Saturday Musings - The Bucket Theory

Saturday Musings - The Bucket Theory

I often find myself talking to my own kids about buckets. These aren’t the regular buckets that you carry water around in but relate more to the short, medium and long-term plans for your life. Over the years, I’ve found that having buckets has been really advantageous in understanding my own direction in life.

Items in the short-term bucket are things such as earning money to put food on the table and a roof over your head. Without this bucket being constantly topped up then you’ll find it a lot harder to get through life.

The medium-term bucket is sub-five years. It has things such as education, training and gaining experience in it. This bucket is all about investing in yourself so that you can become better at whatever you do.

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Then there’s the long-term bucket. This covers who you are and why you do the things that you do. In this bucket are items such as character building, relationships, guiding life principles and typically spiritually related issues. There’s only two things that are certain in this world, death and taxes.. This is the bucket that is all about what you would like people to say about you when you die.

Many people get stuck in the short-term bucket believing that if they can just earn more money then all of their problems will vanish. I’ve met a number of these individuals and they’ve climbed the ladder of success to find that it’s leaning against the wrong wall. They are very wealthy, have no close friends, disaster of a family and are often very shallow.

Those people that only focus on the medium-term end up starving and having bad relationships. These sort of people are often amazingly smart but incredibly unwise.

I could summarise the “long-termer” in one sentence….They’re so heavenly minded that they’re often no earthly good.” In other words, the people that focus entirely on this bucket believe that it’s a waste of time working to pay the bills and it never occurs to them that skills are worthwhile.

So back to my kids. I counsel them to work a little at all three buckets. There will be times in their life that they may have a focus (eg. Studying) but to never completely neglect any single bucket. They need to live now, develop skills and never forget that character is vitally important.

For example, this week my daughter had a flat tyre. She had no idea what to do so I went out and put the spare tyre on and discovered that it was also flat. In the process I found that the tyres weren’t just flat, she was driving on the metal belts on the inside edge.....not good!

She had to go out that night (urgent friend business) and said that she would just drive the car on the flat tyre. This caused me to relieve her of the car key. This then meant that Dad was the worst enemy in the world at which point I asked her why she was getting so angry at the person that was about to help her.

So here was her problem. The short-term bucket didn’t have any cash in it to fix the tyres, the medium bucket didn’t know what to do with the situation and the long-term bucket of our relationship was taking a beating.

The next day she took a bus to her part-time job (Dad still had the car key) and unbeknown to her I started solving the problem. I managed to get the car to a tyre workshop (that’s a long story) and had three of them replaced plus a general check-up. It was no longer a death machine...which is always good!

When she returned home she was so happy that her car was up and going (short-term). I then took her through (again) some basic car maintenance (tyres, brakes and steering) to help improve her skills (medium-term) and to point out the disaster that driving on a flat tyre could be. We then had a talk about our relationship and that working on the problem is far better than yelling (long-term).

Later that night, this is what she posted on Facebook:

I would just like to take a moment to acknowledge how amazing my father is! I found out my car was more like death on wheels yesterday. And while I was at work today (I took the bus) my dad took my car to a mechanics and got 3 brand new tires and a wheel alignment done for me. Thank you to the best daddy in the world! Even when I yell and scream at you, you always amaze me with how selfless and thoughtful you are xx

This story wasn’t to show how great a Dad I am….trust me when I say that all Dad’s struggle. It does illustrate that working on the different buckets is so important. If I had left my daughters car broken and tried to mend our relationship then my guess is that I wouldn’t have received the above post. After all, what’s the point in talking to a starving man about their character? Give them a meal first dummy!

I find the buckets can be used in many different areas of my life and help me approach problems by considering the implications of the short, medium and long-term. I hope that you find this blog interesting and even share a few of your own experiences. 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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Personal Musings - Get Off Your Backside!

Personal Musings - Get Off Your Backside!

I was talking to a young man the other day and I told him that if I wanted anything done then he would be the last person that I’d ask. He was a bit taken aback by the comment and asked me why.

I looked him in the eye and said, “Because you’re not busy.”

There’s an age old adage that says, “If you want something done then give it to a busy person.” The reason for this is that busy people put the item on their list and get it done while lazy people will get around to it one day.

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For example, the young man I was speaking to crawls out of bed around 11am each day, works at a local fast food place for maybe 20 hours per week and honestly believes that he’s working really hard. So what does he do with the rest of his time? Television, hanging out with friends and games are all high on the agenda.

I told him to get some pride in himself and to at least pay his parents some money for board each week. It’s fair to say that this didn’t go down too well.

For some stupid reason the current generation seems to think that everything should be served up to them on a platter and that the world owes them everything. The job of parents is to provide for their every need and their job is to expect that this will be done. I hate to rain on their parade but this isn’t the state of the real world.

