Curt Hecht – Boss, Mentor, friend, inspiration

This is a blog that I never ever imagined I would be writing.

Curt Hecht, a character, a brain, a whirlwind of passion and energy the like of which I had never come across previously and indeed since and most importantly and not present in everyone, a nice guy who cared about you and your family. The fittest, healthiest man you will ever meet has passed, I hope to cycling heaven, losing a battle to cancer.

Curt was my first boss in the VivaKi Nerve Center. He was like no-one else I had met before. He talked expansively, knowledgeably and you just felt like you were learning with every conversation. He had vision and every company from Google to Yahoo and the rest would listen when he talked. After years of a UK market view he opened my eyes to a whole new world and for the first time taught me not to be embarrassed about going to conferences and visits to US and events like Cannes and CES. Previously these things were deemed a waste of time for the average planner / buyer in an agency – a jolly. I never forget him saying that advertisers don’t want to speak to someone who gets their information third hand, they want to hear you have been to Apple HQ. He encouraged us to learn from others, to experience new places and people and that has stayed with me since.

As your manager, especially at the start you had to learn ‘curt’ email language. I remember back channeling to Nick Biel after receiving an email from Curt and basically saying ‘please help me translate this!’ Over time I got it though and learned how to work with him and came to enjoy it thoroughly.

Curt was relentless and I knew that when he would blow into town he would ruffle feathers, but that’s what we needed at the time, we needed someone to push against the ‘always done it like this’ approach. Although I would then need to check who he had upset as he took off from Heathrow with his fold up racing bike under his arm, I look back and realise that almost no-one else could have pushed through what the VNC was attempting to do and I respected him massively for that.

Post VivaKi I saw Curt really enjoying his new role and always tried to catch up with him, normally with some sort of glamorous back drop and Curt standing proudly in his lycra. Right up to this years CES he was supportive, inquisitive and wanted to know that his team from VNC were happy and doing well, always asked about family and health.

I am shocked today. The advertising community has lost a great guy. Life is short, grab it with both hands, just as Curt did.

My thoughts are with Curt’s family.

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