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Harris DeWese

The Mañana Man Online

By Harris DeWese

About Harris

Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.


Harris Saves the USA? —DeWese

IF YOU are not yet eligible for Medicare, I want to alert you that the week prior to your 65th birthday is a deep and dark depression.

There were all sorts of morbid thoughts about my mortality. I asked myself again and again, “Where the hell did my life go?”

I had symptoms ranging from a gall bladder attack to bubonic plague. I must have looked up a dozen illnesses on WebMD. None of them matched my malady of the moment.

I called my doctor three times and waited impatiently by the phone for his return call. He lives around the corner and, after 6 p.m., I would drive by his house slowly hoping to see him in the yard.

I even went to the emergency room once, only to be told that I was not threatened by anything aside from about 50 lbs. of fat.

The worst night was the eve of my birthday, June 29th. I went to bed with the gloomy knowledge that I probably wasn’t going to wake up. I was nearly in tears, thinking about how much everybody would miss me. I fantasized about a glorious funeral—a great celebration of my life. It would be attended by throngs of people who travelled hundreds of miles to pay homage to the Mañana Man.

Remarkably (actually, miraculously), I awoke on June 30th, a full-fledged senior citizen, free of my depression and ready to tackle the NEXT 65 YEARS!

I know I wasted the first 65 concentrating on mundane stuff like me, when I should have been concentrating more on others.

There is a lot of stuff in the world, our nation and our industry that needs to be fixed, and I’m on a mission to fix it. I will work to fix it, wherever I find it, which is usually behind some politician’s rhetoric.

For instance, take famine. If I had my way, and there is a single child hungry anywhere on this planet, then the politicians throughout the world won’t get to eat or drink. I guess this one has to start somewhere, since I have absolutely no clout in Washington or at the U.N. headquarters.

I’ll start in my county and will find a way to feed 25 hungry people daily. I’ll bet the Salvation Army can give me some advice about how to accomplish this. And, I’m not just talking about money; I’m talking about me cooking, serving or delivering the food.

Where you find famine, you usually find hostilities, ranging from “strained relations” to war. I can’t think of one problem that war has solved in my lifetime. When I was a child, I used to think all politicians should have to fight, and then we could save all that money we spend on the military. They conceived all the conditions that lead to war, so let them fight the damn thing.

This means, of course, that my role is e-mailing my representatives in Washington, DC, to work for peace. I can honk for peace whenever I pass the guy on our courthouse square who holds the sign that says “Honk for Peace.” Or better yet, do I I offer to make him a better sign? Or, I could volunteer to hold the sign for an hour. Maybe that’s how peace has to catch on.

“Battling” the Print Buyer

OK. Now, I’ve got to stick some stuff in here about printing so Attila the Editor will publish this column.

Meanwhile, I will continue the battle against print buyers who just buy on price. Whoops, I can’t use the word “battle” any more. I should have said, “I will continue the effort to persuade print buyers that the most profitable relationships for their companies are based on the right mix of price, quality and service.”

And, I will continue to lob grenades at salespeople who won’t work and who don’t try to improve their selling skills. Omigosh, I can’t say that. I can’t say “lob grenades.” I know. I will say, “I will continue to urge under-performing print salespeople to either straighten up or seek employment in some other industry. The printing industry doesn’t have money to waste on salespeople who sit at their desks playing solitaire on their PCs.

I’m feeling younger and energized already. Being on all these missions must be good for my health. The symptoms I had for the plague have vanished completely.

Naturally, I will continue to bombard owners who are greedy and incompetent. Oh goodness! I can’t say I’m going to “bombard” the owners who are self-centered louts. I have to say, “I will convince owners that owning a printing company does inalienably endow you with the ability to manage your companies.”

Of course, I will strive to eliminate the awful Designated Hitter rule in the American League. I won’t belabor all the reasons why this rule has to go.

Next, I am going to lobby hard for term limits in Congress. One six-year term is enough, and then we won’t have 535 elected officials voting and working simply to be re-elected.

I’m going to persuade Congress to limit campaign spending to $5 million per candidate, and it ALL has to be spent on printing. No television. None of us watch or believe the TV campaign ads any way. Printed brochures that must include the candidates’ platforms will force them to actually think about the issues and put their plans in writing. And, our industry gets all that campaign spending.

I almost forgot tax reform. I’m going to become a one-man band for the flat tax, for stem cell research, for tripling the research money for cancer and AIDS, and probably a bunch of other vicious illnesses.

Finally, I am going to seek new sentencing guidelines for corrupt public officials. Stocks! Yep, if we catch them with their hands in the till, we put them in stocks in the public square, or the courthouse, or Congress, or wherever they are (hiding).

I am excited about the next 65 years (which I may have to cram into 35 years given the lousy actuarial tables). There is so much for me to do, and you’ve got so much to do.

So if you don’t want to feel the barb of my sharp pen, get out there and sell something! PI

—Harris DeWese

About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of Now Get Out There and Sell Something, available through NAPL or PIA/GATF. He is chairman/CEO of Compass Capital Partners and is an author of the annual “Compass Report,” the definitive source of information regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 141 printing company transactions and is viewed as the industry’s preeminent deal maker. He can be reached via e-mail at

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