Sramana Mitra: You stayed with the company for three years and that brings us to 2011, yes?
Colin Campbell: Yes. Just an interesting note about the three years is that I was working as a corporate executive in a corporate environment. It was very difficult. There was a lot of politics. I reported directly to the CEO. I had weekly meetings with the CEO. It was a very interesting time because I learned that big corporations are fearful of taking risks and being innovative.
Those who take the risk and innovate seem to get knocked out of the company. I didn’t have anything to lose. I’m an entrepreneur. Even today, Hostopia is one of their crown jewels. It was a very tough environment to be in. The day my three-year term came up, I sent a note to the CEO, “I’ve done my commitment and I’d like to leave.” While I was at that company, I studied a whole new space. That was around the domain extensions. In 2000, you had domain extensions like .com, .org, and .net. There’s 120 million .com’s registered.
If you’re a small business or trying to launch a new website, it’s difficult to find a good domain name. The regulatory body called ICANN runs the whole Internet names and numbers. They decided to deregulate the space and open it up so there will be multiple new domain extensions. I commissioned a study to find out what would be the best new domain extensions to market with. There are obvious examples like .web, .shop, and .club. .club was one of those domain extensions that I thought would do very well because it’s a word that not only means the same in every country of the world, but it also has multiple layers.
There are so many different types of clubs ranging from clubs in associations, business clubs, and airlines clubs. In the Internet, Facebook has hundreds of millions of Facebook groups. In some ways, each one of those is a mini-club. You have sports and entertainment clubs. We’re very excited to see that Demi Lovato, for instance, got lovato.club when we first launched.
I decided to launch the .club to the marketplace. I called up my company and said, “Here’s what I’d like to do. Is there any issue with me doing this?” They said, “No, go right ahead.” I recommended to them that they do . bank. I was told by them that it’s too risky to get involved, which is interesting because some of them have been very successful. In any case, they were risk averse. That’s where entrepreneurs can move in. We take advantage of a regulatory shift. That’s what all my companies have done. They’ve taken advantage of either a regulatory shift or a technological shift. I’ve been able to move faster than the larger companies.
Sramana Mitra: You financed this company yourself?
Colin Campbell: Right.