Breeze Through Airport Security! (Hopefully.)
For Steve Brill and harried airline passengers, this could be really big
On October 27, 2001, I took a taxi to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station and boarded a train to Chicago for a direct marketing convention. In the aftermath of 9/11, I was not afraid to fly. Rather, I had heard horror stories about travelers spending four hours dealing with airport security and even then missing their flights. I figured low-key down time on an overnight train was better than eight hours of high tension at PHL and ORD.
While on the train, I wrote a piece for Target Marketing magazine's Web site saying that I would be happy to pay for a federal investigation into my wife, Peggy's, and my background so that we could be issued a kind of personal E-Z Pass card that would let us breeze through airport security.
Now crusading editor, publisher and author Steven Brill--a man who has had more ups and downs than a championship yo-yo--is testing it.
Brill is the consummate entrepreneur who has tapped into a deeply felt human need and, at the same time, has poked a spike in the eye of civil libertarians terrified of a "Big Brother Is Watching You" National ID Card.
What does it take to be an entrepreneur like Brill?
Twenty-six years ago I put Steve Brill in business.
A lawyer and the law columnist for Clay Felker's Esquire magazine, Brill decided to launch The American Lawyer magazine, and I was hired to write and design a direct mail effort that would bring in enough paid subscribers to get the publication off the ground.
Just 29 years old, a law school graduate and already the author of "The Teamsters," the definitive primer on union corruption, Brill was pudgy and jowly, with a high forehead, a blue shirt with flashy cuff links, a bright yellow tie and yellow suspenders. Either between his teeth, between his fingers or in an ashtray was his ever-present cigar--no doubt out of his private humidor from Dunhill's.