend of mine was traveling to LAX and said to the person at the check-in counter, “Do you mind sending my bags to London.”

The check-in person replied, “We can’t do that as you’re traveling to Los Angeles.”

At which my friend replied, “You seem to be able to do it last time.”

Flying with carry-on bags is the ONLY way to go. This is especially true if you’re on a business trip and jumping from one city to another. If you have check-on then you may be in the position that your bags never catch-up with you and you can kiss them good-bye. In fact, even when I travel with the family I insist that we leave home only with check-on.

For those of you that are from a country that is a member of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) then you really need to get an APEC business card. This little beauty allows you to travel in the crew line and bypass the massive immigration queues…..it also allows you to be pre-approved for visas in countries such as China. It’s a hassle to apply for and requires that you get a police check etc. but if you travel a lot then it’s a must have.

A few other hints to help you in your own travels. Go to seatguru.com It’s a website that has a seat map of every aircraft used on every airline. Each seat is rated by travellers as to whether it is any good or not. For instance, seat 71D on a Qantas A380 has the crew escape hatch in front of you so it is always clear.

Assuming that you have the frequent miler points always put in for an upgrade. Cost wise, it’s the best option to spend your points on. For example, a business class airfare from Melbourne to LA costs around $8-9K while you can get an upgradable economy ticket for around $1.8K. You can then spend around 70,000 points to upgrade the ticket to business class. An economy ticket costs 100,000 points so clearly you get more bang for your buck with the upgrade option.

BTW, when you’re at the check-in counter always ask for the possibility of an upgrade…..even if an upgrade wasn't previously available you can sometimes get one due to someone else cancelling.

If I’m going to a conference, the first thing I do when I get to the hotel is have a shower and check in my dirty clothes to be cleaned for the return journey home. I then force my body into the local time zone….yep, it hurts but you’ve just got to do it if you want any chance of dealing with the jetlag. I always sleep with the curtains open so that the sun wakes me up in the morning (my wife hates this BTW). This also helps with the jetlag and triggers some sort of biological response to move my body as fast as possible into the local time zone.

Just on jetlag….I typically don’t drink alcohol when traveling on business. It completely messes up my routine for getting into the local time zone. I know that there is free drinks on the plane but in my opinion stick to bottled water. Alcohol dehydrates the body and so does flying at high altitudes….so drink lots of water. Whatever you do, don’t drink any water out of the airplane tanks….you’re very likely to come down with some sort of illness.

A few years ago I flew around the world in 12 days. The itinerary was a shocker! I ended up traveling from; Melbourne to Singapore, Singapore to Frankfurt, a train to Koln, train back to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Madrid, Madrid to Barcelona (for a conference), Barcelona to Miami, Miami to New York, New York to Toronto, Toronto to Denver, Denver to San Francisco, San Francisco to LA and then LA back to Melbourne. BTW – this was all flying economy.

When you have this sort of schedule you end up learning to sleep on the airplane, exist in the local time zone and do whatever you can possibly do to make the travel experience easier. It also causes you to groan when the person in front of you forgets to take their shoes and belt off when going through airport security. Cheers!

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Saturday Musings - My Windows Hell

Saturday Musings - My Windows Hell

Just over a week ago I was busily typing up an amazing analysis for my blog that covered “the meaning of life the universe and everything”. In other words, it was brilliant piece of work that caused my heart to skip a beat or two as it joined in the rhythm of my masterful keystrokes. I was in a really good place…..and that’s when disaster happened.

Some of you may be familiar with a BSOD. If you haven’t experienced a BSOD then let me say that the clock is ticking and that you should probably book in for an emergency session with either the local shrink or a big bottle of something that will make you forget about life for a while. Ideally, sharing the bottle with your shrink would probably be the best solution.

So what the heck is a BSOD? It’s a Microsoft Windows “Blue Screen Of Death”. Your screen goes blue (obviously) and a bunch of unintelligible gobble-de-gook gets plastered across which is really saying, “You’re stuffed.”

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So nearing the end of my epiphany I found myself staring at blueness. To say that my brain was momentarily trapped in some other dimension as it began to comprehend what had just happened was an understatement. I found my mouth moving but no words came out. I was stunned into disbelief. My PC had just had a massive stroke caused by some cancerous program deep within!

Sometimes in life you just have to make tough decisions. My PC was now akin to a lame horse or Disney’s much loved faithful dog, “Old Yeller” that at the end of the movie had to be shot. Rather than nurse my computer back to health I made the difficult decision to send it to the gallows.

I should say from the outset that I hate upgrading computers and making the decision to get a new one was monumental. So after a spot of research and a chat with my business partner (he’s brilliant at this sort of thing) I’m now typing this blog on my new mega-fast PC. The only problem is that I made the mistake of upgrading to windows 8.1 rather than sticking with windows 7.

Seriously, Microsoft, could have possibly made it more difficult for me to get up and running? I think not. The start button takes you to who knows where and finding your programs now involves multiple clicks. The task bar is forever semi-transparent which makes it incredibly difficult the read and the quick launch bar has vanished (yet again).

After a quick Google it took me about 2 seconds to realise that there were a multitude of users complaining about exactly the same things that I was. Despite having updates every few seconds the boffins at Microsoft seem to think that basic useability is something to ignore.

What Microsoft needs to appreciate is that I use my iPad every day and an iphone 6 sits on my desk next to me. My three kids have iphones and Macbooks, my wife has an iphone and an ipad and we have two AppleTV devices. I’ve never read a manual or Googled anything about an Apple product…..they all just seem to work! So Microsoft, why are you putting me through so much pain! It is clear to me that your user interface designers were born in some cesspit at the bottom of a very dim dark well!

When my iphone 5 had battery problems (ie. Got red hot) I took it to the local Apple store and they apologised and gave me a new phone with all of my data on it. That’s called service! I know that Apple isn’t perfect. For example, we’ve all seen the videos that prove that if you subject an iphone 6 to several tons of weight it will actually bend. Seriously, Apple has built products that are easy to use….which means I think that I made a big mistake with Windows 8.1

So for the past week I’ve been wrestling with my new PC as well as another bout of the flu (that wasn’t good). I’m now about to install third party programs that make my task bar opaque and another one that gives me back my Windows 7 start menu. At $5 a shot these developers are making a fortune.

So within the next week I should hopefully get everything just about under control….that’s when I noticed a little icon that said, “Get Windows 10”. You’ve got to be kidding me! So what level of hell am I about to be inflicted with now?

Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 (initially) so it’s free….right? No it’s not free! I’ll have to rebuild my entire PC and go through another few weeks of working out where they’ve put everything again! So my advice is….stay clear of Windows 10 and let some other guinea pigs sort out the mess.

Believe it or not I’ve been a strong proponent of Windows and have used it for countless years (since windows 1.0). For me to develop such frustration and angst towards a tool that I use each day just shows how wrong Microsoft is getting it. I’m now seriously looking at moving everything to Apple….so Microsoft, you’re on notice!

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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