1998 Direct Marketer of the Year - Jay Walker
After finishing the course, Walker went back to Hanson and said, "Here's the deal; I want to be an entrepreneur inside your company [The term "intrapreneur" had not yet been invented]. You will own all the equity in whatever I do and I will take a commission." Hanson agreed. The arrangement was that Walker would be rewarded modestly for modest achievements but hugely for huge achievements.
The Folio 400: Success #1
The Premise. Joe Hanson's Folio was the flagship of a small empire that included books and a highly regarded conference in New York. Editorially, Folio dealt with successful magazine publishing. The readers were people at magazines; the advertisers were their suppliers. Why not, Walker thought, create a powerful ancillary product that the magazines themselves would advertise in? Walker invented The Folio 400.
The Execution. For the first time anywhere, Walker combined the advertising and previously secret circulation revenue streams for 400 magazines and came up with an endless series of rankings: total revenue, revenue per copy, revenue per reader, total circulation, and on and on. The numbers were sliced and diced every which way for both consumer and trade magazines so that virtually everybody finished high up in at least one category. Walker and his team sold ads adjacent to the magazine's most favorable listing.
What happened. The magazine publishers loved it! In its peak year, the single issue of The Folio 400 generated $1 million in advertising revenue. Walker himself was making $250,000 a year—plenty to live comfortably and still pay off Bankers Trust. But, by the early 1980s, Walker was ready to start a business of his own and build some equity.
Dabbling in the Art World: Wipeout #2
The Premise. Walker discovered a technology-based artist who created spectacular light sculptures—an entire new genre of electronic high-tech art. Walker formed Visual Technologies, a company to manufacture editions of the sculptures and sell them by catalog.