The Most Powerful Technology
As I jaunt around from here to there,
doing my speaking thing, I always end up taking questions from the audience.
Since most of the time the audience is fairly web-savvy, I often find
the questions slowly sliding from strategic issues into the more tactical
variety. And the numero uno topic to rear its digital head is this:
"Which technology do you think is
most effective in marketing on the web?"
Then we get into a whole nasty melee about
banner ads and sponsorships and java scripts and God only knows what else,
with each techno-geek thumping his -- or just as often her -- own chest,
using the opportunity to announce to the world the latest and greatest
techno-device that's going to bring it all home once and for all. Eventually,
the smoke clears, and I get to answer the question.
"You really wanna know the technology
that's been most effective for me?", I ask. Then the room falls silent.
You can hear a pin drop. And that's when i let them have it:
"The most productive technology I
have ever used is.....Phil."
It only takes a minute before someone
in the back of the room figures out that Phil is not an acronym for some
new dynamically streaming cross-platform code. Because Phil isn't a thing.
Phil's a guy. That's his name.
I first met Phil years ago. As it happens,
he turns out to be a schoolmate's father, but he's every bit what you'd
expect a guy in his late sixties named Phil to be: Graying, a little paunchy
and wearing a pinky ring that usually can only be found on the tackiest
beaches near Miami. Phil is an old school guy. An operator. One of those
wiseguys who still uses phrases like, well, "wiseguy." No matter
what you ask him, he answers with a story -- usually one you've heard
from him before, I might add.
Phil practically invented consumer electronics.
Years ago, when most web-goers were little more than zygotes, Phil was
one of the smart money boys who introduced Atari to America. That was
30 years ago. And as Phil will tell you, "All those little pishers
who were my account guys in those days are running some of the biggest
retail operations in the country today."
And he's not kidding. They run everything
from warehouse stores to major chains and manufacturing. Which is why
Phil is my most powerful technology.
I call Phil "The Man With The Golden
Rolodex," because he can -- and has -- put me in touch with the real
heavyweight players with just one phone call. One time, a start-up needed
value-added investors to make it to the next stage of life. It took Phil
exactly twenty seconds to figure out who to call; another three minutes
to get through two outer secretaries and one private assistant and have
the guy asking if we could meet for lunch the next day. one week later,
I was holding a check for $160,000.
Another time, Phil introduced me to a
friend he thought could use my help. And I helped. And then the friend
introduced me to $200,000 worth of business.
The point is, everyone's so obsessed with
the twenty-something, java-fueled knucklehead that holes up to write code
until three in the morning. But guess what? That's not the guy who has
the business. That's just a guy hoping he can get the business. The real
power in business are guys who can get you to where the money is. Like
You want powerful technology? Try talking
to the semi-retired guy who has nothing else to do but connect you to
success because it makes him feel good. The rest of them? As my good friend
Phil says, "They're just pishers."