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Breaking Rocks

My first “pure” marketing job was with a company called DCI, they ran a number of very successful tech trade shows such as Data Warehouse World, and one of the biggest SFA (Sales Force Automation) shows out there. It was a good business model, young people came in at entry level pay grades and followed a proven system to develop, promote and run the conferences.

Everyone started with some time over in customer service and then moved to a show team where you worked on the marketing and then handed off to the operations team at showtime. I learned about graphic design, direct mail and printing. There are 3 people in my life that taught me how to write, and the third one, Carol Meinhart, worked there. The first two taught me how to get everything out of my head and on the page, she showed me how to trim away all the excess garbage to become persuasive.

This was around ’98 when there was some hot new technology called email which a few crazy people thought might be good to market with. Even though I majored in Economics by then I was a hardcore geek, and had even gone through Microsoft’s network admin program. The geek pen was on the same floor as the CEO and I’d get called over once and a while if there was some kind of stubborn tech problem (usually something really funky because he was very tech savvy, especially compared to previous execs I had dealt with prior to crossing over into tech).

So here’s the punchline – the company was eventually sold after I left (after a life-altering session with Christopher Lochhead, but that’s another story), and then a few years later the IRS was on the place like stink on a monkey. The investigation and trials went on for a long time, and it looks like it may come to an end (although I would imagine now the appeals could begin). The former CEO was sentenced for conspiracy and tax evasion. I would have to believe that almost everyone in an executive position gets the night sweats about this now and then, but for most I’d think that driving $8 million through Bermuda is not the kind of thing that sneaks up on you.