David Baker

David Baker is COO at Cordial, Inc.

What is your Legacy?

What is your Legacy?

I’ve admired many people in this industry for many years, some with more public backgrounds and contributions than others. But you always wonder what drives these people to be so vocal, what is it that they want to leave an imprint on for our industry and what big things not necessarily tied to the industry that they aspire to do to improve our world.

I believe it’s more than professional success, or recognition or being on stage.  So, I thought I’d ask some of my favorite insiders; What is your legacy?  What is your Oprah Moment? and Why are you so vocal in the industry?

Here’s a transcript from those conversations with some well known people with far different backgrounds:  Jeanne Jennings, Derek Harding, Bob Frady, Jaffer Ali, Loren McDonald, and Ryan Phelan.

Jeanne Jennings:

Quick Bio

I’m Managing Director of Digital Marketing for Digital Prism Advisors and a recognized thought leader on email marketing strategy. I began my career in the late 1980s with CompuServe, moved into the publishing industry with the advent of the World Wide Web and spent 12 years as an independent consultant serving clients that included Hasbro, the National Education Association (NEA), Scholastic, Verizon and Weight Watchers International.

Why are you so vocal in the industry?

I feel so blessed that I am invited to speak and write about my work. It’s not about my ego. Don’t we all want and need to feel that we have something of value to contribute? My email marketing knowledge is one of the things I have. It’s nothing near curing cancer (I started college pre-med but graduated with degrees in economics and political science) but it’s something. 

My career, my position and my friends in this industry feed my soul. Being vocal is one way I attempt to pay forward all I’ve received from being a part of this extraordinary community. 

What is your Legacy? (How will people remember you?)

I had coffee late last year with an industry acquaintance, someone I hadn’t seen in years. As we parted, he said “You’re really a good egg. I had forgotten just what a good egg you are.” I would feel very honored, lucky and blessed if, 10 or 20 years from now, people in the industry remembered me for being “a good egg.”

What is your Oprah Moment? (What is that contribution you will make that 400M people will be inspired to hear?)

Be passionate about your life; be passionate about your work. We all have opportunities to share of ourselves, help others and make the world a better place (even if just in a small way). Always strive to live in the moment, be positive and leave things – and people – better than you found them.

Derek Harding:

Quick Bio

I started out in software working for British Telecom Research & Technology but the World Wide Web led me first into marketing and then into email. Currently I’m the Managing Director of Javelin Marketing Groups (an Omnicom owned digital and direct agency) Innovation Labs.

Why are you so vocal in the industry?

I could say it’s by accident or just that I’ve been around a long time but the truth is that it’s part of who I am. A combination of believing in the essential goodness of people and that the truth will set you free. Despite all evidence to the contrary I believe that with better information people will make better decisions. I hate to see poor decisions so I can’t help but want to share information, experience and expertise, or, failing that, just my over-inflated opinion.

What is your Legacy? (How will people remember you?)

That can’t possibly be for me to say. I hope I’ve encouraged people to view focus on customer success as the greatest driver of business success in the era of consumer capitalism.

What is your Oprah Moment? (What is that contribution you will make that 400M people will be inspired to hear?)

Technology and connectivity are changing everything. Marketing and advertising certainly but every aspect of society and even human beings as a species. The geeks shall inherit the earth. Though daunting and transformative this is not something to be afraid of. It is something to embrace, learn about and evolve with.

Jaffer Ali:

Quick Bio

I have been involved with every form of direct marketing over the past 30 years including print, catalog, radio, TV direct response and even billboards. For the past 15 years, we have exclusively marketed online using primarily email to drive traffic and video demonstrations to increase conversions. I am a serial entrepreneur and co-founder, CEO of PulseTV.com.

Why are you so vocal in the industry?

There are two basic reasons I am so vocal in the industry; one is personal and the other is social. My personal reason presents a marketing POV in a clear, challenging manner in the hopes of engaging in a critical dialog that leads to learning. So I often posit a POV that says, “Here I stand…” and invite others to critique the position, which usually runs counter to conforming opinion.

The second reason is a deeply felt social obligation to shout “fraud” whenever I encounter it. As Nassim Taleb has eloquently stated in his writings, failure to do so results in you becoming a fraud. I take particular aim at self-interested opinions that are trotted out as Truth while duping marketers. I feel a responsibility to challenge those opinions with as much vigor I can muster.

What is your Legacy? (How will people remember you?)

Hmmm…that he was an honest marketer that always put his own skin in the game and practiced what he preached to develop marketing theories.

What is your Oprah Moment? (What is that contribution you will make that 400M people will be inspired to hear?)

Without a doubt, moving from a life dedicated to eliminating uncertainty to embracing uncertainty in all of its glory has made the most impact on my personal and professional life. Wonder, awe and serendipity became central to everything around me. This led to predictive analytics in business giving way to an “evolutionary marketing” approach that relied, no demanded, the iterative power of trial and error without regard to prediction…just like Nature.

