How I Found My Voice

By | October 15, 2014

When I was in high school, I wasn’t a typical teenager. I was not a geek, not a jock (playing on the tennis team did not count), and not popular. I was a shy, socially awkward, honor roll student, who read the Wall Street Journal every day in the school library during study hall.

Fast forward ten years later (1995), and I discovered the wonders of using the Internet. Instead of having to deal with people in person, I could do everything by phone or email, so I was in heaven. But, in the many years I spent working seven days a week, 16+ hours a day online building my company and buying thousands of domains, I was never really a consumer of what was out there. I did not take advantage of everything the Web had to offer. Sure, I looked at viral videos and went to silly websites, but I was just an anonymous person visiting faceless pages. Although I owned a bunch of popular websites (such as Bored.com), I always stayed in the background of the industry, doing my own thing. Bored.com was a reflection of my personality, and I put my heart into that site, but nobody cared who created or ran it. It just was.

All that changed significantly for me though in the late 2000s. After I sold half my websites (including Bored.com) in 2008, I took more time to try to learn about what everybody else was doing. I started reading a handful of blogs each day (I currently read TechCrunch.com, Domaining.com, and JamesAltucher.com), news sites (CNN.com, TheDailyBeast.com, Digg.com, and MarketWatch.com), and entertainment sites (TMZ.com, RadarOnline.com, Facebook.com). I also started reading 10 times as many business books as I used to, mainly due to the convenience of being able to read them in e-book format on the Kindle I had just purchased (I now read them instead on my iPhone via the Kindle app).

Around that same time, I realized that it was kind of pointless for me to have a company home page, since I stopped having clients in the late 1990s, so I converted my ImpulseCorp.com website to be primarily a blog for my business. I was not sure what I was going to publish, but I figured I would come up with something. I made some interesting blog postings over the first few months (such as How I Invented A Product That Got Sold In Toy Stores and Partnerships) but it was not until I told the behind the scenes story of how I sold Bored.com that my blog started to get noticed.

Also during that time, I started writing songs. Up until age 38 I had no desire to be a songwriter, and played no musical instruments, but I happened to walk into a bookstore and see a book on sale for $8 called something like “Record Your Own Hip-Hop Song” and it even came with a microphone and software, so I bought it. Within 24 hours, I had written and recorded my first song, and soon the floodgates opened. By the end of the year I had recorded 50 songs, and now have over 100 (see MCEricB.com). I even had a minor Internet hit with Pimp My Sleigh.

I still up to this point was basically just expressing myself in new, more public ways. This year though, I have been trying to more actively become part of the overall feedback loop of life. For example, I joined a site called Criticue.com, where you view screenshots of websites and give webmasters your opinions about what you like and dislike, and any improvements you think they should make to the site. For each site you review, you get one credit towards a review of your own site. Many webmasters of the sites I reviewed messaged back to me right away with comments or questions, and some made the changes I suggested. In addition, I changed some of my own sites based on the comments I received.

I also joined an online forum for songwriters, where I critique the lyrics of songs that other songwriters post, and they review mine. For every song I post, I probably review at least 50 other songs. I have found that critiquing is like a muscle I flex, where the more I do it, the easier and stronger it gets. I like giving my opinion because I know the songwriters are eager to hear it. And, when people review my songs, it helps me improve as a songwriter.

Even more recently, I was asked by DomainInvesting.com (Elliot’s Blog) to do some guest postings, and that has been going well. It helps me reach a much wider audience. I also have become more active posting comments on articles in domain related blogs. I was even invited to be a keynote speaker at two different domain conferences, but I declined those. It was flattering, but I really like to keep things as virtual as possible. I wouldn’t have a problem with speaking to an audience of 1000 people about I topic I feel comfortable with (domains), I just don’t like to travel for business. I don’t want to be away from my wife and kids, and I don’t want to waste the time involved in preparing for it and getting there and back. I would much rather be working. This is the same reason I have never attended any industry conferences or trade shows, and the same reason I love having a home office.

Some people experience the thrill of life through extreme sports, partying, dating, gambling, and the like. I have my biggest adventures online and am fine with that. I am still the same shy, quirky kid I was in high school. But different. I am a work in progress.

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26 thoughts on “How I Found My Voice

  1. Joseph Peterson

    “become part of the overall feedback loop of life”

    That’s the quote. With a capital “B” and an imperative exclamation point.

  2. BullS

    Please critique “BullS” website and you get lots of points.

    Now when you see those lunch kids , do tell them you are famous and rich!!

    Geeks get the gorgeous women now!!

  3. Mark Hershiser

    Cool Eric B, where’s Rakim lol. Can you email me or post the songwriters forum you mentioned? I do a little songwriting too…

  4. Ian Ingram

    Really appreciate you sharing that Eric. Reading that note was probably a painful experience at the time but it’s exactly those types of things that add up to push you in a certain direction.

    I think most everyone who reads your blog or who has followed some of your successes over the years would agree that it is a great path that you have chosen.

    Really enjoy your writing and it’s great seeing your logo whenever it pops up in the domaining feed. 🙂

  5. Tucker

    Wonderful (…as always) Eric. That was riveting, inspirational, and extraordinarily “human” of you.

    I’m sorry in advance for embarrassing you with compliments (I have a hunch you don’t take them particularly well :), but I have read substantially every domain-related blog post ever generated over the past 8 years, and yours are ALWAYS – hands down! – my favorite.

    Suffice it to say, on the rare occasions that I see that distinct, old school “Impulse” Logo splash across the Domaining.com newsfeed, I literally stop everything I’m doing to delve into it for what I know will be a wonderful read (…and, I’m never disappointed).

