December 3, 2010

Selling a Line of Business

Selling a Line of Business It’s been a couple of years since Return Path decided to focus on our deliverability business by divesting and spinning out our other legacy businesses. That link tells some of the story, and the rest is that subsequently, Authentic Response divested part of the Postmaster Direct business to Q Interactive.  Those three transactions, plus a number of experiences over the years on the buy side of similar transactions (Bonded Sender, Habeas, NetCreations), plus my learnings from talking to a number of other CEOs who have done similar things over the years, form the basis of this post.  The Authentic Response spin-out was also partially chronicled by Inc. Magazine in this article earlier this year. It’s an important topic — as entrepreneurs build businesses, they frequently end up creating new revenue opportunities and go off on productive tangents.  Those new lines of business might or might not take off; but sometimes they can take off and still, down the road, end up being non-core to the overall mission of the company and therefore candidates for divestiture.  Even if they are good businesses, the overall enterprise might benefit from the focus or cash provided by a sale.  […]


September 16, 2009

Another Only Once Moment, Sort Of

Another Only Once Moment, Sort Of I’ve never handed over the reins of a company before (no, I’m not leaving, and we aren’t selling Return Path).  But I did the other day, for the first time.  As many people know, last year we reorganized the company to focus entirely on deliverability and whitelisting and spun out Authentic Response, a company in the online market research business, into a completely separate entity.  Since then, I have been CEO of both companies.  Although Return Path has had more of my focus — Authentic Response had excellent day-to-day leadership under Co-Presidents Jeff Mattes […]


October 30, 2008

Charting A New Path: Focus is Our Friend

Charting A New Path:  Focus is Our Friend When Return Path turned six years old a few years ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog (OnlyOnce) titled You Can’t Tell What the Living Room Looks Like from the Front Porch. The essence of the post is that flexibility is a key success factor in starting and growing a business, and sometimes the business turns out different than what you thought when you wrote that business plan. At the time, I was commenting on how different Return Path turned out – operating five businesses – than we did when […]


February 19, 2007

SUGGing and FRUGGing: Practices as Ugly as They Sound

SUGGing and FRUGGing: Practices as Ugly as They Sound (Below is the beginning of my December column for DM News.) We love surveys. Though many people in direct marketing don’t know it, we have a large business unit, Authentic Response, that provides a global online sample aimed at helping market researchers connect with qualified panelists via our MyView portal. And, like most companies, we use surveys to get a read on what our customers want from us and how we can improve their experience with us. Market research is an industry that prides itself on accuracy and purity of data, […]


August 13, 2006

It’s a Sad Day When the Lawyers Take Over

It’s a Sad Day When the Lawyers Take Over With all due respect to lawyers, of course, Google’s recent decision to start making a legal fuss when people in the media use the word “Google” as a verb is NUTS.  Someone, get Marketing on Line 1 — and make it snappy.  Steve Rubel wrote about it, as did Jeff Jarvis, and the source material is here. For the record, anyone who wants to use any of the following words or phrases as a verb, noun, or any other part of speech, may do so at any time:  Return Path, Sender […]