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Speakers at Direct Media Co-Op Optimistic About Economy, Internet

WHITE PLAINS, NY — The economy and the Internet are doing just fine, according to keynote speakers at the Direct Media 2001 Client Summit and Co-op at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel held here this week.

John Sculley, co-founder of Sculley Bros., a private investment firm, said that despite the dot-com meltdown, the Internet is still revolutionizing how business is done.

In his luncheon keynote, Sculley, former chairman/CEO of Apple Computer and former president/CEO of PepsiCo, advised marketers that the best uses of the Internet were still being figured out. Still, he said, marketers have to realize that consumers have taken the control away from businesses. Consumers expect top-notch services and products with competitive prices and fast delivery.

Sculley cited Dell Computer's creation of custom-made PCs deliverable in 48 hours as an example of forward thinking and good customer service.

In addition to the keynote speakers, Direct Marketing Association president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen also addressed attendees.

Wientzen voiced the DMA's support of an upcoming postal reform bill. The legislation, expected to be introduced in August by Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, would place a cap on U.S. Postal Service revenue growth, among other provisions, Wientzen said. He added that unless the direct marketing industry gets behind postal reform, the USPS crisis would only get worse. He urged direct marketers to support the new bill.

Earlier in the day, Forbes magazine chairman Caspar W. Weinberger said in his opening address that even though the U.S. economy is slow, conditions are still quite good.

Weinberger, former defense secretary under President Reagan and chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Nixon, said that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong and that the stock market is a bad indicator of economic conditions. As an illustration, he pointed to Amazon.com, which has never made a profit but has a stock price exceeding that of companies with profits and clear assets.

Weinberger added that while things are not as good as they were a year and a half ago, optimism regarding the economy is important. He urged businesspeople not to ignore politics and said the current administration is friendly to business.

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