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Mike Richman

Customer Care


The power of one simple word

Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 00:00

My colleague and buddy, Christopher Martin, is an unsung hero here at Quality Digest. Few of our readers know him, but all our advertisers do, because he’s the guy who keeps them happy.

In addition to being a great salesperson, Christopher handles ad materials, tracking, reportage, traffic coordination, and scheduling, to name just a few. Furthermore, Christopher has forgotten more about the technical intricacies of web design and analytics than I’ll ever know, and he laughs at my jokes to boot. He’s a true Renaissance man.

Like me, Christopher sometimes writes rather lengthy emails. That makes sense, because he’s always got a lot going on at any one time with any number of individual clients, and recapping all the details and making sure that everyone is on the same page often takes a couple of hundred words. And inevitably, following one of our particularly involved stem-winders, we’ll get the same response:

“Thanks.” Or, sometimes, if we catch a particularly ebullient client in a particularly effusive mood, we might get, “Thanks!” That exclamation point makes all the difference.

Well, OK. Now, you could think, as we sometimes do, that surely a lengthy missive deserves a more robust reply, but let’s face it: We’re all busy. Heck, you’re probably too busy to stick with this column even this far, but you’re hanging in there anyway. So, um, “Thanks!” (Note exclamation point.)

More to the point, especially here on the eve of Thanksgiving, “Thanks” (like “No”) is a complete sentence. And it conveys, rather neatly, not only appreciation, but also the sense that one has been heard, seen, and understood. It’s a powerful little word.

It is in that spirit that I’d like to offer a few “Thanks” of my own before we all take off for a few days in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, to wit:

Thanks to those who make Quality Digest go—my fellow employees, colleagues, and friends. In addition to the aforementioned Christopher Martin, whom I truly adore in a non-300 kind of way, we have our leader, CEO Jeff Dewar, and our operations director, Kristine Bammert. Nowhere will you find more dedicated, knowledgeable, motivational, and passionate leaders.

QD editor in chief Dirk Dusharme knows the industry inside and out and provides wise counsel and incredible kindness, always. Our accounting manager, April Johnson, handles our increasingly fast pace of business with grace and a boundless reservoir of smiles. Editorial director Taran March is simply the most incisive editorial mind I have known in my 30 years in media, and she never fails to improve anything she touches. Laurel Thoennes is a systems thinker par excellence, and has taught me as much about the history and meaning of Quality Digest as anyone. Ryan Day brings the experiences and sensibility of his production background to content creation and our social media presence, and he’s never afraid to ask why five (or 50) times.

Chris Smith is a great artist and practical businessman who, in partnering with us via his Rocketspots.TV company, has transformed our video offerings. And Noah Welday, Chris’ faithful assistant, ably directs each episode of Quality Digest Live and keeps us all loose during the Friday shows.

Each and every one of these fine professionals makes my working life a true joy. We few, we happy few.

Thanks to our marketing partners, those providers of hardware, software, peripherals, services, training, and consulting who make it possible for us to share our content with the world. I personally know and communicate with more than 100 clients on at least a semi-regular basis (well beyond those occasional single-word email replies), and they are some of the finest, most intelligent, and helpful people you will find anywhere. And I don’t mean anywhere in quality… I mean anywhere anywhere. If you’ve got a problem, they’ve got a solution. In the vast majority of cases, these folks are in it for just that reason—to solve problems in the best possible way. And if they can’t solve your problem, you can be sure they’ll help point you toward someone who can.

Speaking of solving problems and providing advice, I want to offer thanks to our dozens of contributors who provide consistently insightful, interesting, and useful editorial and video content. We see Quality Digest as something akin to a big house party where the only invitation needed is curiosity, and our contributors are like the DJs who set the mood and keep the atmosphere hopping. I may be biased, but when it comes to quality, management, statistical analysis, methodologies, certification, and test and measurement best practices, I don’t think you’ll find a better mix of content anywhere.

Finally, thanks to you, our readers. And by “you,” I don’t mean the royal you… the you that represents a faceless audience. When I say you, I mean you, sitting there now, engaging with our content. I’ve personally met many of you at trade shows, user conferences, expos, plant tours, section meetings, and awards ceremonies. I’ve exchanged emails and phone calls with you about our content, or our contests, or our programs. You’ve honored all of us at Quality Digest by telling us your stories and often letting us share them with the rest of our community. Together, we’ve disagreed and argued, laughed and yelled, pushed and pulled. You’ve taught me almost everything I know about this incredibly rewarding, challenging, and important endeavor that we call quality, and for that I sincerely, humbly, say, “Thanks.”

Never forget the power that we all possess to improve ourselves and our surroundings. Even if those improvements are so incremental as to be nearly imperceptible, they matter, most of all for ourselves and our own internal sense of ethical purpose. They matter especially in proving that we are small but dedicated forces for betterment in a world that needs it. Let’s keep that faith, keep that spirit, and never lose sight of our highest, biggest, best selves.

And that, especially, is something for which we can all say, “Thanks!”


About The Author

Mike Richman’s picture

Mike Richman


THANKS!, Mike (and the rest of the QD gang)

Mike, it has been a pleasure to work with you folks these past 12 years.  You've all been very supportive of the "method to Balestracci's madness."  It has helped get my message to many people and allowed me to rant...when appropriate.  Taran has indeed been a wonderful, flexible editor to work with. 

Happy Thanksgiving and my best to all of you.


Davis Balestracci