BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : SEPTEMBER 27, 1999 ISSUE
COVER STORY -- E.BIZ -- THE E.BIZ 25

Glen Meakem


GLEN MEAKEM

FREEMARKETS INC.

Position: Co-founder and CEO

Contribution: Revolutionizing business-to-business commerce by creating Web auctions for industries as diverse as coal mining and auto manufacturing.

Ambition: To break down barriers to entry and build frictionless markets.

Glen Meakem may look as buttoned-down as a Young Republican, but don't let his carefully combed coif and pressed khakis fool you. This guy lives close to the edge. Consider that Meakem, a U.S. Army Reserve engineer, asked to be sent to the Persian Gulf war: Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait ''kind of pissed me off,'' he growls.

Risk turns Meakem on. That's why he left a solid job at GE Information Services in 1995 to start his own company, FreeMarkets Inc. in Pittsburgh. It's a Web-based exchange that allows businesses, ranging from utilities to farm equipment makers, to post a list of products they want to buy, while suppliers compete for the business. If Meakem's concept takes root, it could revolutionize business-to-business commerce. ''They're using the Internet to threaten traditional pricing,'' says John J. Sviokla, a Net strategist at Diamond Technology Partners Inc. in Chicago. ''That's a big deal.''

Meakem's selling proposition is alluring. FreeMarkets will raise the quality of the products and services you buy, while lowering the price you pay for them by 15% to 20%. Customers are starting to go for the pitch. Last year, FreeMarkets ran auctions covering $1 billion worth of purchase orders and generating $7.8 million in revenues for itself. ''The reason we save money is that we're creating competition where there wasn't any before,'' says Meakem. ''We mint our buyers money.'' Now there's a risky proposition.

By Roger O. Crockett

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BACK TO TOP
RELATED ITEMS
The e.biz 25: Masters of the Web Universe

COVER IMAGE: The e.biz 25

Commentary: The Great Equalizer? Not by a Long Shot

TABLE: Who's Lagging in the Net Age


[empire builders]
Jeffrey P. Bezos
AMAZON.COM INC.

Stephen M. Case
AMERICA ONLINE INC.

Timothy A. Koogle
YAHOO! INC.

[the innovators]
Louis H. Borders
WEBVAN GROUP INC.

Jay S. Walker
PRICELINE.COM

Margaret C. Whitman
EBAY INC.

Glen Meakem
FREE MARKETS ONLINE INC.

James H. Clark
MYCFO INC.

Christos M. Cotsakos
E*TRADE GROUP INC.

[bankrollers]
Masayoshi Son
SOFTBANK CORP., JAPAN

Robert C. Kagle
BENCHMARK CAPITAL

Lawton W. Fitt
GOLDMAN SACHS & CO.

L. John Doerr
KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD & BYERS  

Bernard Arnault
LVMH MOET HENNESSY
LOUIS VUITTON  

[the visionaries]
Mary G. Meeker
MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER

John Hagel III
MCKINSEY & CO.

William Joy
SUN MICROSYSTEMS

[the architects]
Louis V. Gerstner Jr.
IBM CORP.

Pehong Chen
BROADVISION INC.

David C. Peterschmidt
INKTOMI INC.

Kevin J. O'Connor
DOUBLECLICK

Ellen M. Hancock
EXODUS COMMUNICATIONS

[the pace setters]
David S. Pottruck
CHARLES SCHWAB CORP.

John T. Chambers
CISCO SYSTEMS

Michael S. Dell
DELL COMPUTER



INTERACT
E-Mail to Business Week Online

 
Copyright 1999, Bloomberg L.P.
Terms of Use   Privacy Policy