Location: Bordeaux, France
Time spent in the domain industry: 25 years
Favourite extension: .GLOBAL of course :)
Domain you wish you owned: crypto.bank
Your mentor: Steve Jobs
Describe your company. How long have you been there and what led you to this career choice?
Our company operates the new domain name extension .GLOBAL Having been a long time in the domain name industry and founded multiple companies over the last 28 years, I wanted to create a names space well suited for startups that has ambitions to grow past a local presence. I have been with .GLOBAL since I founded it with a few colleagues in 2011 until now.
NamesCon is all about business networking. Can you tell us a story about the success of a meeting at NamesCon?
We meet the majority of our large resellers (domain name registrars) at NamesCon. Its hard to point out one particular success story from all those meetings. I guess, the success story is the large amount of productive meetings we have with both resellers and domain name investors at NamesCon. The event is the absolute best in our industry for commercial sessions and networking. A great supplement to all the ICANN events we participate at.
Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers?
We operate with an open registration policy with no restrictions. From the innovators to distributors, entertainers, networkers, thought-leaders, educators, activists, charities, designers and makers – thousands of .global domains are registered monthly all over the world. The value they get is the availability of the brand name they wish to use for their domain name, a clean namespace with very low abuse rates and a domain extension that broadcasts ambitions to reach a global audience.
How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?
I thought I would work in finance. Turned out I was much more suited for a technical path. A path where I had to learn finance anyways.
How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
I focus on business development and marketing to make the new domain name extension .GLOBAL grow across multiple markets around the world.
Latest and greatest accomplishment in your career.
Besides .GLOBAL, it was building a nation wide ISP in Norway 1993-1998. We where one of the first ISPs to automate the signup process of new clients, giving them internet access, email and needed software to use the net. A pan European Web hosting company 1998-2005. We were the worlds biggest windows based host and first to fully automate domain registration and web hosting in 1998. A web conference business in northern Europe 2001-2007. One of the first in the world to use web as a sharing tool for audio conferencing with our own technology.
Describe a recent challenge that you overcame.
Getting investors to back our current company with almost zero evidence that we would succeed with the business. Or even have one.
What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
They are needed. Alternatives to the legacy domain extensions had to be introduced to give more and better online branding choices to innovators and organizations around the world.
What kinds of changes to you foresee within the industry in the next year? The next 5 years?
During the next year, I believe we will see more of the early signs we are experiencing of increased awareness of new TLDs. So I believe in steady growth. The last two years growth statistics has been influenced by domains sold for a few cents or even given away for free. I believe this practice will slow down as it gives poor renewal statistics and a large amount of abuse for both registry's and registrars. At the end of the next 5 years I believe we have a good awareness of new TLDs around the world. But during those 5 years, it seems likely to me that we shall experience a global financial downturn that is likely to affect our business short term. Even if it is not needed, I believe we might see another application opening for new TLDs during those 5 years.
What are the most innovative products or services that are currently impacting your business?
There is a lot of innovation going on in block-chain and crypto currencies. We see many domain name registrations related to these technologies.
Who would you like to hear speak at NamesCon and why?
Frank Schilling because he sees the industry from so many angles and has a lot of experience.
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming NamesCon?
The networking of course. Seeing old industry colleagues and meeting new faces.
What industry trends or topics do you think will be at the forefront of panel and keynote discussions this year?
It could be something that ties the blockchain technology to our industry. A topic I would like to see at some point is best practice examples of online branding strategies in the world of domain names, app store keywords, social media handles and SEO.
What fact about you would surprise people?
The length of experience in our industry and the number of children I have (5).
What was one of your biggest Aha moments in life?
When I understood how the Internet was so well suited for commercial use. That was the reason for starting an ISP in 1993.
If you had fifteen extra minutes each day what would you do with them?
Relax in the sun, jog in the woods and read more (online).
Whats the most recent thing you learned big or small?
That North Korea now can send a rocket to any country in the world (scary).
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and what did they teach you?
Bruce Willis thought me that it was ok to go bald :) Not that I had a choice..
What are you proudest of in your life?
Besides my children, it’s the companies that I have built together with good friends.
What was the best surprise you’ve experienced so far in life?
That selling Internet access starter kit with modem could be done by pizza delivery and with a pizza. Not to forget that getting online could take at least the time of eating that pizza.
Name three things you can’t travel without?
My mobile, my iPad for movies, and chargers.
What object would you put in a time capsule that best represents who you are today?
A 3D-printed clone facing any sort of screen. Or me in my old Corvette C1 being my most happy self.
Where is your favourite place to escape?
Mauritius for wind- and kite-surfing.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Worry less, as most things you worry about will never happen (my Dad).
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