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  • Sam Decker

Career Tip #11: Always Can Do

I learned the ‘can do’ lesson early in my startup experience.

In 1996 the President of our .com startup suggested I find and email 500,000 people. The word SPAM wasn’t even invented, so there was no depository of email addresses or list brokers. After a week of searching the “Information Superhighway”, I found sources for about a hundred emails. I was stumped, and went back to him with questions, “How did you come up with that number? Did you have a strategy or idea on how to get email addresses you could share with me…?” Basically, I was fishing for the answer, and was putting the perverbial ‘monkey’ on his back. His response: “If I have to tell you that, why do I need you kid?”. It was my first month on the job, and it was a wake up call.

There usually is a way. The mind has a negativity bias which holds us back. Know that.

To complete the story… I resolved to think bigger, and I reached out to big players, like MSN and AOL, to get banner ads and newsletter mentions. I pulled visits to our site, and then captured their email addresses with a sweepstakes and got over 500,000 email addresses, easy!


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