    Thank you, thank you (…retroactively!).

    Tucker

  6. Shane

    Love the stories and impressed by everything you do. I’m going to pretend like I didn’t listen to the raps though. 🙂 Not going to say it’s bad because I know you love doing it, just saying that we may be able to drive out ISIS with it.

  7. Bill

    Great story Eric. I was just explaining to someone today, before I read your blog, that one of the reasons I was able to imagine going out on my own in 1999, and start my own business, was because of how willing you were to share knowledge about what you were doing. You always made it sound so simple. Here it is 15 years later and I’m still in business and you are still sharing, it’s a beautiful thing, you do impact people.

  8. Kassey

    Love this blog. I like your being honest about yourself.

  9. Domenclature.com

    I agree with everyone up there.

    Your posts reveal the true state of things. Unrivaled blogging. Honest, scientific, practical, open…

  10. Kyle Waring

    It takes lots of courage to write about the context in which you grew up and how it shaped your early business developments. I think one of the reasons we get along great over the past 10 years (wait, what?!) is because our backgrounds are eerily similar. I took to developing websites when I was 12. The idea of building something that can reach millions of people was incredible, and to not have to be the face of it… was even better!

    Since then I’ve been actively engaged in developing business and personal relationships online. Being part of the evolving conversation shaping our world is– in one word– exciting.

    I’ve changed a lot over the years, and broke through the introverted period in my life. I strongly attribute this change to the communication skills I’ve gained through email, aim, skype, twitter, etc
    Though I admit, I’m also a work in progress.

    p.s. I just noticed that you’re on twitter, that’s awesome! I’ve been really getting into twitter lately, it’s a great resource to get news and info quickly, but also a place where you can jump into the conversation. I’ve heard it referred to as the “pulse of the internet”. Do you see it as a wealth of knowledge? Personally, I find it indispensable.

    Thanks again for such a great post Eric, looking forward to your future posts

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      They didn’t have websites when I was 12 (I am 45), but what many younger people might not think about is that the world back then still had just as many get rich quick type schemes, and just as many good business opportunities. And, I tried many of them. But, everything pre-Internet was painstakingly slow as compared to how things are now. Starting any sort of business took a huge amount of time and effort, whereas now I can think up a great idea for a new online business and have it up and running in as little as 24 hours. It may not have any more chance of making money than it used to, but at least I can try it almost instantly and then move on to something else if it does not do well.

      As for Twitter, I just use a WordPress plugin to automatically tweet my blog posts. I don’t ever tweet anything else. I don’t have anything against Twitter, I am just more into Facebook.

  11. Abc

    There are many guys like you into domaining.
    For example. just look at Morgan Linton or a young Michael Berkens` picture (not sure why he puts everywhere a 20 years old picture). It is quite visible that life for them and similar to them was very hard in school.

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      I actually know nothing about the childhoods of any other domainers. I never really thought about it before. It would make for an interesting study. I didn’t hate school though. I spent much of the time daydreaming about ways to get rich and/or about girls. It was just hard for me socially. But, most people have some aspect of school they didn’t like (for example many popular kids had trouble with the academic part).

  12. gary dell

    Amazing. You don’t blog that often but when you do, everyone knows it’s with their time to read it. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Alan Dodd

    From the heart, an amazing post.

    The Internet continues to be an amazing source of joy for you, as it does for many of us.

    Thanks for the post, I could relate.

  14. mark james

    Hi Eric,
    Thank you for that. Love the honesty! I am only half a geek. I have the daydream ideas, and have registered a wad of names to “secure” my fads of imagination, but not geeky enough to take the time and learn how to implement any of the fleeting ideas that I have had, so my names sit for a year or 3 before I eventually end up dropping them only to see someone else develop them in to sites, surprisingly similar to what I had initially thought of…

    I would love to share my current list of names with you to see if you see any mileage in any of them and fancy helping me with them, or at least pointing me in the right direction?

    Best wishes,

    Mark

  15. Tom McDonald

    Enjoyed the post, Eric — Thank you. I had an eerily similar experience in HS (though I did drink and smoke). If I wasn’t having lunch with the few real pals that I had, I would chill with the jocks or the band members or the stoners or just by myself. To this day I’ll never know if those groups passed notes asking why I was there but (thankfully, I suppose) it never occurred to me at the time. In retrospect, I wonder if there was a sense of pity for me when I decided to just sit by myself and daydream about what the future held. Although I had many of the same insecurities that other teens experienced, I was quite content in my alone time; It was a choice I consciously made. One of the great hopes I have for my kids is, they figure out even earlier than I did that being a decent person and having a few solid friends provides more joy in life than being “popular” or “liked” by others at any cost. [Raises glass…] Here’s to great hopes! 🙂

  16. Collabo

    Great post and story, as always Eric. It was fun to hear your rap songs too, but like Shane mentioned, I think your talents lie elsewhere. Looking at all the wacky sites you’ve created, I’m sure you would have been (and are) a great guy to hang out with. In a way though, it’s a good thing you didn’t have too many friends, otherwise you wouldn’t be where you are today.

    On another note, have you ever created websites for charities or to donate to a cause? Who do you think is the most charitable person in the domain industry? Mike Mann, Bob Parsons or someone else?

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      No, I have never done anything charitable in the business world, although I do donate to some charities personally. I have no idea which domainers do the most charity work, but I certainly support their efforts.

  17. Richard St Cyr

    Hi Eric,

    Glad you found your voice, once you have success you are 10 feet tall !!! Those two kids in the lunch room are probably working at Mc Donalds and that’ ok but not a career job.

    Cheers,
    Richard St Cyr

  18. Michael Wilson

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing your experience and good insight! — Michael

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