This past weekend we lost Ted Spiegel, a groundbreaking leader in the marketing industry and someone who has touched the lives of many people, including mine.
I learned the news a few minutes ago when checking my email after a flight. I just arrived in San Francisco for a fundraising trip for Groovebug, a company I launched while earning my Masters at Northwestern University, and while working under Ted as a graduate assistant. You could say there wouldn’t be a Groovebug if there wasn’t a Ted Spiegel.
Ted was a huge influence on my experience at Northwestern, an experience I can only describe as utterly life changing. His kindness, brilliance, authentic interest in my success, and passion for everything he did, will always be a way of being that I will work hard to emulate.
When i was a young kid my family lived in a far flung small town in northwestern Ohio called Fremont. The town didn’t have a record store, let alone clothing stores that carried anything of interest to my young mother. Catalogs were my mom’s connection to “civilization” and fashion. Spiegel, was one of those catalogs.
During orientation for Northwestern’s IMC program, Tom Collinger introduced Professor Emeritus Ted Spiegel, the program’s former chair. I was star struck. He helped grow the Spiegel family catalog business for more than 30 years beginning in 1957. He was behind my mom’s connection to the outside world! I was so excited to tell my mom about the Spiegel connection that I had a hard time listening to anything else.
Soon after the program started, I volunteered to work with Ted on an ambitious project to use Google Apps for Education to build class web sites that would serve as learning resources during and after the graduate program. Ted’s passion for using technology to improve teaching was amazing. He was a force of nature and a pioneer within the university. Under Ted, i designed and built the program’s intranet site to help get one step closer to realizing his vision.
Even though it meant that I’d have to give up working on Ted’s project, Ted wholeheartedly encouraged me to pursue entrepreneurship and Groovebug. He even let me borrow his copy of Steven Blank’s Four Steps to the Epiphany, probably the most important book I’ve ever read.
I only wish I had a chance to properly thank him. Rest in Peace Ted. You are missed.