Coffee with John Dinkel - Ex-Publisher of The Baltimore Business Journal, CEO of DBD


Last week, I had a double latte with John Dinkel at Order & Chaos - Planit's clever employee accoutrement. Appropriately, the conversation started with the Disorder and Chaos in the local B2B space. After our B2B discussions, he shared his vision for his new company - DBD.

The conversation started with a little history. My scionist stewardship of The Daily Record (1983 to 1994) did not overlap with his one year stint in 2000 as advertising director. So we started with our close encounters with The Daily Record.

The Daily Record conversation veered to an arcane but sancrosanct to newspaper subject - public notice (ie. foreclosures). The foundation of The Daily Record is public notice - a dirty little secret. We were equally amazed that public notice had not migrated to the internet as the primary platform for due process.

The conversation moved to the demise of Smart CEO and recent relaunch. We agreed that the "pay to play" model is a slippery slope and building recurring revenue with professional service firms is problematic. We looked forward to seeing the Smarter CEO.

The next shift in the conversation was to digital - my domain since 1994. We acknowledged FANG's impact on local advertising. Facebook and Google now control the majority of the local digital space. Adding programmatic ie. retargeting added another wrinkle to the local digital landscape.

I shared my thoughts on the impact on LinkedIn on local B2B. Microsoft loves moats. The reason for the Microsoft acquisition was that LinkedIn was a platform on the edge of creating an impenetrable moat with 1 to 1 targeting, people marketing, content marketing, and tagging.

Before we talked about this vision for his company, I provided an quick overview of my local B2B iterations, pivots, and shifts. business. Most importantly, my recent introduction of guest interviewers such as Deb Tillet, Al Berkeley, and Guy Flynn.

I suggested that he should interview Rhonda Pringle, his successor publisher at the Baltimore Business Journal. He laughed.

So now it was time to learn more about his reasons for leaving the BBJ and launching DBD, his business development company.

Here are John's thoughts....

So, when Edwin and I were having that cup of coffee at Order & Chaos, talking about the news industry, where digital media is heading and our past, he asked me about my new company and why I decided to leave the BBJ.

DBD (Dinkel Business Development) was created on the foundation that I love to help other people grow personally and professionally. The BBJ is a great product and houses the most talented (and fun) team I’ve ever worked with. While I was there, my biggest thrill was the opportunity to use my experience to help my team grow, whether it was opening a door, developing a creative idea or helping to close a deal; it made my day. Now, with DBD I get to use my experience to help my clients grow their businesses and I can’t tell you how excited I am.

I was out with a colleague this week and we were both talking about why we left the companies we were working for and it simply boiled down to sometimes you have to take chances in life. My role at the BBJ was fun and I feel fortunate that I was able to meet so many entrepreneurs, innovators and all-around cool people but I always yearned to start my own company and the timing was right for many reasons.

I chose to concentrate my company on business development planning, strategy and accountability because I’ve been doing this for over 25 years and no matter what size your company is, business development is a high priority. However, not every business owner or CEO is an expert and on something as critical as filling your sales pipeline, sometimes it makes sense to get some outside perspective, advice and accountability and that’s where I come in.

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