Opportunities and An Oculus

Opportunities and An Oculus

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly busy but in a good sort of way. I sat down with my business partner (David) and we had a page full of great ideas, serious partnership opportunities and a number of realistic possible investments. Faced with this plethora of options is any businesses dream.

As an example, one possible partnership will potentially add 30% to our client’s revenue line at ParkLogic. We’ve already put together a test and it will be interesting to see how it pans out over the next couple of weeks. It’s constantly looking for ideas like the one we’re testing that get me excited about the domain business.

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ParkLogic Next is progressing forward and we have a number of clients migrated across to it already. The client interface that we demonstrated at NamesCon was an instant hit but we still have a lot of plans to refine it further. The goal is to place decision making metrics in the hands of clients.

So with all the things that are happening and opportunities available how do you choose the right ones to work on? A lot of it has to assessing both the business impact and potential downside risk. For instance, we were looking over a detailed business plan for a particular venture this past week and spent most of the time assessing the “when to pull the plug” scenario.

It’s great getting caught up in the excitement of a new idea but working out when you’ll cut it lose if everything doesn’t work out is vitally important. I’ve seen many people almost get “pot committed” and feel they have to add more and more cash into something that’s actually failing.

In terms of investing in a business venture both David and I have one guiding rule. We will only invest if we are both in agreement.

For example, I identified a significant new opportunity but I still went through the due diligence of putting together a complete business plan. This was then put up as a “straw man’ so that David could shoot it down and I could defend it. If it survives that treatment, then we work out the minimal amount of investment to get to the first dollar of revenue. We’ll worry about the automation and streamlining of the product/service later on…..let’s just see if there are real customers who want it first!

When you have so many opportunities you will end up disappointing a few people. This can’t be helped; you can’t do everything. If possible, leave some of these on your list to be reviewed in six months time….more on this topic at a later time.

I would like to say thank you to all those people that wished me a Happy 50th Birthday. I had an awesome time and have now purchased an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset with the unbelievably generous gifts (thank you Roselyn for organising this).

Yes, I’m a real geek….I look forward to seeing you in cyberspace….watch out, I’ve already started investigated the Unity VR games programming language. 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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Where are the Leaders?

Where are the Leaders?

It’s not often that I write a political blog but after a robust discussion with my daughters over dinner I thought that it was about time I put pen to paper. Almost every night I see all the candidates from both the republicans and democrats being paraded across the television…..and I’m in Australia!

To be fair, Australia is also in an election year and our screens are filled with politicians kissing babies, making promises and almost completely ignoring fiscal responsibility. So although this article uses numbers from the USA….trust me when I say that Australia is relatively similar.

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So, what can politicians actually do to bring budgets back into surplus, pay off debt and do all the things they expect you and I to do at home? Well, not much actually…..unless they are prepared to tip over the applecart and show some real leadership.

I came across this little pie chart (see below) which really sums up the economic situation quite nicely. It basically said that 84 percent of the budget goes to keeping the lights on in social security, defence, health, debt interest and various tax credits.

USA BudgetIf my maths is correct this leaves 16 percent for potential cuts without the country either going into bankruptcy, riots on the streets or a foreign power invading only to discover that everyone’s dying of some health issue. So what’s in the 16 percent that all of the candidates are so boldly claiming that they can use to “fix the economy”?

Optional items such as; veteran’s benefits, transportation, science, education and research etc. You know, the stuff that actually makes the country work.

So unless, a politician is prepared to tackle some of the big ticket items then deficits will continue to be left to our children. For instance, I’m actually a strong proponent of a nice stable society where people aren’t rioting in the streets because they are starving but I don’t believe in a free lunch.

In Australia, we have something called unemployment benefits. They are a big chunk of our social security budget and are designed to help people that lose their job until they find another one. The problem is that we are now experiencing multi-generational unemployment where the grandparents, parents and children have all been unemployed and have no desire to get work. This is costing the country and really needs to stop as its unsustainable.

If society is paying you money so that you can live, then in my opinion you have a debt to society. Assuming that the person is physically and mentally capable then there are many local tasks that can be conducted by this group of people to help them gain some pride from working and contributing. It’s picking up litter, pruning trees, planting gardens helping out at an old folk’s home. The list is endless. As a society we cannot afford to continue to pay people that do nothing. It will take real leadership to make a change to social security that is both compassionate and realistic.

