When I heard the news that Dan Edelman, founder of the eponymous public relations firm, had passed away at 92, I was stunned.
Then I asked myself why. After all, 92 isn’t young, and I’d heard from former associates that Dan had been in poor health. Sad, yes, but why was it so shocking?
If you knew Dan, you would understand.
He was such a colorful and vigorous character, and so dominant during the time I worked at Edelman New York that I suppose I thought he’d live forever. And in a way, he will. His legacy is huge.
I was at Edelman for five years in the ’90s—more than a pit stop, maybe, but less than a career. Make no mistake, I had my difficulties with Dan, and no doubt things have changed enormously since that slice of time in the agency’s history. But I was proud to have worked there and became a better practitioner and a far better business development person for the experience.
I learned a lot from Dan Edelman, both directly and through his son Richard. And at least one lesson has stayed with me all these years.
Hire smart people.