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

Saturday Musings - Relationships Not Things

Saturday Musings - Relationships Not Things

I’ve had a lot of people asking me why I’m not at TRAFFIC in Miami. I’ve been to every TRAFFIC conference for the past 10 years (other than the very first) and I’ve found them exceptional events for developing business. So why aren’t I attending this time?

It just so happens that my daughter Elise is turning 16 and despite my love for TRAFFIC she trumps it. I wouldn’t miss her birthday for anything. So I am really sorry to all of my great friends at TRAFFIC but you got beat out this time……but I will be there in 2015!

When I think of my decision it’s all about what I regard as important in my life. Do we work to live or live to work? I love my work but the reason why I work is so that I can live a more fulfilled life. It's focusing on people and relationships not things and money that provide a richer better life. In this case it was my relationships with my daughter that won the day.

The order of importance for me is my relationships with God, Roselyn (wife), my kids, work colleagues, friends etc.  I find that if I have these priorities in the right alignment then life is good. Sure, I can break the rules for a time but there’s always a cost.

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Flying Across the Pond.....Again

Flying Across the Pond.....Again

Once again I find myself sitting in the Melbourne airport Qantas club. After a restless night’s sleep that was punctuated by dreams of perpetually trying to catch my flight, I finally groaned awake at about 5:54am.

When I say “groan” I really do mean the word in all its splendid definitions. I really did groan. Some people that are religiously minded say each morning, “Good morning Lord!” When my eyelids finally dragged themselves open I was more of a “Good Lord, its morning.”

So after packing the last of my things I then checked that I hadn’t unpacked anything by mistake. I’m always amazed at the number of times that I find my toothbrush wrested right next to my wife’s when it should be tucked away in my bag. Do you do this sort of thing as well?

In the end I find that I just give up and stop checking everything other than my credit card, passport and phone. If I have those then I’m all set.

Roselyn (my wife) drove me the forty minutes to the airport and for this I’m eternally grateful. Nothing against cabs but when you jump in one and ask the driver to take you to the airport and they respond with “Where’s that?” you know you’ve got a problem. Thankfully, Roselyn has done this journey many times and it wasn’t long before we’d said our good-byes and I find myself in the Qantas club.

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Personal Musings - My SciFi Novel Sample

Personal Musings - My SciFi Novel Sample

As many of you know I've been writing my very first science fiction novel. Writing the book as been one of the most enjoyable, rewarding and stretching things that I've ever done in my life. Over the years I've written a lot on my blog, technical manuals and for a number of different magazines but nothing prepared me for my first book.

It's been quite a journey for me and the characters in the story over the past 18 months. At times, I've found myself typing furiously on my laptop just to find out what was going to happen next. It almost seemed like the story was unfolding before my eyes but I couldn't see the next part until the words were on the page.

The first draft was finished about twelve months ago and then I began the many rewrites. My father is a great science fiction buff and he spent a lot of time reading the book and a lot of his suggestions are embedded in the pages. My wife has read the first hundred pages and added her unique insights in how the story could be improved. So knows nothing about science fiction so it was great getting her thoughts.

When our son Timothy was home recently I shoved a few pages under his nose to read. His comments and suggestions were all about the characters and how they could grow and gain greater depth. That added another 3 months of rewriting....sigh.

So after all the work I'm now relatively happy with the setting, plot and characters. I plan on doing a final clean-up of a few minor issues in my last rewrite before finally publishing.

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Saturday Musings – You’re not going to believe what happened…

Saturday Musings – You’re not going to believe what happened…

Just over a week ago I’d published an article, went to bed and enjoyed the peace that only comes when everything seems to be good. The next morning I awoke to discover that two things had happened in a perfect storm.

The first was that my personal server had been hacked and with laser precision all of my websites, backups, configuration files and system had been eradicated. Trust me when I say that I had a LOT of protections in place but seriously, this was like a guided missile.

Escrow

The second thing that happened was that the primary hard drive in my server began to fail. I say began to because sometimes it was there and sometimes it wasn’t. I have a second physical hard disk in my server that I keep all my backups on and that was working just fine except this was hit by the hackers.

Some people have asked me about offsite backups and I answer this in two ways. It’s a personal server….and have you ever had to restore a 500 Gig backup over the wire from your home? It will take about 3 weeks just to transmit the data. Needless to say, I’m exploring “other options”.

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Climbing the Ladder

Climbing the Ladder

Over the years (gee I’m sounding old!) I’ve spoken to many business people that have climbed to the top of the ladder of success. Not surprisingly, when you talk to them they generally fall into two groups, those that are happy and those that aren’t.

The ones that are happy seemed to have attained a balance in their lives of having time for work and time for family and friends. They still have a spring in their step and a twinkle in their eye, they’re fulfilled in their lives.

The unhappy ones may have lots of money in the bank and worldly possessions but when they look around they no longer have a great relationship with their children and true friends are not to be found. Many of them try to buy a relationship with their kids by giving them incredible gifts when all their children want is some of their time and love. When these people finally reached the top of their ladder they found that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

Getting a life balance is so important if you actually want to be happy and fulfilled in your own life. I’ve been married for nearly 27 years and have been incredibly blessed to have an amazing wife and three wonderful children that can put up with me. I have definitely not been perfect but I’ve continually tried to make decisions that are positive for my family in everything that I do.

