Saturday Musings - Pushing Through Adversity

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This past week I’ve been wrestling with developing a number of graphs in Google Charts. Wrestling is more of a polite way of me thinking a bunch of four letter words combined with hitting my head against a brick wall. It’s been a lesson in frustration while a carrot dangled tantalizingly just out of reach.

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I hate giving up on anything…..it’s one of my strengths and is also one of my weaknesses. I’m like a dog with a bone. I’ll just keep on gnawing away at some problem until it’s fixed or in some cases redefined.

It all started when I decided to build a dashboard for some clients that displayed a few graphs on a webpage. How difficult could that be? After a few 3am working sessions, I figured out how to pull data from a database, convert it to JSON format, push it to Google charts and voila! Out popped a beautiful chart!

There was just one problem….I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to design, so I wanted to have the right colours. OK, solved that, tick! Then I thought, it would be nice if the clients could scroll through a date range……a few hours later, tick!

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Getting Focused on Your Vision

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Those businesses that have a vision for their future tend to create it. A vision isn’t just a plaque you put up on a wall but a rallying call that gets people excited. It’s inspires them to go “above and beyond” for not just the monetary rewards but because they are building something great!

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I remember back in the early nineties I had a web development company. It was the early days of the Internet and people were only just getting online. There was one thing that I clearly understood and that the Internet was a global phenomenon.

Even though we were a tiny little startup I decided to inspire the team with a big and very audacious vision! It was, “We change the world!” Every time we published a website we could see people from all over the world going to it…..therefore, in our small way, we changed parts of the world.

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2017 - The Year of Innovation

2017 - The Year of Innovation

If I was to describe this year in one word it would have to be “innovation”. For a long time, the domain industry has been doing the “same old same old” with a tweak here and a tweak there but I believe this year is going to see some massive changes.

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For the last fifteen years, the domain industry has been caught in a malaise where landing pages look the same, domain market places are basically the identical to what they were and development has migrated up the content management systems version numbers. All a bit of a yawn.

While I was at NamesCon I perceived a growing sense of frustration and tension building in the air from people who wanted more for their domains. It was almost palpable. When there is a growing demand from the market then I’m a firm believer that innovative companies and individuals will seek to fulfil it.

I took a few days’ vacation immediately after NamesCon and one of the things I love to do is read. I picked up Elon Musk’s biography (Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity and Paypal fame) and was stunned by the similarities between the markets he has entered and the domain industry.

For example, with Tesla the incumbent automotive industry was a lumbering giant that was incredibly slow to adopt anything innovative. Musk steps and from nothing builds the world’s first high performance all electric production car. With next to nothing he’s built Tesla into a powerhouse of innovation that is leaving the other car companies in the dust.

The same could be said for SpaceX. Through innovation he has transformed the space industry and has the audacious goal to colonise Mars…..which brings me to my next point for the domain industry.

It’s not enough to be innovative or even meet pent up demand with innovative solutions. What is keeping me awake at night (other than jetlag) is why we are doing what we are doing? Is it just to make money or is there some vaster, bigger more all-encompassing goal? What is it that we actually do and how does this translate into an inspirational vision?

At an individual level, many of us have been so caught up with analysing statistics, trying to get the next sale or build out a website that we’ve forgotten why we are doing what we are doing? From an industry perspective, the concept of an inspirational vision seems even more far-fetched.

So why will this year be different? I’ve come to the conclusion that it has to be…..because if it’s not then many of us will die of boredom. We entered the industry as entrepreneurs and have become managers….even if we are very successful at what we do we have this gnawing internal desire to still shoot for the stars!

In the companies I’m involved in I’m looking at these big questions and then aligning innovative ideas and people behind them. My job is then to remove as many of the blockages as possible from their path so that dreams can become reality. It's going to be a really tough task but one that I hope will start to bring positive change to the industry.

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

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