After visiting Naples and Capri in Italy, Istanbul, Kusadasi and Ephesus in Turkey, Athens, Santorini and Mykonos in Greece, I am back in Rome and on the way to the Vatican. I have visited less than 10% of the world. However about 50% of the world I have no desire to go see. So that makes it about 60%. But like Dorothy said….”There is no place like home” no matter where “Home” is. Had I not travelled so extensively around the USA when I was young, I might have the desire to travel more often now. To me, being home is a great gift. A gift I could not afford for many years. Home was a hotel, suitcase and a car back then.
My takeaway is that even with the country codes that are very popular, many also have their .com version of their domain. Any successful business also wants to secure their dotcom even if they only promote their country code domain locally. There is still a lot of room for Internet growth and acceptance in these countries.
While others sight see I am much more comfortable talking to the local merchants at each place. The international language of business breaks all barriers. In a word, business is not so good. They all anticipate the summer season, but are also worried it may not materialize to the numbers they need to make a living.
As a traveler, the downturn is a good thing. Upgrades to suites is now common. Service is better than ever because folks are scared and they want to keep their jobs. That turns mediocrity into superior service.
The ship I was on was full. But there are reasons for that. First, it is the newest ship afloat. Secondly, the line we use is already known for great service and great food. But while our ship was full, the ships we encountered were largely empty. Our ship had 100% capacity. The ships I saw looked liked about 25%. Many of them will not survive. The consumer now has choices like never before.
Bargaining was interesting. When we got to the point where they would say….”I am only making 10% profit” that became my opening to explain why they should sell below cost. Explain why turning dollars was more important right now than turning a profit. If my home is down 20% then they should absorb the loss as well. Their choice is to leave it on the shelf and maybe sell it later in the season or turn it into cash now and pay the rent. Some did and I walked away with several super bargains. Others did not….so I just walked away. It was their choice, not mine. My job was to make the offer.
The more I travel the more things are the same. Thinking is different sometimes. Reactions may be different. Lifestyle is different. But the day to day life is very similar no matter where you are assuming you are in a civilized part of the world. Even more similar when you go to the areas that tourists want to see. The faces may change but business is the same. Universal. Almost no difference.
The highlight was when I saw my slippers yesterday when I checked into the hotel. The name of the hotel printed on it followed by DOTCOM! In 1995 I said that eventually every brochure, every billboard, every ad, every letterhead, every label and every piece of material they produced would have their dotcom address on it. Few really believed that at the time. I was POSITIVE that would happen. Positive and stubborn in my belief in the face of disbelief.
As early as 2000 I knew I nailed it. One of my early beliefs is that someday I would walk through Times Square and every billboard would have a dotcom ad. When the reality happened in 2000 I had tears running down my cheeks. Even though I believed it with every fiber of my being, seeing it in the flesh was truly overwhelming. So when I saw it on the slippers, it brought back that day and confirmed just how powerful a domain name is. How powerful this new medium is.
What I can say is that we have barely scratched the surface. That there is still so much room for growth. More room for understanding. We are less than 50% of the way there. This economic period will force the world over the 50% mark. However I am still amazed about the lack of understanding the average business has about the power of the Internet to transform their business. And while that is disappointing, it is evidence of how much more can be mined. How much more can be achieved. How much more business can be done.
I come back on Tuesday after nearly a month on the road. I am exhausted on one hand and ready to harness the universe on the other. Timing is everything. I have written about timing very often. My friends, THIS is the time. THIS is the time to do great things. THIS is the time to take risk. THIS is the time to allow yourselves to become great. There is a window of opportunity that is NOW OPEN. I don’t know how long it will last. My gut says about a year. Maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more. When it does close, it will close fast and without notice. The greatest opportunity will be gone and simply a memory.
Have a GREAT Day!