The Rick Schwartz 20th Anniversary Post. Trust Numbers Not People.

December 26, 1995-December 26, 2015

Morning Folks!

It is early November as I start to write this blog post; my first in about one and a half years and since my retirement over a year ago, and what a year it has been. But this post was 20-years in the making and it may be years before my next. When I look back to that period, the "Dark ages" as I call them, never in my wildest dreams did I expect the success I have enjoyed and the great folks I have met along the way. Thousands of folks. Some that have been helped and influenced by my words and thoughts and I by theirs as well. Some that were provoked by those same thoughts but also might be motivated by them.

That is the most rewarding part of the journey. To make an impact in the life of a family is how I define success. The by-product of their success is good karma. And that goes a long way because I truly believe that whatever you give out in life comes back 10 fold or more. Good or bad. I just learned early on that it was much better to have the good come back; I avoid the bad. I shut out the negative and I annihilate the evil. That's how I think and that's how I roll. It pisses off the evil. The negative get angry. And I focus on the good because they are focused on doing it right. Like I have said for years, "There is the right way to do something and there is every other way". My search is to find right not be right.

We are not politicians that have to stand by every belief. Some think they need to speak for me by twisting my words to suit.  As a businessman I have to reassess things whenever there is new information. It can never be ignored. Good, bad or ugly, it must be factored in. And truthfully, many ignore the bad and ugly and oversell the good. They don't want to hear what they don't want to hear.  That is a recipe for disaster on any level. If you believe something and proof comes that you are wrong, you must pause. It may be time for an about face and a reality check. If not, that's the definition of being lost.

20-years ago TODAY I saw something so big and so life changing that I just wanted to share it with the world. It could easily pay off the liabilities and so much more. I look back to what things looked like then and where we are today and it is like being in outer space. We have come so far. But the Galaxy is massive and we have barely scratched the surface. But the 20-year plan is intact and you are witnessing the booster rocket this year. The rocket that takes us all into the next 20 years.

Think of a 20-year old young man or young lady and ask what will they accomplish in their next 20 years? The point is their best years and our best years are just starting not ending. Domains ARE the real estate of the future. It was true 20 years ago and it is FACT today. The only difference is no one understood or cared  about that FACT 20 years ago when it happened. They do now . China is just the first of many frenzy's coming as different groups and different businesses and industries realize the power a great domain has. The power comes from EXTRA sales and growth. Massive sales. Boundless and borderless. Treasures to be unlocked like gushing oil wells.

Is a domain a commodity? An investment? A safe haven? Real estate? Yes and much more. It is the most portable asset the world has ever known. But bigger than all that is that a great domain name is an equalizer. When you see the world through my eyes you will see what I see. That was why I spent so many years publicly writing about it and each with a time stamp and my real name or trademarked handle.

I saw something and related to something that most folks did not see or relate to and THIS was the basis for my entire outlook on the Internet. I realized from the get go that this was an opportunity my father did not have, my grandfather did not have my great grandfather did not have nor his father before him. This was life-changing and there was no mistaking it.

I just wondered day after day, month after month, year after year, how could so many miss something so big? How is it possible? Where were the CEO's and Sales Managers? My jaw would just drop thinking about it.

More than anything else I knew the Internet gave power to the powerless. The greatest equalizer ever invented and the price of admission was low and if you were poor, you could access for free via the library. That leveled the playing field for everyone. And the first words I ever wrote on the Internet were based on Martin Luther King's words. Because when we were behind a keyboard, no one could see us they could only judge a person by the content of our words and thoughts and over time on our deeds and our character. White, black, rich, poor, New York or Timbuktu. Clean or dirty. Dressed nice or not at all. A new swiss army knife that would change lives in a way that few have still quite understood. But how long would it take for those very people to realize what was in front of them? 1 month? 6 months? A year? 3 years? Brick and mortar stores did not embrace the Internet. They saw it as a threat not an opportunity. It was attacked a s a "Fad" back then.

