Too Little Time, Too Many Domains

I have the most random amount of ideas quite a lot of the time. Ideas which I think I can put in to action but then I get busy with something else. It never stops me from buying the domain name though, I always end up buying the damn things. My domain portfolio has expanded quite considerably over the past two years. Some of them are absolute rubbish yet some of them aren’t bad at all. I’ve also set up sites on some of the domains, mainly to get a small amount of traffic and somehow gather some affiliate earnings from them which does work, however small the affiliate income might accumulate to.

I’m going to be completely honest. I don’t know the first thing about selling and buying domains / websites so no doubt I’ll get a few emails about buying them for a penny. No Thanks!

So this is what I’ve got and what I may be willing to sell on should the right offer be made. I’ll go into my creative thoughts for the domain names below.

  • 365qanda.com
  • businesscardgallery.co.uk
  • designerssketchbook.com
  • floobe.com/.co.uk
  • howtostartblogging.co.uk
  • identitygraphics.co.uk
  • moovees.co.uk
  • muddledup.co.uk/.com
  • startingchoice.co.uk/.com
  • themehype.com
  • validationicons.com
  • w3cicons.com/.co.uk
  • webcalendr.com/.co.uk

365qanda.com – I was thinking about setting up a website where I’d answer any random question per day, it could have been on absolutely anything but I’d find a way to answer it. Yes, I know, a rubbish idea. 🙂

businesscardgallery.co.uk – Self-explanatory, I was going to set up a showcase of business card designs.

designerssketchbook.com – Not sure to be honest, was going to be part of something a lot bigger which is no longer happening. Not a bad domain name regardless.

floobe.com/.co.uk – floobe.com is one of my oldest blogs. I’d originally set it up as a design blog with interviews/tutorials/showcase etc It probably gets between 400-1000 Page views a month with nothing new posted in around 6 months now.

howtostartblogging.co.uk – Was going to set this up as an affiliate website, started it and became immediately bored.

identitygraphics.co.uk – Used this for various things over the years I’ve owned it. Mainly web testing.

moovees.co.uk – Movie trailer website. Had it running for around a year now and I publish (when I can) the latest movie reviews from around the web. Depending on which film is a hit, it can receive regular traffic if I get the trailers up there quick enough.

muddledup.com/.co.uk – This was going to be a web app at one point but I’ll never have time to do something with it.

startingchoice.com/.co.uk – Jen and I were going to set this up as a private project which we’ve not got round to doing yet.

themehype.com – Theme Hype has been up and running since Christmas time, and was setup as a blog for theme design related posts with an emphasis on being affiliate related, I can’t directly relate my affiliate income to this site as everything is linked up however it is pretty well indexed for some search terms.

validationsicons.com – This is my longest running websites and was started shortly after my blog in 2007. I’ve redesigned it a couple of times and it gets around 1000 hits per month. It’s very well indexed and is ranked No.1 for various search terms. I’ve never added affiliate links to the site.

w3cicons.com/.co.uk – These domains simple forward to the site above.

webcalendr.com/.co.uk – This is a private project domain which I would still like to work on should I ever find the time.

So what are your thoughts? Leave a comment, get in touch or follow me on twitter.

A delayed view on trends in 2010

Social Media played a huge part in 2009 with Twitter reaching $155 million worth of capital funding directed at progressing them towards becoming financially viable without restricting their growth. In 2010, I see the biggest changes will be in collaboration between smaller companies, further development in software as a service (SaaS) and a social media slow down.

The progression of online collaboration tools such as 37 Signals BasecampHQ will enable smaller businesses and freelancers to collaborate and communicate effectively and give them the ability to go for much larger contracts.

Software as a Service (SaaS) could see yet another fruitful twelve months. In the digital technology profession we are now starting to see SaaS as the norm and expect for it to be that way. Cross platform software that you use on your laptop, home computer or mobile telephone is now ordinary and enables most people to achieve some sort of workload on the move.

A Social Media slow down in 2010? Really? It may well happen, just not in a general sense. Social Media is now ingrained in everything we do, we communicate using Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media tools but in 2010 we will grow past the hype. For the past 3 years we have been talking about Twitter being the ‘big thing’, and in the next twelve months we’ll see the hype reducing with more talk on the impact of businesses using Social Media well.

