What I'm pondering or thinking about at this time....

Saturday Musings - The Case For Genocide

Saturday Musings - The Case For Genocide

This past week I’ve had the “pleasure” of wading my way through numerous legal documents well over 56 pages in length and my desk is becoming buried under a mountain of paper. Don’t get me wrong, paper has its place (I think), but I’ve decided this past week to commit a form of genocide by going on a rampage to decimate as much of the white stuff as possible. Just when I think I’m beginning to get the upper hand in my war the mail arrives.

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I remember as a child I used to get so excited about “getting something in the mail”, now all of the envelopes seem to have windows on them. Grrrrrrr! Like the tentacles of some malevolent beast the subtlety of my enemy infiltrating my life is really quite scary.

For example, earlier I wandered into our dining room, glance at the table, to see it’s covered in paper from school assignments and studying courtesy of our youngest daughter. I have six boxes of business cards, computer manuals filling bookshelves and you guessed it, a stationary cupboard filled to overflowing with paper.

There seems to be a never ending flow of flattened, bleached, mulched trees threatening to engulf me in their pristine whiteness. Now it’s time for me to fight back.

My first assault on paper were the numerous notebooks that I end up carrying around (I have heaps of these). They’re stuffed full of bullet points and diagrams from countless meetings. All important, but all of them are going out the door.

So in a fit of a berserker’s frenzy I went down to my local computer store and bought a Microsoft Surface tablet with an e-pen. Combined with OneNote, it’s my first salvo to getting rid of the stuff that seems to endlessly clutter my office and my life. Notes are now categorised and things to do lists are syncing across my desktop, laptop, iphone and Surface tablet. I finally seem to be getting the upper hand……

My principle goal in my war is to not just get rid of paper but to simplify my life so that I can spend more time focusing on what’s really important rather than moving stuff from one pile to another. So in effect, I’m committing genocide but killing as much paper as I possibly can.

The next time a lawyer sends me a 50+ page legal agreement in the mail I’m going to politely tell them where they can put it. Send me an e-version that I can quickly search and mark-up but for heaven’s sake don’t send it printed on paper.

So as I wage my war my wife casually reminds of the fact that I’ve just ordered twenty printed copies of my SciFi book, Battleframe, so now, in truth, I feel like I’m trading in illegal weapons. Anyone want a table of contents? How about an index? There’s plenty of words to go around and it's all written on paper…. :-)

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 - Who's On Your Team?

Saturday Musings - Who's On Your Team?

I was watching my daughter, Elise, play netball this morning. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the game, it’s like basketball but without dribbling or a backboard behind the net. As I watched the game unfold and the players run around the court it reminded me to think about who are the players in my own domain team?

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If you really want to win the game and run a business that’s really profitable then there will be different people and organisations that add value to your endeavour. One of the most critical players would have to be your registrar. Having a good relationship with your registrar is vitally important when things go wrong.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a problem I was having with Enom, which I use as one of my registrars. After banging my head against the wall over a problem I had to make the difficult decision to move many of my domains away to Epik (who is now sponsoring my blog). Credit must be given to the product manager at Enom that reached out to me at the last minute to help resolve things.

So why did I choose Epik? As well as a great interface the most important factor was because the founder, Rob Monster, is proactive in dealing with things immediately and is always available on skype. So Epik is now becoming a part of my team.

Other members of my team include my traffic monetisation providers. In my case, that was an easy decision for me as I am one of the founders of ParkLogic. Let’s look a little beyond just my own domains and at ParkLogic’s many partners. We take the attitude that we do anything we can do help out our partners, streamline processes and get the “sand out of the gearbox”. We see all of our monetisation partners as members of the ParkLogic team.

Of course, I then have my accountant, lawyers and administrative support. There is one group of team members that is often forgotten…..how about your family and friends? Roselyn and the other members of my family are such an incredible support to making sure the business succeeds. It’s less about what they can do and more about being an emotional support which helps keep me going.

This brings me back to the netball game. Watching the girls play and run around reminds me that if you really want to be successful then make sure that you are nimble and able to seize opportunities at a moment’s notice. In the meantime, I’ve got some yelling and cheering to do!

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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vanclute
My awesome significant other frequently tells me profusely how grateful she is for the lifestyle all my working efforts have affor... Read More
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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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