Celebrating 20 Years in 7 Sayings
I can’t remember the exact day I met Dave 22 years ago.
He was the young, hip editor in the corner office at the publishing company where I worked part-time while in grad school. At the time, he was managing a small new product development department - launching subscription-access web sites and email newsletters, book lines, training curriculum, and other projects.
We joked and laughed a lot — and even managed to get some work done. Dave left 20 years ago to start CustomZines (now CZ Strategy, or CZ). Dave is a mixture of North Dakota grit, frontier dreams, and Oxford smarts. One year following Dave’s departure, I saddled up for an adventure like none other and joined the CZ posse.
It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
April 2, 2020, marked our 20-year milestone. In celebration, we plan to donate to and volunteer at a local nonprofit that packs meals for those in need. Now there is more pressing need than ever.
More on that later.
In honor of CZ’s 20 years, I decided to share a few of my favorite Davidioms, sayings that Dave has coined or stolen from his mentors through the years. If you’ve spent any time with Dave, you have likely heard at least a couple and may have even found yourself repeating them in conversation. And if not, read on.
1. “That’s a lollipop.”
Nothing is more unexpectedly delicious and satisfying than a Dum Dum when you’re a kid leaving the doctor’s office.
When something serendipitiously happens — a positive client review, new business out of the blue, a generous referral — Dave uses this phrase.
"Now that was a lollipop."
He says he got the phrase from a bygone mentor. When you think about it, there are a lot of lollipops throughout the day. The week. The year.
2. “It’s like making sausage. First you congeal it. Then you extrude it …"
You get the picture.
People don’t always need to see the messy process about how you get things done. They just want to bite into the sausage.
This Davidiom may give us a clue about Dave’s age. I think he stole the phrase from a Wendy’s (fast food franchise) TV commercial in the late 80s.
3. “Don’t diesel. Just keep moving.”
This is an expression that predates fuel-injected engines.
When a car diesels, it will typically sputter and then stop. There’s little or no forward motion.
I know what it looks like when I’m dieseling: I’m spinning. I’m regurgitating the same idea. When this happens, I try to step back, get a fresh perspective, do some more research, or talk through the issue with someone.
Dieseling is unproductive.
4. “It takes a thousand days.”
This is probably my favorite Davidiom, because I’ve experienced it in my side hustle, Megillicutti.
Dave has written on it before more eloquently than I will here (he gleaned it from his dry cleaner, who had been a military commander in Pakistan), but the idea is this: it takes about three years (plus or minus) to see any significant lift in an entrepreneurial endeavor. So strap it on and be in it for the long haul.
You’ll see some wins between Day 1 and Day 1000, but you need enough cash and grit to endure the slog.
It’s the ultimate metaphor for perseverance.
5. “Just give me your ‘Sh---- First Draft' (SFD)”
Over the past two decades, Dave and I have forged a tight relationship through the redline function in Word. Every sentence, every paragraph, every section – gets a redline. That’s true of design. True of writing. True of ideas. True of marketing automation. True of anything we do.
With writing, the bloodier (more changes to) the Word doc, the more I learned. Dave taught me that an SFD is better than a blank page, and that long sentences and big words aren’t necessarily good writing. If I’m a writer, it’s because of Dave — and his redline after redline after redline.
6. “You’re not going to just get it. You have to ask for it."
People often don’t think of you and what you have to offer. They just don’t. Generosity drives Dave. I’ve been the recipient of it for over 20 years. It is at the core of every relationship and business decision. He coaches people and cheers them on in their pursuits.
If you think you have something to offer, sometimes you need to ask for an opportunity to share it.
A few years ago, I wanted to do some freelance writing for a national magazine. I had a relationship with the editor, but I had to ask her for the opportunity to write one article, before I was given the opportunity to write more.
You’ve gotta make the ask — as uncomfortable as it may be.
7. “Give without expectation of return.”
This is the baseline for a generous life.
And a good end to the list.
There are more Davidioms, but I’ll save some for another time.
Generosity drives Dave. I’ve been the recipient of it for over 20 years. It is at the core of every relationship and business decision. He coaches people and cheers them on in their pursuits.