The Seattle PI has an article about Jim Heckman, previously founder and CEO of online sports network Rivals.com and currently chief strategy officer of Fox Interactive Media.
According to the article, Heckman negotiated the blockbuster three-year $900 million advertising deal between FIM and Google. That’s a major win for Heckman if the article is fully accurate, or at the worst some good PR.
Jim recruited me from IBM to be VP of Rivals.com in 1999 and I had the opportunity to work with him for a year.
Jim Heckman is one of the best sales people I’ve ever met – maybe the best I’ll ever meet. He’s especially good at selling the vision of to-be products.
Heckman does have some detractors, though, especially in the Seattle area where he has a long history.
According to the Seattle PI, during the early 1990s Heckman was named in a PAC-10 and University of Washington investigation of illegal recruiting efforts involving star players. Heckman was banned from the UW for three years as a result of the investigation.
Heckman bounced back and by 1998 founded startup Rivals.com, where he attracted $90 million of funding from top VCs such as Hummer Winblad, Intel and Softbank.
When Heckman abruptly resigned from Rivals.com as Chairman and CEO in 2000 “to pursue other opportunities” (some would say he was pushed out) he fell far and fell hard. Many believed he was down for the count.
One of the traits that you have to admire in Jim is his ability to pick himself up when he falls, brush himself off, and get back on track.
By 2001 he rallied to launch theInsiders.com (later to be re-named Scout.com) – similar to Rivals.com.
By 2005 Heckman successfully sold the business to Fox Interactive Media.
Now he’s chief strategy officer at FIM and doing some of the biggest deals in the industry.
It goes to show: in this great country, nearly everyone can get a second (and sometimes even a third) chance.