It’s always rewarding to meet entrepreneurial people who started something tiny and grew it to an enormous enterprise.
So it was great to meet Mike Panaggio for lunch a few weeks ago …
Mike is the founder and CEO of DME, a direct marketing firm in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 1982, he started it as a small printing company. Today, they have probably one of the largest concentration of digital presses in North America. But their business isn’t printing – it’s direct marketing.
The technology they’ve assembled for creating, managing, and tracking marketing campaigns via mail, phone, web, email, etc. is, frankly, amazing. I was impressed by Mike’s strategic thinking – and by how much money he was willing to invest to win accounts like Microsoft and Harrah’s.
There’s something about how really successful people carry themselves that I find fascinating. Really successful people have no need to impress anyone. Nor do they need your business. Rather, they have something really, really good that, if you’re interested, you can get in on.
Some people try to portray themselves this way, and some just are. Mike just is.
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On a related note, this is my first real close-up experience with direct marketing, and it’s a different industry than I thought it was. Direct marketing as an industry may bring to mind all the junk mail that we recycle every day … but nothing could be farther from the state-of-the-art that DME has refined it to.
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I have to say, this is one of the biggest benefits of my job: meeting cool smart people.