3 years had always been my horizon for watching a business mature and run smoothly and profitable. No, that would just not be enough time for this one. Very few businesses were online and not all even used email at that point in life and the 35-50 year old still were computerless because they were working too hard to have time to get that far. But their kids had computers and their own parents had computers. When do the people in the middle come? 10 years? Well I figured it would have to be an entire generation, 20 years! Yup. That would be about right. But 20 years was the START of the race not the end of the race. 20 years just to get to a place that I could begin to demonstrate what I had seen and why it was so strong and therefore the reason I would never waiver. 20 years before I actually started to earn money. The question for me was how do I pay for domains at $100 each knowing it might be 20 years? So when they paid for themselves and more, I had to adjust my game accordingly and there was not a moment to lose. I think that was when I stated to get time wasters out of my life. I had no time for nonsense. I had an empire to build.

I KNEW my theory was right because I saw something real, tangible and marvelous. Grandparents and grandchildren now had a daily way to communicate in a new medium. It was less intrusive because email allowed you time to respond on your own terms and maybe with a little more thought. Well when I saw this, I knew we were not looking at a fad. I knew at that moment that how we interact was about to change and relationships would change and it was a great thing that would happen. 1n 1995 the masses were not yet online. And while folks will laugh at things like Prodigy and AOL, those were the "training wheels" that many of us non techies needed. I remember early versions of CompuServe. Really?? It was very frustrating to even dial up and get online let alone navigate. There was not much to navigate either. We are several years before Google was even founded.

I saw it unfold and layout in my mind. I started writing about it in 1996. I was discovering things by the day. I never saw anything like this or as big as this or a more powerful equalizer than this. And for the folks that say they have no opportunity today. REALLY??? For a $10 bill you can put yourself in front of the world and make an impact. For the cost of a pair of Nike's you can become a domain investor. To this very minute. There is more opportunity than any 1 person or 1000 people could reap at anytime. I have watched people come into this field and make a mark quickly. I have seen people flail and fail year after year. Much more of those. But they fail because they have a basis that is not understood by anyone but them. They don't understand the masses and when it comes to sales and profits it gets even dimmer. If you have a solid business background, if you understand real estate, if you are a market investor, then you should be able to learn about domains in a very short time today.

The conversation now is much different than the conversation of 20 years ago. Now I come to the table with some level of credibility. Friends and foes may exist but my reputation is untarnished because I had the character to understand that reputation is everything on and off the net. And 20 years later I may be a foe but chances are they got screwed by their friends along the way. I never screwed them. I always tried to help them. And I love when someone realizes their foe has been a better friend than many "Friends" that crossed their paths over the past 20 years. And that is my single greatest accomplishment. I know I helped to influence many willing minds along the way. I get more satisfaction in that then almost anything else. But I have enjoyed riding the wave and in my first year of retirement having a plan come together and take a victory lap of sorts. What a ride, what a parade. The message about domains has been received worldwide and now there are thousands more that will spread that message.

And it just gets better from here. There is a time to reap and a time to sow. I saw that getting the right Internet real estate was the most urgent and time sensitive of all things. And I knew there was plenty of time to build. Just like oceanfront land or land in Times Square. Securing the location was the key and time was of the essence. I wrote many times about how I literally slept on my computer. My fingers hurt so badly from 16 or 18 hours of searching Network Solutions for available names. There were no tools. Nothing else to look them up. No one knew in the real world what a domain name was. But I pounded away day after day in the 2nd half of 1996 because by that time I was pumping out gold. Then the sense of urgency grew exponentially. By 1997 I was buying 3rd party domains. I was not alone. I was competing with a host of others. Not many. But enough to lose a domain by seconds. Literally. 5 seconds one time I remember. But that just gave me even more fuel to keep going. My fingers were in pain every day. But I used different fingers and slowly kept going. And of course I was laughed at and ridiculed along the way. I was told I had more money than brains on more than one occasion. After this year, they are finally right!!! lol

