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You @ 25: Green Bar Paper & “Audcodes”

ROI Solutions | You @ 25 Ami Fish

When I think back 25 years ago and try to put myself in a moment at that stage in my life, do you know what I think of?  Green bar paper.  I think of the giant dot-matrix printers at Epsilon and the green bar paper that would spew forth with my initials on the first page, “AFB.”  My identity at that time in my life was “AFB,” which some might think stood for “Air Force Base,” and when I needed to make a call to the computer room to have the tape changed or my login unfrozen,  I’d refer to myself that way:

“Can you please reset the tape for AFB,  as in ‘Air Force Base’?”  

Twenty-five years ago was still the age of mainframes and Epsilon held the market share of non-profit clients in the industry.  The Account Executive job that I won at Epsilon, reporting to Wendy Fox but working alongside so many that are still part of my world today (Matt Rosen and Paul Soucy are also teammates here at ROI and were at Epsilon at that time as well), was my first real job out of college.  The funny thing is that of all my college courses, my least favorites were Database 101 and Marketing Analytics.  Look at me, even 25 years later, still spending each day in a CRM and helping nonprofits with their analysis to raise more money!  Wendy would point out that math 25 years ago was not my strong suit, which still isn’t!

In 1999, my primary client was Special Olympics, and I had the opportunity to travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, to attend the World Games.  I remember sitting in the stadium and soaking in the importance of attending this event.  Athletes from around the world marched in proudly with the flag representing their country.  I had never seen anything so momentous or beautiful in my life.  At that World Games, I was given a poster that I took home and framed, and today, it lives at the ROI Headquarters.  

What would I say to that young, hard-working professional if I could talk to her now?  I’d tell her to keep doing what you’re doing, Ami, because, in 25 years, you’re still going to be blessed to work in this industry, providing support to non-profits in their fundraising by utilizing the best CRM in the industry (I’d stop to explain that a CRM is a new term for marketing database).  The value of an “Audcode” would prove to be priceless in understanding the value of mutually exclusive file segmentation for direct response fundraising.  A “Freq” and a “Dump” are terms only those of us veterans of database marketing will understand, but we’ll smile at those terms fondly and teach the next generation that they are the key to good quality control.

I’m hopeful that someone reading this blog will still have an “Audcode” printed on green bar paper and will post a picture of it to celebrate that time and how far we’ve come.

This is part of an ongoing series of You @ 25 blog posts where ROI Solutions staff, clients, and partners reflect on lessons they learned at 25 (or through 25 years of professional work) that still guide their path today. Do you have a story to tell?  Email [email protected].

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