Do I regret?

A little while ago I wrote about “starting your at entrepreneurship” and how at a young age I wrote my own business plan for a few ideas I had. The content also contained a description of something which happened over Christmas that I was really impressed by.

The content seemed to gain a little interest and Ashley Baxter posted the comment below;

I don’t think it’s wrong for young people to be entrepreneurs, and I definitely don’t think it’s generally seen that way? Look at The Prince’s Trust charity; they are actively encouraging and funding youngsters to get into business. It was likely a few small minded adults who looked at you oddly, but I very much doubt people think it’s wrong. Sure, these kids are so few and far between that they can’t help but be seen as ‘different’, especially as kids are more so inclined to have fun than dedicate their time and energy into a profitable business (even though that is fun).

Your last paragraph says you shouldn’t hold back if you have a great idea. I couldn’t agree more myself and think too many people sit on their ideas, but do you ever regret not giving any of your early ideas a whirl?

I’d like to thank Ash for her comment, I wanted to reply straight away but then wanted to take some time away and taken her comment in to consideration and possibly reply later when had thought more about it. After much deliberation I thought it would be better to actually write a new post as to why I did/did not follow any of my ideas along the way of my youth.

Never hold it back

Like I said in my previous post, it’s definitely not wrong for a young person to be an entrepreneur or have the ideas to enable them becoming one. I think it would be defeatist to restrict an entrepreneur whether young or old. It’s something that is in ones blood and should be left alone. One hundred ideas could go wrong and one could go right and of course it could only take one idea to make someone a very comfortable lifestyle for the future.

I do believe, just like Ashley, that many people hold back on their ideas instead of taking them forward. More so because of their fear of risk. Risk can be looked upon in many ways, however, I believe in most cases it would either be the fear of failure or financial instability that stops entrepreneurial ideas from taking places. You can look upon risk in another way and view it as the difference to either making a decision or not… I wonder how many entrepreneurs have thought “what if…” long after they held back on taking an idea forward.

Regret

I have a lot of regret and it’s something that I think about quite a lot. I generally come up with crazy ideas quite often, of which I’m working on one at the moment. Looking back at my previous post about the business plans I wrote then I was 15, the idea would have needed to start almost immediately as at the time there was a surge of broadband connectivity throughout the country and it would have only lasted for 2 years. In that 2 years had I made any money I would have more than likely invested it in something else. That particular time of my life when I wrote them wasn’t the part I have regret about, I thoroughly enjoyed sitting with my Dad learning about cash-flows, targets and foot-fall. I do believe in fate and that everything happens or doesn’t happen for a reason, had I produced those businesses I might not be where I am today enjoying everything I am doing.

The only area of my youth that I regret giving up on is nVmax, the two and a half years that Andrew and I spent on creating the community based around nVmax was amazing. I’ve never been able to really put in to words what it was like maintaining a site of such size, working with all of the gaming companies to receive preview and review material (hardware, software and games). Back then, 2001 to 2003 we were getting serious amounts of traffic and had we taken it further we may have been able to make something of it. When we were working on it there wasn’t as much revenue involved in advertising online that we knew of, however looking back on it now I think we would have been more than comfortable had we carried on.

That is as far as the regret goes, whilst I miss nVmax a lot as it did take up much of my life whilst I was working on it, it did give me such a lot of experience for what I now do everyday. I am more than sure that the experience I gained through working on nVmax all those years ago has enabled me to succeed in the things I’m working on now.

In essence I regret giving up because of what could have happened, however I don’t regret getting the experience. That experience has helped me out in more ways than I’ll ever realise.

The Larger Scratchable Surface (iPad)

Well that was a surprise. Not the fact that it was indeed an Apple Tablet but the fact that it looked great yet was in simple terms, a bigger iPod Touch.

There were so many assumptions flying around the internet with regards to the name that everyone was potentially decided on the iSlate, which to be quite honest is a very cool name and one I had a personal preference with.