I LOVE this medium called the Internet. My words are all on record with my real name or known moniker since the day I came online. They are date stamped and they may be copied or circulated but all can be tracked back right to me and my thoughts. Even along the way I was mostly retired. I looked forward to every Monday and I could not believe people would not check their websites or their email from 5PM Friday to 9AM Monday. They were running 24/7 businesses, they were AWOL during business hours. Their sites would go down for days at a time and no one minding the store! Then they complained about business not being good and losing other people's money.

So you see the seed of my frustration. They were losing more business than they were doing and choking and in trouble while the key was sitting right in front of them. When I would point it out they would get all nuts on me. That made them lazy morons in my book. I just pointed something out and they generally went bat shit crazy. lol

I think there are more things that bond us together than separate any of us. However some focus on the negative while others choose to focus on the positive. The positive is what bonds us together. We love our moms, dads, family and friends, and we protect them. But some decide to focus on what makes us different and those are negative thoughts and come with bad or negative results unless there is a constructive way forward. You must clear the old land to make way for the new structure. So it is okay to identify something negative but to do that you need something positive and structural to hold things up and make it even better. Some people identify and fix problems. Some people make problems. Some people ignore problems. Surrounding yourself with like minded people is empowering. And listening to dissent is good as long as it is based on reality and facts.

King said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." The Internet was the perfect place for that to occur and maybe in time it will. But for the first 20 or 30 years, it has also been a huge breeding ground for hate and bullying. An out of control epidemic that is just a tweet or post or comment away.

Here is a perfect example of a business theory or principal as I see it. Something I use to measure the overall long term all viability of a business. I have many of these. They are simple and act as my guide through all aspects of business:

You can sell average or even below average food at a great location (like an airport, stadium or boardwalk) and still stay in business. You can't serve lousy food at a lousy location and survive. Now you are free to disagree. But you would be wrong. Do I have a strong opinion? You bet! You don't stick to a plan this long and be a wet noodle that changes with the wind.

Here is another one. Let's say you had great food at that lousy location. Great food but it was difficult to stay in business. Despite the advertising it was out of the way. Simple remedy would scare most. His best hope for survival is to have 20 other restaurants open up all around him. That "flotilla" is what can save him. Now apply that to today and you will see why I used the word Flotilla".

Many real world examples have a perfect online parallel. Point is when you have BOTH, that is the ticket. So on the Internet great content matched with a great and easy to remember and spell domain name increases your bottom line in every respect. But since few can see it or measure it and extrapolate the sheer volume over a 10 year period, they ignore it. I am just saying that we are talking an invisible 15%-25% increase in business and  (or more) that is the cream of the crop because your expenses are all paid. But the beancounter never sees it on their excel spreadsheet. That 15% is a huge number (and it is so damn conservative because it could be 100% or more) if you do the math for your company. Want to argue? OK, make it a 2% increase. Do the math of what just a 2% increase would look like over a 10 year period. Once you make your nut, the next sales are the ones that grow your company and grow your wallet and propel companies and people to higher levels. Make hay when the sunshines. Means we work extra hard when things are good so when things are bad we can just take a lot of vacations and not worry or be stressed.

Sorry, I got a bit off track.....

Very little is talked about Highest and Best Use (HBU) for a domain name. The reason I TRY and get top dollar is I start at Highest and Best Use and work down from there. Very few of my domains will be used that way in my lifetime. But I don't care. I KNOW the value and until somebody gives me an offer that at least is on the path to HBU, I am not even going to respond. It s well known for a reason why my prices are high and stay high. But I am not unrealistic.

I tried to sell my names for $50k each. They all laughed because it was too much. When they stopped laughing and started paying I was already at $100k. When they reached $100k in offers I was at $250k. When they reached that level, I was $350k. Then $500k. Then $750k. Then they finally caught up to me at $800k. The ones now priced at $1 Million I am told are too high. Stay tuned.

