I think it’s safe to say that time seems to go by faster than ever at NamesCon and with day three in the books I finally had a chance to sit down this morning and put this post together. I just counted and I’ve had around 40 meetings so far over the last three days…which honestly sounds impossible to me, but somehow I’ve been able to do it.
As for how that math works out well, my meetings are normally around 30 minutes long, and I had around three hours of meetings on Wednesday and then about nine hours each on Thurs and Fri, and somehow I still have a voice and yes, more meetings this morning!
One thing I realized is that since I’m spending my days running around from meeting to meeting, the videos I take aren’t quite as exciting as I had hoped…I can’t really show up at my meetings videoing, that would be weird, right?
Still, I hope these videos give everyone who wasn’t able to make it out to NamesCon there year a taste of what it’s like outside of the talks. This morning I’ll be stitching together my videos from Day Three and starting to plan some additional posts with longer-format videos at specific events.
Okay, now it’s time to get in a quick workout then onto my morning meetings and then to Rainey Street for the final event at NamesCon 2020, let’s do this! 🙌
Lonnie Borck is a legendary Domain Investor, he was loved by everyone who knew him, and we lost him way too soon. To help honor his legacy the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award was created and this year it was awarded to Ron Jackson, publisher of the longest-running publication in the domain name world – DNJournal.
For those who know Ron, you know he’s one of the nicest, most generous people on the planet. I think it’s safe to say the Domain Industry would not be what it is today without Ron.
Also, Ron is someone who is rarely at a loss for words. He’s spoken at conferences for decades and with a past life in the radio biz, he’s great in front of a crowd. At the ICA Dinner Ron was absolutely shocked when he won the award and what followed is one of the most touching and moving speeches I’ve had the chance to see.
This is without a doubt my favorite moment from NamesCon, and I’m happy to share it with all of you.
Well it’s official, NamesCon 2020 Day One is now in the books and I have to say, it was a great day. This year I’ve decided to stitch together videos of each of my days so what I’m sharing below is my very first attempt at something interesting.
A few high-level highlights of yesterday. I had a great time giving a talk with Braden about a Year in the Life of a Domainer. The ICA Dinner was a huge success, easily the most well-attended dinner they’ve had and so great to see so much support for the ICA. Ron Jackson won the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award, so well deserved and a very touching moment, I’ll be doing a separate post about this soon.
The night ended with a group of us heading over to a Spazmatics concert which was amazing, albeit very very cold 🥶 Yes, it’s freezing at night here in Austin and somehow I ended up venturing outside without a jacket…not making that mistake again tonight.
So if you couldn’t make it to NamesCon but want to get as close to living the experience as possible, I hope this video will do the trick!
Okay, now I’m off to go meet Josh Schoen for a beer, then dinner, and then, well you’ll have to watch today’s video, tomorrow, to find out. The adventure continues!
Last year at NamesCon Europe in Portugal I took a ton of video and shared it on Twitter throughout the conference. I then took some of my longer format videos and put them on You Tube. It was fun to do and people seemed to like it so I decided to do it again at Rick’s MeetUp in Asheville.
Now, as I’m getting ready to head to Austin first thing tomorrow morning I’m getting ready for another few days of video adventures and taking those of you who can’t make it along with me.
Throughout the course of each day I’ll post shorter format videos on Twitter. Don’t expect anything mind blowing, just some short videos here and there so that you can take in the scene and get a feeling for what it’s like at the conference. Any longer format videos I’ll post on You Tube and share here on my blog.
Second – follow me on You Tube by clicking here and hitting subscribe
To kick things off I recorded a little video tonight. Tomorrow tune into my Twitter channel throughout the day and you can follow along with the adventure as I make my way from San Francisco to Austin.
Oh and if you’re at NamesCon, I’ll be giving a talk with Braden at 4:00PM so feel free to come by and check it out. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Austin!
Yesterday I met with the founder of a super interesting startup that leverages AI to automate a valuable part of the sales funnel. They are branding on a .AI domain and I talked to the CEO about how he ended up with a .AI, his answer – for what they do it was his top choice next to .COM.
Of course, like just about every founder I talk to, .COM is at the top of their list, but when the .COM wasn’t available .AI was next on this founder’s list.
This is a relatively new phenomenon that we’re seeing and just like .CO and .IO have become staples in the startup world, .AI is quickly gaining traction. One of the things that stood out to this founder about .AI is the ability to hand-register their company name vs. having to deal with the back-and-forth negotiation required when buying in another namespace.
At the same time, we covered a topic that comes up all the time. Without branding on the .COM, when discussing their company name they have to say the name and .AI, the domain extension has become a critical part of the name…but in many ways I find founders are seeing this as a good thing, and I think this bodes well for the future of other TLDs like .TECH where the domain extension provides additional context as to what the company does.
