For 25 years, Tom Gale owned, ran and grew MDM before bringing me in as a minority partner in 2017. The last two years have been exciting and, I believe, productive for both of us as I learned how to cover the wholesale distribution industry while hopefully benefitting the company with my many years of executive experience.
Among the unanticipated outcomes from my time at MDM has been a steady stream of speaking requests and consulting engagements. The volume of this work has grown steadily and has now reached a point where I spend little time helping Tom run the company because I’m traveling to work with trade associations, distributors, private equity firms and other industry partners.
MDM is a great company, but it is not a speakers’ bureau or a consulting firm. The company has its roots in publishing with a terrific, subscription-only website (mdm.com; new version coming soon), a widely-read daily news and analysis email (MDM Update) and lots of specialized content and research for distribution executives and thought leaders. MDM also produces a series of highly successful and outstanding events, including webcasts and conferences and provides proprietary data that many distributors use to estimate end-market demand, size sales-territories, locate facilities and generate leads. MDM’s podcast, Disrupting Distribution, hosted by Tom, is a great source of interviews with industry leaders and analysis of key trends and issues.
The company is growing rapidly and has clearly been the leader at gathering together the collective wisdom of distribution’s thought leaders and distilling their knowledge into a single source. I’ve benefited greatly from my exposure to industry CEOs, consultants, writers and speakers who share my passion for the distribution industry.
Next Steps: For MDM and Me
I believe MDM will continue its rapid growth under the capable and veteran leadership of Tom and his team. Look for new levels of excellence in all areas as the company relentlessly pushes the industry to embrace technology, great leadership practices and the inevitable change brought by disruption.
I’m heading back to my mid-career roots. In 2002, I founded a distribution consulting practice called Real Results Marketing (RRM). In 2010, I sold that business to Jonathan Bein, PhD, when I left my own start-up to become VP Marketing for HD Supply Commercial & Industrial. Jonathan has done an outstanding job growing RRM — building its client list, its influence and its revenues. I’m excited to work with Jonathan again and I think my time at MDM will increase my ability to add value to RRM’s clients.
Given how my work has transformed from helping Tom operate MDM to traveling and consulting most of the time, what I do simply fits better into RRM’s value proposition than MDM’s. The two firms have always been collaborators — and are coincidentally located just a few miles apart. RRM and MDM operate within the same industry and I’m sure I’ll run into Tom and other MDM folks at industry events, not to mention the grocery store.
I want to thank Tom and the MDM team for the support they’ve given me during my time with the company. I hope I’ve added something useful myself and I look forward to keeping in touch with MDM as it continues to grow and prosper.
To MDM’s Audience
Thanks for reading some of what I’ve written over the last two years. I want to thank the many readers who have responded with article comments or emails — particularly those who have disagreed with me. You transformed a monologue into a thoughtful and more useful dialogue.
If we’ve connected at a conference or consulting engagement, then I hope to see you again soon. I’ll be the one talking about artificial intelligence, marketplaces, strategy, marketing and disruption. Come on over and debate with me so we can all get smarter together.
Farewell and thanks again,Ian Heller Founder & Senior Partner Real Results Marketing, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org