My basic premise that I employ is asking one simple question. How much would just one location cost in the real world. Rent, insurance the whole 9 yards. So if a small store has a $2500/rent that is $30k a year and over 10 years is $300k plus the other 9 yards. And the domain has much greater value now and in the future! And you only need one location in the .com world. Just one! Now that is an example on a small store.

Let's talk about my favorite whipping boy, Sears. Sears who at one time was the world's largest retailer. Maybe for about 100 years. They could have afforded the forward thinking minds to buy the domains that would have insured their future. It's been a decade since I was in Sears. How about you? They formed a flotilla with K-mart. Whoopee! But the point here is how much does it cost to operate ONE STORE?? Folks need to answer and focus on this to see the value I see in a domain. Here is the post I wrote when they closed up their flagship store in Chicago and the posts I made before they did it in which I suggested they close.

Another restaurant example. Do you know what the difference is between a restaurant with 100 people in line all the time as opposed to just one person in line all the time if they both have the same amount of seats? NONE!!! Absolutely NONE! It has nothing to do with sales or profits. A full house is a full house. Period. So folks are free to disagree and they usually do. But it is a standard I use. A measuring stick that is universal to all businesses.

However you could argue that one may be more efficient than the other and can handle more people in a shorter time even without adding tables. You can argue that one has servers that suggests food faster to prepare or more expensive or more profitable. My point is adding more people to a line you can't even serve does not help and you need to look in other directions to correct that. A perfectly tuned machine would always have one party waiting for a table and serving them well and efficiently once they get in.

In the furniture industry it manifested it's self in a different way and I can help show what I mean by efficiency. If I sold a truckload of wall units to a store in Houston and it took my factory 6 weeks to manufacture and one week to ship and the store 4 weeks to sell and then they place a re-order and have to wait 7 weeks, how many times a year can they order and how much will they spend? Want to increase that number in a very big way? I would BEG my factory to build that ONE UNIT for inventory. It was universally our best selling item by far. They had the room and the material. That way when an order came at 4 weeks, they could have it in store in one week! That saves 5 -6 weeks. They would grow their business and be more efficient if they built their number one selling item for inventory instead of each order. Simple!

First order January 1 for $100,000 deliver February 15th and sells out on March 15th.

Second order comes in March 15th and delivers May 1 and sells out on June 1.

Third order comes in June 1 and delivers July 15th and sells out on August 15th

Fourth order comes in September 30th and sells out October 30th

Fifth order comes in December 15th and the year is done $500k total.

Now if they were efficient:

First order comes in January 1 and is delivered January 8th and sells out on February 8th

Second order comes in February 8th and delivered February 15th sells out on March 15th

Third order comes in March 15th and delivers March 22nd and sells out April 22nd.

Forth order comes in April 22nd and delivered April 29th and sells out by May 29th

Fifth order comes in on May 29th and delivers June 6th and sells out by July 6th.

Compare the two.

Efficiency is the key to business without being cheap or cutting corners. 2x the business with a simple adjustment. And then look at the invisible perks. HUGE perks!

They know you deliver fast and are reliable. You never lose your floor space when they run out of goods. They are more likely to expand their relationship with you by adding new items. Now multiply that by your number of customers. Getting the picture? Problem is beancounters see a different picture or none at all. The factory foreman sees a different picture. The techie sees a different picture. All I can do is try to paint the picture I see and persuade my counterparts that it is in everyone's best interest. This is about math and being smart. PERIOD!

It's an ego boost to have a line or a bunch of orders to fill. But in business while your ego is getting a boost, your wallet is not and that does not make a smart business or businessman. You are free to disagree with math. And of course there are other variables. But one can't miss big things like this. I come from a place and I look at things through a multitude of lenses. It never scares me to find a new truth. It only scares me to hang on to being inefficient with an old one.