Loren McDonald:

Quick Bio

30+ years in marketing, consulting and thought leadership with companies including Arthur Andersen, USWeb/CKS, EmailLabs and SIlverpop. As a marketing evangelist I’ve presented at more than 200 industry conferences around the world and written more than 500 articles and blog posts.

Why are you so vocal in the industry?

There are a lot of brilliant voices in the industry offering opinions and advice, but most email marketers are looking for clarity and simplicity. I found earlier in my career that marketers responded best to content that balanced strategic advice with actionable and tactical tips. So I’ve long strived to be a voice that marketers can trust and respect, but also inspire them to take their programs to the next level.

What is your Legacy? (How will people remember you?)

Translating complexity into practical email marketing programs that get results.

What is your Oprah Moment? (What is that contribution you will make that 400M people will be inspired to hear?)

Getting marketers to recognize the value of email as a channel that solves business challenges, creates brand loyalty and preference – and not simply a cost-effective promotions vehicle.

Ryan Phelan:

Quick Bio

With over 15 years in the email industry, I have been involved with great companies like Responsys, Acxiom, BlueHornet, Sears and currently lead the EEC’s Member Advisory Board.  I am almost done with a job search, so who knows what’s next?

Why are you so vocal in the industry?

I’ve always been vocal.  I studied to be a Catholic priest and then was a DJ (good stories there).  But this industry is different in that I’m deeply honored and humbled to be a part of the passion of the email marketing world!  I’m vocal because this industry allows me to be and I believe in it and what we do as a career.  At the core of all we do is not merely revenue, but in a broader and deeper sense, making the world a better place.  Sure, it’s just an email and we’re not saving babies or curing cancer, but this entire industry truly cares about what we do. So, talking about it is that much easier when we are all united in striving for “better” instead of “same.” 

What is your Legacy? (How will people remember you?)

Beyond the fun, humor and steak nights, I pray that people are proud of the life I lived and that in some small way, I helped change our little corner of the universe.

What is your Oprah Moment? (What is that contribution you will make that 400M people will be inspired to hear?)

My life has been guided by 2 principles.  That in our lives there are 2 things that are true.  We all make choices in everything we do, so there is no blame to go around except for the blame of making a wrong choice or the happiness of making the right one. You own your choices in your life, so excuses are just ways to lie to yourself. 

Second, that all of us should be living the dream.  This dream is based on refuting complacency and striving for better.  My Oprah moment happens on a daily basis where, through my actions and examples, I try to be a positive force in people’s lives. 

In college, I saved a life; everything else is a bonus.  See the connections around you, the people that are affected by you.  The connections we see in today’s technological world lack one thing: personal touch.  We cannot miss out on that humanity that makes us whole. 

IM, SMS, connected devices, email, all of it should not replace the true, authentic connections around us and our ability to change our corner of the world.  Be passionate and create your own legacy where, upon your death, people around you stop, think and realize that the world is just not the same.

Bob Frady:

Quick Bio

I am the VP of Monetization for Zeeto Media, a publisher in San Diego CA. I've also run the email programs for Live Nation and Expedia. I've got a long history with segmentation, targeting, online and offline marketing.

I was also a professional stand-up comedian for several years…until I discovered that email pays more

Why are you so vocal in the industry?

The surprising thing I learned about stand up is that it’s really hard to craft a good bit. It takes an enormous amount of tweaking to get it just right. You can’t do it in private – you have to get out there, test your punchlines, maybe cry a little, then get back out there with ever better punchlines.  You can’t rely on the wisdom of others – you have to get out there and do it yourself.

In many ways, email is a lot like standup – it’s a constant game of tweaking. You can always do things better. The wisdom of others is a good guideline but is no substitute for getting out there and seeing how people respond. I’m vocal because I want people to know that someone else’s truth is not necessarily yours. Explore. Find out. Develop your own voice. Don’t be afraid.

What is your Legacy? (How will people remember you?)

If I were to reduce things to a soundbite, I guess it would be something like "I don't care what you think...I care about what you can prove." …but what I’d really like to be remembered for is that I try to hard to be a good father, a good husband, and a good man who really wants to help other people reach beyond what they thought was possible (OK…now I AM crying a little.)

What is your Oprah Moment? (What is that contribution you will make that 400M people will be inspired to hear?)

I was standing on stage at the Irvine Improv. I had a great joke about my dad that he had never heard. I had a little discussion with myself - "should I do this joke? He's sitting right there!" Then I thought - "wait a second...I've been waiting my WHOLE LIFE for him to hear this joke!" I did the joke. The crowd - and my dad - thought it was hilarious. It was a small but life-changing event...and not just because the world now knew my dad sounded like the white James Brown.

Stand-up comedy taught me that you can say a lot that's shocking and abrupt...and it will get people to think. (Oh yes - it's better if it's shocking, abrupt and funny, btw.) At the end of the day, that's all I really want - for people to think about what they do. To learn that you can be bold. To learn that you can conquer what you're afraid of by facing those fears and kicking them in the teeth. To learn that if you look at things just a little differently, you can see things you might never have seen before. It makes life way more interesting.

 

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Saturday, 29 April 2017

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