In the conversation I discovered that he had some notion about starting his own business (he’d dropped out of university). The biggest problem was that he couldn’t come up with any ideas. So I rattled off about a dozen ideas that he could do immediately…that was a big mistake. He then told me that he would have to really think about which idea to go with. It was clear that I’d given him too many to cope with…..darn it!

Contrast this young man with a young girl I know. She’s studying to gain a qualification in an industry that she’s passionate about. In the time when she’s not studying she’s working at a part-time job so that she can be self-reliant. Although she’s half-way through her course she’s already applying for jobs and letting companies in her industry know that she will be available later in the year. Everyday she’s up at 8am and in bed by 10pm….she’s a girl on a mission!

As an employer, which of these two people would I employ? It doesn’t take rocket science to work out that the girl is by far the better candidate. You can build a business around a person with her kind of attitude.

So what do I need to do? Probably the first thing is to stop generalising about the current generation….there’s quite a number of them that, like the girl, have incredible drive. I find myself constantly looking for motivated young people as I find that they inspire me and often provide a fresh perspective on life.

I would encourage you to take a 20 year old nephew or niece out for coffee and ask them questions about life. You may suddenly gain a fresh understanding on the current generation…..or you may end up giving them a kick up the seat of the pants. Whatever happens, I'm sure that it will be an interesting experience!

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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 - Where are the Leaders?

Personal Musings - Where are the Leaders?

Recently, I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated! It’s a state that I periodically go through as I wrestle with what’s happening in my life. So in the end, I packed my bag, kissed my wife good-bye and headed off into the country for a night and a time to get my head in the right place. No, I wasn’t leaving home….I was just needing to get a fresh sense of vision.

So what was frustrating me? Everything! You turn on the television and it pumps out endless amounts of problems; terrorism, race riots, wars, virus break-outs, droughts, floods, earthquakes…..and the list goes on and on.

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The biggest problem that I see in the world right now is not all those terrible issues but something much more insidious. Right now, there is lack of vision of where we are going as a species.

Where are the leaders that stand up and put the seemingly impossible before us so that we all respond by saying "we can do it!" JFK said the following in his speech about man going to the moon…

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things,not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win ...

What an incredible sense of vision that galvanised an entire country into action. Sure, there was a cost but he was making this speech in the middle of the cold war and dealing with issues like the Cuban Missile Crisis!

I like the fact that he stated that it would be difficult. Why should we be told that everything should be easy? I like a challenge and believe you can only have real victory when you’ve overcome adversity.

So where are the leaders like JFK that say, “I’ve had enough! I’m not going to run the country via an opinion poll but by the ‘content of my character’?”

Aren’t you tired of billions of dollars being wasted, being stolen or being completely mismanaged? We’ve just had a new class of destroyers being built in Australia that has had a near billion dollar over-run in the budget for a project that was supposed to cost $7.2 billion. For a start, $7.2 billion seems to me like a lot of money and secondly, how in the heck did they have such a massive overspend????

A few years ago I fired my accountant that did my personal tax. Why? Because it worked out that he was charging me the equivalent of $30 per line item in my bank statements….it was gross over charging. Where’s the leader that stands up and fires the shipping company that’s building the destroyers, demands reparations for delays and uses the money more effectively….maybe build a centre for science that’s funded, like, forever!

The challenges that we now face are not just American, Australian, European or any other region. Our species is now faced by global issues and what's amazing is that the average person is seeing themselves more as a global citizen rather than a citizen of a single country. Our leaders just need to catchup with what the globalisation that the Internet has really fostered. Individuals have broken down barriers between nations and cultures that are leaders are still yet to embrace.

What we really need are new leaders that can stand up and lead other leaders around the world in a common direction…this is no small task to ask. So where are these leaders? Most of us couldn’t even say who the Secretary-General of the United Nations is…..so it’s unlikely to be Ban Ki-moon that issues a “call to action”.

If humanity is to explore the solar system and beyond then we need the world to invest in that future. If we are to solve poverty and hunger then we need to world to work on that. How about disease that knows no international boundaries? We need to all work on that one as well. But what we need more than anything is some real leaders to stand up and point the way….heck, I’ll follow!

As a planet, we are faced with the very real problem of climate change. I’m not wanting to debate whether it is caused by man or not….the fact is, we are having massive extremes in weather. You only have to look at the droughts in Australia, floods in Texas and the retreat in the glaciers worldwide to know somethings up. So where is the leader that says, “Let’s stop debating and get some action that will assist those in need?”

I’m tired of half the world fighting obesity while the other half fights malnutrition. What is it that motivates a person to blow themselves up and a nation to execute rehabilitated prisoners? what I really desire is to turn my television on and be swamped with positive news about; new cancer drugs, AIDS has been solved, poverty addressed, diseases erradicated and rockets soaring to the moon. Let's demand with the flick of a switch that our media focuses on the good not the bad.

