Gilbert '93 considers the Old Economy when launching New Economy
Gilbert is launching online projects on time and on
of her colleagues in the dot-com biz, Shayne Gilbert '93 has
seen her share of crash-and-burn stories. But despite the
recent failure of several high-profile Internet companies,
Gilbert feels the future remains bright for Web-based business
CEO of Silverweave, an Internet consulting firm headquartered
in Boston, Gilbert stands at the forefront of a new breed
of online entrepreneurs who are poised to see the industry
into its new era. One where good ideas combine with solid
traditional business practices to achieve financial success.That's
the formula for success that Gilbert details in her recently
published book, 90 Days to Launch: Internet Projects On Time
and On Budget.
much of the business that was happening on the Web weren't
bad ideas," Gilbert says. She blames the demise of online
businesses on the lack of accountability and neglect of traditional
fundamentals. In fact, her book's title, a reference to the
number of days in a typical quarter, stresses the importance
of holding online ventures to the same standards as traditional
you don't take it from that perspective you get lost,"
she says. "If it traditionally costs $100 to acquire
a new customer, unless it's going to cost us less than $100
to acquire a new customer through the Internet, we can't do
it." 90 Days also stresses the importance of an iterative
approach -- immediate, incremental steps -- to building an
online business. Also important is flexibility.
have to be sensitive to technology changes. What works today
on the Web might not work tomorrow when we're all wireless,"
that blends high-tech and entrepreneurship is natural for
Gilbert, a fourth-generation entrepreneur with a knack for
realizing technology's potential. After graduating from Kellogg,
she spent six months at Coopers & Lybrand in New York before
returning to her native New England for a job at Tucker Anthony,
a Boston brokerage firm involved in venture capital funding.
In 1994, she struck out on her own, and started InterLog,
a company that created CD-Rom-based interactive apparel catalogs
that would eventually migrate to the Web.
was convinced that Kellogg had taught me how to write the
world's best business plan and within six months I'd be making
more money than I ever had before and be fully funded,"
since learned that success can arrive more gradually, and
require continuous dedication -- along with all those b-school
skills. InterLog never made it to first-round funding, so
Gilbert ended up bootstrapping the company on her own. Today,
that company, reinvented as Silverweave, counts among its
clients industry leaders such as Lucent Technologies and Houghton
to consulting and writing, Gilbert teaches courses in project
management and marketing at Marlboro College in Brattleboro,
Vt. She is also working with Bay State College in Boston to
develop the first Internet project management certificate
program in the country. Courses will teach communication and
project management skills to help students bridge the gaps
between technologists, designers and management.
the flatter organizations that are out there now," she
says, "there's a real need to have people who can understand
not only marketing but also operations and technology."
is also active in The Cyber District, an organization she
founded along with other Boston-based tech firms to foster
networking and idea-sharing among New England-based tech companies,
as well as community outreach in the form of career counseling
at local high schools. Gilbert believes that by the time those
kids are ready to join the workforce, they'll find a robust
recent shakeout was a good thing," she insists. "There
still have to be adjustments and changes in course. But we'll
see the strong and the sustainable survive.
last seven years have been an incredible ride, and I can't
wait for the next seven years," Gilbert says. "We
have so far to go. This is just the tip of the iceberg."