For example. If I owned the domain name KitchenSink.com, I think most people would imagine an eCommerce site that sells kitchen sinks. However, KitchenSink.tech makes me think of some high-tech version of the kitchen sink, maybe a voice activated faucet? Yes, those exist. The exact same is true for .AI, if a company is specifically solving problems using AI, the extension helps make that point.
On the flip side, I think this also shows the strength of extensions like .CO, .IO and .TECH where much more broad use cases are possible. Branding on a .AI name is great if AI is core to your brand, but I can see it limiting a brand in some ways as time goes on. Still, as an early stage startup leveraging .AI, I can understand why this founder was so happy with his choice of TLDs.
That being said, our conversation did end with…now I wonder how I can someday get my hands on the .COM.
With high registration and renewal fees I think .AI will always be relatively cost-prohibitive for domain investors and thus provide more opportunities for founders that like the idea of hand-registering a domain for their business. As an investor I’ve dipped my toe in the .AI waters a bit but still can’t see myself going in as deep as I have with .COM due to the cost of holding the names for multiple years.
As a startup founder picking a name for a startup there are more options than ever before, and while most people start with trying to get their hands on the .COM, the next best option isn’t the same for everyone.
In less than 48 hours I’ll be on a plane headed to Austin. I’ve been texting with friends who are on their way and others that are already on the ground, in short – look out Austin, the Domainers are coming!
The Bold Metrics offices used to be directly across the street from The Omni so we’re in my old stomping grounds which also means I’ve had a few years to sample the local lunch spots. Below are three of my go-to’s that I’d recommend for anyone that wants to leave the hotel and venture into the city for some tasty food.
Slake Cafe (120 E 7th Street)
This was my go-to, and I can tell you with confidence they have the best quiche’s in Austin. My usual was a quiche and a salad, and there are multiple options for both made fresh every day.
One recommendation, Slake gets pretty darn busy around lunchtime so I’d recommend calling in advance so your order is ready when you get there.
Tacodeli (301 Congress Ave)
An Austin institution. Seriously, if you’re going to spend more than a day in Austin, you should make sure to get a breakfast taco at Tacodeli and yes, it’s a great lunch spot as well.
I’ll be honest, I do like some other taco places more than Tacodeli in Austin, but don’t tell the locals that or I’ll be in trouble! While Tacodeli is probably an 8 minute walk making it the furthest of my recommendations, it’s #2 on my list since they really do make very tasty tacos that are worth venturing a little further down Congress Ave for.
Roaring Fork (701 Congress Ave)
If you’re looking for a solid sit-down restaurant, look no further than the Roaring Fork. Yes, it happens to be located in a competing hotel, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a nice relaxing lunch.
One note, I’ve always found the Roaring Fork to be heavily air conditioned so bring a sweater. As for my favorite lunch selections – I’d go with the Spinach Chicken Waldorf or Spit-roasted Chicken Breast Sandwich.
When I lived in Austin I learned over time about some pretty cool bars I had walked by a zillion times, but never knew were there. That’s because along with having a very happening public bar scene, Austin also has a pretty amazing hidden bar scene with excellent mixologists and dimly lit interiors.
The Bold Metrics office was directly across the street from the Omni Hotel so it just so happens that I know some great spots all a short walk from the hotel. So if you’re looking for a little adventure while your in Austin, here are my three favorite hidden bars, in order.
Small Victory (108 E 7th Street)
Only one block from The Omni, Small Victory is a bar I actually walked by for a full year before finding out that it existed. Located on the side of a parking lot and honestly looking like the stairs you would take to get to the second floor of the lot, this became my favorite hidden bar in Austin.
What I like about Small Victory is the juxtaposition between what it looks like outside, and the instant change you go through walking inside. Buzz the buzzer and you’ll be transported from a bright parking lot in downtown Austin to a small dimly lit cocktail bar with amazing drinks and honestly one of the best cheese plates I’ve ever had. Seriously, if you go there, get the cheese plate – I think they refresh it weekly and it’s amazing.
Firehouse Hostel (605 Brazos Street)
Okay, this one might sound weird at first but trust me, it’s one of Austin’s best mixology spots hands down IMHO. Firehouse is a hidden bar, in a Hostel, that you access by sliding a bookshelf to the side like you’re in a James Bond movie – it’s pretty cool.
To get into the bar simply walk-into the Firehouse Hostel, you’ll see the check-in desk on the left where they might ask you if you’re checking into the Hostel. Just give a little nod towards the bookshelf and grab the handle on the far left, sliding the bookshelf to the right.