How about defense…..this is a touchy subject but one that is important. The USA spends just under one third of the total global defence budget and three times more than China, nearly eight times more than Russia and twenty-four times Australia. Before we demand the dismemberment of all of the armed forces due to the enormous wastage we need to stop and consider a few things.

USA Military SpendingFirst of all, the armed forces do an incredible amount of good for society. Although it may blow stuff up the vast majority of its budget is spent on training individuals and giving them a sense of pride. The armed forces are REALLY good at training….they’ve been doing it a long time. We could always put the long-term unemployed into special units called “homeland training” where they can learn basic life skills. Decreasing the rate at which guns and bullets are used isn’t a bad idea either.

Now we have the other biggie in the budget…..health. I know that I’m going to tread on a few toes here but in my opinion healthcare needs to be universal. We have an obligation to each other that means that your level of healthcare should not dictated by your ability to pay. In addition, like all industries, there should be a free flow of health care goods across borders to help reduce the costs of medications and services.

I have no idea why there isn’t mass demonstrations in Washington and Canberra over the fact that the same drugs in Cuba and Indonesia cost a fraction of what we pay. A person’s ability to pay does not give the seller of a monopolistic drug the right to charge incrementally more.

The most important thing that needs to be done to the health budgets of western nations is an allocation towards prevention rather than cures. In other words, spending money on getting the population healthy will reduce the need to spend money on lifestyle related health issues. You’ve only got to look at some of the Eastern countries that have country wide daily exercise programs to realise it’s a good thing.

John F KennedyThe problem is that politicians don’t seem to talk about the big budget items or come up with creative solutions for a better country. Too many of them have forgotten JFKs words, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” Sure, he didn’t always get it right but he put out a vision of a better nation.

What most politicians seem to be doing is banking on continual growth and pushing off the problems to the next generation. I’ve got a message for you…..perpetual growth is impossible and the next generation has had enough.

So as people’s of two western democracies, USA and Australia, let’s exercise our right to express ourselves and demand some vision from our leaders. I want a prime minister that has a big audacious goals that aren’t easy but well worth it. I want a leader that is more about investing into the future than robbing it blind.

I look at the daily dose of American debates on the television and I have no idea how my friends in the USA are going to vote. It all seems to have degenerated into a slanging match and the winner will be the person that has the least amount of mud stuck to them. Demand something more from the candidates and ask them to tell you about an American utopia that they have a vision for.

Wouldn’t it be great if our countries had leaders rather than pollsters telling the politicians what to say and how to act? I also want a media that is less concerned about the next sound-bite and more interested into a person’s character and vision for our countries. I feel sometimes that in an effort to sell another advertising spot that the truth is being sorely neglected.

So I’m sitting down with my daughters and discussing what real leadership truly is and I get an epiphany. It’s providing vision in a caring way that inspires a nation to great heights. I then turned to my daughters and said, this is what you need to try to create in your own families in the years to come….

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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 - I'm Turning Fifty!

Saturday Musings - I'm Turning Fifty!

It’s once in a lifetime that I get a chance to write a headline like the one above. Yes, I’m turning fifty. I’m having a Hawaiian party tonight where Hawaiian shirts are mandatory….so Rick Schwartz and Rob Grant would be really happy with that choice. :-)

Turning fifty is a bit of a milestone and causes me to reflect on all of the blessings that I’ve received in my life. I have three amazing children, a drop dead gorgeous wife who loves and spoils me incredibly.

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I also work in an industry which is nothing short of spectacular. Domaining has provided me not only with an income but with friends from all over the world. It’s great thinking that when I travel to a particular country there’s always someone there to catch-up on.

For those of you still in your twenties and thirties, trust me when I say that I don’t feel old at all. I’m still leaping off cliffs paragliding, kite surfing and I’m planning on hiking the New Zealand alps with Roselyn.

My grandmother said to me, “Michael, you only get old when you think you are.” Very wise words from one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. In her retirement my grandparents criss-crossed both South America and Africa and even went through the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan. They also went to the top of the Iguazu Falls (make the Niagara look small) in a row boat and cross the Sahara desert in summer…..they were true adventurers!

So now that I’m hitting fifty I can only say, “Watch out! Here I come!” You thought I was full of energy before….you aint seen nothing yet :-)

When I celebrate my birthday this evening I plan on having a great time and even dreaming of the next fifty years (my grandfather made it to 100). I’ll also have a drink for all of my friends from around the world that couldn’t be with me physically but I know are with me in spirit.

