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Evolution of an Original: How a Passion for Cars Parallels a Professional Career

“Passion will make you crazy, but is there any other way to live?” This quote—from Howard Hughes, a successful businessman, investor, engineer, and philanthropist—resonates with me as I’ve had a passion for cars for as long as I can remember. Not as a material item, or as an investment—but cars as art form and for the history they represent.

With that, I’d like to share a story about the Porsche 911 and Peter Schutz who was brought in as CEO of Porsche to help unify the business and recover from the company’s first money-losing year in 1980. The 911 was a quirky car, to say the least. It was air-cooled as opposed to water-cooled, the engine was in the back versus the front, and there was a problem with the drivetrain that resulted in customer complaints. This led to a decision to stop production of the 911 by the end of 1981, which, as Schutz noted in a story he wrote for Road & Track, didn’t sit well with him.

“While the car could be temperamental at times, at least it had character,” Schutz wrote. “That’s what people loved most about it.” So he fought back: “I went down to the office of our lead engineer, Professor Helmuth Bott, to discuss plans for our upcoming models. I noticed a chart hanging on his wall that depicted the ongoing development trends of our top three lines: 911, 928, and 944. With the latter options, the graph showed a steady rise in production for years to come. But for the 911, the line stopped in 1981. I grabbed a marker off Professor Bott’s desk and extended the 911 line across the page, onto the wall, and out the door. When I came back, Bott stood there, grinning.”

A Unique Artform

This car, with all it’s character, just keeps getting better with every model—all thanks to its original design. It’s one of my favorite stories because Schutz truly created art out of this quirky car. With it, he restored Porsche’s profits, and, for five financial years in a row, the company set multiple records.

The story reminds me of my current company, and how we’ve evolved LeadiD into Jornaya while maintaining our original design. Let me explain … In 2011, we were founded as LeadiD with a mission to deliver transparency, compliance, and performance indicators to the lead generation market. At the time, this was an evolution for the industry, opening up access to independent data and being able to evaluate marketing programs.

As the LeadiD business grew, the landscape continued to progress—and similar to Schutz at Porsche, we grabbed that proverbial marker off the Professor’s desk and drew a line. But the line we drew represents our customers and how we help them. We’re on a mission to harness the power of data to inform the best possible customer experience. Because, as I wrote about in Identifying Value Beyond the Lead, it’s ultimately about activating the right data at the right time to best engage with customers.

As I tie my professional passion to a passion for the Porsche 911, Jornaya as a data company is as unique as the original 911. We are helping marketers, lead buyers, lead sellers, and publishers better understand the customer. Our first-hand view of the customer journey delivers actionable data to improve lead quality, enhance conversion, and drive incremental value. We continue to get better and better, but at the core it’s all based on our original design evolved and enhanced to drive more value for our customers.

Dan Shapiro is Vice President, Publisher Development at Jornaya. 

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