As your hand searches for the snooze button on your clock radio, you hesitate upon hearing an update from the O.J. Simpson trial. There’s an incriminating bloody glove but the defense insists a dirty cop has planted the evidence. Intrigued by this update, you are compelled to learn more. You decide to buy a newspaper along with the obligatory cup of coffee on your way to the office. Regular or decaf are your only options. No Italian dark roast, organic breakfast blend or mochaccino to be found.
Arriving at the office, you boot up Windows 95, marvel at the colorful new interface and wait for email to load. There’s no social media, no text messages and no app notifications to distract you from getting right to work. That’s a good thing for Nick Lanzi. He needs all of the time in the world to manage the duties of his full-time gig while starting a side-hustle soon to become Direct Choice Inc.
On this 25-year anniversary of Direct Choice, we asked Nick some poignant questions about the business world of yesterday vs. today.
“Thinking back to 1995, what do you miss about that pre-Internet-of-everything era?”
I miss the constant in-person interaction we used to have with our clients and suppliers before digital communication took over. I’ve always been a big believer in building relationships with the people I’ve done business with and picking up the phone to just check in to discuss everything from business to family life was a big part of that. Some of that interaction has gone away over the past quarter century.”
“Do you feel it would be easier to start an agency now, not accounting for the Corona-virus economy of today?”
“I do feel that it would be easier to start an agency today, because of technology. When I started Direct Choice, some of our layouts were still being done on mechanical boards and we were using typesetting companies to supply the type. In-person meetings and faxing were our main ways of sharing artwork with clients. Today, we rarely meet in person with our clients, which is a shame, but we’re more efficient with technology.”
“Was there a definitive moment where you knew Direct Choice was going to be long-term success?”
“Hmmm…that’s a good question. There were several moments, but I guess signing our third client was key. It boosted the agency with enough work that I was able to leave my full-time job at Devon Direct and focus my efforts on growing Direct Choice. That was an exciting time!”
Be on the lookout for some more “blasts from the past” as we have fun celebrating 25 years of Direct Choice.