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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vanclute
Sounds like you're having a heck of a time, and well deserved I might add. So do you really paraglide? If so that's bloody aweso... Read More
06 February 2016
mgilmour
Thank you one and all for the well wishes.....had a great party last night and wished you were all with me. :-)
08 February 2016
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Heading Back From Vacation

Heading Back From Vacation

I'm sitting here at the airport in Queenstown, New Zealand after a great weeks vacation in a magnificent part of the world. Almost as a parting gesture I couldn't help noticing that one of the the networks available at the airport was called "whizbang". Shame about dropping a "z" but it made me feel right at home.

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After the past week I feel energised and looking forward to the new year! This is going to start with heading to Vegas tomorrow for NamesCon where I've heard that over 1200 people will be in attendance. Seriously, if you aren't attending you will be really missing out.

As well as having around 30 scheduled meetings I will be speaking on Domain Monetisation for two sessions, an intro and also a masterclasss. I spent the week before Christmas researching some great case studies to illustrate the points in the sessions....it should be a lot of fun! If you are interested in monetising your domain traffic then make sure that you signup for the sessions online at the NamesCon website as they are filling up fast.

I'm also going to be doing a Q&A on Sunday where people can ask any question they would like about how to best monetise and manage their domains. I'll do my best to answer all the questions and help out as many people as possible.

ParkLogic has a table on the Sunday where we will be providing a new installment of a sneak preview of our new Next platform. We'll also have five of us at the conference....so make sure that you grab any of us if you have any questions about how we can help you with your portfolio.

One of the great things about this trip is that I'll have my wife, Rosely, with me. I know that everyone will make her feel more than welcome and I know that she's really looking forward to meeting everyone.

Anyway.....my flight is being called so I'd better get going now. 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 – How has Star Wars Impacted Your Life?

Saturday Musings – How has Star Wars Impacted Your Life?

As an eleven-year-old, I’ll never forget seeing Star Wars (A New Hope) for the very first time. The path of the huge Imperial Star Destroyer simultaneously blazed its way across the screen and my mind. As a young kid I desperately wanted my own X-wing fighter just like Luke Skywalker or fly alongside Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon.

Prior to this baptism of the imagination I’d already been well indoctrinated by my father into scifi by a nightly diet of Star Trek. It was way prior to VCR’s, DVD recorders or any sort of time-shifting technology so the family dinner was always delayed so that we could see Captain Kirk and Spock in action.

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Later in life, I decided to be a really cool Dad and pulled my kids out of school so that they could see the very first session of each of the first three newer Star Wars. The teachers were horrified that I would prize seeing a movie above “education”…..but sometimes education goes way beyond a classroom. At the end of the movie I dropped my kids back off at school so they could tell all of their friends that they’d already seen the latest instalment of the light sabre universe. Trust me that my kids got some serious kudos from this and Dad became a hero! :-)

Earlier this year I finally reached a life-long goal by publishing my own science fiction book, Battleframe. Holding my book for the very first time is one of the proudest moments in my life. I’m already a third of the way through book two so watch this space.

Battleframe was ultimately inspired by my father who opened up the worlds of Doc Smith, Frank Herbert, Gene Rodenberry, George Lucas and the like. I’ve journeyed with each of these writers as their characters have fought against insurmountable odds to overcome some challenge…..but Star Wars was something special.

So other than a few special moments in a movie theatre how has Star Wars and the scifi genre changed you? Fundamentally it has given me a positive outlook on life. Nothing is impossible and there is no problem so great that it can’t be solved by creative thinking.

For example, the other day I’m sitting at my desk and decided that it was about time that I dusted off my PHP programming skills (btw, inspired by R2D2 and C3PO) and tackle some really, really difficult algorithms. After a few days of effort my emperor was slain and before me was a report of simplistic beauty……you’ve just got to love it when something comes together.

When I look at my various business endeavours I know that there will be difficulties along the journey but I’ve also tried to train myself to view the challenges as something that can be overcome. Luke Skywalker didn’t have it easy but eventually he became a Jedi and defeated the evil emperor.

Late this afternoon, I’m taking my whole family plus girlfriends and boyfriends to see the latest instalment in the Star Wars franchise. It’s not the very first screening (stupid kids jobs!) but it I’m sure that I will become the eleven child once again as I see Lucas’s universe unfold before me.

What will be really special is that I’m also taking my father along. We’ll both have one of those really special times together sitting in the dark and getting freshly inspired about life’s possibilities.

So, how has Star Wars changed you? Did it convert you into becoming a bit of a geek and ultimately get you into domains? Share it in the comments below.

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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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