There has never been a better time for financial equality in history. Those protesting on the street would be better served behind a keyboard and seeking their dreams. No one is responsible for their happiness and success. It's not your fault or my fault that they are misguided and miserable. The only thing that holds them back is their mind, attitude, how quick they can learn, adapt and their work ethic. Some will learn that, most will wallow in self pity as a way of life.

What would my life have looked like if I was a professional whiner instead of sacrificing early on and working until I fell over? What if I gave up? What if failure was something that could defeat me? Instead failure empowers me because I am likely one step away from a success. I feel sorry for those that have to blame and excuse. It takes up more effort and energy than actually learning, overcoming and succeeding. But they are in a rush to nowhere. So just get out of the way and let them get there.

Here is the secret of failing. Fail for a reason. Fail and then ALWAYS go back to the point before the failure. Usually decisions come down to an either/or. Go back and just go down the path you rejected and you will likely find success just laying there for the taking. Problem is most people keep going forward and that is where the road map goes off the chart and direction is lost. Secondly and even more importantly, define the most essential and largest part of your challenge. I wrote about that here with my "Pyramid Post". The top of the pyramid will define success or failure in nearly 100% of all cases. If you ignore that piece of the puzzle, save it for last, or get it wrong; you lose! 

Identify the most important and time sensitive THING first. That is how I can spot failure a minute away; an hour away, a day or week away; a year away; 5 years away; 20 years away. And if I get it right, I can spot a success a year away; 5 years away; 20 years away as well. That top piece is worth at least 50%. Get it wrong, you automatically fail because all the other pieces of the pyramid add up to 50%. Where I come from, 50% is a failing grade on almost any level. It makes one directionless when they miss the top piece.

So with one 20 year plan in the books, It is now time to enjoy and capitalize on what the next 20 years may bring. OMG!!!! 20 years in which I employed the Rip Van Winkle and Rope a Dope strategies.

read the other day that if you bought $1000 of Apple stock in 1980 after the IPO you would have over $90,000 today plus the dividends along the way. "Since the Companies initial IPO in 1980, Apple stock has delivered a 9.072% return, excluding dividends."

So looks like my sales alone eclipsed that many times over in a much shorter time span. About 18 years shorter and about 80X the return since it was a $100 investment vs a $1000 then in the world's #1 stock. Even my smallest sale this year provided a larger return than Apple in HALF the time. And I also made dividends along the way via pay-per-click many times more than all the dividends with Apple.

Then you would have to factor in that the value of $1000 in 1980 vs $1000 in 1998. Adjusted for 18 years of inflation and you could easily be talking about $2500-$3500 or more. The price of a new basic Cadillac in 1980 was about $10,000. The price of a new Cadillac in 1998 was about $35,000. home prices went up even more percentage wise.

And what do I do with the money I earn? I'll buy APPLE!!!

Let me just end with this. I am in no rush to sell appreciating assets but you may see my sales in often. Each time trying to set new records and blaze new trails that others can come and reap the rewards from. Domains, like land and developed real estate, will be passed on from generation to generation; from merger to merger. The content may be scrapped but the domain will always survive. It is fireproof but it is far from theft proof.

I believed one simple and basic fact 20 years ago. I guess that was the top of the pyramid for me; "Domains are a unique opportunity in time and will go up in value faster than any other commodity ever known to mankind." I identified getting the domain as the single most important, time sensitive and urgent part of the puzzle. That was a race against the clock and everything else could wait. Wait 20 years for the dust to settle and then decide what and where to build and expand. And for the record, I am referring to .com domains only and specifically. I think collectively we have more than proven that theory and can now establish that as fact. But it may take another 20 years for that part of the equation to be recognized by the "Experts".


Have a GREAT Day!

Until next we meet......Be healthy, happy and

Rick Schwartz