Kevin Costner

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

I damn near did not get today’s column done. I started reading Jack Valenti’s memoir, “This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House and Hollywood” and it grabbed me by the throat and would not let go. Valenti, a World War II bomber pilot who flew 51 missions over Italy, died at age 85 on April 26, just six weeks before publication. In the following half-century after his discharge from the Army Air Corps, Jack Valenti bestrode the mighty worlds of Washington and Hollywood like a colossus, quite a feat for someone a mere five foot five inches tall.

Sim Wong Hoo blew it. In 2000 the Singapore entrepreneur came up with the idea that eventually became the iPod. He was approached several times by Apple’s Steve Jobs to do a joint venture. Jobs was turned down, and Sim went his own way—creating half-baked in-house marketing materials and doing no brand advertising. Jobs brought out the iPod and ate Sim’s lunch; now Sim is suing for a patent infringement. It seems inventors like to invent, but they operate on the better mousetrap theory—that buyers will beat a path to their door. “Build it and they will come,” was the refrain in Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams.” “Build it

By Denny Hatch When Don Jackson and I put together "2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success," Internet marketing was in its formative stages. Not much space in the book was given over to e-commerce. At one point, I'd planned to do a book detailing how all the old rules of direct marketing that go back to the year 1196 (the year Chartres cathedral burned to the ground and the first direct mail fund-raising campaign was launched) could be applied to the Web, but I got sidetracked. What spawned this column was the acquisition of two clients who built extraordinary Internet-based businesses—with fabulous

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