“The new Einstein of Marketing”. “Relationship Marketing Guru”. “Genius”. “True Artist”. “Leonardo da Vinci of the Internet”.
At the tender age of 22, in a German book store, I came across a book by John Frazer-Robinson, “The Secrets of Effective Direct Mail", markingmy my first contact with the subject. Until then all I knew was that I wanted to “do Marketing” but without a clue what it actually meant – youthful ignorance, I guess. I began my studies in Business Administration at the University of Mannheim, Germany, but got disillusioned rather quickly by its backwardness and lack of practical application.
In September 1989 I started an internship at SIEMENS Ltd. in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the Hardware Administration Systems Department under Mr Richard Gruber I learned the ropes of relational database programming using dBASE IV.
Pretty much at the same time I also found a much more interesting academic challenge: a diploma in Marketing Management, offered by the Institute of Marketing Management in Johannesburg. I subsequently enrolled and completed it in 3 instead of 3 1/2 years.
During my final year, I attended the South African Direct Marketing Association’s (SADMA) annual symposium, courtesy of Mr Brian McDonald. At the symposium, which was held in Johannesburg in August 1991, I had the unique opportunity to listen to some of the greatest minds, the likes of Dr. Ichak Adizes, James Rosenfield, Ray Jutkins and many others. The close contact with them left an indelible mark on my mind and paved the way for my future career.
As fate wanted it, my first job after finally moving to South Africa in March 1993 was with Brian McDonald, for whom I wrote a complete conference management system, also in dBASE IV.
In September that same year I then set out on my own, founding “Canopus Marketing”, South Africa’s first and only dedicated Database Marketing and Customer Relationship Management consultancy. It was probably done in a fit of lunacy, because neither did I know the market, nor had I contacts or money.
After passing the hurdle of obtaining permanent residence status in December 1996, it began to take off. First articles were published in local marketing magazines, and my first appearance as a conference speaker rounded off my intense engagement on the Internet.
The DM Digest was the Internet’s first discussion list on Database Marketing, and at its prime had over 500 active members. Then Marketing Competence was born, collecting articles and contributions from all over the world on Customer Relationship Management way before it became mainstream.
I concluded several projects in the country, including the development of my own relational Customer Information Management System – linking 13 different databases and performing anything from creating sales reports to running and analysing campaigns to establishing unique “Life Charts”.
I then started an assignment with Opera Software, the Norwegian browser developer. There I had the opportunity to greatly influence and determine their marketing and communications strategy. Single-handedly I sold over 6000 licenses in Germany alone over the course of 18 months, while de facto being the face of the company to the world, and also engaging in many other activities there. Opera now has over 500 employees (I was No.6), and is the world’s most successful web browser development company.
This finally taught me that not only could I code what I preach, but that its application in the market place is highly successful – both growth- and profit-wise.
In September 1999, I then embarked on a conference tour that led me to Dubai (UAE), San Francisco (USA), Florianópolis (Brasil), Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand) and Asunción (Paraguay). In between I participated at another conference in Johannesburg, and prepared yet another Internet startup project: Sonork.
It sort of happened that I slid into website development. Pretty new at the time in South Africa, my German approach to it resulted in a quick gathering of clients. In total, excluding my own sites, I developed over 70 websites and administered over 40 of them on a long-term basis.
Since early 2000 I have been working with Sonork SRL; as a result my own consultancy took a bit of a back seat.
Up until March 2004 my time was largely spent with Sonork SRL. I then left the company, which had by then been taken over by GTV, Inc. Mid-March I spent a wonderful week outside Bogotá, Colombia, at their 2nd annual congress “CRM Guru and Marketing 1-1”. I’m pleased to report that a few hundred Colombian CRM fellows are now unlikely to fall into the trap of US-centric “CRM = software”.
In March 2007 I started the translation of Charles Haanel’s Master Key System to German and have made it my mission to keep his legacy alive ever since. I have translated two more of his books, given over a 100 talks in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Colombia, Latvia and South Africa, and created a number of products and services. Since it is now my aim to introduce this timeless wisdom to businesses worldwide, my paths are meeting once again, allowing me to merge my Customer Relationship Management with my Master Key and life expertise for the benefit of all involved.
After the partnership that started off the Master Key System in Germany came to a premature end, Mr. Master Key was born. Since 2009 I created a great number of new products and services, extending and enhancing the Master Key System.
In 2014 I came across the system of Cardology, or Cartomancy. Four years later I stepped onto the next level, when I started writing an application around this system, aptly naming it Sacred Symbols. Since then I have continuously extended this application, and am currently offering 5 digital editions. As of January 2024 a mobile application is in the making, and will be released during the course of the year.
After 10 years with the Master Key System, the corsett became a little too tight. Too much had been added in the meantime, so a new brand name needed to emerge, also in line with my offerings as a coach. It did in the form of “Der beste.Coach“. Cheeky and arrogant as the name may sound, it’s been a goal and a challenge for me to meet - and that I have!
In June of 2023 a new project was born: MindCafé – a podcast with heart and mind for a new consciousness. At the time of writing 36 episodes have been recorded together with Amelie. We aim at becoming the most useful and most popular German-language podcast around the subject of consciousness and life development. It will also host many experts in their respective fields, and create value beyond most people’s wildest imagination.
The quest continues. Nice to have you here!