William H. Swegles
Fas TV Inc.
Wimbledon is world renowned as a showcase for tennis, but for William H. Swegles, this summer's matches were a backdrop for new Internet technology.
Swegles' company, Fas TV, provided behind-the-scenes video highlights, Net-cams and live feeds to entertain tennis fans worldwide. The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club called it "unprecedented access" that included coverage of Martina Hingis' upset loss, an in-depth interview with tennis star Anna Kournikova, and 200 hours of video from the Wimbledon archives.
"It was either going to be the biggest opportunity for Fas TV or a devastating blow if they didn't meet expectations," said Randy Freedman, a former executive at Turner Broadcasting who recently joined the company. "Bill got his people to perform at their highest level, and they did it."
Fas TV bills itself as the Internet's "first searchable video destination for consumers and businesses," and it has thousands of clips from partners such as CNN, the American Film Institute and Reuters, with which it inked a deal just last week.
"We are the first Internet company to enter into a license for a content deal with Reuters," said the 48-year-old Swegles. "They needed to believe that we would add to their service and not take away from it."
Born on the Eufuala Reservation in Oklahoma to a full-blooded Cherokee woman, Swegles was raised with a band of Indians that had never seen a member attend college. But a group of Jesuit missionaries working on the reservation noticed his interest in reading and writing. So when Swegles turned 14, the missionaries sponsored his education at the Harvard School for Boys, a boarding school in upstate New York.
"Let's just say there was severe cultural shock," said Swegles. "I had to get over the fact that not one person I knew (on the reservation) had this type of education. It was what you call living in two worlds."
But Swegles thrived in his new world and eventually attended Stanford University. He did his undergraduate work in engineering and later received a law degree and an MBA.
He started his career at Bain & Co., an international consulting firm for consumer electronics, where he was part of a team that created Sony's Walkman. As group product director at Memorex, Swegles worked on the "Is it live or is it Memorex?" branding campaign, and at Motorola, he launched an online service called Engenius, which enables design engineers to test and simulate chips in computers and other products.
For those who work for Swegles, it is his brand of managing that makes him a success. "Bill knows what needs to be done when and gets it done by encouraging rather than chastising," said Freedman. "Basically, he knows high tech is still about people."
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