Then came the iPad announcement. What in the WORLD were they thinking. It sounds like something a woman would carry in a bag. I mean really, it’s not exactly, erm… well ya know? Right?

I’d heard rumours about the price being around the $1000-$1200 mark some time ago, of which was pretty expensive (depending on the features it rolled out with). We’re now being told the lowest model will ship at a cost of $499. Not bad in all fairness. Around the same cost as the iPhone was shipping at when they first came out.

The features are massively lacking in my eyes, the iPad is just an oversized iPod Touch. I put my view forward on twitter for someone to reply;

try surfing the web on an iPhone for 2 hours. The screen is too small.
Stephen Allred

Stephen was right, surfing the web on an iPhone for anything longer than 5 to 10 minutes can make you go cross-eyed quickly and you end up with some sort of crab hand within twenty minutes however the iPhone is a mobile device. The iPad seems like an inbetweener. It’s in a middle ground area where it’s not either. It’s certainly not something that you’d pull out on the bus and start using. You’re not about to carry it in a pocket and listen to music on it.

It’s also not something that I think I’d find myself using. My macbook covers all areas that I think need to be covered. If the iPad had a much more unique offering tailored to it’s unique design and build I think I’d force myself to buy one.

Don’t get me wrong I’m as much an apple fanboy as the apple fan however it’s just not something I can see myself using over my macbook. It seems very much like an introductory piece of hardware.

Starting young at Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is described by dictionary.com as being;

a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

I was 15 when I wrote my first mini business plan. It was before the big boom of internet cafes and well before fast broadband lines were plumbed in to houses up and down the country. My business plan was scribbled down on two sheets of A4 with an attached profit/loss and growth analysis sheet. I sat with my Dad on a sunny afternoon in Exeter whilst we were on a summer break, scribbling down an idea of setting up an internet cafe with the extension of it actually providing food to increase the turnover. I worked out roughly how much people would pay to use the service and on average how much they would spend on Food/Drink whilst they were there.

I also had the idea of setting up a roaming LAN Party company, where I would tour the country visiting major cities and bringing the PC Gaming community in to one large hall for a gaming competition. I looked in to the kind of sponsors to approach, how much it could cost to setup an event, how much to charge entrants, the likelihood of being able to sell food/drinks on site etc

It’s not usually normal for a 15 year old to write business plans, which showed when I told people about it and they’ve given me funny looks and said that I should have been out playing football or some other youthful past-time. Even though both ideas never came to fruition, I still felt that at the time they could have worked. I’ve always wanted to make money from a very young age, I’ve always had an interest in business and I’m not really sure where it came from. I do however believe that entrepreneurship is something that is instilled within our genes, just like being creative.

It’s not a bad thing…

If you look at a list of top entrepreneurs, the people involved generally started making their businesses and money well before they were 30. Most 30 year old people haven’t even achieved a management role with their companies at that age yet, young entrepreneurs who have created their idea in to a business have often started making serious cash.

The question is, why is it so wrong for young people to be entrepreneurs? Would it really be beneficial for them to have more of a ‘life’ and be more child-like by playing football/rugby on a Saturday instead of scheming away on their new business idea? Should adults hold back the thought process because they think it is wrong?

Making £2 per pathway

During the Christmas break, we saw about 12 inches of snow fall over a weeks period and our entire street came to an absolute standstill. Under the snow there lay at least an inch or so of solid ice which showed no signs of defrosting because of how cold it was. There was no movement from cars let alone anyone wishing to gamble on the ice covered pathways. One Sunday morning there was a knock at the door, living in a quiet street it’s usually odd for us to get visitors when we’re not expecting them. On opening the door there were two young guys, about 14/15 years old holding shovels and brushes.

They came up with the idea of helping everyone to get mobile by clearing the pathways of ice and were charging £2 a garden path. Genius! They must have cleared around 60 houses that day giving them £60 each for a few hours work. I couldn’t help but be impressed that they had used their own initiative to make some extra money from the bad weather.

Whilst this was a very small show of entrepreneurship, they still went out to make money from something that hadn’t been done in the estate at that time. Who knows if they have another idea of making money for something else but I certainly don’t think they should be restricted in their endeavors. Who knows whether a £2 pathway could turn in to a £2 million business in ten years time.

