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.

Saturday Musings – A 38 Year Project Is Completed

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I remember when I was about 13 years-old, my friend and I used to ride our bikes a few miles to a local Tandy Electronics store. Tucked in the back was a thing with a keyword and black and white screen that just captivated our attention....it was spellbinding.

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For some reason, the store manager didn’t mind a couple of kids spending hours each Saturday morning tinkering away on his demonstration machine. Maybe he thought it was a good sales tool, “Even these kids can do stuff with a computer!”

I’ll never forget filling the screen with white blocks with some simple Basic programming code. It was an amazing event that sparked the imagination and caused us to believe we could do anything with this thing.

10 FOR X=0 TO 128: FOR Y=0 TO 47: SET (X,Y): NEXT Y,X

Type that line into a TRS-80 (affectionately called a Trash 80) and you’ll get the same rush as we did 38 years ago. BTW, the same two kids that road their bikes to the store each Saturday are now working together in ParkLogic.

So why have I just completed a 38-year project? It just so happens that around this time my father met a guy that gave him a copy of a game. This game wasn’t the traditional Star Trek, kill all the Klingons but more of a strategy game that could have you engrossed for literally hours……and it did.

It just so happened that I made a photocopy (remember that wet photocopy paper?) of the code and have kept it in a safe spot waiting for its day to shine once again. Over the years, I’ve made numerous failed attempts to recode the game on different platforms. I even tried doing it in javascript over my recent summer vacation…..yes, for me, the game was that much fun.

Last night, my lifelong friend and I decided to focus and get the job done. We worked until about 2am and this involved some debugging and reading about 10 pages of old code. Laboriously we checked each line that was entered into an old TRS-80 emulator and finally we were in a position to run the game. Guess what, it worked!

The game is called Saratoga (no idea why) and it’s awesome. By today’s standards of fancy graphics and sound it is pathetic (there is no sound but the sound of space) but for two 50+ year-olds we were in raptures as we “geeked” out and became 13-year-olds once again.

What readers should understand is this game ran in 16K of RAM. This is less space than the banner graphic on my blog.....but boy was it fun to play!

The impact this simple game had on my life is not be underestimated. For instance, the starship that I would always captain was called Yorktown……the server that you are reading this blog on is called Yorktown. It also taught me programming, inspired me to get into IT and reminded me to be ever curious.

Have a great weekend….I know that I am!

Ping me if you would like a copy of the game…..like I said, it’s awesome!

BTW - don't forget to have your say in the Leaders survey!

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Domain Sales Don’t Add Up

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I was crunching some numbers today on the domain sales market and a number of things just didn’t add up for me. It would appear that as an industry we are going backwards….which should be a little bit of a concern.

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The first thing I wanted to do was try and dimension the size of the domain sales market. I decided to start with the estimated size of the Sedo marketplace as they quite regularly published their numbers. I was more interested in the number of domains sold and also proportions of the size of each sale.

After some mathematical magic, I came to an estimated sales volume of just shy of $37m for 2016…..I think this is a little low as some of the larger outliers will push the number up to around $50m. If there’s anyone from Sedo that can confirm or deny this number that would be awesome!

The next question I asked was what proportion of the total market does Sedo have? Sedo actually sold around 99 of the top 304 domain sales for 2016….which suggests about 32% of the domain market. This seems a little on the high side to me.

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Business 101 - The Inspiration

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I’m a firm believer that everyone is born with a spark of creativity inside of them. It’s the energy that spins the dynamo and as children causes them to dream big wonderful dreams. As we age we often start getting “sensible”, stop dreaming and life backs us into a corner of mediocrity when we were meant to soar like eagles!

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How many times have you shared an idea with a work colleague to find you’ve become the butt of everyone’s jokes? Or maybe it’s been your parents that tell you to just knuckle down and get a job as that’s going to be your future…..when deep down inside you want to do something else. I’ve met so many people that have had their dreams smashed before their eyes and they end up crawling back to the weekly grind they despise.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a job, especially if the other option is to not have one at all. The question each of us needs to ask is whether we have a secret desire to do something else? Yes, it may be a business but like Richard Gere’s character in the movie “Shall We Dance” it could be to dance. It could also be to do something quite different.

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Saturday Musings – A Smile On My Face

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I’m typically a positive sort of individual and recently I’ve had even more reason than normal to have a smile on my face. Is it the fact that the next Bladerunner movie is coming out soon? As good as that will be (fingers crossed) it’s not that. So what’s got me so upbeat?

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For a start, after working on it for over 2 years, ParkLogic is migrating the last of our clients across to the new Next platform this week. It’s been a heck of a journey where we rebuilt our entire platform from the ground up……and yes, it’s a million times better! It also means that we will shortly be focusing on a single system rather than two (the old one and the new one) which will free up so much time for the team to continue to add value for clients.

I’ve also been working on a platform for developing websites on the fly. It evaluates, tracks and scores everything a user does on the page (leaves Analytics for dead!) and will be the basis for our next generation of ParkLogic products aimed at both the sales and development market segments. So far we have several million pieces of traffic a day moving through the system and it performs brilliantly…..so all is good and my smile is expanding!

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Saturday Musings - State of Fear

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Are you driven by fear? Some would say that more than any other time in human history we are captured in a grip of fear. If you really think about it, we’re scared, worried, and stressed by about everything.

Before you say, “Michael, I’m pretty relaxed about life”, let me lob a few fears at you.

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Will I keep my job in these uncertain times? I’m feeling older, will my next medical checkup reveal anything? Do my kids really love me? Why can’t I find the special someone to spend the rest of my life with? Is it safe to travel? Will Google stop paying out on traffic domains? Why haven’t I had a domain sale lately? Will I have enough money for the mortgage this month? The list goes on and on…..and at the heart of it all is fear.

Let me share with you some good news. Compared to any other time in human history we live in the most remarkable. We live longer and have better standards of living. Go back less than 100 years ago and having a toilet inside the house that flushed was a rarity. Many diseases still ravaged the majority of the people on the planet and the wonder drug called penicillin had only just been discovered (by accident).

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