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Persistence, courage and an ability to learn from failure. Those are some of the attributes of entrepreneurs, all traits exhibited by Gist founder and CEO T.A. McCann in 2011. One of Seattle’s most respected entrepreneurs, McCann sold personal contact organizer Gist to RIM in February. The deal marked the end of a 3-year startup voyage for Gist and McCann.

Since the deal, McCann has been actively involved in the Seattle tech community, advising startups and mentoring entrepreneurs at TechStars all while leading Gist.

At the University of Washington business plan competition earlier this year, McCann drew on his experience as a sailor to impart words of wisdom to the budding entrepreneurs in the room.

“You have to be incredibly persistent, and persistent toward a goal that is only yours, said McCann in his keynote address. “A vision that is only yours. A vision where no one can sort of knock you off that goal because you are so passionate about it.”

Newsmakers at the GeekWire Gala

We’ll be recognizing more than 20 Newsmakers of 2011 during the GeekWire Gala, Dec. 8 at the Great Hall at Seattle’s Union Station. We’ll introduce a new Newsmaker every weekday leading up to the big event.

The night is also a celebration of “Geeks who Give Back,” recognized in a special GeekWire 2012 Calendar that will be given to attendees, with a share of sponsorship proceeds going to the Child’s Play charity.

Tickets are available here for the event.

Thanks to our sponsors Zillow, Bing, Filter, Facebook and Barokas PR for helping to make this special evening possible.

Contact Rebecca Lovell,, for sponsorship opportunities.

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