Posted by: Marty Fahncke | June 29, 2009

Living your passion Billy Mays style

“With every great recession, comes greater innovation. The bad news is that we’re in a recession. The good news is DR is hanging in there.” – Billy Mays (1958-2009 RIP)

The above quote came from a magazine article in Electronic Retailer magazine, of which I am a member of the Advisory Board, as well as a feature columnist.

Billy (with his business partner Anthony “Sully” Sullivan) was the cover story of the May 2009 issue.

May 2009 cover of Electronic Retailer Magazine featuring Billy Mays

May 2009 cover of Electronic Retailer Magazine featuring Billy Mays (Click picture to read full article)

When I heard the tragic news of Billy’s death yesterday, I pulled this article from the shelf to re-read and reflect. Upon doing so, I saw a side of Billy that I hadn’t really noticed before. You see, with all my years in the infomercial business, I’ve known Billy for quite some time. In more recent years, I’ve consulted to Orange Glo and later Church & Dwight on their online marketing for OxiClean and Kaboom, both brands that relied heavily on Billy for their promotion. Billy was a loud, brash promoter. But he loved what he did. It wasn’t a job, it was a passion.

…and Billy lived his passion every day.

Upon re-reading the Electronic Retailer article, I came to realize how much Billy cared about the people behind the product. He and Sully really wanted to help people be successful in the direct response/infomercial business.

The quote above is the key takeaway. Now IS a great time for innovation.

  • Capital equipment has never been cheaper
  • Highly skilled labor has never been more readily available or affordable
  • Media rates in certain sectors are at fire sale prices
  • Many traditional marketers are “circling the wagons” and refusing to try anything innovative, interesting, or risky with their marketing

Now is the time to make something happen.

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a better time to start that cool new business, invent the next great product, or pursue the passion you REALLY want to spend your life doing, don’t wait…DO IT NOW

Before it’s too late.


  1. You’re absolutely right. There’s never been a greater time to go out and try. Sitting on the sidelines gets you nothing.

    I only met Billy once, and I worked with him for a day, and you could tell he was good people.

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