A Circuitous Path! A Personal Tribute To Jay Conrad Levinson

A Circuitous Path

Life often has its twist and turns. In fact it seems that life continuously meanders this way and that, taking us up and down the peaks and valleys of our journey over our time on this planet.

Some people call it fate; others may see it as coincidence. I believe there are incidences that take place in our lives that prove that there is a reason for everything that happens to us — call it a Divine Plan.

When you look at how it tends to seem that what takes place in one moment prepares us and often leads us to the next, it makes more sense to me that chance or luck has very little to do with it.

One specific and confirming Life’s Moment happened for me about a year ago. I was having dinner with my very good friend Jay Conrad Levinson, father of Guerilla Marketing. We were not only having dinner together; we were also celebrating Jay’s 79th birthday.

I shared a story with Jay and his wife, Jeannie, that I felt was ironic. One that I believe led me to that moment.

I explained to Jay that 20 years earlier my wife and I ran a mid size commercial printing company that her dad owned. My father-in-law is never one who is content with business as usual; he was constantly looking for new ways to enhance and grow his business, as all business owners should be.

In his search to find new ways to increase the reach of our printing company, he found Jay’s Guerrilla Marketing. This book gave him a ton of ideas but the most impactful one was finding a way to create our own market.

His idea was simple; he wanted to create an educational piece that we could offer at a low cost that would teach our prospects to rely on our most profitable product, giving us the potential to turn that prospect into a long term client.

So through that idea he set out creating a product appropriately titled Marketing With Postcards. It taught people how to properly use postcards to market their businesses in a time when people weren’t really utilizing them. We were set up perfectly in our shop to produce high quality custom postcards at low cost but with a high enough profit margin to make it worth the work.

As we created, printed and started marketing this new product something revolutionary was happening. A brand new world was being introduced to the public — one that would ultimately change the face of mankind. You see, as we were building Marketing With Postcards, the birth of Internet Marketing was happening.

Like all curious marketers at that time, we had no idea what power the Internet held but as Jay would say, we had to always explore new frontiers and not be afraid to use new ideas and methods to further the reach of our message.

So, we put up a website and offered our new marketing product to the world. This is where the journey begins to twist.

Through our unqualified efforts in Internet marketing, we caught the eye of a young marketer looking for a product to help him launch his new career; we were contacted by Alex Mandossian.

Alex was looking for a way to break into the Internet Marketing space, and he had the skill set we lacked in the space. So again, we did the Guerrilla Marketing thing and partnered with him. We would supply the product and fulfill the backend, which we were really good at, and Alex would handle the marketing.

It worked. Soon our printing business took off and we were busier than ever. So busy in fact that we sold the rights of Marketing With Postcard over to Alex completely, and we shifted our focus to building and growing the print shop.

Printing was great for a several years and then 9-11 hit. When the events of that day took place our phones stopped ringing. Our largest clients and the lifeblood of our business were all affected by the devastating events that occurred. Like so many other companies at that time, we never fully recovered.

When we decided to close up shop and move on to the next phase of our life, my wife and I were searching for what direction we should head. Through our relationship with Alex, we had heard about the world’s largest Internet Marketing seminar called Armand Morin’s Big Seminar.

My wife’s sister was a graphic artist and had done some side work for Alex so we researched the event and decided to attend the next one to see what it was all about. There we met several people who would have huge impacts on our lives, many of whom we are still great friends with today.

One was Armand Morin himself. Armand has been a mentor and great friend ever since. His family and mine work together, celebrate holidays together and even have vacationed together all around the world. This is a relationship that would never have happened if this journey were never started.

Another life altering relationship to come out of that event is the one I have with David Hancock. David was an energetic, loud but lovable guy who had a great big vision of starting a publishing company that would change the industry forever.

I was blown away when David asked me to come on board and help him grow his company. I accepted the challenge and loved every minute of it. David is a true Guerrilla and working side by side with him to bring Morgan James Publishing to life and seeing the transformation of his publishing model first hand has been one of the most exciting things I have ever been involved with professionally.

Fast forward several years and it was David who orchestrated an event where Jay would come to the Morgan James offices and teach Guerrilla Marketing to a group of David’s authors. It was at this event we would have a dinner to celebrate Jay’s birthday.

That night at dinner, we talked about how the event was going and the normal supper chatter that takes place at seminars like this. Jay and I shared our favorite memories of 49er games and reminisced about the glory days and all the great players that had been a part of the dynasty of the 80’s.

And then I shared this story with him. I told him that his book led to us creating Marketing With Postcards, which lead to meeting Alex Mandossian, which lead to finding Armand Morin, which lead to meeting David Hancock.

A 20+ year journey had come full circle while having dinner to celebrate with the one who started the whole thing. Jay sat back and said, “Wow, that is a circuitous story!”

Jeannie, David and myself all laughed at this curious word and questioned it’s legitimacy. Jay sat up a little straighter and said, “I’m sure that is a word, and I believe I used it correctly.”

“Circuitous: Having a circular or winding course.”

He was right. It was a circuitous path. Very rarely do you meet people that live up to the hype that precedes them. Jay was that rarity. Jay’s body was much too small to display the Giant that was within.

Meeting Jay was a humbling experience and one I will cherish forever.

Oh, and just to show you how one circuitous path can create another; I am about to welcome my first grandchild into this world. You see, in and amid mine and Jay’s circuitous path, David Hancock’s niece and my son met, dated while in high school, broke up and found each other again five years later. They were married on November 10th, 2012 and are expecting their first child James Allen Howard IV any day now.

Thank you, my friend — Jay Conrad Levinson, for changing my life for the better and leaving an impact on this world that will never be forgotten!


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