The world of finance is less about the future than it is about past results: gross margins, returns on net assets, quarterly earnings. Maybe that’s why it’s easier for investment bankers to track developments in the dot-com arena than it is for them to enter the fray. But Mark Calvert, 42, is not just a bystander. Two years ago, he left his job at Alexander Hutton Advisors Inc. to become CFO of Onvia.com Inc., a Seattle-based business-to-business e-marketplace for small companies. Calvert oversaw the firm’s March 2000 IPO, which raised more than $240 million.

Old Skills That Still Matter “Finance brings out the ‘doubting Thomas’ in people. You’ve got to be a skeptic and a challenger. In the dot-com world, every approach to a problem is a new one. I have the ability to critique and evaluate what we’re doing differently from other groups.”

Learning Curve “A dot-com offers a lot more change than most finance people are used to. At Onvia, we’re doing in every quarter what it takes an old-economy company a year to do.”

Teaching Note “Communication is key in the new economy: A successful startup must give its employees a mission that they can believe in. Information has to be free-flowing. People can absorb an amazing amount of information after just dipping their toes in this economy.”