Location: Los Angeles
Number of years in the domain industry: 13 years
Favourite extension: .com
Domain name you wished you owned: AR.com
Now reading: Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson
Now watching: The Night of...
Best city for conferences: Los Angeles, NV!
Your mentor: Too many to list...
Describe your company and how long you have been there.
I founded LBM in late 2003 with a DUI directory. Back then DUI lawyers would pay a flat monthly rate to be listed on 1800DUILAWS.com and could use the phone number 1.800.DUI.LAWS in their own marketing. Now almost everything we do is leadGen. While we're still exclusively for lawyers (for now), we cover almost all legal practice areas. Way back when, we would build websites for our clients as well. That led me to buying domains for our clients. Once I discovered the domain aftermarket, I was hooked. We started selling far more legal domains than we did websites. Now our domain focus is primarily generic, premium one-word .com names.
Can you tell us about your last time at NamesCon and what you got out of it?
I get a lot of coffee out of it! I've moderated at every NamesCon — about a third of the total panels each year. Between moderating, guest interviews, expert tables, my own meetings, dinners, parties and general schmoozing, it's a tiring week with very little sleep. I love it! Richard and Jothan have done a fantastic job with this conference. They've created the industry leading — can't miss — event and I feel fortunate to experience it every year. The networking and face-time is unmatched. Anyone that invests in domains should be at NamesCon.
NamesCon is all about business networking. Can you tell us a story about the success of a meeting at NamesCon?
Every year I meet new people. People that have been in the industry a long time that I've never had the opportunity to get to know — and people new to the industry. The chance encounters are invaluable. Every year, I've put deals together, not to mention buying names at the auction.
What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
I'm still bullish on new TLDs. They are certainly taking a while to develop into valuable aftermarket but I believe this will come. Before mass adoption, we need large brands to market themselves using the new extensions. Only then will general awareness start to develop. It's going to take some time.
What kinds of changes do you foresee within the industry in the next year? 5 years?
Over the next 5 years, we'll see a major consolidation in the registry industry. The big players will start to gobble up the smaller guys and I believe we'll see some new entrants like private equity firms or perhaps GoDaddy.
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming NamesCon?
Seeing all my old friends. There's nothing quite like spending a few days socializing with folks who you've known for years but only get to see a couple of times per year.
What industry trends or topics do you think will be at the forefront of panel and keynote discussions this year?
I think much of the conversation will be about gTLDs, and the Chinese market as it relates to liquid names.
Who would you like to hear speak at NamesCon? Why?
Tuesday morning, I'll be interviewing Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Wordpress. I plan to ask him about his purchase of the .Blog TLD and what his plans are for the extension. Should be very enlightening!
What was one of your biggest "Aha!" moments in life?
I attended the first Domainfest and was blown away at all the people making a living on their parked domains. I knew I wanted to be a part of the industry.
How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?
Believe it or not, I'm doing precisely what I thought I'd be doing. I always knew I'd own and invest in multiple businesses and that exactly what's happening.
How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
When asked, I always tell me that "I'm an investor".
If you had fifteen extra minutes each day, what would you do with them?
Spend it at the gym.
What's the most recent thing you learned (big or small)?
In the book I'm reading the author discusses developing a skill — becoming an expert at something. It's often said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. (it was actually this author that coined the phrase). But in this book he further explains that just 10,000 hours of repetition won't make you an expert, that you need determined, focused attention while practicing to improve that skill. At first it seems obvious, but who really focuses in great detail on each and every possible variant while practicing a particular skill? Certainly not me.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
My wife. She taught me to pay more attention to the news, to politics and what's happening in the world — beyond just business. She showed me people on the other side of the planet should matter to all of us, and that society should care about how we treat the environment and animals.
What are you proudest of in your life?
Daniel, the boy I foster. He's 17 and about to go off to college — with straight A's. I'm very proud of him.
Latest and greatest accomplishment in your career?
I sold a company last year that my staff and I built from zero. I was nice see that chapter close and reap the rewards.
Name 3 things you can't travel without.
iPhone, charging cords, Bose in-ear noise cancelling headphones.
Where is your favourite place to escape?
Someplace far, far away. I travel internationally several times per year and don't quite have a favourite place. I suppose I just like traveling to new countries to experience different food and cultures.
What was the best advice you were ever given?