Sten Lillieström is the founder and CEO of Next Venture AB, an acquisition brokerage firm and a brand prospect domain portfolio, in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I have always been a seeker. I investigate and question. I almost compulsively challenge my own perspective and others. Sometimes I am annoying, but it’s not on purpose, at least not all of the time.
I am schooled in humanities and social science. Linguistics, Social Anthropology, Journalism. I am convinced that examining and reporting on small as well as big issues is a noble and crucial task. This conviction led me to employment as a reporter and broadcaster for the Sveriges Radio, basically the Swedish version of the BBC, for 17 years.
Finding the essence in a story and conveying it to an audience is an astonishing experience, especially through voice and sound. Journalism is an all-around craft, where data collection and data evaluation skills are as important as the sometimes instant and sometimes painstakingly crafted presentation needed for maximum impact. Very educative.
Further back, I was in music, but I was honestly a lot better at coming up with bizarre band names and concepts. I ran a second-hand records store. I was a prison officer. Among other things really not fit to mention.
How did you get involved in the domain industry?
In 2010 the ccTLD for Colombia was commercialized. .CO. Somehow I got wind of that. At general registration availability, I was frantically searching for available domains. The result was pretty bad, albeit not completely dead in the water.
A few years passed and my daily commuting routine was killing me. 4 hours per day. I had to find something worthwhile to indulge in while traveling. This time I got it right somehow. I tapped into my naming creativity and imagination and registered an account with Brandbucket.com. Within a few months, a significant portion of my brainstormed hand registrations had been purchased by clients. Intriguing!
I am now on an exhilarating journey on the brand prospect side of domain name investment.
What is your current role?
My business is incorporated since a few years back, I still run it single-handed since it’s based at its core on my personal selection skill that is hard to replicate or quantify.
I am also adding new consulting oriented services as I recently graduated from a year of so-called vocational education as an IP-paralegal, where I learned a great deal about intellectual property in general. This has already led to corporate domain name consulting and acquisition brokerage work, where my journalistic research and negotiation experience is also an asset.
Why did you choose to support the ICA?
All are equal before the law, some more than others, as the saying goes. Injustice has always triggered something very determined in me. I think that the potential for injustice when it comes to domain name registration rights is significant. Misconceptions are abound, often on both sides of any dispute. Under those circumstances, I fear that the deepest pockets have the upper hand. So I decided to try to contribute and learn.
Can you share a prediction about the future of the domain industry?
The domain name industry is full of barriers. Most are technical, some are educational. I think that the key barrier is the square and impractical tools that end-users are stuck with when searching for their next online identity. Domain name search needs to do a reality check, and I think it will. When businesses search for a keyword, it’s not necessarily because they want that keyword in their domain. What about all the brilliant options that could represent a persona that the business wants to convey – without awkwardly spelling it out and robbing the consumer of an exciting new acquaintance? What about finding the brand?
What do you like most about the domain industry?
That imagination alone can pay dividends. That commuting is not necessary. And that breakthroughs are inevitable.
If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges the domain industry is faced with?
Ignorance and search.
What do you wish other people knew about the ICA?
That they actually have rights worthy of protection and that it’s safe to say that strength is always in numbers.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the ICA?
Do you vote? Same thing.
What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
The doors to the bustling and sometimes reactionary global village of domaining that I believe is about to be a whole lot more populated.
What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
What do you think you will achieve if you don’t believe in your ability? Besides you can always start over.
What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
Music (anything authentic and unfabricated).
Favorite place to get away:
Coccorino, Calabria, Italy.
Anything else you’d like to share:
I love you.
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