1998 Direct Marketer of the Year - Jay Walker
The Execution. NewSub Services was launched whereby bank card members are offered a menu of 400 magazines in their monthly billing statements; any magazines they choose are guaranteed to be billed at the absolute lowest rate to that credit card.
What Happened. Today, Loeb and Walker are selling tens of millions of subscriptions a year. "NewSub Services is huge," says Dan Capell, "one of the three or four top subscription agencies in the country."
NewSub Services started a separate company, CAP Systems, which enables frequent flyers to cash in some of their miles for magazines—a boon for airlines, since most of these loyalty programs require vast amounts of travel before a reward can be collected. With frequent flyer miles figured at two cents apiece, a $20 magazine subscription could be had for just 1,000; the traveler was happy; the airline got the liability off its books; publishers were thrilled with these high demographic subscriber (and renewers); and, God knows, NewSub Services was in hog heaven. Because of the automatic credit card billing, renewal rates are far higher than those of sweeps-sold agencies.
Jay's Skunkworks: Success #6
The Premise. One morning, Walker read an article in a technical journal about cryptography, a different kind of encoding system whereby the locking and unlocking codes were separated. In an intuitive flash of insight, he saw how this new form of cryptography would allow for the creation of an online casino where cheating is impossible because the software lock and key would be separated. He thought:
Am I the only person who realizes this coming sea change in the casino industry? What can I do? How can I make money from it? I had never had an idea that could singlehandedly revolutionize an industry, and I wanted to protect it.
Walker began researching U.S. patent and trademark law. "Many businessmen are inventors and don't realize it," Walker explains. What is patentable?