Saturday Musings - Thinking Outside the Box

Saturday Musings - Thinking Outside the Box

I hear too many people moan and groan about their job, their family or their life. They often feel disempowered to make positive changes over their life. Let me whisper a little secret in your ear….you can change your circumstances for the better! You just need to think a little differently.

For example, let’s imagine that you love your job but can’t stand your boss. Each day you find yourself in two minds of whether to persevere or quit. Solution! Get your boss’s resume and hand it onto a head-hunter. Your boss will get a better job and with any luck you’ll get promoted! It’s only a matter of thinking a little differently.

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If you run a company then when was the last time you fired a painful customer? I remember I ran an Internet Service Providing business a number of years ago and our help desk was being driven insane but a painful customer. I got on the phone and politely told them that we couldn’t meet their level of service expectation and provided a list of three competitors.

They responded by saying, “You know your competitors don’t help customers the way you do!”

I then said, “Well here are the ground rules….”

We kept the customer, managed them appropriately and the support desk was happy once again.

I was speaking to a domain owner who was complaining that they were being harassed thirty to forty times per day by inbound buyers wanting to buy their domain. They have a super-premium domain and have no intention of selling at any price (well....almost). I suggested that they get a premium dial-in number and put a charge of about $10 per minute on it. Suddenly the hassle became worth it and a good source of revenue.

A couple of decades ago I overheard my sales team complaining that they were getting the run around by a potential customer. No matter how many times they called and left messages they couldn’t get the person to reply. I asked for the phone number that ended in 55 and dialled 54.

While the phone was ringing at the other end one of the sales team pointed out that I had dialled the wrong number. I replied, “I know.”

Sure enough the person who answered the call worked for the company that we were after and after a brief conversation that involved, “whoops, I dialled the wrong number”, I was speaking to the person my team had long sought. It’s just thinking a little out of the box that makes the difference.

So you want a better life? Here’s a few simple suggestions.

Get eight hours sleep….you’ll become more potent during the work day and life will look a lot better. Trust me when I say that I used to work to 3am each morning and I was not nearly as focused during the work day.

Think of someone that you love and do something special for them. There’s nothing like seeing their smile…it ignites something on the inside of yourself and them.

Pay the grocery bills of the person behind you in the check-out line at the local supermarket. I’ve done this quite a lot and I can reassure you that I’ve received more out of doing that then the person receiving my cash. You can also do this at the drive-through takeaway…it’s awesome fun!

Do you want to make your family life better? I wrote about fifty little messages on how I thought my daughter was wonderful for her to find scattered around the house. Learn to drink the beverage that your wife/husband likes. For me, it was tea and coffee. What I didn’t realise was that the activity had nothing to do with the drink and more to do with spending time with my wife.

Do something special just for yourself….and then don’t tell anyone. A few years ago I gained my private pilot’s license and didn’t tell any of my wider family. My dad discovered that I could fly when I had him sitting next to me in the cockpit. It was an incredible experience keeping the secret and then going “taaadaaa!”

Life isn’t a chore it’s more the way we are viewing it. Thinking out of the box is taking a look at the challenges that we all face and trying to view them differently. Sometimes we can be so bogged down in the swamp of problems that we don’t realise that the sun is shining overhead.

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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mgilmour
The most important thing that I've found is to be humble when posing the question about the groceries. I've never had anyone get u... Read More
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mgilmour
Thanks for that Daniel!
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Saturday Musings - Integrity

Saturday Musings - Integrity

For the past week and a bit I’ve been working my way through the “joys” of Influenza Type A. When your body has integrity, everything seems to function just right and work is a great reward in itself. When there is an invader like Influenza, everything gets out of kilter…..in a similar manner people can get out of balance with their ethics.

A number of years ago I was asked to mediate between two friends that were having a shouting match about who should pay their landlord $300. It was at lunchtime and I calmly ate my meal while I listened to the both of them really go at it.

I finally got up and said, “You both disgust me.”

They both turned to me and asked, “Why?”

“Because you value the friendship at $300.”

I then walked out…..so much for mediation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to help different parties out when there is a genuine dispute over a matter. When people value friendship at so little then it makes anything that I would say as completely irrelevant. These people have much bigger problems than $300.

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At the recent Namescon conference I was speaking to a few guys that jointly owned a large domain portfolio. At the end of the conversation we shook hands on a deal and everything was great. Over the next few weeks they dodged phone calls and avoided replying to emails….obviously, their word was not their bond.

I don’t mind if people get a better offer….this sometimes happens in business but don’t avoid talking to the party that you’ve made an agreement with. If there is a problem then speak with them straight away….otherwise, you end up just looking like an idiot and a person that lacks integrity.

I was recently speaking to one of my kids and they were faced with an opportunity that could have saved them literally thousands of dollars with no one knowing. For some stupid reason they got me involved and they asked, “What should I do? No one will know.”

I immediately replied, “But you’ll know.”

There’s no such thing as “no one knowing”….it just depends how much you’re willing to ignore your conscious and sell you’re integrity for.

My business partner and I had a coffee at a local shop and we were so focused on our conversation that we just got up and left without paying the bill. The next day we discovered our error and I made the journey to the shop to fix up our bill. The coffee shop owner was stunned that anyone would make a special trip to pay for their coffee…..I didn’t want to know that I’d just sold my integrity for the price of a coffee.

Integrity is as much about being true to yourself then being a bit of a showman to those people around you. It’s being able to look in the mirror and like the person that is staring back at you.

The benefits of leading a life of integrity are multitude. When you sit down and talk with me I’ll tell you things straight. I won’t lie, shake your hand on a deal and then renege. If I can’t tell you something then I won’t. I’m entirely disinterested in short-term relationships which means that I’m committed to developing our relationship into the long-term. You should have the confidence that you’re dealing with someone that respects you and just as importantly, takes it very seriously when asked to look after your assets.

The benefits to me are incredible. I end up doing business with some really great people. I’ve known many of them for well over a decade and had the pleasure of seeing their children grow up. I don’t have to remember which lie I told to whom….I just tell the truth….it’s so much easier! If something goes wrong then we discuss the issue together and work on resolving the problem together.

I have people ask me what’s the secret of running a successful business and I tell them it’s really hard but also really simple. Live a life of integrity and you’ll attract the right customers that stand with you rather than war against you.

The result of this mindset has been that my own company, ParkLogic, has continued to grow year after year. Every client has a line directly to me. If there is a problem I want to get it resolved as quickly as possible. I also like hearing about the good news as well!

I would like to say that I get it right all of the time….but I don’t. I make blunders and the wrong decisions on a regular basis but I would like to think that I make amends, learn from the experience and move on. Living a life of integrity is not a destination but a journey of constant self-improvement. It’s working on the little things and learning to enjoy the simple satisfaction from doing what is right.

Like my Influenza Type A, knowing that you’ve just done the wrong thing can begin to eat away at you…..trust me when I say that it’s not worth it. When I got sick I went to the doctor to get checked out….who do you go to when you damage your integrity? Everyone needs someone.

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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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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mgilmour
I'm definitely NOT trying to pull anyone down that has the gumption to stand up and provide a clear direction. Like him or not, Do... Read More
19 July 2015
mgilmour
Thank you for all the great comments. I love the USA and more than that I love the people of that great country. I have so many fr... Read More
19 July 2015
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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.

Recent Comments
mgilmour
What I great idea! LOL....although I'm not sure that it would be a good idea to provide my wife with a whip. LOL!
05 July 2015
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