Never hold back…

I just wanted to say that you should never hold back if you think you have a great idea. Give it a whirl, if it doesn’t work out then you’ve just acquired one of the best things in life. Experience.

In Google We Trust

We don’t know how the Google algorithm works, yet we trust it to deliver results which are best for us!? Erm hang on a minute… Millions and millions of searches must go through the various international Google websites daily. Google presents us with websites in a specific order which they deem substantially correct for the keyword search that we enter. They also present us with paid results which advertisers pay Google to present the average Joe.

The internet is full of users who I would put in a ‘general’ category, you know, the majority of people who ‘use’ the internet to buy the odd thing, check out facebook far too much, read the news etc. This general category don’t particularly understand why things work the way they do, or why things look a certain way they just expect it to be ‘just like that’. They’re the category that believe Google are doing their best for them, that they’re delivering the results they want.

What if they’re not? Has anyone questioned it?

We trust Google to deliver results which are definitely what we’re looking for. This after all is one of the reasons that made it the biggest search engine in the world today. Do we really know that in those 10 links on the first page of results, the result you’re definitely looking for is there? How do you know that it’s not in fact on page 53?

It’s a strange question of course, but one that we’ve never queried as we expect them to be doing everything right. Surely Google wouldn’t be pulling the wool over our eyes, right? I’ll leave this open for discussion.

Next Year I

I recently posted about my achievements in 2009, these were quite comprehensive as the year seemed jam packed full of ‘stuff’ from start to finish. A lot of people online have gone in to posts looking back on 2009 and looking forward to 2010. I believe, 2010 will be an incredible year for people within our industry. On a personal level I have a bigger journey to take in 2010 than I’ve taken before in my current profession. Next Year I…

Would like to buy a decent camera and learn how to use it.

Take more pride in my blog and redesign it (finally).

Create better content for my readers.

Read at least 3 fictional books throughout the year (I’m addicted to non-fiction).

Game less but play harder.

Purchase a 27″ iMac.

Go to more conferences.

Meet more people from the ‘online world’ in the ‘offline world’.

Start weight training (again) and look after my body.

Write a book.

Design more of anything rather than some things.

Teach myself more about design, there is so much more to learn that what you know.

Do more talks.

Do at least one design related talk.

Get Married (3rd April).

Read all of my design related books.

Give more back to the design community.

Do more for a specific charity that I know where the money goes.

Write more for other blogs/magazines.

Learn one new thing per day (no matter how small or trivial)

Create a typeface from scratch.

There is quite possibly a lot I’ve missed out or forgotten about and I’m never one to hold myself back when I want to achieve something. Hopefully in 2010 I will be able to achieve all of these and more.

How about you? What would you like to achieve in 2010?

This Year I…

I didn’t do this last year although I wish I had. We’re now heading to the back end of 2009 and it makes you think of all those things that you’ve achieved or done over the past twelve months. There have been ups and downs throughout 2009 however the ups way out number the downs.

This year I’ve done a lot and wanted to take the time to list my achievements, so here we go, this year I…

Turned 26.

Found an increasing amount of grey hair.

Abseiled 180ft for charity making my fear of heights disappear.

Handed in my resignation.

Joined Codeworks.

Was Car-Less for 8 months.

Bought a new car.

Went to Future of Web Design Tour (Leeds).

Played far too much Battlefield: Bad Company.

Played far too much MW2.

Wrote an article for Fuel Your Creativity.

Wrote an article for .net magazine.

Started a secret project which still remains secret.

Went to London for a TV Casting because of that ‘secret project’.

Planned a wedding (still planning the wedding).

Had some professional photos taken.

Went to see Al Murray and nearly passed out through laughing.

Moved in to our new house.

Had an operation which went a bit wrong but I survived.

Set up DIBI which is taking place in April 2010.

Worked my ass off day in day out.

It seemed like there was going to be so much more than the above when I was thinking about it. I’ve had a very very busy year and 2010 is going to be much of the same. Thanks to Jen for giving me the support through 2009, looking forward to 2010! Anyway, what about you — what did you do?