Firehouse has great drinks but note it can get pretty darn busy in here and it could take a while to get your drink. I’m not a huge fan of the food personally so I’d stick to drinks when you come here. Located about a block and a half from The Omni it’s also a very short walk.
Midnight Cowboy (313 E 6th Street)
Midnight Cowboy has a certain “cool-factor” that has made it one of the hottest, yet secretive bars in Austin. I kept hearing about Midnight Cowboy from different people and when we’d go out on 6th Street friends would constantly point out it’s rather funky looking entrance.
Don’t let the entrance fool you, after getting in, Midnight Cowboy is one heck of a swanky place with a great vibe and amazing cocktails. This is also the only hidden bar on my list that does require a reservation to get in…so if you’re planning on going, make sure to make a reservation here.
I checked and there are reservations available Weds – Sat but I’m not sure how long that’s going to last, so if you want to check out Midnight Cowboy, I’d recommend getting a reservation ASAP.
Believe it or not, Austin has quite a few other hidden bars but these three were my favorites and I’m guessing I’ll end up and one or two while I’m in town. If you have a favorite you’d like to recommend, or thoughts on any of these three don’t hesitate to share them in the comment section below.
Okay, it’s official – NamesCon 2020 is less than a week away and you can feel the buzz as the domain industry’s biggest conference approaches. As me and other domain investors from around the world descend on Austin for the four day event you can definitely expect the Domaining blogosphere to be in full swing keeping everyone up-to-date on what’s going on.
At NamesCon Europe last year and Rick’s event in Asheville I shared quite a bit of video content on Twitter and I expect to do the same this year in Austin. If you don’t follow me on Twitter yet, or you don’t know my Domaining-specific Twitter handle make sure to follow @morganDOTlinton to keep up with all the action.
Well, you can tell I’m excited. Enough from me, let’s get to the news! Below are the stories from around the domain investing world that caught my eye this week:
From selling vinyl to selling domain names – DNW Podcast #269 (listen now on DomainNameWire)
Guta.com’s 2019 Premium Domain Sales Observation Report Shows Big Jump in Demand for One-Word .Coms (read more on DNJournal)
2019 was a strong year for BuyDomains (read more on TLDInvestors)
CES 2020 is a wrap and as the biggest consumer electronics show of the year comes to a close, a lot of new companies and technologies are buzzing with excitement. This year, CES saw an influx of startup and technology companies branding on .TECH domains and I thought it would be fun to share a few of them that caught my eye. Oh, and it wasn’t just companies at CES using .TECH, CES itself even branded on a .TECH domain – CES.tech.
Quick note – Radix who operates .TECH and a number of other new domain extension is a sponsor of this blog, they rock, and I’m excited to share some of the awesome things people are doing on their domains. With that, let’s dive in.
Fluidity.tech – this one had me at “designed by a former NASA astronaut.” So what is Fluidity.tech? It’s an innovative new drone controller that allows drone pilots to control their drones with one hand, freeing up the other hand to do anything it wants. Forbes had this to say about Fluidity.tech:
“The FT Aviator is undoubtedly more intuitive to use than a traditional two-stick controller, and the trigger buttons were highly fluid and responsive.”
(Source – Forbes)
TriEye.tech – it’s no secret that self-driving cars are moving from a “thing of the future” to something that is going to be a viable form of transportation very soon. Heck, I know a few people the have Teslas and run them in self-driving mode on the freeway when they commute to and from work so it’s already happening.
One challenge that self-driving cars run-into is operating in extreme conditions. That’s where TriEye comes in, they’ve developed a SWIR camera that works well in extreme weather and low light, and they’ve done it in a cost-effective way. Don’t be surprise if the next car you buy has TriEye built in.
NoTraffic.tech – this company solves a problem that’s been a personal pet peeve of mine for years. Tell me how often this happens to you. You pull up to a traffic light, there’s no cars going the other direction but you sit there staring at an empty intersection for what feels like an eternity.
NoTraffic.tech has built the first AI-powered traffic signal platform that connects the people on the road with the city’s grid. The result is cities that have smart traffic lights that are more prepared for things like self-driving cars, scooters, and all the other new modern transportation solutions that are coming our way.
Of course, there were a lot more than three companies branding on .TECH at CES, here’s the full list of .TECH companies at show:
Hi I'm Morgan, I live in beautiful San Francisco, California where I'm the co-founder of Bold Metrics, a venture-backed SaaS startup using Machine Learning to unlock body data. I've been buying and selling domain names and blogging about it since 2007 and angel investing in other awesome startups since 2014. Want to learn more about me? Then