Frager Factor

Monday, October 24, 2011

Domaining's Most Fascinating: Merlin's Magic Touch - At Home and Abroad

We don't use the moniker "Wunderkind" loosely, but in the case of 26 year-old Merlin Kauffman there's just no escaping it. Do the math: he's already a 14-year veteran of the domaining business, snapping up fistfuls of domain names before he was a teenager - and over the years has amassed,,, many others, and probably the crown jewel of them all,

They're all nestled in the portfolio of Merlin's domain company, True Magic LLC - an apt name considering his own first name and his family ties: His mother, Marilene Isaacs, is an Indianapolis-based psychic with a thriving career. And yes, we have it on the best authority, she's the real thing.

She also has much to say about Merlin's prodigious talents. As an only child with whom, she admits, she and his father were very indulgent since he was small, Merlin astonished them and others with his abilities. Marilene took Merlin to visit a Montessori class, walking in just as the teacher was showing older children different colored shapes and asked "Which one is elliptical?" Merlin immediately walked up and pointed out the right shape. He was eighteen months old.

He walked early, talked early, became the state chess champ in the third grade. "The chess coach said Merlin never did anything he taught him, "Marilene tells us. "Instead, he just invented his own strategy - and kept winning." When he started exploring the internet in the 90s, Marilene and her husband bought him computers and servers ("He had an amazing array of stuff," she says) and let him go to work. Somehow, in 1996, AOL discovered what he could do, and hired him for all kinds of tasks - at the age of eleven, the company's youngest employee ever. Later in high school, Merlin joined with a partner to found, sold it a year later, and with the proceeds launched True Magic.

But Merlin's magic touch extended beyond internet success. "He was brought up to help others," Marilene says. Help people, rescue animals - he's a universal kind of person and very tender-hearted - he sees the big picture." For several years the family drove from Indiana to the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwest South Dakota with a carload of clothing, toys, and other items.

True Magic's fortunes have opened up more of the world to Merlin. In recent travels (which included skydiving, hang gliding, and playing tennis with some top pros), he spent some time in Africa and with some friends and colleagues discovered the Water School in Kenya. Water School is a global organization committed to helping communities gain access to clean water through a 3-step program of sanitation and hygiene educations, and Solar Disinfection water treatment technology. Merlin worked for several weeks helping the organization on site, and is now focused more than ever on important causes locally and abroad.

Marilene notes, "He was very different after that trip." Go to Merlin's Facebook page and you'll see some of his more recent charitable interests. Not many of us, at age 26, have (or have had) that kind of selfless, broad vision.

His latest achievement? Being invited by Harvard Business School to join its Executive Education program, which focuses on entrepreneurs. And once again, Merlin sets the record: he's the youngest person the School has ever invited to the program.

For his genius, flawless timing, enviable energy and charitable spirit, we're pleased to recognize Merlin Kauffman as one of domaining's Most Fascinating People for 2011.

Photo top (l): Merlin Kauffman 
Photo top (r): Merlin with his mother, Marilene Isaacs, who is pretty special in her own right.
Photo lower: Merlin brings help directly to aid impoverished children on the ground in Kenya

About The Author: Owen Frager is an Internet marketing expert ready to help take your company to the next level.

Contact Owen: Twitter | Google+ | Facebook | LinkedIn | Email