With a full day of activity ahead of us at the 1st Annual Asheville Domain Investor Meetup, Rick Schwartz picked up where he left off from the Cocktail Party and kicked off Friday with a generous and heartfelt welcome.
Unlike the typical conference bound by the constraints of structure and a time-based agenda down to the very second, Friday felt more like an unconference model as attendees filled the Skyline Room.
Rick welcomed attendees, shared a few personal stories, and vision cast a bit about the domain industry’s current state and where he sees the industry headed in the near future.
Rick clocked all of about 10 minutes before ushering attendees into uncharted waters of an open mic, sharing why we chose to attend, what we expected to receive, and what we could offer by way of our own experiences.
One by one, different attendees took their place behind the podium and shared their domain investing journey and what they hoped to achieve.
While this meetup was the first event ever attended by a few in the room, a number of attendees have been pillars over the last 30 years or so, while others found themselves diving back into the industry after some time off.
No matter the level of experience or portfolio size, each person shared and connected with fellow domain investors and our unwavering desire to see the industry unite and grow.
There were many topics discussed and covered in the span of 4 hours Friday, but here are a few that surfaced a few times or were simply valuable:
Mentoring and preparing the next generation of domain investors
Leveraging “co-oper-tition” (cooperation + competition) to realize more domain sales
The present and future of new gTLDs
How registries, registrars, domain investors, and end users are impacted by new gTLDS
Legacy and New gTLD sales
Recognizing the importance of ICA
In addition, a great moment to highlight was Mike Berkens sharing his views and thoughts on legacy TLDs and new gTLDs.
And although a few industry professionals employed by typical big-name conference sponsors — GoDaddy, Fabulous, Sedo, and Afilias to name a few — were in attendance, it was an energizing experience to engage in meaningful dialogue and not the traditional “sales pitch” sessions.
Friday’s session landed in a great place as everyone retreated to take in stunning views, check a few emails, make a few phone calls, or take naps until time for the Ghost Tour and then the Rooftop Party to close out the night.
My wife and I opted out of the Ghost Tour in favor of adventurous driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The saying “smoky mountains” certainly lived up to its name as we journeyed to ~4000 feet, making stops at every overlook and finally at Pigsah Inn (final picture).
Pictures simply can’t explain how majestic of an experience we witnessed as we enjoyed the scenic views of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We certainly enjoyed our time enjoying each high, low, winding curve, bridge, and tunnel discovered along the way.
Nevertheless, we made it back in time to grab a quick snack before heading over to the Rooftop Party at Cambria to close out a remarkable day. The weather was perfect, with the ambiance and cuisine to match.
We dined and partied the night away, enjoying one another’s company while expounding upon some of the thoughts shared earlier in the day, anticipating tomorrow’s farewell breakfast and brewery tour to put a nice bow on our time together here in Asheville.
Thanks, and that’s all for now!