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When I arrived at DM News nearly nine years ago, the newspaper had a Web Marketing section and a column called Bits & Bytes. Stories about online marketing were pretty much confined to that section. However, as the years went by, the news started getting bigger and the campaigns more involved so that now not a page goes by without a mention of integration, e-mail or search.


Looking back on my tenure here, I don't know why but I really thought postal reform would get signed into law before I left. This industry still needs to be concerned with mail and postal rates, but it has become so much more than that; technology has made it so much more than that. I saw the rise of e-mail. I also heard the prediction of the death of direct mail and the emergence of multichannel. I listened to cocky dot-com kids say they invented a new way of marketing only to see everything go bust. I watched DMers plod along only to find themselves ahead in the race.


Obviously, the biggest change that I've seen is the Internet. It has empowered businesses - and consumers - like never before. If I were to rattle off a list of issues that concern me, what comes to mind first are privacy and data issues (privacy was the subject of my first editorial back in May 1998); the Internet and how technology is changing marketing; postal rates (ah, yes, we can't forget about those) and postal reform; phishing and spam; do-not-mail legislation; and whatever Google dreams up next. What I don't understand is that if all these "database solutions" keep touting that they're the answer to a marketer's nightmare and will solve what to mail to whom, why does so much of my mail go straight into the trash can?


Being in this position has allowed me to make countless friendships that I will cherish for years to come. I've been allowed to hear speeches from former presidents, and I even shook one's hand a couple of times. I got a big reality check when we watched the World Trade Center towers fall from our office window. I also lost two very dear friends and co-workers to cancer and a heart attack.


As I leave DM News for MarketingSherpa, I would like to thank the thousands of people who have read my columns and stories and this newspaper over the past 419 issues. I also thank Adrian Courtenay for the opportunity he provided me, and I thank my staff for all their hard work and dedication over the years. Finally, I wish my successor, Mickey Alam Khan, all the joy that I've had while putting out the industry's premier publication.


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