I Thought I'd Seen It All --DeWese
THIS IS my 267th Printing Impressions column. I have written these columns since November 1984 in all sorts of adverse conditions. Hurricanes?
Yep. I wrote a column on a laptop at Disney World in the middle of a hurricane. Had to write real fast before the battery died. It was August of 2004.
I wrote a column in Kansas City in 1988 in a powerful thunderstorm that was tossing hail and spinning tornadoes everywhere around me.
Then, there was the time recently when I had heart failure and emergency surgery on a Sunday afternoon to install a pacemaker. Naturally, a column was due, so I wrote it from my hospital bed on Monday in the intensive care ward.
Attila the Nun?
Out of the 267 columns I have written, my bride of 46 years was 1) not speaking to me during 112 columns; 2) standing behind me and yelling at me for 41 columns; and 3) demanding that I drive her to the mall for 43 columns. I wrote three columns on a laptop in my car parked in a mall parking lot.
Oh No, Say It Ain’t So
Worldwide economic meltdown?
Just one column was written in these catastrophic economic conditions. This one.
I am writing this on October 9, 2008, exactly two days late of my deadline. It took me 48 hours to work up my nerve to even start the darn thing.
The Dow went below 8,600 today. The value of the Dow has dropped more than 40 percent in just three weeks. Some publicly held printing industry companies have lost more than 50 percent of their value in the past couple of weeks.
I looked up some of them and their earnings are the same. They haven’t reported any fires or train wrecks. No. Those stocks are getting killed by forces beyond their control.
It happened real fast—this financial crisis. One minute I’m pickin’ my tomatoes, and the next minute the president is announcing the need for a $700 million, whoops, $700 billion bailout for a bunch of Wall Street investment banks that are holding bad paper on thousands of home and commercial mortgages, which are in default and either in or about to be in foreclosure. By the way, Marvelle Stump, if you are still reading this, foreclosure is nothing like foreplay.
Wall Street and DC
Well, I got interested in this mess, and I discovered it is just a handful of real smart Wall Street executives and an even smaller group of Washington DC-based elected and appointed officials who created this disaster, which has now spread worldwide. Notice I didn’t say the guys in Washington were smart. In fact, it may be less than a dozen men whose greed and stupidity have caused all this heartache.
Then I studied the legislation authorizing the “rescue.” I actually read the bill and learned that it’s not $700 billion all at once. It’s $250 billion to start, then another $100 billion, which can be authorized by Congress jumping through a bunch of hoops and, finally, another $250 billion if Congress jumps through even more very high hoops. I think they all should have to personally guarantee the money.
This is not some plan just to send big checks to the offending banks. The U.S. government is actually just buying thousands of empty homes that have been foreclosed. Nobody knows how many empty homes, and nobody knows for how much. This will take the bad debts off the banks’ books and put it on the federal government books.
What does this mean to all you print communications salespeople?
You are surrounded by greed and stupidity, so you are going to have to work harder to make your own mortgage payments.
Times of trouble are times of opportunity. Times of great trouble are times of the GREATEST opportunity.
Don’t whine about it. Tens of thousands of companies and not-for-profit institutions are still buying printing. I just read where PIA Chief Economist Ron Davis, PhD., says overall print sales may be down 2 percent this year.
Two percent! That’s nothing.
The companies and the print salespeople who will survive and flourish and, yes, even improve their earnings are the ones who figure out how to improve the performance, the earnings, the prosperity and/or the health of their customers. Therein, they become indispensable.
The salespeople who don’t get that will be pumping gas, flipping hamburgers or beachcombing, and the rest of you success-seekers will have less competition and easier jobs.
For me—I’m 66 and rode hard and put up wet. But I’ve got to keep on going. I’m going to keep on showin’ up no matter how much Wall Street or Washington screws up. And, you should, too.
That’s why I’m stopping this column early. You need the extra time to get out there and sell something!
Success in the sub-prime printing industry is an oxymoron, or is it an oxycontin? PI
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of “Now Get Out There and Sell Something,” which is 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 HDeWese@ CompassCapLtd.com.