Career development / History / Marketing / Workplace culture

Work Hacks: Dave McGurgan, digital content director at Epic Marketing

Dave McGurgan recaps internet history, explains the “privilege” of client work and shares his secret weapon: the Pomodoro Technique.

Dave McGurgan. (Editor's note: He also supplied us with this pic.) (Photo courtesy of Dave McGurgan)

When Dave McGurgan began his digital career at CDNOW (an online retailer that got its start in 1994), the internet’s nickname was still “the information super highway.” During those pre-download years, he got into some interesting work with an independent record label. After that, he worked in a newsroom for seven years helping a traditional media organization prepare for a rapid surge of social media and mobile technology.
Over the years, McGurgan has garnered an impressive list of employers — Essentia Creative (which we profiled here), Horizon, DM Marketing and the Produce Marketing Association, just to name a few. Currently, he’s the Digital Content Director at Epic Marketing, where he oversees the company’s internal brand and works with clients to amplify their digital presence.
From hawking CDs at CDNOW to treating customers with the utmost care at Epic, McGurgan’s specialty has been providing companies with individualized attention and social strategies integrated with sharp business acumen.
Through it all, McGurgan abides by one strict principle: Respect.
“Exercise integrity and be genuine,” he said. “It’s a privilege to work with clients: Treat it as such or else you’ll start losing your privileges.”
Consider this How I Work a free education from a respected old head (old in internet time, that is).


What was the internet world like when you started at CDNOW?
Oh gosh, it was an entirely new world for internet retail websites back then! It was a time of dial-up access and America Online CD-ROMs mailed to you monthly. The internet was in the process of moving toward the mainstream. went live in 1994. went live in 1995. CDNOW is where you bought CDs online (and waited several days for them to be delivered through the mail); Amazon is where you bought books online.
Digital music, MP3s and peer-to-peer file sharing hadn’t been unleashed to the masses yet (i.e., Napster). So, internet retail websites were very much a new and exciting prospect for people like me who welcome disruptive technologies.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in web development since then?
A series of subsequent massive ripples caused by the internet including:

How do you think your work with Epic Marketing has influenced the local tech scene (specifically, the usage of social media in Delaware)?
My influence on the local tech scene via Epic Marketing is this: Exercise integrity and be genuine. It’s a privilege to work with clients. Treat it as such or else you’ll start losing your privileges.
How often do you check your email?
I can guarantee that absolutely no one cares. Next question. 
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?
I use the Pomodoro Technique. It is my secret weapon.
What’s your design and computer gear (program preference/ones you use the most, Mac or PC)?
I have all the usual gear you’d expect someone who spends a lot of time on the internet to have.
PCs are not allowed in my house. The Chromebook is the ultimate utilitarian computer.
What’s one way in which you believe your day-to-day work is better now than it has been in the past? Is there something you do now (or don’t do) that has made a big difference?
I have never said, “I’ve learned enough.”

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