People Make the Business

Nick Robinson

This will be the first in a (hopefully) ongoing series of posts of thoughts, observations, links to even better observations, and other random ideas.  In some way, they will all relate back to the direct marketing space in general, and NAC’s role in that space in specific.  To paraphrase the well-worn close of many a sales pitch, thanks in advance for your consideration.

I recently came across Bill Gate’s blog gatesnotes (  Lots of interesting thinking from a true titan of industry. Surprisingly, a lot of it on topics you wouldn’t expect.  Check it out.  Anyway, his recent post directs us to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual letter to its investors.  He characterized this year’s version as Warren Buffett’s “best annual letter ever”.  Here’s the link:

I’ll take Bill Gates at his word that it’s the best ever.  It’s really great and worth the read.

In his post, Mr. Gates points out something that resonated with me:

“The Berkshire system maximizes having very experienced people run their businesses, giving them autonomy, and letting them do it for decades at a time. Even if they make a few mistakes, they know that Warren will stick with them.  That’s how he has put together a mind-blowingly good set of business managers.”

A very simple and elegant formula for long-term business success.  Hire great talent, give them space, and get out of the way.  It’s something that we have done here at NAC – wittingly or unwittingly – for decades.  NAC’s people are simply the best at what they do.  Why?  Because they HAVE made mistakes and learned from them and accumulated a wealth of knowledge about direct marketing over years and years. We have dozens of associates that have been at NAC for 15-20-25, even 30 years.  In every capacity… Managers, CSR’s and Programmers, Quality Assurance, R&D, Engineers, Human Resources, and so on.

It’s a cliché that “people make the business”.  It’s a cliché because it’s true.  And nowhere is that more true….and for longer…than at NAC.