Some of the things that I’ve found have been useful for me is that I work really hard during the week and on the weekend it’s rare that I do anything. I have a complete break. Your body and mind need a rest, they need to recuperate and recharge but more than that your family needs you.

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Stop Crying and Make Money

Stop Crying and Make Money

Sorry if this is a little bit of tough love but seriously…..it’s probably the best advice some of you could ever get.

I’m always amazed at the number of domain owners that get incredibly emotional about their domains and make economically irrational decisions. I hate to say this but domains are not your children, they don’t care if you sell them, you can monetise them anywhere and more than that they don’t care what price you sell them for.

Let’s unpack one level of thinking that is surprising……“I’m going to place all my domains with parking company X because the salesperson is my friend.”

For a start, my experience at ParkLogic has shown that no parking company wins more than 25% of the traffic at any point in time. This means that if you place ALL of your domains with a single company you are losing AT LEAST 75% of the time! This is a fact and one that has years and years of data behind it.

It’s great making friends with your account manager but I hate to burst the bubble, that person gets paid for the traffic that you bring them. The question you have to ask yourself is, “If I moved all my traffic away from them would they still want to hang out?” The last time I checked, I didn’t have to pay to have a friend so the answer should be yes.

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Saturday Musings - What's your passion?

Saturday Musings - What's your passion?

It’s an interesting question but it’s one that I ask my kids all of the time. My daughter recently graduated from high school and has now enrolled in university….yes, I’m a VERY proud father. In discussions with her she kept on talking about what job would pay the most so that at the end of uni she would earn a packet! I kept on saying, “Sarah, do what you enjoy and the money will come.”

So the question I ask you is, “What’s your passion?”

One of the biggest challenges that I find that I face in the domain industry is that there are so many opportunities and great ideas that it’s easy to forget what you actually really like doing. Although earning money is an important part of life it’s only just a part not the whole.

I love the domain industry and domains but I don’t try and do everything with every one of the domains in my own portfolio. To be quite honest with you there are only a few of them that I actually get excited about…..and they are the once that I slowly develop. The rest of them I let ParkLogic take care of and I rarely spend any time worrying about them.

I had a conversation with a domain investor the other day who was really good at finding great traffic domains but really bad at managing them. He loved the sleuthing around and building systems for finding the gold in all of the dirt but hated actually managing them afterwards. To cut a long conversation short…..we now manage his portfolio and he goes and finds the domains. He loves it and his life has improved dramatically!

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Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

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Saturday Musings - Timing is Everything

Saturday Musings - Timing is Everything

For the past week Melbourne has been it the grip of a heatwave that has been the biggest and most intense in about 100 years. The tennis players at the Australian Open have been collapsing and for the rest of us we really haven't had a good night sleep.....which tends to make us all a little grumpy. So when the cool change came and the temperature dropped by 20 degrees Celsius it was with a great relief that my head hit the pillow on Friday night.

The next morning was another matter altogether! I had one of those moments of panic that could only be fixed by me unobtrusively waking Roselyn. For all those husbands out there, unobtrusive and waking do not belong in the same sentence when it comes to wives. Lucky for me also had a good nice sleep, although cut a little short, so I began our conversation.

"Honey, when are we going to see Celtic women?"

For those of you who have been living under a bridge with a troll or have been trekking across Antarctica with a dog sled team, Celtic women is a group of Irish singers that have taken the world by storm for the past half decade. We'd booked tickets for the concert back in September but the tour was delayed to some later date, hence my question.

"I'm not really sure, sometime in Feb I think," my wonderfully coherent wife replied.

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Business in 2014

Business in 2014

OK....so the photo is a very much younger (and thinner) version of me but let's face it....you weren't looking at me, you were looking at the gorgeous girl to my right that said "yes". After being married for over 26 years I find that my eyes are on her as well, her dreams, her aspirations and really what makes her tick.....which brings me, believe it or not, to business.

Keeping your eye on what's important in family life is just as important for your domain business. In 2014 ask yourself "what's really important?". I see too many people going about their lives never asking this simple question. They've fallen in love with their domain names and believe that they are the experts at monetisation, set unrealistic valuations and spend hours doing what I would call "busy work". At the end of the day they jump on a forum, moan about the down turn in the industry, how sales are tanking and get jealous because it seems to be working for everyone else.

The facts are, if you keep on doing the same thing and expect a different result then you're insane. Make this year the year where you focus on what's really important in your domain business......and that's profit! I hate to be boring on this issue but profit equals revenue less expenses.....

Too many domain owners have focused their attention on increasing their revenue line but completely ignore their expenses. For example, when was the last time you built a cashflow for your business and put in their some hourly rate that you are charging your business for your time??? Most domainers value their time at $0....which is completely insane.

Let's unpack this.....let's imagine that you are earning $1,000 per month from domain parking. Ask yourself, two questions. How much time do you spend working out whether you have the best solution for getting the most from your traffic? How much time do you spend on working out if a domain should be renewed or now? If you aren't spending any time on either of these two questions then I can almost guarantee that you're losing money!

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