I look at the current self-absorbed generation that is constantly staring at their smart phones and say to them…go and do some time in the equivalent of the peace-corps! See what you can do to help your fellow man rather than complain that it’s taking 2 seconds for a signal to bounce of a satellite and get routed halfway around the world to the device in your pocket. The problem is that there aren’t any leaders for this generation pointing a direction for them to rally behind.

Sure, these are the big problems but how out the domain industry issues? There is still a lack of transparency in why we get paid what we get paid, no organisation that verifies statistics, a single dominant advertising network, advertisers that pay pennies for traffic that earns thousands of dollars to name but a few! The question I’m asking is, “Who’s working on fixing these problems?”

These are the questions drive me nuts….so that’s why I went away for some serious thinking time. What I was looking for was not an evolution in the domain industry but a revolution! There are so many ways that we can monetise valuable traffic that it makes my head spin but there are some very real problems to overcome.

For example, would you rather your cash paid every month for traffic or ten times what you normally get paid with a 120 day delay? For many domainers with mortgages they would instantly say, “pay now please” but how about those that can afford to wait for the long-term? Is there a way of effectively funding both groups?

How can we get conversion rate reporting rather than just clicks? This is the core value of quality traffic….how many people actually buy from being routed via a domain?

So after returning from my time away I have about 20 pages of notes and brimming full of ideas. So the next stage is testing, implementation and then again more testing. What I really want to get my teeth stuck into is some of the global problems…..and I’ll continue doing my bit by donating some of my time to a local charity. You have to start somewhere!

If you’re as tired as I am about the state of the world and our industry then please comment. If you’re one of the potential leaders that has a vision then scream it from the mountain tops as I’d love to hear about it.

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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
Chris, thank you for your kind comments. As to answering your questions.....I started by taking some time out. No matter how busy ... Read More
01 June 2015
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Saturday Musings - From Pain to Gain

Saturday Musings - From Pain to Gain

There’s nothing like a reworked root canal to stop you dead in your tracks. This week, through the auspices of my dentist, my body decided to take control of my mind and laid me up in bed with waves of headaches. To say wave’s makes it sound like they were lapping on the shore….it would be better to describe them more as tsunamis.

There is a good side to all of this. As well as a lot of sleep (got to love those pain meds) it gave me time to reflect on a multitude of vitally important topics. Such as, why the education system will teach my children calculus but not how to manage money. The next step in improving the sales of my book. Why the rain against the window seemed incessantly loud.

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In my delirium, I also contemplated why the dog in the first episode of “House of Cards” didn’t bite Kevin Spacey’s hand and give him rabies. How many jelly beans fit into the glass jar in the cupboard above my desk? Why is it that terrorists seem to keep on wanting to blow things up versus build something that lasts?

As you can see, my thinking was solving life’s big issues.

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Saturday Musings - Why My Cat Is a Genius!

Saturday Musings - Why My Cat Is a Genius!

Pepper, my cat, is a living, breathing genius! She’s got the whole world completely worked out, organised and constructed to obey her every whim and desire. If only life could be so wonderful for us two legged creatures.

For Pepper, morning starts with a nap followed by slowly strolling over to her bowl so that she can let the rest of the family eat with her (it’s never the other way around for cats).

Just think about it for a second….Pepper has arranged for her servants (ie. me) to fill her bowl with the very best quality food, clean water and provide regular treats of ham, chicken and the like. She doesn’t lift a paw to get this undivided attention. For thanks I have the privilege of her letting me give her a pat. Wouldn’t it be great if the local supermarket deposited our weekly groceries in the cupboard and thanked us by doing our hair as well!

After breakfast, it’s time for another sleep and so she finds the warmest place in the house and curls up. In the meantime, her servants are working their backsides off so that they can provide her with food and lodging. I’m not sure about you but the last time I checked my servants weren’t anywhere to be seen. Worse than that the bank, electric company and all seem to get quite upset when I decide to take a break, let alone a nap each day.

During the day Pepper wanders into my study to make sure that I’m working hard for her empire. Just to reinforce her control over me and to make sure that I’m not messing around with my time she curls up on the floor and pretends to be asleep. What an overlord!

In the evening Pepper then graciously agrees to climb onto my lap as long as I provide her with a scratch behind the ear….after all, it’s too beneath her to do it herself.

So I’ve finally had a brilliant business idea! I’m wanting to build a device that turns me not into a fly (like the movie) but a cat. They seem to have life completely worked out.

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
Hi Jeff, Thank you for your kind comments....I must admit that Pepper provides an incredible amount of entertainment and fodder fo... Read More
26 April 2015
mgilmour
Thanks for that Louise.....I presume that you mean massage and not message though. ... Read More
27 April 2015
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