Keck kicks negativity to the curb

January 29, 2001


This is one of an ongoing series of articles on interactive marketing leaders who are doing things other marketers can learn from. They're not yet household names, but will be in the headlines tomorrow. They're the emerging leaders of an emerging marketing discipline

Name, rank and serial number: Gayle Keck, 46. Earned Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, University of Missouri School of Journalism, 1977. Joined Foote,Cone & Belding (FCB) as a copywriter. Held a series of senior creative posts at FCB and Ketchum before becoming VP/creative supervisor at Young & Rubicam in San Francisco. President and cofounder, iCanBuy, San Francisco.

Mantra: "No regrets."

What turned her on about the iCanBuy opportunity: "The sense that there was a real unmet need. Every really great product starts with an identified need. (And) the thought of creating something really new and different from the ground up was extremely appealing to me."

What was most rewarding: "The people we worked with—seeing them grow (and) discover confidence and skills. That’s more rewarding than money, although money’s nice."

On the Internet bubble: "The environment’s never going to be quite the same, (but) people compare it to the tulip bubble back 100 years ago. We still see a lotof vendors selling tulips."

On critical failures: "We should have raised money earlier or not done the business." The biggest challenge, subsequently, was "to gain scale."

On the differences between WestCoast and East Coast entrepreneurship: "There’s a fundamental difference. On the West Coast, people have a real love for technology; on the East Coast, it seems to me people are much more financially driven."

What’s next: "We know how big companies work. We also know the entrepreneurial side. Going forward, that combination will be very powerful." If she were to return to a corporate setting, Keck sees herself in "a catalyst role ... something in an entrepreneurial mode."

Best advice: "If we hadn’t tried this and gotten the experience that we did, we may have regretted it later on. Conduct your life so you don’t have regrets."

Michael Krauss is a partner with DiamondCluster International in Chicago.
He can be reached at





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