Q&A with Rick Schwartz about his inaugural Asheville Professional Domain Investor Meetup

This is a very exciting week in the Domain Investing world as investors from around the world descend on Asheville for the 1st Annual Asheville Professional Domainer Investor Meetup. Of course, part of what makes this so special is the host – Rick Schwartz, one of the most well-known Domain Investors in the world and creator of TRAFFIC, the go-to conference in the domain name world for a decade.

I will be flying out to Asheville this week and honestly can’t wait for the event, I’ve really been looking forward to it. My very first event in the Domain Investing world was TRAFFIC Vegas in 2010. I was lucky enough to have breakfast with Rick, Howard and a few other people after getting an invite from Ron Jackson…safe to say I was incredibly nervous at that breakfast, I was meeting my heroes.

Safe to say it was that breakfast where I learned, hey – these are all real people, and they’re the opposite of intimidating, in fact, seeing them all together was like joining a family breakfast. Since then, I knew I had stumbled on a pretty special industry and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this amazing event that Rick has put together.

I reached out to Rick and asked if he’d be okay answering a few questions leading up to the event, he said yes, so I’m excited to share a little Q&A with Rick below. I learned some really interesting things from this Q&A, one of them being that Asheville was actually going to be the original destination for TRAFFIC, who knew? Read on to learn more and if you’re going to the event, I’ll see you in Asheville!

[Morgan] What initially inspired you to put together this event?

[Rick] The original inspiration was back in 2004 when we were put in the first traffic show together. In those days Asheville was not known and it was a hard place to get to. So we chose Delray Beach, Florida for the first TRAFFIC.

When GTLD’s came out I stepped aside because I didn’t want to get involved with promoting something I didn’t believe in. I would be used as a tool. At that time TRAFFIC had a 10-year run and I decided that was enough. So I watched from the sidelines as the detour played out for a few years and now there is a clear result. Now we can get back to business again. Sometimes it just isn’t worth fighting headwinds. Those headwinds have subsided.

There was a hunger for a truly professional domain investor event. My recipe is much different than others.

I like to attract a certain group of people that are anxious to make things happen and not just talk about it and are willing to go out of their way. They have skin in the game. So they are motivated.

[Morgan] How did you pick Asheville as the location?

[Rick] As I mentioned, Asheville was my first pick for the 2004 TRAFFIC show.

The biggest part of my recipe for a successful show is slowing people down. Taking them out of the fast lane and cocooning them. Keeping the noise out and the business in. So to do that you have to have a conducive atmosphere and the right mix of people.

Take them out of the daily rat reality. Put them in a new setting in which ideas blossom. Asheville is that type of place. I hope after the show that people will point and see that coming to a place like Asheville changed their perspective a little bit. Mid-America at it’s finest. A Homegrown combination of Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, and SOHO all rolled up in this little mountain town that would be a better fit in Vermont.

Today Asheville is one of the most popular destinations in America. You will never hear a bad word about this town. People just love it! They just love it!

[Morgan] For attendees, what do you recommend they do in advance to make sure they maximize their time at the event?

[Rick] This event started on a phone call with Mike Berkens as a dinner for six people.

Mike liked the idea.

And then I said well maybe we should have a few more. And I thought maybe we would get 14 to 18 at most. I never expected 75-80. Coming literally from around the world.

There is a hunger to do real business and filter out all the wannabe’s, pretenders and noise. These are qualified people going out of their way to come here and to be part of something. The best thing they can bring is there “A” game. Just come prepared to do a little business and a lot of relaxing. Come to get your mind clear and energized. Just come to have fun and the rest will happen by itself.

Many of the faces will be very familiar. These are well-known domainers.
The only thing you really need to bring is a little desire and thirst to succeed and make things happen.

We are armed with 15 more years of knowledge now compared to 2004. Maybe it’s time to discuss that knowledge and put it to work for us. The agenda is there is no agenda. There are just men and women that take control of their own destiny by networking with like-minded people. Bring your mind, bring your “A” game, bring your family, that’s it.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton