I’m not sure if I’ve shared this story before, but with the Jewish high holidays happening and my planning my trip to the TRAFFIC conference in Miami, I wanted to share it with you.
I am generally an outgoing person, especially when I am in the company of friends and colleagues. I may be a bit reserved when I am with people I don’t know. Keeping this in mind, I was somewhat hesitant to attend a domain conference. I knew a number of people through domain forums and private deals, but I had met just a couple of people in person. When I learned that the TRAFFIC conference would be in New York a few years ago, I decided I would make the most of it and bought a ticket.
In the same way that it’s fun to attend an event that you know will have sports stars signing autographs or movie stars milling about, it was neat to see domain investors I had heard so much about. I was a bit shy at first, but I soon introduced myself to the people whose names I recognized, and to those with whom I had previously done business. Some people were friendlier than others, but most people were seemed happy to chat and learn more about who I was and what I did.
When people asked me if I had any domain names for sale at the time, I told them I was there to meet others and not to make any deals. Truth be told, I just wasn’t comfortable negotiating in person, but since that time, I’ve realized domain conferences are great opportunities to lay the groundwork for future deals rather than to strike deals on site.
Just before the big Moniker auction, I used the restroom and held the door for someone as we were both exiting. He was wearing a yarmulke, so I knew we both had something in common. We introduced ourselves, and after a bit of small talk, he asked me if I had any Jewish-related domain names for sale. I remembered I had recently hand registered a Hebrew phrase (in .com), and I offered it to him. He asked me what I wanted for it, and I replied that I would take whatever he wanted to give me, and I would donate it all to charity. I also let him know that my company (AIG at the time) would match his gift. He offered me $1,000 and the deal was done.
After we made our way back to the conference room, this person introduced me to his business partner, Lonnie Borck. Lonnie was happy to learn about the deal, and Lonnie and I spent some time chatting about the domain business. It’s been over three years since that chance meeting, and Lonnie is not only a good friend, but he’s one of my most trusted business colleagues with whom I speak and/or email almost daily.
As I am making plans for the TRAFFIC conference next month, I am re-connecting with friends and colleagues to confirm that they will be there. Had I chosen to remain private, I am not sure I would have been able to make the personal connections that helped enhance the awareness of my blog and my business.
I know that attending a domain conference is an expensive proposition, especially with the uncertain economy. One thing that is certain is the fact that if it wasn’t for attending a conference, my business wouldn’t be the same. If you have plans to attend TRAFFIC Miami and want to say hi, please let me know.