For Andrew, Life's A Paella of Possibility
Rhode Island-born and raised Andrew Rosener may have gotten the international travel bug when he was VP of Marketing & Sales for Omega Sea, buying and selling scallops from around the world. It also may be that's where he forged a passion for smart use of resources, sitting on the board of the American Scallop Association, knowing full well how scallop beds were being mismanaged and overregulated (the sea beds, he said, were piled high with harvestable scallops which lay on top of the breeding-stock juveniles, slowly killing them). Obviously there was a better way to do things, not just with scallops but every other resource.
Andrew's a lot wiser for these experiences, living now with his wife in Panama City far off the shores of the U.S, growing his company, MediaOptions, which he calls "the most effective domain broker in the industry." Proof of point: with just one employee, Media Options has sold over $21 million in domain names since January 2011. Among the sales: more than half a million for 11.com, the largest numeric domain sale in history. Dx.com followed soon, developed as a deal exchange aggregator of daily deals and sold to another aggregator site. He's brokered "instant intuitives" like Adventure.com, Prince.com, Pizza.net, owns several 2-letter and 2-digit domains, and has recently launched Spearfishing.com.
He characterizes MediaOptions as a premium boutique service, but it goes enough beyond that to rate as the largest and most successful independent domain broker in the business - with a special focus on insurance, credit, ecommerce, and lead generation. It all happens a few footsteps away from the Pacific Ocean, and a scant 30 miles from the Atlantic. "When we started MediaOptions, we knew we could do it anywhere. I came to Panama in 2002 for a month to visit a college friend and fell in love with it. The country's been on the U.S. dollar for a hundred years, it's a safe, stable democracy, American-friendly, beautiful climate, a terrific communications infrastructure. Panama City is the banking and financial center of Latin America, with 176 banks, skyscrapers - this is anything but a banana republic. It's perfect for business, for young entrepreneurs."
And so he and his wife ditched Rhode Island and moved to the oldest section of Panama City, Casco Viejo, which started in the 16th century as a Spanish and French colonial settlement. Much of it burned to the ground in 1737 and, up until about a decade ago, lay neglected and largely abandoned. The government stepped in with a host of incentives for renovation, and now the quarter is thriving - a vibrant, multinational community of creative thinkers and doers. "Think of it," Andrew says, "like SoHo in the 60s - alive, lively, original, loaded with talent."
Andrew's affection for the area has spawned a host of Panama-centric websites, like CascoViejo.org , promoting tourism, the arts, business, and more. Pedasi.com is another. "We own almost all the tourism and destination sites for Panama - we have a large Panama network." He notes that more and more creatively talented people are coming to the city, making it a world-class entrepreneurial incubator. Creative people feed off each other, get better at what they do. It could be seen as a variant of the altruism of his youth, when he was active in Rhode Island's Teens-For-Trauma-Tot-Toys program - a mouthful, but a still healthy and ongoing effort to deliver educational toys and materials to emergency rooms throughout the state's hospitals, where kids might sit for hours with nothing to do. "Many of these children were from poor families with little access to books and educational toys. They were stuck in a waiting room at the hospital for hours on end and we gave them something productive to do. An added bonus which we didn't anticipate is that many of the kids used the books to actually help teach their parents to read - many of the parents were illiterate. We focused our efforts on hospitals in low income areas."
Andrew also donates to The Water School and his wife has sponsored and supported a young girl in Africa for nearly 10 years.
He confesses he's a "serious foodie" (the paella, pictured, was prepared by a local chef and was "the best I've ever had") and also something of a renegade adventurer. "I'm open to anything - I'll try anything if it interests me." He's become passionate about the potential products and markets for bamboo, for starters, as a resource that's abundant and readily sustainable. And there's also something in the wind about a forestry project, but it's in its nascent stages, so we'll have to wait a while for further developments.
First and foremost, Andrew is a great salesman - loving what he does, making great deals, being a market maker, infusing his life and work with passion and excitement. But ultimately, he'll tell you, his life comes first and his career second.
We're pleased to honor Andrew Rosener as one of Domaining's Most Fascinating People for 2011, for his great success, enlightened view of sustainable practices, and for his generous spirit.