Thank you, Dan Kennedy

I’m saddened by the reports that the marketing world will very soon lose one of its godfathers, Mr. Dan Kennedy.

I was fortunate to discover Dan’s work while just a freshman in college…the very same year I launched my first website and made my first sale online.

At the time, I didn’t like Dan.

His ideas seemed old fashioned. His methods seemed aggressive…even crude. And he clearly didn’t “get” the internet. He even bragged that he didn’t have an email account. In fact, the only way to reach Dan was via fax! Even in 1999 that seemed archaic.

But I did we he taught, and it worked.

And I did it, again, and it worked again.

So I kept doing what Dan said, and it just kept working.

My business grew, and I earned enough money to buy a girl an engagement ring…all because of Dan.

I quit my job after only 6 months and went full-time as an entrepreneur…all because of Dan.

And I got my first opportunity to teach marketing, and was inspired to build DigitalMarketer…all because of Dan.

I’m not a cryer, but the tears well up as a type this right now…all because of Dan.


I finally got to meet Dan for the first time in 2009. I was invited to speak at his InfoSummit alongside many of my other marketing mentors and idols. I was in awe, but more than anything, I just wanted to shake Dan’s hand and tell him thank you.

But when my time came, I didn’t shake Dan’s hand.

I stood there like an idiot for moment, and then I walked right over to him and gave him a hug.

If you know Dan (or you know of his persona), you know that Dan isn’t much of a hugger. In fact, he’s the opposite of a hugger. But he didn’t freak out or push me away. He simply said, “you’re welcome.”

Every other time I saw Dan, I made him give me a hug. And he didn’t like to do it, but he did it, because despite his gruff exterior, Dan had a heart of gold. Dan truly cared about people. Although he would never admit it, Dan was a teacher, first, and a salesman second.


At that same event in 2009, the one where I gave Dan his first hug, I heard him say something that has stuck with me my entire career.

In fact, I would go so far as to say it defined my career.

If you have been around DigitalMarketer for any length of time, you’ve heard me parrot Dan, you just probably didn’t realize it.

It is the phrase that inspired the first 5-step sales funnel, the “Million Dollar Napkin,” the “Customer Value Optimization Methodology,” and most recently, “The Customer Value Journey.”

“He or she who is willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.”

More times than not, I give Dan credit for teaching me that, but all too often, I don’t.

I’m sorry, Dan. I’m sorry I don’t give you the full credit you deserved. I’m sorry that I sometimes forget who taught me this craft.

So thank you, Dan.

Thank you for teaching me everything I know. Thank you for always sharing your best stuff, and for never holding back (even when you pretended like you did).

Thank you for the lessons.

Thank you for the laughs. But most of all…

…thank you for the warm hugs. 🙂

P.S. If somewhere along the way I said something or did something that you found helpful, don’t thank me…thank Dan. Especially on this Day.